Hey there! We're Amy and Ian, a married couple from sunny Florida and we make 100% of our income from the web.
We don't live in a mansion, we are not millionaires and don't drive a Ferrari to our private plane. What we do have is love for each other, great family and friends and a thriving web business that allows us to spend everyday together making money from home and travel to some pretty awesome places.
We met a long time ago in a much colder, less sunny place. It was at a Dominos Pizza in a small city in Massachusetts called New Bedford. Amy (who was just 14) answered the phones and Ian (who was only 18) was a pizza delivery guy! I remember the first first words Ian ever said to me... I walked into Dominos with a friend of mine and after we said hi he replied with "Are you girls seniors"? Sadly, the answer was no.
We didn't start dating at Dominos but a few years (and a few crappy jobs) later we happen to be working at the same place again... this time it was a grocery store. See the actual store here. The grocery store is called Stop & Shop (it's a chain in the northeast of the United States) and I (Amy) was a cashier and Ian had worked in most of the departments and was now a part of the Loss Prevention team.
If you are not familiar with what Loss Prevention is, well, it's basically the grocery store police. 🙂 He would sit in a dark room, illuminated by the glow of the camera monitors from cameras located around the store. When someone would steal something (which happened often in that part of the city) it was his job to stop them at the door, write them up and get the merchandise back. Sometimes he had to call the police and send the shoplifter to jail. He said it was a fun gig for a while, until he started getting into physical fights and someone pulled a knife on him. He has a videotape, called the "Greatest Hits"... it's actual footage of him confronting shoplifters.
But let's fast forward a bit... we started dating, he became a web designer, I worked at a bank and then a credit union, I really hated it, he taught me web design, now we both work from home being web designers, we hate snow so we move to Florida, grew a web design business from home and here we are!
Of course there are a lot of juicy details in that journey, but we'll save those for later.
So, why the Web Designers Academy?
With this site we want to encourage, inspire and teach other web designers (and people interested in web design) every aspect about creating websites and running a web design business. With a combined 17 years experience doing this, we have a lot of insights into web design that we can use to help a lot of other people.
If you are already a web designer, we hope that our experience and insights can help you build better sites, reach your goals and overall become a more efficient and profitable business.
If you are not a web designer, but you are thinking about it, you can see what it's like, see what's involved and make your own decision if this is for you or not.
And finally, read this carefully:
We don't consider ourselves gurus, we don't know everything, we don't have fancy degrees from a top-notch design school. If you are looking to get rich overnight, you are out of luck. There are no get-rich-quick schemes here - this is work. At times it can be "OMG...I going to pull my hair out of my head work!" But for the most part it's really awesome, fun work that you can earn a great living doing!
Web design is a skill that anyone can learn and become good at... after all we did.
It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of patience, mixed with some creativity and understanding the art of business to make this work for you.
You also won’t get any super-salesy pitches from us or fluffed up content claiming that if you buy [fill in the blank] it will make you sexy and wealthy for the rest of your life. That type of thing is not here.
But the work pays off! We went from living in a place where it snows and is too cold to go outside for six months out of the year, to living in a place like the photo below. It's a beach resort near our house called Shephards Beach Resort (it's on Clearwater Beach, Florida) and we sometimes go there for drinks, dinner and dancing by the ocean! You can see Amy sitting at the table in the middle of the photo (with sunglasses on) with her mom.
Sorry for the potato-quality photo 🙁
What can people learn here?
Web Design is much more than just the technical side of creating a website so the Web Designer's Academy (aka WDA) also covers information about managing clients, getting new clients, learning Photoshop, self employment taxes, working at home, working with your significant other, health insurance, managing your time, faster ways to get paid, using FTP, etc... All of these topics are relevant and important to anyone looking to get into this line of work.
You will find real life case studies, experiences and techniques mixed with recommendations based on our own experience being a married couple who are self-employed web designers working from home.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we hope you enjoy the Web Designer's Academy.
Amy & Ian Anderson
PS: If you are new here, we recommend starting at Web Design 101