No CS Degree

Inspiring interviews with self taught and bootcamp coders

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To show myself and other people that you don't need a CS degree to succeed.

August 24, 2020 Had a blog post do 12,000 views on Hacker News

My launches usually do well on Hacker News. But I've had trouble re-producing this for articles. Most of my blog articles get a couple of upvotes and then perish.

But i decided to try again today.

This morning I posted an analysis I did of Pieter Level's coding style and it's still on the front page.

My headline was "Pieter Levels makes $600k a year from Nomad List and Remote OK"

So some takeaways would be 1) mention a big figure and 2) mention a famous maker.

It's still just on the front page now after 6 hours which is awesome for a blog post: https://news.ycombinator.com/news

August 17, 2020 Hit 2,000 email subscribers for No CS Degree

Nice to get my newsletter for people learning to code without a CS degree over the 2k hump.

I've been able to monetize it from day 1 so I'm fine with steady growth. Some people might grow faster but they aren't making any money from their list.

My job board newsletter is growing a lot faster but that's understandable - people need jobs more than they need content.

I've recently switched to delivering all the content within the newsletter just like indiehackers does. I do provide a link to the website if people want that option but I've seen some really high open rates with this approach. Some times in excess of 50% which is pretty good for a newsletter of 2,000 people.

July 14, 2020 June 2020 Open report - my best month yet!

June was my best month yet for No CS Degree with $2,523 in revenue! Selling more newsletter ad spots was definitely a game changer. I also published an ebook on Imposter Syndrome which helped.

Here's a summary:

My newsletter sales really ramped up this month!

I made $1,450 from getting my newsletters sponsored in June. So I'm going to do a video course this month on monetizing your newsletter. I've really been inspired by the likes of Ben Tossell and Daniel Vassallo in this regard. Both are excellent at monetising their knowledge with courses. I get asked a lot about how to get sponsors and someone told me in their DMs there isn't any info about how to price ad spots for indie makers. So there's a big gap.

I had a really good first week.

I made $1,000 in the first 5 days. So that set me to have a good month. It's obviously a psychological boost if you can start the month well.

I organised my work in 30 mins chunks in June.

This helped a lot with focus!

No phones, no twitter etc allowed during this time.

Before I had a long list of tasks to tick off.

This system where I focus on one area like sales for 30 mins works much better for me!

I had a lot more income from newsletter sales than bootcamps this month.

Selling to other makers is a lot quicker than getting approval from big companies.

B2B sales is lucrative but the more decision makers in a company, the longer it takes. I can get approval for spending from solo founders in minutes.

Imposter Syndrome book

This definitely helped increase revenue this month

I made $280 from my book on how developers without CS degrees beat imposter syndrome. So I wouldn't have had my best month if I hadn't released it.

Affiliates

I also got a nice bit of affiliate income - about $300 - from reviewing the Daniel Vassallo course on getting a Twitter audience

Affiliate income is unpredictable so I see it as a nice extra now - not something to rely upon. One of my affiliates didn't pay out anything. Even though it got the same amount of clicks as last month. Weird!

Better planning

I also made a CRM in Google Sheets for the first time.
It REALLY helps having my pitches organised like this. I can see who I've approached and compare how many people I've pitched from week to week.

More pitches

Another thing that helped this month was just asking more!
I won over about 40% of the people I asked to sponsor my newsletters.

And so if I ramp up how many people I ask I can earn more in July!

Increased prices

I was able to increases the prices for my newsletters this month.
AND I SOLD MORE!

So that definitely paid off.

You can often increase your prices instead of just selling more.

Simple tip but lots of people don't do it.

June was my 12th month of doing No CS Degree so great to be ending the year on a high!

I've made a Twitter thread summing up what I did well this month

I originally thought it was $2,333 but I got some extra affiliate income I wasn't aware of at the time I posted this tweet.

June 19, 2020 I launched my Imposter Syndrome ebook

So last Friday I released a book on Imposter Syndrome amongst developers

I had worked on it for a few weeks and it had been 99% done for a while.

I already had the content from my interview on No CS Degree so it was really a question of designing a cover that held me up. I had to ask people's permission to feature their faces which is only fair.

I've had 48 sales so far in the first week so I'm fairly happy with that. It's priced at $5 so $240 for my first ebook already is pretty good. It's nice to have something to add to newsletters if I don't have a sponsor one week.

I've also added a few chapters for free as a link magnet when people join my newsletter.

I've written a blog post about how you can publish an ebook for free

April 30, 2020 Over 2,000 subscribers for my job board newsletter

I'm now at about 2,100 subscribers for my job board for developers without degrees . Obviously, it's a little bittersweet as I suspect part of the recent growth has been from people looking for jobs as a result of Covid 19.

Of course, on a more positive note, I'm glad I've created a resource for developers that have been to coding bootcamps or are self-taught and that I can help them apply for jobs. So I'm glad I can help in some way.

I had 1,000 subscribers in my first week and then it took a while to get up to 1,700 or so which was my peak pre corona. I've added about 300 people in the last month.

A lot of that has been down to another founder, Derek Sams, directing his own subscribers over to my site as he's stopping his newsletter. Thanks Derek!

April 28, 2020 Hit $10,000 in total revenue

I had a sale for a listing on Bootcamp Index yesterday. Once I had added it to my accounts spreadsheet I saw my running total turn over into 5 figures and over $10,000!

A few years ago I never thought of being able to make money online let alone 10k! It's nice for me to see how far I've come.

My sources of revenue have been:

  • Newsletter sponsorship
  • Articles sponsored by coding bootcamps
  • Affiliate links
  • Listings on my job board
  • Listings on Bootcamp Index

It's a long story so I wrote about it in more detail on my personal blog

April 24, 2020 text Interview with Indie Hackers

We got the chance to talk to Indie Hackers about our road so far. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but we’re proud of how far we’ve come. Check out the interview to learn more about how we got started and what challenges we’ve faced.

April 17, 2020 Launch of Bootcamp Index

I've made a sister site for the website where I show people the best coding bootcamps. I don't like the current offerings like Course Report and I wanted to make more of a Nomad List-style website where people can find the information easily themselves.

I really should have launched this months ago when I first had the idea but I kept procrastinating. I've written about that in more details on my blog. Still, better late than never. Oh and I put it on Product Hunt today: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/bootcamp-index

January 23, 2020 Six months of No CS Degree

No CS Degree officially launched 6 months ago! 🎉
$5,285 in revenue 💰
128k people have visited the site 👀
54 devs without CS degrees shared their stories 📖
1,212 blog subscribers 📨
1,681 job board subscribers 📨

Hopefully I will be hitting that total revenue figure each month in the next month or two 😀

January 20, 2020 Appeared on the Indie Hackers podcast

A bit of a meta post here! Last summer I set myself the goal of appearing on the podcast within 2 years. I was encouraged by Pat Walls of Starter Story who had just got an interview. I had a great chat with Courtland about going from unemployment to minimum wage job to indiehacker making $2k a month. (I live in Edinburgh so this is actually enough to live on here, haha)

If you want to give the podcast a listen and here my views and advice for makers, you can check it out (here)[https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/143-pete-codes-of-no-cs-degree]

To show myself and other people that you don't need a CS degree to succeed.