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Beware This Coding Career Killer

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[saf]

It’s interesting.

I bet if you told most new developers that it was going to take them a year to learn a language like PHP, they’d throw themselves on the floor into fits of rage and desperation… frantically repeating, “Not me. Not me. Not me.”

It just seems like too long for most.

Then, there’s this email I received from Seven the other day:

Hey John I just wanted to say thank you for all the emails you sent out and all the hard work that you continue to put in to help others. I really appreciate your concern for guys and girls who need a guidance in the world of web development. Just a few lines about me. I am a front end developer. I am working as a front end developer intern. I just got this position a week ago. I really like this coding stuff. I have only been learning to code by myself a year now. Anyways thank you for your tips and help. I greatly appreciate it.

One year… and landed himself and intern position.

Should he be disappointed or frustrated?

Hell no!

Let me frame the same question another way.

Let’s say you’re 25 years old. Or 30? Whatever.

What if I told you that one year from now you could acquire the skills to propel yourself down an entirely new career path? That you’d love the hell out of what you did on a daily basis. You’d work on projects that mattered. You’d work with people who were like you and really got you. You’d make good money doing it. And, you’d have the whole rest of your life to do it.

Would that one year seem like such a big deal?

The point is…

Patience.

Like Gary Vaynerchuk says:

In early 2006, I started Wine Library TV. For 19 months, I did that show five days a week and nobody gave a s!@#. So when I get emails… which I get 50 of them a day from entrepreneurs who are like, ‘Hey. I know you always talk about patience. I’ve been doing this. It’s not working. Should I give up and do something else?’ I’ll email back and be like, ‘How long have you been doing it?’. They’ll say, ‘Oh. 4 months.’ And I’m like f!@# you. You want this to be your life and you’re giving up after 4 months? Are you out of your mind?

Now, here’s the real problem with being impatient.

I got started online way back in 2004. I was in Iraq. I was nearing the end of my tour and I was in the Army Reserves. So, when I got back home I’d be off active duty orders and have to find a civilian job.

My wife and I were getting divorced.

My dad had been diagnosed with cancer and diabetes while I was there, so I had used all my leave to go home and see him. I had about 3 days of leave left. So, I knew I’d be about a max of 3 or 4 days back from Iraq…

And, I had no job. No car. And, no place to live.

Honestly, I was terrified.

I remember the day I got released from Fort Riley and was officially done with my Iraq tour. I drove about 2 hours to my brother’s house. My mom and a few nieces and nephews were there.

When, I got there they’d made a bunch of cards for me.

I couldn’t handle it.

I went in the bathroom and just bawled for about an hour.

Then, I left.

Needless to say, I was very impatient.

And, I spent the next 5 or 6 years hopping from “opportunity” to “opportunity” online. I tried several different products and businesses. I jumped at every shiny object, course, tool… because I was desperate for a way out.

And frankly, it wasn’t all that long ago that I got my s!@# together.

I forced myself to learn how to be patient. I blocked out all the noise and I focused in on what I wanted. Since then, things have turned 180. Now, I won’t say it was overnight or easy. Things have been tough and at times… slow.

But, I’m miles further than I was just spinning my wheels… being impatient.

Slow down!

Thing about what you really want 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now. When you think in those terms… 1 year ain’t s!@#.

It’s a step in an overall strategy.

And, strategy requires discipline… patience.

Now, let me get a bit “weirder” for a second. I do some things on a daily basis that others might think are strange to help me build up my patience. See, to me, it’s not something that happens. It’s like a muscle… you have to build it up.

And, you can.

Anyway, I just uploaded a PDF over on Patreon that steps through the exercises I do to build up my patience. It’s been one of the most powerful parts of transforming my life… and you can get it as a patron over on Patreon at any level.

Get it here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 23, 2016

TUTORIAL: Submit Online HTML Form to Both MySQL and Email Using PHP

In 2011, online survey giant, SurveyMonkey, acquired Wufoo Forms for 35 million. SurveyMonkey itself does 113 million  a year in revenue.

And, it’s valued at nearly 1.35 billion.

Both of these services serve a simple purpose: creating online forms. And, they’re not the only players in the market.

How much of that market would you need to siphon off to make more money than you probably ever imagined?

It’s what I tell developers all the time.

Focus on one thing. Get really good at it. Cash in on that one skill until it runs dry.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So, would you like to learn how to build a badass HTML form that submits data to both MySQL and email?

Study this video. It could be your way out:

Get the source code as a supporting listener on Patreon.

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[saf]

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 22, 2016

What I Learned About Trust From a Door to Door Salesman

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[saf]

So, just the other day I had this Vault guy come to my door.

Vault, if you don’t know, is a home security service. They install door and window sensors, cameras, wifi locks… that kind of stuff. And, this guy was offering a free system if I put their Vault sign in my yard.

Afterword, I looked it up and I guess their systems run nearly two grand.

So, this was a very appealing offer.

And, having been in the Army for 11 years and traveled around the world a bit… security is something I take serious. Anybody who knows me… knows I’m semi-paranoid about that stuff.

Anyway, I told him no.

Why?

Because I didn’t believe him.

Usually when someone shows up with an offer that sounds too good to be true… it is. I wondered what the catch was. How was I gonna get screwed?

Turns out, it’s totally legit.

My brother has Vault. I knew he had a system but not what. And, he got it through that very offer. Free system if they put out the yard sign.

The catch?

Of course, you have to do the monitoring fee which is like 50 bucks/month. Which I expected. And, you have to sign a 5-year contract. Again, totally expected… and nothing real shady about it. They gotta pay for the system somehow.

That’s a legit deal.

But, I said no.

There’s a lesson here for your web development career.

People are naturally skeptical. As they should be. And, if you want to get hired to write code for people… you have to address that skepticism head-on.

Let me give you an example…

The other day, I had a guy on YouTube ask me to look at his Upwork profile and let him know what to change. Now, the real answer to that question is everything… but there was one part that really stuck out:

rp1

Now, first off…

Notice how this fits what I almost always say about developer profiles on Upwork. He starts by listing what language he knows. 90% of clients are already gone at that point. They just don’t care that much about that stuff.

But… let me stay on track here. 🙂

Towards the bottom, he talks about working hard to satisfy his clients… and his loyalty and effort, etc. Trying to make a pitch on why someone should hire him.

We could talk about if that’s stuff even worth putting on there…

But, the larger point is… saying it means nothing. People don’t believe you. You could say “I’m the baddest coder on the planet”… nobody would care.

You have to PROVE it.

And, this is what so many developers are missing when it comes to marketing themselves. Proof. You’re loyal? Prove it. You’re reliable? Prove it. You know XYZ skills? Prove it.

Every single claim you make needs to be backed by hard evidence.

Otherwise, clients will just gloss over it.

You just sound like one of the millions of other developers spouting off about how great they are. The truly good ones… can prove it.

Think of your client’s natural skepticism as a rock that you have to chip away at piece by piece with your proof… until eventually it just crumbles into dust.

And then, you can sell yourself.

Funny thing is…

When you only say things you can prove… you’ll notice the things you say tend to shrink. But, that’s okay. That’s how it should be.

You only need a handful of sales points… that people actually believe.

What’s likely missing from your pitch isn’t more sales speak… it’s more evidence.

So, you build badass-looking contact forms? Prove it. Show me your portfolio full of those contact forms.

You’re a PHP genius? Prove it. Show me your test scores or accolades.

You’re reliable? Show me a testimonial of a client saying that.

Proof! That’s what matters.

Let me give you one last example:

oneworldtradecenter

This is a picture I took from one of the top floors of One World Trade Center tower in New York City. I was in the Inc. Magazine offices.

I was there for a mastermind of some of the top internet marketers on the planet.

Little old me… sitting “courtside” for an exclusive meeting of some of the best business minds on the planet.

What’s this proof of?

The power of  PHP.

I got there because I’d built a website for an Executive Director at Inc. at the time. And, he asked specifically for me to be there. So, I was flown out… hotel paid for. Meals paid for. And free attendance at this event (while they all paid).

And, knowing PHP was the whole reason why.

The same opportunities are open to you. Just gotta learn PHP. And, this is the easiest way to do so, in my opinion: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 21, 2016

Should You Learn PHP or Python? What About Django?

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[saf]

Those of you who’ve been around a bit know I used to be an Al Bundy.

Yes… I will come clean. I used to sell shoes. And, by the way, I was pretty damn good. I remember I once sold $8100 worth of shoes in one week… which was crazy for the chain I worked at. Double what was considered a good week.

Anyway, of course, in the store we had all kinds of shoes.

And, most of use who worked there were in love with the brand: Ecco. They were a very high quality brand that were comfortable as hell. In fact, the shoes I wore every day to work were $150 pair of Ecco dress shoes.

I’d even spent $200 on a pair of Ecco casual shoes I wore everywhere else.

Of course, we also had the other end of the spectrum… the shoes I despised… the Adidas Superstar. I couldn’t stand those things. They looked like boats on people’s feet… with their stupid little plastic toe.

Just plain ugly.

But, everybody wanted them. I sold more of those damn things than I’d ever care to admit. Because that’s what the people wanted.

That’s generally my same opinion on PHP vs Python or Django or Node.

It might be true that Python or Django or Node… or whatever else… is a superior language to PHP. We could debate that until we’re blue in the face probably.

And, you might be right that PHP is garbage.

I mean, who knows really.

But, I do know one thing… the people want PHP. I looked it up just today… and PHP’s market share is estimated at 82.1% of all web sites… whose server-side language we know.

That’s just fact.

No amount of “owning” people about how rotten you think PHP is… or calling people stupid for using it… is going to change that.

I couldn’t stand those ugly superstars… but I’d have been out of job quick if I refused to sell them to the people that wanted them.

And look…

It’s probably true that Python, Django or NodeJS skills are valued more… so you might make more if you learn them. But, it’s also probably true that you might find it difficult to find any job openings for people with those skills. Or, have a steady flow of clients who want projects built using those languages.

It’s also probably true that they could fade away into oblivion in the next 10 years.

Not likely, no. But they could and probably nobody would notice.

Now, of course, that could also happen to PHP… but it’s so embedded into the fabric of the web that if it dies… it’ll be a slow painful death you’ll see coming and can adjust to. Those other languages? Eh.

So, should you learn Python or Django or Node?

Sure.

But also learn PHP.

And if you’d like to learn it the easy way, then head over tohttps://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php and enroll in my brand new PHP 101 course.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, p

June 20, 2016

The Fastest Way to Learn PHP

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[saf]

Today, I wanna go back to the question I asked that started this whole discussion about how to go about learning PHP.

That question was:

What if I told you I could help you master PHP… to the point you could start earning your full-time income as a developer… in the next few months, what would you say?

The responses I get so often to this question go like this:

Where do I sign up?

I would LOVE that.

That’s why I’m here.

Let’s do it!

I would be SO appreciative.

So, it’s clear to me this is what you want.

But, there’s a problem.

What I see sitting on top of a YouTube channel that’s got nearly 3 million views and 30,000 subscribers… a mailing list of nearly 20,000 developers… a website that gets between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors/month…

Is the way developers go about learning PHP is all wrong.

It costs you so much time.

And look, I did the exact same thing. It took me almost five years (!) to finally get PHP down to the point I could get paid to write it.

Now, that’s an insane amount of time and not necessary at all.

And, it’s because I made the same mistake so many of you are.

The worst part is when you continually fall victim to these same mistakes… and it just keeps taking you longer and longer to get anywhere… it kills your spirit.

I’m sure you’ve had those moments.

  • Where you were so frustrated you want to snap your keyboard…
  • When you were so overwhelmed you felt like giving up on it all…
  • When you were so disillusioned you started to wonder if you were “smart enough” for this…

I’m here to tell you… YOU are not the problem.

That’s not because I want to make you feel good… it’s because it’s true.

See, most of you’ve been sold a lie about how your learning path is supposedto go. It’s supposed to be hard. You’re supposed to learn this mountain of skills. And, specifically for today’s email.. you’re supposed to do it a certain way.

Now, hopefully yesterday’s email killed those first two lies.

Let me now kill the third.

There are three things you need to learn PHP at light-speed:

  1. An integrated program of instruction
  2. To build real applications while you learn
  3. A mentor to help you over the stumbling blocks

(As a side note: I recently give this exact same answer to a question on Quora.com and it quickly became the most upvoted answer there with 210,000 views of my answer, 449 upvotes and virtually no one disagreeing. So, developers who’ve been through it know this is the fastest way to learn.)

Now, very quickly let me show you how learning PHP following this pattern will free you up to learn as fast as humanly possible.

An integrated program of instruction…

This is the big problem with “free”. So many developers are hung up on this notion that they should never pay a single penny for any development training.

It all has to be free.

Do you know how much free costs you?

I’m the perfect example. It took me almost five years to learn PHP. I’m convinced today anybody could do it in one. But, let’s be generous and say I invested in a course that helped me learn PHP in three years.

That’s two whole extra years of getting paid to code.

Now, I have a 6-figure income… so those two years literally cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I’d invest in a 200 or 300 dollar course in a heartbeat.

The problem with free is…

When you scour the internet for free tutorials… you get a loose collection of unrelated instruction that costs you time. Lots of it.

But a good paid course will have a systematic approach to teaching you PHP. One lesson builds upon another and are taught by the same instructor… so you there are less “gaps” you have to fill in on your own.

Don’t be afraid to invest a couple bucks on your education… to get anintegrated program of instruction.

It will save you tons of money (and time and frustration) in the long-run.

This is probably the single biggest mistake I see new developers make.

Next, to build real applications while you learn…

If you just take courses or tutorials and don’t build anything with them, you’ll lose a lot of what you’re learning,  you’ll have to go back and re-learn things and it’ll take you longer.

When you build real applications as you learn… the learning sticks, you remember more of it and learn faster.

Always make sure every new skill you learn is used as a part of building some bigger application. So you retain the information better and see how to fit it into an overall application (the things you’ll ultimately be building).

Finally, a mentor to help you over the stumbling blocks

This was a real epiphany for me.

I can remember the exact problem and project I was working on. I had a multi-dimensional array I’d pulled from a database and I needed to loop through that array and build a new one that I’d then use in the rest of the application.

And, I had no idea how to do it.

I fumbled with it for a few days and then I finally swallowed my pride and asked our lead developer at the time what I could do.

He sent me this:

foreach($array as $key=>$val) {

$new_array[] = $val[‘key’];

}

There’s not much too it… but those two little brackets at the end of $new_array[] changed my life. Lol!

Ok, maybe a bit dramatic… but that was what I needed.

And, I got my answer in about 30 seconds.

That day I learned the power of having a mentor. And, I imagined how much faster I could have learned PHP if I’d had someone like that available to me from the start.

So, find someone who knows more than you and beg, plead, pay, barter… whatever you have to do to get them to mentor you.

Now, I promise you…

If you do those three simple things as you learn PHP, I’m convinced you will learn PHP in a fraction of the time it’d take you otherwise. I’ve just seen it time and time again. The people who do these things simply get where they wanna go faster.

And, that’s why I created my new PHP 101 course. To give you all three while you learn. I believe it’s simply the fastest way to learn PHP. You can enroll here:https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 16, 2016

The EXACT PHP Skills You Need to Learn to Get Paid to Code

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[saf]

I chuckled a bit when I read it.

You might have seen me ask this question. And I do it because I really want to know where you’re at because that’s the only way I feel I can really help you.

So, I’d asked…

What if I told you I could teach you how to master PHP to the point you can start getting work building PHP applications… in just the next few months?

Now… getting off-subject a bit… that’s an interesting thing to ponder…

What if?

You might take a minute and ask yourself that.

WHAT IF you could master PHP in the next few months… so well you’d be supremely confident in taking on projects and getting paid for it?

Would that be life-changing for you?

In any case, like I said, his answer made me chuckle…

What exactly DOES ‘mastering PHP’ entail?

I chuckle because I remember that feeling. I can relate. And, I can always hear the frustration in people’s words when they ask me that.

Just tell me what I need to learn and I’ll do it!

Now, there’s something to be said for the HOW… and I think a lot of new developers overlook that part (I’ll get to that in a future email).

But, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know the WHAT.

And, there IS a what.

This isn’t one of those “it depends” non-answers. I believe there’s a foundational set of skills any PHP developer needs to know in order to deliver on projects and get paid to write PHP code.

But, the problem is we tend to overthink it.

You see, I find so many new developers think the “list” of what they need to learn to start doing this full-time must be long?

Right?

I mean, it obviously must include something pretty difficult-to-learn skills… some advanced coding… stuff that’d take awhile to learn?

Doesn’t it?

Here’s the truth…

90% of what you do when building applications will revolve around a very limited set of skills. I know that doesn’t necessarily sound “sexy”… but it’s just the truth.

What’s important isn’t knowing 100 things… it’s knowing a handful really well. Because you’ll use those same skills in new and different ways to create new and different things for clients/bosses/customers/etc.

I call these skills, “The Foundation”…

So, let me tell you what they are:

  • What is PHP
  • Echo
  • Variables
  • Arrays
  • If, else and switch
  • For and foreach loops
  • While loops
  • Get
  • Post
  • Mail

And, that’s it.

Wait, really?

That’s all?

Yeah… it is.

These are the skills I actually use for 90% of what I do.

Now, understand what I’m saying here. These aren’t the only skills you should learn.. eventually. Yes, you should definitely get into more advanced stuff. But, these are what you’ll use most. And you can build working applications with just these skills.

I know, sounds crazy… but it just happens to be true.

Let me give you an example…

A simple online form. Doesn’t sound like much, right?

You may even be thinking, “Hell, I could build that right now”.

You may have heard of Wufoo Forms. It’s a online service that helps you do something pretty simple: build forms.

Well, Wufoo was acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011 for 35 million. Even, SurveyMonkey itself is about building online forms (surveys) and does 113 million a year in revenue… and is valued at 1.35 billion.

And, the core of both… is just simple online forms.

Or, look at WordPress. There are several major plugins whose sole purpose is to help users build forms: Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, and Gravity Forms being some of the more popular.

And Ninja Forms, for example, has 2.6 million downloads to date.

There’s a huge market for this one very simple thing. You could get freelance clients or a tech job just being really good at this one thing. And, what you need to know in order to do that… is not much.

Building an HTML form, processing POST data… maybe using the mail() function.

Heck, I could probably teach you how to build a pretty nice contact form in 20-30 minutes. And, there’s 14,800 people searching each and every month on Google for the phrase, “contact form”.

People that would hire you or buy your app.

My point with all of this is simple.

What you need to learn in order to get going is much less than you probably think. I mean look… reasonable people could quibble over a skill or two on that list… but it’s not like 100 more skills you need to learn.

And, contact forms is just one example. There are 100s of markets just like this one with people tripping over themselves to hire a developer or buy a product that does something that’s actually quite simple.

But, here’s the exciting part… now you know! You know exactly what’s in front of you. And, I can promise you… if you learn these skills and how they all work with on another, I’m convinced you WILL be able to deliver on paid projects for clients.

ZERO doubt in my mind.

I know because I’ve seen it first-hand…

My little brother came to me a few years ago… 3 years into his Computer Science degree, no job, broke and suddenly five mouths to feed (he’d married a lady with three kids and then they had two of their own).

He was desperate for his way out…

And a way to put food on the table for his family. I made him do two things:

  • Start taking clients
  • Work through the list I just showed you

Within a week, he had his first client and was getting paid to code. Within a month, his confidence had swelled because he was rapidly upping his PHP skills and he raised his prices. Within two months, he’d decided to “try” applying at IBM and got hired. Now, just a few years later… he has a 6-figure job at one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world.

In two months, that simple list gave him more than 3 years in a CS degree.

Because, he attacked it

So think about this… what if?

I mean, what if it even took you a year to learn all this? That’s a crazy amount of time… but what if absolute worse-than-worse case scenario it took you a year.

How many years will you have left?

How many years would that be NOT working a job you hate? How many years would that be NOT feeling like you’re capable of more? How many years would that be NOT dealing with annoying bosses and co-workers?

My point is… 

Even if you believe you have the worst luck, are the least capable, that forces will conspire to make things take way more time than they should… for you… it’s still 1000% worth the time and effort.

The list above is your way out.

And you can master all those skills in my new PHP 101 course. Enroll at:https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 15, 2016

A Fry Cook’s Secret to Changing Your Life With PHP

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[saf]

Not that long I was a fry cook at a local pizza joint.

I clocked into work each day, in my ill-fitting uniform, wearing my funny hat and I’d spend the next 4-5 hours wallowing in grease, yes ma’am-ing and no ma’am-ing my way through the day.

I was miserable.

But, the thing that really ate at me was deep down I believed I was capable of so much more. I KNEW I was. And, I just couldn’t figure out how I’d let my life get to the point I was at.

I was desperate for a way out.

Enter PHP.

I’d been messing around with code for awhile, but mainly HTML and CSS. And, while I could build some decent stuff… I hadn’t broke through into building the kind of robust applications that people basically throw dineros at you for.

I made it my mission… come hell or high water… that I was going to master PHP, get out of that miserable job and be the person I knew I could be.

It’s now been over six years since I last worked a “normal” job.

I’m very blessed to work from home every day. Work the hours I want to work. Take the projects I want to take. I get to homeschool my kids (which is huge for me). And, I earn enough to have things I never could have imagined as child.

I’ve built websites for online superstars like New York Times Bestselling Author, Michael Hyatt, Lewis Howes, Ray Edwards, Tim Ferriss, Inc. Magazine, Stu McLaren and others.

And, I even now get to turn around and help other developers through a YouTube channel with over 29,000 subscribers, 130,000 video views per month, and quickly approaching over 3 million total views of my videos.

And, regularly get comments from students of mine like this:

Every time I listen to your Podcasts I know I’m on the right path! I’m getting paid good money now.” – Tristan Marroquin

And this:

Just got off a coaching session with @jpmorris. Learned a lot about freelancing and targeting my services. Highly recommended!” – Helge Sverre

And this:

If you’ve followed John’s posts, webcasts, courses, etc. for any length of time, you hopefully have come to see, like I have, the value of a continuous stream of solid information  — not only just the techy nerd stuff, but the business side of web development as well.  Truth be told, that part has been more valuable to me these days.” – Jim Thomure

It’s been a wild ride!

And, here’s a little confession…

I’m really not that smart or special in any way. I was a jock growing up (you can check my YouTube channel for all the people who make fun of how thick my neck is from years of playing football).

I didn’t start teaching myself how to code until almost 23.

I didn’t have a personal tutor at age 7 (like Zuckerberg)… I wasn’t geeking out on computers in parent’s basement when I was a kid. I first discovered web development when I was in the Army stationed in Iraq.

The odds couldn’t have been more stacked against me.

And this dumb jock from Nebrask-y figured it out. Heavens knows you can. Chances are, you’re much smarter than I am. You may be starting sooner than I did… or you might have more of a tech background than I did.

My point is… if I can do this… you sure as hell can!

Don’t ever believe otherwise.

Now, of course, what matters is WHAT and HOW you learn. Meaning… what specific skills you learn and how you go about learning them.

And that’s the problem my new course PHP 101 cures. I’m convinced the step-by-step tutorials are simply the easiest (and fastest) way to learn PHP.

Go here to change your life like I did:
https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 14, 2016

How to Make Web Design Clients Hate You

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[saf]

(Said in my nerd voice…)

Well hello there fella! In this email I’m sending to you here today I will be thoroughly analyzing the concatenation of the data type integer and the coefficient of the third iteration of the for loop…

Lol!

Ok, I can’t do that.

So, the other day I had this guy on YouTube comment:

Are you trying to be some kind of Guru, stop using so many flowery words and stick to talking like a dev.

Oh dear!

Now, how do devs talk exactly again?

I actually asked him that and this is what he said:

Namely, more concretely. Like if I were to make a video about knowing your worth as a developer I would include actual, um data… and how say something about how pay actually relates to certain skills sets and perhaps talk about how different devs I have known have been paid and what their skills they knew. 

Okaaaaaaay…

I actually did a video like that awhile back.

But… for the rest of you… please never do this!

Please, please, please.

I mean… if you’re geeking out with a group of other devs… okay… maaaaaybe.

But, as how you communicate?

No, no, no.

You might actually lose yourself some clients to comas as they hit their head on their desk after they fall asleep three seconds into your “dev talk”.

And please…

Whatever you do… never ever… even if you have a gun to your head… never… I mean ever… do this when marketing yourself.

Please.

Now, I’ll cut this kid some slack. Because, while he seems to be an expert on how YouTube videos should be done… he doesn’t actually have any up himself. One day, though. And I’m sure it’ll be epic.

So… I’ll forgive him. He knows not what he does.

Anyway…

Look. People will find all sorts of silly, stupid things to pick at you about. It doesn’t matter what you do… we live in the age of the armchair quarterback. And, it is what it is. Just keep doing what you do.

I hope by me making fun of these people you see…

You don’t have to care… one single iota about what they think.

They’re not always right. They’re usually bitter. And they get their self-esteem from dragging others down.

Ignore ’em. Screw with ’em (like I do). Whatever…

But, certainly don’t spend much time on what they say.

And they’ll be littered throughout your career path. Whether you freelance or not. Do YouTube videos or not. It doesn’t matter.

A boss, a colleague, a client… some random yay-hoo on YouTube.

As, I always say… look at what they said. Find what is true and has value. Ignore the rest. Adjust and move on… quickly.

Like the kids say… haters gon’ hate.

Aight… hopefully that wasn’t too flowery for you.

Let’s move onto getting me paid… 🙂

So, I just released my PHP 101 course on Patreon. It’s up. It’s live. It’s 11 quick videos on PHP that culminates (ooh flowery!) in building a fully-functioning contact form. We tackle arrays, if/else/switch, for/foreach/while loops, get, post and more. It’s your PHP quick-start. You can learn more about what’s in it and how to get it at: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 13, 2016

What’s Your Worth As a Web Developer?

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[saf]

I met my wife in Iraq.

Now, if you know anything about the military you know that there’s usually about 50-100 guys for every 1 female. And when you’re in another country, locked on a base… well you can imagine…

She was clearly the prize.

So are you.

I’ve ran across this several times throughout my career. There’s a tendency among business people (your clients) to under-value developers. To look at you as a dime a dozen… and not always treat you with respect.

You can hear it in their condescending “just do what I said” tone.

The way they shoot down your warnings and recommendations.

And how they often claim all the credit for the success of a project.

It can be quite infuriating.

Truth is, though… some developers are a dime a dozen.

Skill is one thing… but there’s way too many who don’t communicate well, are hard to work with, moody, insecure and just a general pain in the you know what.

(I know… I get a lot of hate mail from them!)

But, when you really know what you’re doing…

It’s a whole different game. You command respect… not because you demand it but because your clients recognize they damn well better listen. You know what you’re doing and they better pay attention.

YOU are the prize.

And, your reputation will precede you.

Clients (bosses, customers, whoever) will recognize the significant role you play in their projects. They’ll give you the credit you deserve. And, by the way, they’ll pay you well for it.

There’s two lessons in this:

First, your job is to know what the hell you’re doing. That’s your focus. Putting in the hours and energy to make sure your skillset is up to snuff. That when you walk in that room or jump on that call… you know… your s!@# is straight.

And then being confident and knowing… that you know what you’re doing.

Not faking it. Being it.

Not pretending… but doing.

The second lesson is remembering YOU are the prize.

Because when you really know what you’re doing… you are.

You’re not a dime a dozen. You’re the gem. The flower among the crap. And, you must refuse to let clients treat you any other way.

I’m not recommending being an a-hole.

But, have boundaries. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to own it. Because, the truth is, really good developers…

Who know their s!@#…

Who communicate well…

Who aren’t a pain in the rear to work with…

are hard to find. And, if you are one… you deserve to be treated as such.

Don’t forget that.

Now, if you want to get your PHP skillset up to snuff, I’m just about to release my PHP 101 course over on Patreon. Consider becoming a supporting listener at the “Exclusive Courses” level and you’ll get access to it here shortly. Join up at https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 9, 2016

Thank You!

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[saf]

So today marks episode #100 of my podcast.

Pretty crazy to me.

And since it’s a special occasion and all… I wanted to take a moment to reflect and most importantly tell you: THANK YOU!

I still find it pretty crazy that tens of thousands of people take the time to listen to what I have to say on a daily basis.

Mind-boggling a bit.

But, I really wanted to let you know how much all the supportive comments and chats (hell, even the debates) mean to me.

So, I want to tell you a quick story…

On September 5th, 1989…

My dad, my little brother and I were in a pretty bad car accident. It was a foggy day, you couldn’t see more than a handful of feet front of you and my dad was driving us to school as he always did.

We came to what’s called the OPPD highway where I grew up.

It’s the highway that leads out to the power plant where a good number of people in that area work. We sat at the intersection for awhile trying to get a read on whether any incoming traffic was coming.

I remember my dad asking, “John, do you see anything?”

And I said, “no”.

And off we went.

Turns out there was a car coming… about 65 mph. And it slammed into the side of our little S-10 pickup as we crossed the road. We flew 30 feet into the air, spun 180 degrees and smashed into a telephone pole.

The truck then slammed to the ground and we all flew out.

As that happened, I was inches from death twice. The car had struck just behind the passenger side door where I was sitting… with no seat belt. When we hit the pole… we hit it just in front of the passenger side door… where I was sitting.

Police said an inch or two the other way on either hit and I’d have died instantly.

As it happened, my dad got the worst of it.

My brother and I broke some bones but would be fine. My dad, on the other hand… not so much. He chipped a piece of his spinal cord and would end up a paraplegic for the rest of his life.

My family’s life fundamentally changed that day.

My dad, at the time, was the owner of a successful, 3-million dollar per year plumbing business. My mom was a housewife taking care of us six boys.

Suddenly, my dad lost everything and my mom was thrust into providing for us.

I’d be lying if I said things didn’t get rough at times.

There were times where I went days without eating.

Never had anything nice. Never got anything I wanted. I had to scratch and claw and fight for every inch of prosperity I’ve ever achieved.

Again, I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me.

It’s for two reasons…

One, to let you know I understand. The messages I get on a daily basis from people laying their heart out to me about their situation. I can’t always help… but I always understand where you’re coming from.

And my single piece of advice… is to keep fighting.

But the second reason… which is why I bring it up today is to tell you: THANK YOU! I doubt anybody I grew up with would have ever guessed that a dirty little trailer park rat like me would have so many people who cared what I had to say.

And any ounce of pride I have… all comes back to you.

The attention you give me. The interest. The encouragement. Hell, even the people who hate my guts and tell me so. I never would have imagined this many people would care.

So now understanding my story and where I’m coming from: THANK YOU!

I look forward to 100 more.

P.S. If you’d like to help keep it going, consider becoming a supporting listener at https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 8, 2016

The REAL Secret to Success In Web Development

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[saf]

If you’ve been around these parts any amount of time, you know I get my fair share of hate mail… and I like to point out certain ones when I think there’s a deeper lesson to be learned.

Well… here we go again! 🙂

I got this email the other day:

Now I know why people hate you so much!

Lol! Okay?

When I pressed on why, this is what I got:

You’re selfish and you think you are the best. Grow up dude. Be nice with people and help them.

Now, you couple that with the constant stream of emails I get that say things like:

“Annoying.”

“Thanks for wasting my time.”

“Useless.”

“You really suck.”

“Shutup d!@#head!”

I think you have to conclude that I’m a pretty horrible guy, no?

But, what was my crime?

In this case, I had mentioned how I get a ton of emails on a daily basis of people demanding my help… dropping 100 lines of code in an email and saying, “Fix it!”

And, it’s quite literally that assuming.

And that I tell them no. And the whole point of the that episode of the show was telling YOU that you have to learn how to say no. You’ll run yourself ragged if you don’t… and clients will walk all over you.

But alas… that makes me selfish I guess.

Now, why do I bring THIS up?

It’s not to make you feel sorry for me (despite what many of my haters like to assume). It’s because I’m worried about where we’re headed… both in general as a society AND as a community of coders.

As I pointed out to our friend above:

People don’t ask, they demand I help them… for free. Then tell me I’m selfish when I say no. Meanwhile I have 200+ videos on YouTube for free. 100s of posts on my site. 1000s of lines of code. And on and on. How about you?

It seems to me the selfish one is the one demanding help without any offer to help back. It’s the one labeling everyone else selfish while literally doing nothing to help others themselves.

But, to me, this all goes back to entitlement.

There seems to be this growing sense of entitlement among society at large… but more importantly among our community of coders specifically.

I had a guy the other day blast me on YouTube about how all the software I was using (PHP, HTML, CSS, etc) was free… so why would I charge for my source code?

Uh, because I have to eat.

And when I pointed out to him that technically he’ll be writing code for a client or boss or whoever… that HE will get paid for…

Crickets.

I think a lot of it comes from the open source movement. Not that the movement is responsible… but it creates an environment where entitlement is easy.

But, even the Free Software Foundation…

One of the organizations spear-heading that movement says when describing open source… “free as in speech, not as in beer”… to make the distinction that open source is about freedom NOT necessarily about not paying for stuff.

Anyway, getting back to entitlement…

Now, I know… people like to talk about millenials and being entitled… yada, yada, yada. I don’t really accept that kind of collective thinking. To me, individuals are individuals who make their own choices.

BUT, that’s my point today…

I think it’s worth looking at in your own thinking.

As Zig Ziglar said:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

And, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince me that our friend above has a helping mindset when it comes to his own actions. Chances are, that’s a standard he only applies to other people.

That’ll get you nowhere.

KNOW THIS: The more you want… the more you’ll have to step up for others.

And, that’s the REAL secret to winning at freelancing… and at life.

P.S. If you’d like to help me out, consider become a supporting listener on Patreon. You’ll help me keep putting out this info for you and you get access to a ton of cool perks. Learn more at: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 7, 2016

The Case Against WordPress

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[saf]

Let’s get more into this great debate, shall we?

Thing is…

This is important. There are too many new developers who fall hook, line and sinker for the “roll your own” mantra of the know-it-alls. You know, those devs who tend to greatly over-estimate their skills whilst sitting behind their keyboards… yapping about how everybody else is an idiot (duh) and should RTFM!

And, it can stop you from realizing your dream of coding for a living…

Heh. Not on my watch!

All right, so here’s what I got in response to the last episode of the show:

Whilst people may not be able to rewrite WordPress, websites written from scratch are generally better than a WordPress site because they trim the fat. The whole “tool” thing is BS. Yes you may be able to get a WordPress site out in maybe a day earlier than someone going from scratch (maybe), but a good web developer/”pure coder” will always outperform a tool.

First, I give Tom (who posted this) credit… because while I disagree whole-heartedly with him… he was respectful. No hard feelings… BUT I can’t let this fly.

This is what the roll your own crowd always does.

This is an apples to oranges comparison. He’s comparing building a static website from scratch VS using WordPress.

Well yeah.

That’s probably true… but that’s NOT what I said.

You have to compare apples to apples which I pointed out when I responded to him saying:

If you’re talking about a static website… okay. But I think it was obvious I’m talking about something with the same basic functionality. Your CMS built in a few days or weeks will not outperform something like WordPress. I don’t even think that’s a question.

To which he replied:

I never mentioned CMS, and am clearly not disagreeing with you on that point. I’m saying that its the wrong argument to make. My point is my website written from scratch will outperform the equivalent built in a tool, and at the end of the day, THAT’S what matters to the client.

So, point #1… he conceded that he couldn’t build a CMS from scratch that would rival WordPress. That’s actually all I ever said in my original video and he just conceded that he agreed. Game over.

But, let’s address this static site thing, because I still disagree.

I replied to him with:

Let’s say we are taking about a static site. I can use something like Bootstrap, Skeleton, etc and include only the components I want so there’s no “fat” and get exactly what I want. I’ll do it faster than you writing all that from scratch and the actual code in Bootstrap has been used on millions of sites, poured over by thousands of developers, and supported by a community that includes numerous large tech companies. I’m not convinced that whatever you code from scratch can compete with that.

To which he replied:

Ah, the Bootstrap argument. What about custom design/branding i.e. being original? There’s a reason why companies behind the best sites in the world hire “coders”, and also why they are not WordPress-driven. In saying all of this, however, I understand that your average Joe with a small business will probably be fine with a WordPress site or a Bootstrap theme, and in that regard, I agree with you; I’m speaking entirely from a performance standpoint.

Again, conceding that in the majority of cases I’m probably right.

But, let’s tackle that “best companies in the world hire coders” argument just to have a little fun here.

Here’s a short list of big companies using WordPress:

  • TechCrunch
  • BBC America
  • Official Star Wars Blog
  • Sony Music
  • MTV
  • PlayStation Blog
  • Best Buy
  • Xerox
  • Time
  • The New York Times
  • And a whole bunch more

And Bootstrap, along with being used by sites like HomeDepot.com, CapitalOne.com, AmericanExpress.com, Target, Intuit and more… is used by 12% of all websites.

So yeah… big companies hire coders… to build sites with WordPress and Bootstrap… and other tools.

But all this gets back to my original point…

Tool-builders vs tool-users.

If you really want to code things from scratch… that’s 100% okay. I’m with you. I have that in me too. BUT, you are almost always doing your client who just wants a website a dis-service by “rolling your own”.

You should start building tools. Like WordPress. Like Bootstrap.

That’s where the “roll your own” trend is going. Not in building a website for Bob’s Auto Body.

And, if you’re not stuck on writing all the code yourself… then know that you can probably get your web development career going much faster by picking then mastering one of the many tools that’s out there.

You DO NOT need to build everything from scratch.

As one YouTube commenter put it:

I’ve been building sites since 1997. Coding in Notepad and other, better tools as time went on. I have to say that I agree that even then, clients didn’t care about how it got done, just that it’s done the way they want it done.

Capisce?

Aight… as always be sure to keep my kiddos fed and me cranking out these pearls of wisdom for you by becoming a supporting listener of the show over on Patreon. You’ll also get a slew of dope perks. You can learn more at:https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 6, 2016

WRONG About Pure Coders and The Future of Web Development?

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[saf]

Well, well well…

A few of you think ol’ JMO was wrong in a recent episode of the John Morris Show. (How dare you!)

Here’s the link to that episode for a refresher:
https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/96

But, the gist of it was that you CAN start taking clients even if you only know HTML & CSS… and I was also kind enough to explain how to do it.

Now, I also off-hand mentioned that most clients don’t care much about languages or if you use dev tools. And, they don’t! Maybe 1 in 1000 clients will really care that you’re using PHP or HTML or whatever languages you use.

Most won’t… not really.

Well, that sent the kids into a frenzy. Here’s some of the pushback I got:

Many clients care about what are developer skills. Even freelancing websites give weight to skill tests. Probably, if a freelancer has rich portfolio or large number of clients then they can ignore skills but then that freelancer never think about this question.

And this one:

Pure coders will always get the top 20% of clients. Saying that a pure coder doesn’t necessarily think about how something is used is very incorrect. As a software engineer it is what I mainly think about!

So, did I mislead you?

I think I thoroughly debunked these objections in the episode above, but, real quick…

Clients do care about skills (note I actually said languages not skills) but ONLY in the context of: “Will said skill lead to said developer getting me the end result I’m after?”… which was my point.

Most clients won’t even really know what PHP or MySQL or whatever is…

Let alone care that much about it.

The point being… you can take clients if you can deliver end results. The languages don’t really matter. And, if you use a tool like WordPress or a good site-builder… ultimately clients don’t really care, either.

And look, I’m not trying to be a a-hole here.

I just see so many new developers who have all these mental road-blocks of what they think they’re “supposed to” do… often put there by other know-it-all developers… that stop them from chasing their career dream.

Stop it!

Don’t listen to the know-it-alls. You can do this… and probably a lot sooner than you think. Just trust your instincts and go for it.

Anyway, give the episode a listen for the full takedown.

P.S. Also… consider becoming a supporting listener of the show at https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon. You help keep the episodes free for those who genuinely can’t afford dev training and you get a bunch of dope perks like freelance templates, exclusive courses and more.

P.P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 5, 2016

Can I Get Freelance Clients Even If I Only Know HTML and CSS?

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[saf]

I always have to hold myself back because I know I’ll lose them.

But, it’s just in my DNA. 🙂

This actually happened just the other day. I was at one of the local business meetup groups I belong to and was approached (again) about working on a website for one of the members.

And my gut “nerd” instinct is to go full geek on them.

But, you never go full geek.

I got about two sentences into my verbal nerd-bomb and saw their eyes starting to glaze over. And, I caught myself… reigned it in and got back to sprekin ze English.

I’ve said this probably 100 times.

Clients do not understand or care about our nerd-speak. Saying HTML, CSS, PHP, etc… to them is like saying “zaploot”, “waawaaru” and “eeepoof”…

Huh?

It’s gibberish.

They don’t get it… they don’t care.

What they do care about is the end result they’re after.

The membership site. The contact form. The sales page. The opt-in form. The business website. The e-commerce site.

That is how they think.

So, can you take clients only knowing HTML and CSS? Or JavaScript? Or PHP? Or whatever?

That’s not the question to ask.

The question to ask is…

Can you deliver a specific end result people want?

If yes, then yes you can take clients for that specific end result?

And you should market yourself appropriately.

Now, here’s the crazier thing…

Clients don’t even care how you deliver that end result. Not really. I said a few podcast episodes ago that I believe the future of site-building for people like you and me will be less about code and more about tools.

There will always be a place for coders. And, there will always be value in knowing how to code. But, I think more and more the pure coders will migrate toward tool-building and site builders like you and I will migrate toward tool-using.

So, it’s likely you don’t even need to know HTML and CSS to get clients!

You just need to know how to use certain tools to deliver the end result.

Matter of fact, I know really successful “developers” who do just that. Now, I’m not encouraging to not learn how to code. What I’m saying is in almost every case you can start taking clients sooner than you think.

Speaking of tools, yesterday I just released another “epic” freelance template over on Patreon. This one is for YOU. It’s based on my 12-Step Freelance Profile Template and uses WordPress and the Layers theme.

No coding required.

And, it’s all pre-built for you. You just fill in the blanks.

You can get it as a supporting listener of the show over on Patreon at the “Freelance Template” level. Go here to grab it: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 2, 2016

Camera Phones and Surviving the Next 10 Years In Tech

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[saf]

Can you even remember what life was like just 10 years ago?

2006.

I barely can. The first iPhone wouldn’t be launched for another year. We were all walking around oohing and aahing at the RAZR because it had a camera on it… or wearing our thumbs raw scrolling on our BlackBerry’s.

No Node. No Bootstrap.

It’d be another four years before Ethan Marcotte penned his web-altering “Responsive Web Design” on A List Apart.

PHP 4 was still the norm.

Just 10 years ago!

I believe that those of us alive for all this drastically under-estimate what is happening and just how rapidly things are changing. And, if you’re not careful… as someone IN the technology industry… you can get swept away.

I was still just a wee code pup back then.

And, I got washed off the landscape by the “Web 2.0” movement. I lost my entire web design business… all the late nights and gray hair… because I didn’t pay attention to what was happening.

And, that was just a minor blip compared to the seismic shifts that are coming.

Think about this…

Think back to everything that has changed in the last 10 years… now imagine everything that is GOING to change in the next 10. And consider that technology tends to advance exponentially.

So, the next 10 years will advance faster than the last 10.

(And you don’t have time to mess around.)

I don’t think any of us can really know what things are going to look like 10 years from now. But, I do know that it represents massive opportunity for those that keep their head up, pay attention and adapt.

And, for those that get serious and invest in their career (time AND money) now.

I think we will see a lot of separation in the next 10 years… between those who “wannabe” but aren’t willing to put in the time and effort… and those who get serious and do whatever it takes to make this their career.

Make sure you’re on the right side.

As always, a big shout out to all of my supporters on Patreon. I just uploaded a new template for those of you at the “Freelance Template” level that you’ll want to check out, PHP 101 will be live in the next day or so for those at the “Exclusive Courses” level or higher and you’ve likely already seen all the source code from all the tech tutorials in May up and live. If you haven’t yet, be sure to jump over and get access to all your goodies… and again thank you very much!

For the rest of you, if you want to get access to all the goodies then become a supporting listener here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 1, 2016

jQuery Smooth Scroll to Anchor Using animate()

I always get a kick out of jQuery… especially animation methods.

It’s one of those things that just wows clients… and truthfully, I feel pretty cool watching the animations run on a site.

That said, much of what you can do with jQuery animations is more than “eye-candy”… they help enhance the user experience.

This is one such animation: smoothing scrolling to an anchor tag.

Instead of that abrupt flash you get as default behavior in a browser… you get a nice smooth scroll that gives a site visitor some context about what they just clicked and where they’re ending up.

Here’s how to do it:

And, if you’d give me a likey-like I’d sure appreciate it!

And like I said the source code is available on Patreon for the smart folks who support the show. (You know you wanna join them.)

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

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[saf]

May 25, 2016

The Most Powerful 2-Letter Word In Web Development

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[saf]

If I had a nickel for every time some random person sent me this:

“Hey John. Send me your Skype ID and let’s chat.”

Or…

“Hey John. Here’s my code. Can you fix it?”

Or…

“Hey John. Send me some clients.”

I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere, slurping a tall rum and coke, listening to some old-school hip-hop.

My answer to all of these: NO.

A few years ago, I was on the verge of giving up freelancing and web development all together. Funny thing was… it wasn’t because I was lacking for work or income. It was the opposite.

I had more than I could handle.

And by the end of that year, I was waaaaay burnt out. I ended up taking a 2-3 month sabbatical. I told all my current clients that I wasn’t taking any new work from them. I stopped taking new clients.

And, I just crashed.

What I hadn’t yet learned was how to say: NO.

I bring this up because at some point in your career, NO… will become the most important word in your vocabulary.

And, so many people struggle with it.

Hell, my wife still has a hard time saying NO to friends and family. I’ve noticed my kids struggle with as they get it older. I mean, I had a hard time with it.

But, you’ve got to do it.

Because the NOs YOU are going to say will be hard ones. Saying NO to a $3,000 project because it’s not a good fit. Or because you already have too much work. Or because the client seems like trouble.

Trust me, that is HARD to do.

But you need to do it. Otherwise, you’ll end up like I did. Overworked, overwhelmed and on the verge of throwing it all away.

And, that’d be bad.

Now, let me give you a little tip on HOW to learn to do this.

Of course, start saying no to little things now. Doesn’t even have to be related to web development. The more practice, the better.

But, the real trick is to learn how to say NO without giving any reason.

Just NO… and that’s it.

It’s harder than you think. Because, often times, the “askers” will expect a reason. They’ll kind of look at you like, “why”. Cause. That’s why.

Try it… and see how uncomfortable it can be.

But, if you can get good at that… you’ll have a good foundation for later when you need to say NO to one thing so you can say YES to another… that’s a better fit.

As always, I want to give a shout out to supporting listeners of the John Morris Show on Patreon. I appreciate all the support you’ve been giving and I love chatting with you all over on Patreon. So, again… thank you!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a supporting listener, you can visit: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

May 24, 2016

On Upwork’s Pricing Change

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Nobody owes you anything.

Period.

If you haven’t heard, Upwork just changed the fees it charges to freelancers. It moved from a flat fee of 10% to a “sliding fee structure” like this:

  1. First $500 of lifetime client earnings – 20%
  2. $500+ up to $10,000 – 10%
  3. $10,000+ – 5%

And boy oh boy did the kids get angry!

Check out some of these comments:

“go hang yourself. I hope all your people leave and you are dead.”

“U evil. Stahp.”

“This is the worst policy any market place have ever taken.”

“Moderate your greed. (Even God has commented on this move)”

“Stop this greed.”

The most sane comment of them all (even though this person probably doesn’t quite realize what they’re saying) was this one:

“Time to collect personal clients!”

Ya think?

Funny thing is… everybody who has asked me about this only told me Upwork raised their fee to 20%. They conveniently forgot to mention the rest of the fee structure. Hmmmm. Should tell you something about their approach.

Like I said, nobody owes you anything.

Upwork offers a service for freelancers and clients and they’re absolutely within their right to change their pricing… even if it were terrible.

You don’t like it… don’t use it. No sympathy from me.

Thing is, though… it’s not terrible. At least not for me.

When I was on Upwork if this had been in place… the majority of my revenue would have quickly crossed into the 10% range. So, they got an extra 50 bucks per project. Meh. If that’s what they need to stay in business… so be it.

You should actually be excited about this.

If you’ve been listening to anything I’ve been saying… this should be welcome news. Why?

Because, it seems clearly aimed at the lowballers.

The developers that go around just lowballing project after project, giving terrible service (so the lifetime earnings with that client never break $500) and moving on to the next sucker they can lure in with their low price.

Bye Felicia!

If those people are angry and “vow” to leave Upwork… GOOD! Hell, I might even jump back on there if they really do.

But they won’t.

That’s because they don’t have anywhere else to go. They don’t have a long-term mindset, so they’re not building a real freelance business. And, they’ll find life “off” the freelance site is even less forgiving.

I tell you this all the time…

Go get your own clients. Do NOT rely on Upwork or whatever other site to bring you all your business. Because when they make changes… it hits you hard. You are at their mercy. Why do that?

Anyway, there’s a way out of all of this. I teach it in Module 3 of my course, Lightning  Responsive. I show you how to build an actual freelance business… not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, whine-when-Upwork-changes wannabe business. Get that way out as a supporting listener on Patreon here:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

May 23, 2016

Weekly Web Developer Q&A (5/20/2016)

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It’s once again time for our weekly Q&A. If you sent me a question via email, Twitter, YouTube, Patreon, etc… check below. You may find your answer.

Before, I get into the questions a BIG thank you to everyone supporting the show on Patreon. You are awesome and allow me to keep serving our community. I really appreciate it and I can tell you by the messages I receive on a daily basis that you’re helping change people’s lives. So, thank you!

If you’re not a supporting listener and would like to become one, learn more about what Patreon is and the perks you can get here:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

Aight, onto the questions…

From Patrice on Patreon: I have to build a cooking recipe website. What would this kind of site structure [look like]? One page per recipe? How to classify recipes? Any advice?

So, I think you want to take a step back from the site structure and first think about the data structure. That’s because displaying the information (in any site really) is the more trivial part. Creating, updating, deleting, classifying, etc… those are the parts you really want to think through.

Because if you have those down, grabbing and displaying the data is simple.

Now, there’s always the question of “rolling your own” versus using something existing. In my… ahem… younger days, I was a “roll your own” guy. It’s fun at first but you give yourself a lot of extra work.

And truthfully, I think it’s better for the client for you to use something established.

If it were me, I’d use WordPress and create a custom post type called “recipe” and then use the built-in categories to classify them. That’d take me all of about 10 minutes to set up and then the create, read, update part would be done.

From there, you’d just need to find or build a theme your client liked.

And, chances are you could find and buy one for maybe 50 bucks that they’d be over the moon about, tweak it a bit and they’d have a better site than we could probably build on your own.

The ego won’t like that.

But, if you’re putting the client (not your ego) first… well.

That said, there could be legitimate reasons for rolling your own. Just to learn how to do it is a reasonable one. If you really want to go that route, then go watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfecHlJvHIM

It cover how to set up your data and object model and answers your questions with details and a step-by-step process.

Hope that helps!

From Edward on YouTube: I am moderately new what exactly do you mean by [niche]?

A niche is a smaller “part” of a market.

Let’s say you’re in the “health” market. There are all sorts of “sub-markets” or interests within that broad umbrella.

Someone could be most interested in bodybuilding…

Or weight loss…

Or longevity…

Maybe they’re an athlete…

Or they have a specific issue like diabetes…

Each one of those groups of people would be after vastly different things even though they’re technically in the same “market”.

Same with tech.

Web design is a very broad brush.

Someone could want just a simple static site…

Or a complex social network…

Or a CMS…

Or just a contact form…

Or their site made responsive…

There are all sorts of “sub-markets” under the umbrella of “web design”. And, it’s better for you to pick one and become an expert at it.

You’ll almost always get paid more.

It’s easier to deliver the final product (because you’ve done it 100 times).

And, it’s easier to get jobs as a “specialist” in whatever you pick.

Now, everybody has a little different definition and method for figuring out what niches exist within a market and which one is right for them.

Here’s mine.

You always want to start with an end result.

That’s because clients don’t care about what languages you use and all that. They care about THEIR end product. Their membership site. Their contact form. Their social network… etc.

These things are all end products.

Not vague ideas or languages like “PHP” or “jQuery” which don’t really mean much to them. “Contact form” means something. And, it’s tangible. They can see it and use it when it’s built.

So, that’s where to start.

What end product will/can/do you want to deliver?

Next and finally is WHO is it for.

For example, in the “health” market… let’s say you want to teach people how to eat in a way that they’re always ketogenic and burning fat. (This is kind of a thing right now in the health market.)

But, let’s say you have a special affinity for body-builders.

Your niche would be something like: “ketogenic diets for body-builders” or “fat-burning” for bodybuilders.

And the process might be a bit different for them versus everyone else since they a) have different goals and b) likely work out for hours a day.

So, you’d teach them differently.

And because maybe you’re a body-builder yourself, you can relate better to them. And, you have some unique methods that work specifically for them. Etc, etc.

So, this is what you want to do in your tech work.

Your niche could be…

Membership sites for new online business owners…

Contact forms for high-traffic websites…

Social networks for niche interests…

It’s WHAT you’re going to deliver and WHO you’re going to deliver it for. Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “but my stuff is for everyone”.

It’s like John Lennon said:

“Trying to please everybody is impossible – if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it.”

Aight, that’s quite a bit for one day so we’ll wrap it up there.

If YOU have a question, you can send it via email to john@johnmorrisonline.com, tweet me @jpmorris on Twitter or leave me a comment on YouTube.

(Keep in mind, I might not respond to these directly in those places because I collect them up for this Q&A. Also Patreon supporters get priority access so if you want to make sure you get your question answered, consider becoming a supporting listener.)

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

May 22, 2016

The 12-Step Freelance Profile Template: How to Write a Services Sales Page That Gets You Hired

I remember what it’s like. When I first started freelancing, I had no clue what to write on my profiles and services page. What was I supposed to say? What questions did clients need answered? Was there some big secret?

In an earlier LinkedIn post, 5 Pages Every Web Designer Should Have on Their Website, I mentioned the 10 questions you need to answer on your profiles and services pages (and I’m still shocked to this day how well this works).

Let me now go deeper into the full 12-Step Freelance Profile Template I use, cover the ten questions your clients need answered, and share the tricks I’ve learned for answering them in a compelling way so clients say YES to hiring you:

If you’d like access to the exact template I showed in the video, become a supporting listener on Patreon at the “Template Level” and you’ll get this one plus each new one I release very month. Go here:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

1. Above the Fold

It’s estimated the 80% of website of visitors (even today) don’t scroll. So, all they see is the content that appears on screen in that first “fold” of your web page.

That makes it incredibly important real estate.

I suggest watching the accompanying video for more on this, but the thing you want to do here is give your site visitors your “best shot”.

  1. Summarize the main points of your offer
  2. Hit them with your best sales points
  3. Give a strong call to action

It’s likely most won’t scroll beyond to the rest of your page… unless you give them a good reason to dig further.

2. Who Are You?

Make no mistake… potential clients want to know who you are. People buy from people… and people they trust.

If you’ve followed my relentless advice about creating content to attract potential leads and build trust by giving them “results in advance” then they’ll already have some sense of who you are.

But, it’s also good to take it a bit deeper and get personal. I like to start my profile pages and bios with this line:

“Hey, I’m John Morris. I’m a freelance web designer of 10 years from Omaha, NE. I’m married with four kids and I’m a rabid Husker fan.”

Simple, but it accomplishes a few important things:

  • “I’m a freelance web designer” communicates that I do what they need and I’m likely available for hire.
  • “of 10 years” subtly communicates experience and stability.
  • “from Des Moines, IA” communicates I’m an American because right or wrong many clients are looking for someone from the U.S.
  • “I’m married with four kids” speaks to reliability and a reason to deliver because I have mouths to feed.
  • “rabid Husker fan” communicates some personality and a special affinity from anyone who happens to like the Huskers, as well. (There’s lots of us, ya know!)

So, those three simple sentences communicate a lot and do it in a way that is subtle and likely to get past your client’s “skepticism radar”.

3. What Do You Do?

Again, specialization is something I harp on constantly.

Saying you know PHP, HTML, CSS, MySQL, etc… means nothing to most potential clients.

Plus, every other web designer and developer on the planet says that same thing.

To stand out, you need to position yourself as a specialist. Now, understand what I’m saying here because I get a lot of people who misconstrue what I mean.

I’m NOT saying you should only a very narrow skill set. I’m saying in your marketing, you should position yourself that way.

You should learn everything you think is important for you to know. But, when you market yourself and sell your services, you want to position yourself as a specialist.

Why?

  • Specialists naturally stand out among the sea of “me-too” developers
  • Specialists naturally get paid more
  • Specialists are often appreciated more for their work
  • Specialists only work on projects they enjoy and are good at
  • Specialists can change what they specialize in to fit a changing market

Specializing will make your life a heck of a lot easier and you’ll make more money.

So, in this section of your profile, bio, etc… you want to talk about your specialty. You want to cover two things:

  1. What you do
  2. What you don’t do

Each is equally important but I often say that I spend more time telling people what I don’t do than what I do do.

On my own hire me page, you’ll notice that I spend a good portion of my introduction video talking about the projects I won’t work on.

Clients actually appreciate that because it naturally positions you as someone who knows what he’s good at and does that one thing extremely well. It creates a deeper level of trust than somebody who pretends they know how to do everything.

4. What Work Have You Done In the Past?

Your portfolio is the single most important piece of “on-site” sales material you can have. Clients almost always look for your portfolio first. THEN, if they like what they see, they might read your copy.

But, if your portfolio stinks… no amount of slick copy will change their mind.

Now, if you’re a seasoned web designer with a number of projects under your belt, then you simply need to put your best work on display.

But, if you’re brand new and don’t have any clients… that’s okay. Nothing says your portfolio has to be filled with projects you did for clients. A portfolio is about showing off what you’re capable of.

So, build up a bunch of samples that showcase your talent and use those as your portfolio. They can be made up companies or a “study” of what you would do for an existing company.

Then, your clients will be able to see what you’re capable of and make an more informed decision about whether or not you can help them.

5. What Do Your Past Clients Say About Your Work?

This is the second most important piece of “on-site” sales material you can have because clients don’t just want to see what you can do… but also what it’s like to work with you.

  • Are you a pain in the butt to work with?
  • Are you reliable?
  • Do you communicate well?
  • Are you open to ideas?
  • Can you adapt to change?

These are some of the key non-technical questions clients will have about your character and you want to work toward having testimonials that answer these questions.

It’s one thing for you to say you’re reliable but if you have a real client testimonial that says it, that’s much better.

If you’re new, you likely won’t have these from web design clients. However, you can acquire testimonials from people you know or have worked with who can speak to your character.

For example, I served 11 years in the Army. Do you think that my direct supervisor’s comments about my work ethic during those 11 years would be relevant to someone looking to hire me?

Absolutely.

Just make sure you don’t pretend these are client testimonials. Be upfront and let people know these are general testimonials and be sure to include exactly the context in which that person knew you.

Then, over time, replace these with client testimonials.

6. What Are the Benefits of Your Services?

When you consider the context of someone who’s viewing your profile or services page, you’ll notice there’s two primary things you’re really selling:

  1. You. So, why they should hire you.
  2. Hiring. That is, why they should hire anyone

Try as you might… to target as efficiently as possible, your sales pages will inevitably have people with two different mindsets:

  1. Someone who already knows they want to hire someone and they are just figuring out WHO.
  2. Someone who is still a bit uncertain about hiring someone (vs doing it themselves) but would hire if presented with the right who.

The mix is substantial enough that it’s worth taking some time to sell the idea of hiring an expert in the first place.

And, that’s when you get into talking about the benefits of your services. Here’s where you get to hit them with a 1-2 punch of why they should hire AND why they should hire YOU.

So, why should a client hire a professional?

It’s worth taking some time to think about this on your own because it helps you more clearly see what your core value proposition is; however, here’s a few reasons I’ll share with you:

  1. They’ll get their project done faster
  2. They’ll avoid the potential for serious mistakes
  3. They’ll be able to do things they likely wouldn’t do themselves
  4. They’ll avoid hassling with technical stuff that frustrates them
  5. They’ll have re-course if something does go wrong

And, there are plenty of others. The key is to speak to benefits not features. Notice I didn’t say anything about SEO, optimized code, responsive design or any of the other buzzwords you’ll find on many freelance profiles.

That’s because those things mean nothing to potential clients. For every one of those buzzwords a client will ask themselves, “What does that mean?”

So, just skip the middleman and answer their question the first time.

Once you’ve sold them on hiring then you can sell them on hiring YOU. Again, you want to stick to benefits not features… and you want to look for things that make you unique AND better.

Now, keep in mind EVERY developer will say:

  • I’m talented
  • I’m reliable
  • I communicate well

And, so on. Saying those things alone won’t make you stand out. You need a way to distinguish yourself. One technique I like to use is the “Weird Personality” trick.

So, instead of saying “I’m reliable”… I say “Blame my 11 years in the Army, but I have this thing about doing what I say I’m going to”.

That stands out more because there’s something unique to my experience incorporated into it. How many other developers have spent 11 years in the Army? Some, but not many.

And, people naturally associate reliability with the military, so it bolsters the claim.

Another way to do this would be instead of saying “I’m detail-oriented” you might say, “I’m a bit OCD… so yeah… me and details we’re like this: ||”.

It add personality and gives a subtle element of proof (someone who’s OCD will obviously pay attention to details). Again, these things alone won’t win you clients but they’re just enough to set you apart from what everyone else is saying.

And, when you couple them with a great portfolio, testimonials, sales copy, etc… they add up to make a difference.

7. How Much Does It Cost?

Own your pricing.

Never put yourself in a position where you feel ashamed of your pricing. You’re worth it!

Not only will it show to your clients and cause them to get antsy about working with you, but if you’re charging people more than you think you should, you’ll start to feel REAL guilty. And, it will kill your productivity.

Either lower your prices or own them.

Chances are, you’re not charging enough, though. It’s a major problem in the web design community. Designers and developers who aren’t sure how to market themselves and lower their prices to ridiculous levels to get clients.

Let me state this unequivocally so there’s not mis-understanding:

NEVER, Ever Compete on Price

As long as you’re a web designer (or in any services industry, really) don’t do it! It rarely works and you’ll make yourself miserable.

How do you figure out what’s the right price? I ask myself two questions:

  1. What’s everyone else charging?
  2. What’s it worth to me?

You DO need to have a sense of what the market price is. If everybody else is charging $3,000 for a site and you charge $5,000… unless you’re bringing something compelling to the table you’ll likely struggle.

Then, you have to ask yourself if the market price is worth it to you. I’ve turned down plenty of projects because the going rate wasn’t something I was willing to accept for the work.

8. How Is It Delivered?

Have you every bought anything online? Especially, outside of a big trusted marketplace like Amazon?

Maybe it was some obscure site or a seller you don’t know on eBay. Do you remember what that was like?

I remember the first time I bought something from nomorerack.com. It’s a legit site and a Google Trusted Store, but it just looks like a rip-off waiting to happen.

I obsessed over every detail of their TOS, checked all their security badges and ready every detail of how my purchase would be delivered.

I’m guessing you’ve experienced this before.

Now, put yourself in your client’s shoes. They’ve found somebody they know nothing about online and are about to drop several thousand dollars to have you build their “baby”.

You NEED to tell them exactly how you will deliver!

Tell them step-by-step how the process will go, at what points you’ll make sure to communicate with the, what will happen if something goes wrong, etc.

They need re-assurance.

And the more detail you can give them, the better. Then, make sure you actually DO deliver in that manner.

8. How Are Payments Made?

Here’s what I used to do:

  1. 10% for me to start doing anything.
  2. 60% once I have it built and they want it on their servers
  3. 30% once everything is done

First, ALWAYS have a contract. Don’t do anything until you have a signed contract. Then, still don’t do anything until you get 10% down.

I didn’t start anything until I got that 10%. There’s too many people out there who don’t have the money and will waster your time. If they’re serious, they’ll have no problem paying the 10%.

I don’t care what they tell you! If a client won’t pay you 10% upfront, they’re NOT serious.

Move on before they waste your time.

Also, I NEVER build on a client’s servers. Once something is on their servers, it’s their property and you can’t legally remove it without their permission. You’re asking for disaster if you build on a client’s servers.

Build on yours but make it available online so they can see and use it for demos. They’ll be more comfortable because they can actually see what you’re building, but you’ll eliminate the risk of them not paying.

They had to pay another 60% for me to transfer it to their servers.

Once that payment was made, I moved the project to their servers and if they run at that point, at least I’ve got 70% of the payment. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than 0%.

I helped them with any setup and polishing that’s necessary and once they were satisfied with everything, the remaining 30% was due.

While I have had clients disappear after the second 60% payment, I’ve never had someone have me help with all the setup and polishing and then NOT pay the final 30%. If they’re going to run, it’ll be once it’s on their servers.

Did I mention… NEVER put a client’s project on theirs servers until you have a majority of the payment!

Finally, this entire payment schedule should be in your contract. If you don’t have a contract, here’s the one I use: Contract Killer.

10. What Happens If Something Goes Wrong?

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

At some point in your career, something will go wrong with one of your projects. It may be your fault; it may be your client’s; but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

You need to have a process for handling issues.

Now, if you use the payment terms I laid out previously you’ll eliminate 90% of your problems. If you or your client backs out at any point, you’ll know exactly where you’re at in the process and whether or not a payment is due.

I should mention that I make my 10% upfront payment non-refundable. That way, if my client backs out after I started I’m not completely out of luck.

That said, you make sure you want to address explicitly how you handle issues. Think of this as your guarantee. What do you do if something happens:

  • While you’re building their project?
  • After it’s on their servers?
  • Months after the project is complete?

Address each possible scenario and specify in advance how you’ll handle those scenarios and alleviate your client’s fears upfront.

11. How Do I Get Started?

Finally, tell your client exactly what they need to do next. Don’t think this is obvious. You need to include language on your services page that tells them exactly what to do.

Often times, this will involve a potential client sending you a quote request. Make sure your quote request form is simple.

Your goal is to get submissions so don’t make it like crawling over hot coals covered in shards of glass!

12. FAQs

Another one to dive into the video on, but even with everything you’ll now have covered in your sales page some people will still have questions.

Make sure you have a way for them to get those questions answered.

Whether an FAQ section, a contact form or both (recommended) you’ll want to tie up any last objections and push your prospect over the edge to hiring you.

So, there you go. Use this 12-step template and follow the advice I’ve shared and you’ll be light-years ahead of most of the developers you’ll be competing with for clients.

If you’d like access to the exact template I showed in the video, become a supporting listener on Patreon at the “Template Level” and you’ll get this one plus each new one I release very month. Go here:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

Subscribe to the Podcast

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May 19, 2016