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How to Create the Flexible Career of Your Dreams

Tech transforms careers. Got it. But what does that really look like? Does “learning to code” mean changing your personality? Does it mean dropping everything and starting fresh?

I guess it could, but for most people, it involves adding code to something they ALREADY love. It’s a pretty powerful equation.

YOUR PASSION + CODE = YOUR CAREER, SUPERCHARGED

Learning tech doesn’t lock you into anything. In fact, it FREES you to do more of what you love. Here’s how a Skillcrush alumna took her experience as a successful salon owner and added technical skills to get a pretty amazing (and unique!) career.

Rashida Balogun is a multi-passionate entrepreneur on fire.

She is a Brand Strategist and Visual Communications Designer, and the Founder of I Heart Fame Creative. Check out her gorgeous website and you’ll see why beauty professionals across the world trust her to design their brand and web presence.

As with many successful entrepreneurs, Rashida’s career has been an incredible, zig-zagged adventure. When Rashida turned 30, she left her stable (code for “boring”) job as an accountant to enter beauty school, a nagging lifelong dream. It took her a few years to find her niche, but Rashida soon opened her own eyebrow salon in Chicago, The B Spot, where she charged up to $100 an appointment. Featured in Lucky Magazine, InStyle, Vogue, Allure, and more for her tweezers-only approach, Rashida’s business took off!

When Rashida’s son was born, he had health complications that shifted her attention: in less than 3 years, he underwent 13 surgeries. Being present to take care of him took priority over being at the salon.

She needed to find a way to make money while working from home, and to have flexibility in her schedule to be at doctors appointments. Rashida began with what she knew to start bringing in money again: she consulted for beauty professionals to help them craft their unique story in the way she had for her booming brow business. But to really make money, Rashida knew she had to have a great website where potential clients could discover her.

And that’s where Rashida’s Skillcrush journey begins. Read on for her amazing career story, plus great tidbits of advice to anyone starting a Blueprint next week.

What originally motivated you to seek out lessons to learn tech skills?

I built a website for my business on Squarespace, and wanted to customize this, that, or the other thing. I kept needing code to make my site look the way I dreamed. So, I’d post a question in the Squarespace Forum and would wait days and days for someone to answer it. Then, I’d spend hours googling around to find code that I could copy and paste. I even paid $20 for someone to write 3 lines of code for me. 3 lines! Now that I know better, that is completely CRAZY!

I finally decided, “This is CRAP!! I need to code!!!” I didn’t want to depend on those forums anymore! No more spending my life waiting in front of my computer refreshing my screen every few minutes, praying someone would answer me.

Why did you sign up for a Skillcrush Blueprint?

When I was looking for a place to learn to code, everything cost a fortune and just didn’t seem for me. I originally looked at General Assembly because it was the least expensive of all the classes I could find, but it was still nearly $7,000. And I pictured a bunch of dudes with their beards and macbooks looking at me like I was some dumb girl if I asked any questions.

But Skillcrush!!! Now, when I stumbled on the site and I saw a picture of nailpolish, and the Skillcrush coral red… I just knew no one was going to make fun of me for asking any questions here!

And then I saw the price. $399?? That price cannot be right!!!! I seriously thought “Lemme hurry up and get this before they change their minds and increase the price!” It was such a no brainer to sign up.

How is Skillcrush different or unique?

The lessons are so bite-sized and intuitive. You have a community of all of these awesome, smart people to rely on. I’m always messaging with two people from my class while we go through the lessons together: that connection is really cool.

How have your feelings towards technology changed since Skillcrush?

In the first class when I started to make my own design I thought “What!?!? I can make this?!” It made me so confident!! This web design stuff is so much fun!! All my friends are like, “Rashida, you’re a geek!” but I love it.

When you join Skillcrush, you learn so many things that you can’t believe you didn’t know before. Even little nuances I never paid attention to.

I’ll admit, it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. You will never, ever look at a website the same again! You’ll be surfing around your old favorite sites and start looking at the layout and the colors and think “OMG! She used, like, every font in the world on this page!!” You want to email them immediately and say “yo, I can fix your website for you! Can I help you ASAP?”

How has Skillcrush helped your career?

As soon as I started Skillcrush I changed my professional bio to say “web designer.” None of that “aspiring” designer business! I am a web designer! I have the skills to do this! And if someone asked me to do something I didn’t know how to do yet, I could go back to the Skillcrush materials and class forums and find out how to do it right away.

I changed my business website 3 weeks into the course with everything I learned and it looks awesome. People say to me all the time, “Oh my gosh, you did your own website?! You have to do my website!!”

So, before, I would help beauty professionals define their niche and talk about their services. And then they had all this amazing copy and nowhere amazing to put it. Now, I have this perfect package to offer: I can turn their new brand into a reality by building them a new website!

Would you recommend Skillcrush to friends or colleagues? Why or why not?

Yes, yes yes!!

I have a friend in PR who complained to me that she needed to learn to code to setup newsletters. She said to me “I’m not technical.” I said “Trust me, girl, you don’t have to be ‘technical’ to take Skillcrush!”

Seriously, you NEED to know how to do this stuff! Think of how many things you could do with these skills: lay out photos for a site, edit blog posts… And somebody is going to see all the new stuff you can do and want to hire you for a new job!

Have you made money with the skills you learned in Skillcrush?

Yes! I have used my skills to make a ton of money and to help a ton of my friends.

If you don’t make your money back on your first client, then you didn’t go to class!!! The skills you will learn in a Skillcrush Blueprint are invaluable. You can just take Skillcrush 100 and you can make someone a business card and a flyer and make your money back. And you haven’t even gotten into building websites!

Even if, let’s say, you finish the course and you think “coding is really hard,” there are so many other skills that you learn in the Blueprint that you can charge someone for. You can advise them on the layout and user experience of their site, build them a wireframe, create header images in Photoshop. You will absolutely walk away with something in there and be able to make money. I refuse to believe otherwise!!

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8 comments

  1. patricia.ehrhardt22 Replied

    I was having a touch weekend after being rejected by a job I really wanted. Rashida hit me up on Twitter and shared her story. Let me just say, it feels SO good to know that there are other WOC, hell other women in general that have a passion for coding and the “ain’t no one got time for that” attitude to take the initiative to DIY. In the 80’s we called that punk rock, Rashida is a PUNK ROCKER and I can’t wait to hear more about her journey. 
    Cheers sister!-Love from San Francisco.

  2. kia Replied

    Which Blueprint did Rashida take first? What is a good starting point?

    • skillcrush Replied

      Hi Kia! Rashida started with the Web Designer Blueprint. It’s a perfect starting point. If you have questions about which Blueprint would be the best fit for you, just send us an email. Hello (at) skillcrush.com!

  3. Angela Wyman Replied

    Great Jayme wll be fun to ‘meet you ‘ on Monday, I am one of the instructors and will see you on mightybell soon, I hope!

  4. Jayme Clark Replied

    Thank you for articles like this. I’m signed up for the class that starts Monday and I can’t wait to get started!

    • skillcrush Replied

      Hi Jayme! We’re pretty excited for you to get started too :)

  5. Mrs. Cooper Replied

    I loved hearing Rashida’s story. I felt like we’re girlfriends and she’s spilling the tea! I have always wanted to learn how to code, her story made it seem simple. Like ABC. Skillcrush is on the bucket list now.

    • Angela Wyman Replied

      Rashida is a high wattage dynamo, she has got a LOT of star power. Come code with us!! Tech is transformative. Small changes can make HUGE differences in people’s lives.

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