I’m writing a book
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Through my position as a product designer at GitHub, and having worked in the past as a freelancer, I’ve always been creating things for other people. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from that—and I don’t plan to stop—however I feel like creating something entirely myself from start to finish is one of the best ways for me to continue challenging myself and my skills, while helping other people in the process. For that reason, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to try my hand at creating products myself.
I’m going to start with a book. Well, an ebook to be specific. It’s going to be called the Remote Jobseeker’s Handbook. I’ll talk about the choice of topic in a sec, but first…
Why a book?
Why start with a book? Well, the simplest answer is that writing a book is one of the most efficient ways of providing value to other people. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some incredible experiences in my life, and I’m fairly confident that many of the things I’ve learned are things that other people want to wrap their heads around too—so a book makes perfect sense as a way to make that knowledge transfer happen.
Another point of consideration is more practical. The number of things that can possibly go wrong with a book compared with other types of products is an order of magnitude lower. As an ebook, the cost of manufacturing and distribution is virtually nil, and unlike a software product, it can’t really crash. The thing you’re reading the ebook with could crash of course, but that’s an acceptable risk as far as I’m concerned.
Working remotely—both as a freelancer/contractor, and at my current position at GitHub—has had an incredibly positive impact on my life, so when I was considering putting something together as a book this topic stood out naturally as something I wanted to share. I want to help people who want to work remotely make the switch too, so I’m hoping that writing down the insights I’ve learned about navigating the unknowns of getting remote work ends up helping people do exactly that.
The book I’m putting together is going to cover all of the main points along the way from the basics of why people might want to go for a remote job (and when it might not be a good move), to reviewing all of the most popular (and often hard to discover) places that remote job listings are lurking online, as well as issues like how to tackle the conundrum of how to show off remote skills when you’ve never actually worked remotely before. Having been on both sides of the hiring coin now, I believe that having an understanding of the things companies are actually looking for when hiring for remote positions could be really helpful for a lot of would-be remote employees.
Progress and timelines
As far as actual content goes, it’s coming along nicely. Since I haven’t done this before, my estimates are probably going to be off no matter how I do it, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say I’m approximately 50% done with the actual content of the book. I’ve thrown together a simple landing page so that anyone who’s interested can begin signing up, and I plan to keep other aspects of the marketing, distribution, etc. fairly lightweight, so I’m hopeful that there won’t be too many obstacles in the way of this getting ed.
As far as timelines go, I’m going to draw a line in the sand and say that this will ship within two months of today. For anyone playing along at home, that’s July 25th, 2015, which could end up being a very naive deadline to set myself considering I have three weeks worth of international travel to do spread throughout that period, as well as moving house (I’m moving to Scotland!). is without a doubt the emoji that best represents how I feel about this.
But what if it fails?!
Why set a deadline that I’m already admitting could be overly optimistic? Why put myself out there and risk failure and public ridicule? Why not just keep doing what I usually do? The answers to these questions are simple. Public accountability is a powerful motivator, and changing up the challenges I’m committing to is going to push me to both learn new skills and refine existing ones. I feel like I owe it to my future self to be continuously looking for ways to push past my comfort zone.
Go sign up for updates!
If you’re at all interested in making the switch to working remotely, I’d love it if you’d go sign up so you can stay in the loop and follow my progress as I get this thing able! As the Remote Jobseeker’s Handbook gets closer to being ready, I may even send out some sample chapters (and possibly a special offer) to early subscribers!