I’ve written before about how important it is to share what you know and build a following. A few weeks ago I came across an example that really hit the point home.
When Chris Coyier started CSS-Tricks.com he and I were about at the same level. I remember reading his tutorials and thinking “I already knew that”. Even though I didn’t learn much initially I was impressed by his ability to explain complex CSS concepts in an easy to understand tutorial. I started sharing his articles with friends who were learning CSS and asked me questions.
A couple weeks ago Chris closed a Kickstarter campaign for $89,697. Everyone was buying access to see video tutorials and other resources as he redesigned CSS-Tricks.com. It would be easy to look at this as a Kickstarter success. It’s not. Kickstarter is just the tool. This project was so successful because Chris has been teaching everything he knows for 5 years. By doing that he built up a following that is happy to pay him for something as soon as he gives them an opportunity.
The difference between you and the popular author is the same as the difference between Chris and I back in 2007. He put the effort in to teach people whatever he could, while I continued building websites, not sharing what I learned. Rather than complaining about someone else’s success, I’ve been changing my methods over the last year. I now share and teach whatever I can and you should too.