UR #06 - Technical skills first!

January 15, 2023


I don't attack anyone in particular and I just give my point of view even if it can disturb. To each their own resourcefulness and their way to bloom in life. It's not my role to destroy on the first person who comes along and especially the one who tries to get by.

No way to dictate a way of thinking, I just put my ideas for this newsletter and I explain you a point that you can share or not even if I generally have very clear ideas on entrepreneurship.

Another parameter to take into account is that the principles I'm going to list are above all for those who start from scratch, a bit like me. Are you ready? I'm going to talk to you today about the importance of having skills and when I talk about skills, I'm talking about technical skills.

Don't be a slave to platforms

Have you ever wondered how Youtube works? I'm not talking about basic topics such as how to upload a video for example but how the Youtube platform itself works? We can also put in the lot Tiktok, Twitch, Instagram, Twitter and even some sales platforms like Etsy or even Webflow because it's more or less the same thing even if the business model and uses are different.

I'm going to be a bit harsh in the words I'm going to use and even if my words are to be nuanced, we're not here to beat around the bush either... Youtube and everything else will make you a slave if you only live from these platforms. If I say that all this is to be nuanced, it's because there are still some differences between social networks and sales platforms.

  • For social networks: You make yourself a slave to constantly changing algorithms, you are afraid if you don't get enough views or enough likes, statistics drive you crazy, you lose sponsors you're screwed... enough to give you financial and psychological instability as well.
  • Youtube and social networks in general works primarily on what is called retention. Youtube, for example, does not care if you are creative or talented. All it cares about is whether your video will hold the attention of viewers so that it can sell them advertising. Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook and everything else is pretty much the same.
  • For selling platforms: In itself I could also say the same thing about my online business under Webflow because there is really everything to make you a slave to the platform as well. We are not talking about algorithms in this case but about changing rules or terms of use. It is possible that creating templates will not bring me as much money if Webflow decides to introduce less permissive rules or a higher tax. This is the reason why I plan to move away from template creation in the medium term to something else. I'll talk about it when the time comes.

Platforms are not your enemies either

My idea here is not to tell you if it's good or bad that Youtube and other platforms work this way because we are clearly not here for that, but it is to know if you prefer to be the slave or the Trojan horse?

Be aware though that you can't have it both ways. On every choice you make, there is a more or less important counterpart to assume. For example:

  •  I made the choice to be free, but I'm losing job security.
  • I made the choice to do business in Africa, I will need funds to move and manage what is going on there.
  • I work with Webflow, they take 20% of my templates sales, etc.

The goal is to use these constraints as levers and means to excel, to make them all work together to create multiple channels of revenue sources and therefore no longer depend upon a single platform.

Recently I've seen members of my template design group complaining that their templates weren't selling. The answer I would have to give them would be firstly, that Webflow alone will not solve their problem, secondly, even if it's an early adopter thing, it's still a very competitive sector and thirdly that if they had other channels to make money they would not be putting so much pressure on themselves.

Leaving everything for one platform is not stable and is irresponsible. I did it and I wouldn't advise anyone to do the same, but I have a long term strategy and that's why I'm far from worried about my future, Sidebay.Studio's future and the other solo businesses that are coming.

Be the trojan horse

The idea is to make you understand that very few people have lasted in the long term exclusively through social networks or by using a single platform, especially when you need to multiply your sources of income. This is when your technical skills make you a person with a huge lever in your hands.

Basically, a lot of what you find on social networks is either entertainment or people who are completely devastated and are adored for their stupidity. Some people will think it's a boomer reaction that I just had but it's the truth and I myself am the first to click on these kind of videos for the simple reason that there are times when you just want to breathe and watch something else than understanding how to create a SAAS with Webflow for example.

By the way, I often watch videos of a guy who cleans carpets. He has over 700,000 subscribers on Youtube today. Beyond the fact that his videos are really satisfying, I've always wondered what the point is? Well, it's simple. The man has a technical skill and he uses Youtube as a lever, not as a main focus. He has a carpet cleaning business and shows his process. Simple, effective.

If his Youtube channel works, good for him, if it doesn't, he won't lose his business. He just used Youtube as a plus to his business, a showcase that could potentially get him more customers and therefore more money. I'm sure he doesn't count the number of views, he must not care at all.


Here we talk about design and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is not a technical skill in itself, but it's still a skill that you learn on the field and not via the school benches. But to reach that level, it's much more thoughtful to start with technical skills for designers and developers, to test things, to learn whether it's at school or online and even sometimes work in a company to form your own opinion.

Focus on learning real skills even if it's time and money consuming. It can be anything and everything, not necessarily design. I give the example of design because this newsletter is for designers/entrepreneurs. I myself am still learning a lot of things to improve my skills in some areas of design and I am far from finished.

Also, if you don't want to start your own business, the technical skills will help you to be employed. We often forget that if you don't want to become an entrepreneur, it would be better to be safe in a box because Youtube, Instagram or Etsy will never give you security, at least not if you are fully on these platforms without having anything else on the side.

I know that the day I'lI get on Youtube, I won't have the pressure of releasing a video, I won't have the pressure to make views and nobody will press me to release videos because I already have an established strategy, a solo business on the side, more business to come and because Youtube will just be a lever for my projects and me. Nothing more nothing less.