This post was inspired by a presentation I did at CMS Expo 2012, originally called "Become a Sitebuilding Samurai Using Joomla."
You love making Joomla websites. You've created sites for yourself and your friends and maybe even a paying clients. You're having so much fun, you want to make Joomla your day job, or maybe it is your day job and you just want to get known for your great work.
Now you want to be a Joomla Rockstar, one of those people admired by the community for the work they do, one of those names that come to mind when you think about a Joomla expert. People will call you for help, hire you at a good rate to make awesome, interesting sites, and pay you regularly. You'll get asked to speak at events, travel all over the world, and as God is your witness, you'll never be hungry again!
So how can you become a Joomla Rockstar? There are 7 easy steps to fame and fortune.
Your tech skills could be better. If you know everything in the world about websites today, tomorrow there will be something new for you to learn.
If you don't know hand-coded HTML and CSS, go learn. This is the #1 way you can improve your Joomla skillset. There are almost infinite resources out there for learning. Consider thousands of blog entries and tutorials, hundreds of books, free videos on YouTube, high-quality videos by rockstars at lynda.com, the HTML Writer's Guild courses, and courses at your local community college or university.
Courses are great if you need homework and feedback to help you learn. This is how I learn best, because there are deadlines to meet. I have to complete homework for the next class, so I'm pushed into getting the assignment complete. If I was left to learning new skills as I had time, it would never happen. Something always is more important than me reading a book or learning a new skill without a deadline!
Know everything about Joomla and all 9000-odd extensions out there? No? Me either. There's always more to learn where Joomla is concerned.
Learn individually, by subscribing to mailing lists and reading lots of blogs.
Learn through mentoring. Who is doing the work you want to do? Follow them through social media channels and watch what they do. Ask them questions. Most Joomies are nice people and will answer.
Learn in small groups, by asking and answering questions on the forum. My good friend Ken Crowder says answer two questions for every one you ask, and you will learn Joomla in no time.
Think you know enough about Joomla? Then start teaching others. It's a great way to learn even more.
Building Joomla websites involves much more than just HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, and clicking a bunch of buttons. There are other important parts to building a website.
Consider project management and client management, not to mention the sales process. Think about marketing, including search engine optimization, understanding your site's analytics, ad campaigns, email newsletters, and offline marketing initiatives. The C in CMS stands for content. What do you know about writing great content for the web? What about improving user experience via usability and accessibility improvements?
None of these areas necessarily require code or strong technical skills, yet so many "web designers" don't offer these services. Get to know these areas of web work so you can offer them to your clients. Better yet, these skills are not Joomla-specific, so if you decide to work with another content management system, you have a solid base of knowledge to build upon.
The more you know about other areas, the more informed your work will become, and you'll build better sites as a result.
What are others building? How did they build that thing?
Try building that thing yourself. Can you improve on it? How? How would you do things differently and why?
Why did they make that decision? Ask!
If you've downloaded and installed Joomla, used the forums, read through documentation, or attended a Joomla event, you've benefited from thousands of hours of volunteer time. What's more, you're obligated to give back — particularly if you're making money from Joomla. Remember that no one is paid for their time within Joomla.
If you don't feel like you're a strong coder, try writing for people like you. Write documentation. Write articles for the Joomla Magazine. Join Twitter and Facebook professionally, and start talking about Joomla. Write blog posts on your blog, or guest blog for others. Remember that not all writing must be in English. There are Joomla communities speaking every language in the world.
If you're a strong coder, or if you want to learn more about code, join the Joomla Bug Squad and test code. Fix some bugs. Write some new features.
Build amazing Joomla sites. Make sure everyone knows about them via Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, and add the site to your portfolio.
Explain WHY these sites are cool. Don’t expect it to be self-evident.
When someone asks a question, answer it, or point them to someone who can. Encourage those new to the field. Don’t tell anyone they’re asking a stupid question. Ever.
Make sure Joomla is the warmest, most welcoming, most inclusive community CMS in the world.
Sharing your money, your ideas, your insights, your confidence... all of these things return to you. Perhaps not in the way you expected, and certainly not with a guarantee, but again and again the miser falls behind.
~ Seth Godin, The sad irony of selfishness
Hello translators! I love it when people translate my articles to other languages, helping me reach Joomla fans around the world.