I recently surpassed the six-figure milestone for WordPress projects completed through Codeable. So, I did what any developer riding the high of freelance success would do – I hopped on over to the wild west of the internet and hosted a series of AMA’s on Reddit.
For the uninitiated, AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything” and it gives the Reddit community an opportunity to gain insights from renown people in any field (celebrities and sports figures are fairly common; even President Obama has stopped by before). Now, you don’t have to be famous to host an AMA, but you do have to know what you’re talking about otherwise Reddit’s army of trolls will swallow you whole.
As a certified expert WordPress developer, I was ready for the challenge.
The most popular AMA I hosted was in the webdev subreddit (subreddit = category) and you can check out the full thing by clicking here. I had over 350 comments in this thread so it was quite a lively discussion.
One of the keys to hosting a successful AMA is to answer as many questions as you can – aim for 100%.
In a niche sub like webdev, you’re not going to come across many joke questions. The classic “would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or a thousand duck-sized horses” appeared in pretty much every popular AMA for years. My conversation touched on a bunch of topics but overall the focus was maintained pretty well.
My hope and intent in conducting this series of Reddit AMA’s was to inspire other freelancers to grow their careers into something sustainable full-time. I had several questions that touched on the freelance lifestyle, from getting started to maintaining work ethic to effects on my own personal health. I felt my role here was to allay some fears about the unknowns, such as striking out on your own, which I can definitely relate to.
Here’s a few of the more popular questions I received, you can read the full Q&A session by clicking here.
I was also able to introduce Codeable to several users who hadn’t heard of it before, or thought it was in line with sites like PeoplePerHour or Upwork (shudder).
I had a few ask me for advice on building a portfolio to show as part of the Codeable application process, which I was happy to provide since we’re an ego-free family of developers.
There were some more technical questions for which I provided answers that got a little in-depth for this blog, but you’re welcome to read through them on Reddit and maybe learn a few tricks.
One mini-thread that I’m calling extra attention to here spawned from this question:
I’m used to skepticism, especially from non-WordPress developers. A lot of people think, “oh it’s just templates, how hard can it be” and question if being a so-called “expert” is really all that impressive.
When I hear this line of thinking I make it a point to never engage in online arguments and simply rely on my own experience when responding. As you can see in the thread mentioned above, for every detractor, I had several more supporters. I don’t just view that as support for me though; it’s validation for expert WordPress developers everywhere, and validation for Codeable as well.
That leads me to AMA success tip #2 – Never feed the trolls.
Another AMA I hosted, this time in the WordPress sub, was a little more contentious from the beginning, as you can see in this post:
This user flat-out accused me of being a shill for Codeable, and another user piled own down thread.
You have to be very careful when responding to these folks – they’re highly motivated to invalidate you. They went as far as to look up my personal social media accounts to try and discredit me. Why? Not sure. But my response was to stay true to my history and experience, and even implement the user’s suggestion.
The best way to **bleep** these flame wars is to respond rationally and try seeing it from their side. It also helps to laugh privately about it, after all you can’t take these haters too seriously…
This post was pretty funny for how blatantly the user misunderstands what Codeable is all about:
Sure, there were a few bad apples in my Reddit AMA’s, but hey, that’s life, right? For the most part, the discussion was as positive as any AMA I’ve ever hosted and you can read it all by clicking here.
This brings me to my final AMA success tip – Go in prepared, and you’ll walk out unscathed.
Reddit is an extremely powerful traffic-generating machine. Combined, my AMA’s managed to drive a few thousand people to my website, and at the peak I had nearly 1,100 visitors reading my blog in a single day.
Hosting AMA’s on Reddit can certainly be tiring, but the overwhelmingly positive experiences I’ve had sharing my story with a community of peers (and some trolls) through their platform tells me it’s all been worth it.
Do you want to ask me anything about building a great website for your business? I’m a certified expert WordPress developer who has completed nearly 400 projects on Codeable in just over six months.
Get in touch with me and I’ll answer all of your questions to help ensure the success of your next website.