The Importance of Complementary Skills

Orange, Pear, Apple by Joe Lencioni. Used under a Creative Commons license.

If you’ve been a reader of CSS Newbie for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve noticed that not all of my articles are directly related to CSS. I also talk about HTML, JavaScript, content management systems, ecommerce solutions, and other related skill sets and areas of expertise.

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This is for many reasons (for starters, I’d get bored otherwise!), but the main overarching rationale is that these areas of expertise are all complementary. Without HTML, CSS is useless. Without JavaScript, CSS can’t realize its full potential.

This means these skills are just as important as the CSS my site’s name suggests you’ll learn.

However, there’s only so much I can teach. I’m not an expert in everything related to web development, nor will I ever be. And while I consider myself pretty decent at writing these tutorials (which means my English degree wasn’t a total waste!), I consider myself to be a complete newbie when it comes to the art of “selling” my knowledge and authority. If there is such a thing as a natural marketer, I am not he.

Earlier this year, I came across Brian Clark’s (of Copyblogger fame) online course called Teaching Sells. I was immediately intrigued. Here was a guy with a complementary skill set who was willing to teach me what he knew. Brian’s expertise is not in building web sites, but in writing and teaching: the other half of what I do.

So I signed up for the Teaching Sells mailing list and downloaded their free report with the great title, “Forget Everything You Know About Making Money Online… And Start Making Some.” And that report was pretty motivating for me. So when the class opened up in February, I signed up right away.

I started out very excited and motivated. The course is full of detailed information, and comes with a lot of worksheets and planning guides you can download and fill out to map what you’re learning to your own personal projects (I have a manila folder full of those worksheets). But then… well, I’ll admit it: I didn’t make it all the way through the course!

I got busy with work, with freelancing, with planning my wedding (only 17 days to go now!). But here’s one benefit of the program that I don’t think Brian and his crew tout loudly enough: Once you’re a member of Teaching Sells, you’re a member for life.

What does that mean? That means I can go back whenever I want, and I’ll still have access to the dozens of learning modules, the forums, the downloads, the interviews… and anything new they decide to add to the mix down the road. So my new and revised goal is to take up the class again this fall, start back up with a whole new group of motivated, excited students, and see if I can make it all the way through this time.

So if you’ve got a few minutes, take my advice: head over to Teaching Sells and watch the new video they have up that explains what it is they do better than I ever could (they’re the marketers, after all).

And if you think their pitch sounds plausible, sign up for their email list. You’ll get the free report, some case studies in your inbox to get you started, and once they open the doors to their class, you’ll be the first to know.

And if all goes well, I’ll see you in the forums.

(Note: Yes, the links above are affiliate links — past members of the program are given the option to be affiliates for future offerings. This means if you click one of those links and sign up, you’re helping CSS Newbie. However, even if there weren’t an affiliate program, I’d still recommend this course to anyone and everyone looking to learn the art of teaching online! So check it out.)

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