5 Mar 2012
There are few occupations that are as open, where the barrier to entry is as low as it is in web design and development. If you have the ability, and are willing to learn, you can get started without a formal education or having to pay for college courses. Most of what you need to know can be found free of charge online.
Likewise, if you are good at what you do you might like to write articles and books, speak at conferences, be included in discussions on subjects. To get started all you need to do is start publishing your ideas somewhere, or offer to speak at small events, and other offers will start to come in.
In this industry we don't have to wait until the "powers that be" recognize our talent, we can put ourselves out there, and we have the skills and tools to do it.
When I have been asked to speak at a conference it is usually because the organizer has read an article of mine somewhere and feels the subject would be a useful inclusion. If I am asked to write on a subject it is frequently the result of posting something on my blog. That chain of events goes back over ten years to the articles I used to write on my personal site. Each article, book or slide deck leading to other offers, leading to new opportunities. You have to start promoting yourself, by producing good quality content, before people will automatically think of you as associated with a subject.
My husband and company co-Director Drew McLellan publishes the 24 Ways website in December each year. Many of the authors this year were new to the site and most of those new authors wrote for the site because they approached Drew with a great idea. So don't sit around and wait to be asked if you have great ideas to get out there. Publishers and conference organizers are usually more than happy to hear from people with ideas.
Get writing, get speaking, contact sites that publish articles and tell them your ideas. Contact the organizers of events and tell them what your talk will bring to the event. Don't wait for someone to do it for you, as that really isn't the way things are done around here.