Welcome to Skillcrush Stories: exclusive reflections and tips for pursuing a tech career from rockstar Skillcrush alumni. Chelli Johnson lives in Dallas, TX. She completed the Web Designer Blueprint and is currently enrolled in the Wordpress Developer Blueprint while she runs a successful freelance design company and works on a business management team. Chelli has great advice for people interested in bringing tech skills into their creative careers. You can catch up with Chelli on her website and Instagram!
Once upon a time, I was not a “creative” kid. I couldn’t draw, and I had never really tried because I thought that you had to be born that way. But when I was 12, I downloaded Photoshop and it got me really interested and I started playing with it and have loved it ever since.
Before I signed up for my Skillcrush Blueprint, I serviced higher-level clients at my full-time job and also ran a freelance graphic design business. I wanted to combine a desire to help others with my own creative drive. But my main fear persisted: can I really do this? Will I be qualified? Can I get out and have people believe in me and sell myself in that way that people would want to invest in me or hire me? I never would have guessed the answer was learning tech skills.
One day, I saw an ad for Skillcrush on Instagram that said, “Do you want to get paid to get creative?” Obviously, the answer was yes! Definitely! Skillcrush appealed to me because it looked so different from the bland, impersonal code schools I’d seen before. It was really friendly and inviting. It gave me the impression that the community would be the same, and really encourage women like me who need to build up confidence.
3 QUESTIONS WITH CHELLI JOHNSON
I started my Blueprint when I was working full time, running a graphic design business, and commuting. There was definitely a lot on my plate, but I approached it with determination and a positive attitude. And Skillcrush made it possible: I loved how the videos were really short so I could work them in when I found time. There was so much available to me even before the Blueprints: guides, blog posts, and articles to guide me in my journey. It was very versatile and flexible for my schedule, and I loved the course cheatsheets and the fact that there was always someone I could reach out and talk to.
I still own my freelance business, and I love freelancing because you get to make your own rules. You can set the pace and scope and pricing of your projects. Learning these new skills, you might not know how long it will take you to build a website or design logos, but with freelancing, you’re a bit more in the driver’s seat and able to experiment without long-term commitments.
But I recently started another job too: I work on a business management team for a software company, assisting lots of different businesses as clients. My salary doubled, I have full benefits, and I work remotely with no commute. I don’t have to worry about taking time off if I need it, and I love that I have found freedom in my career to do what I love.
I recently started another job too: I work on a business management team for a software company, assisting lots of different businesses as clients. My salary doubled, I have full benefits, and I work remotely with no commute.
Ultimately, I’ve learned that when you add tech skills to the mix, you can’t lose. Whether you’re working for a company or working for yourself, they’re going to benefit you in some way or another by showing that you’re motivated and willing to learn.