Hey there. I'm Stef. I'm Emily's husband and this is my first post on the Makelight blog!
We've been collaborating for years on creative projects, started a family and we're now building Makelight together.
Back when Emily was a wedding photographer, I was there playing the "second shooter" every Saturday and trying to get relaxed shots even when bridezilla and groomzilla had appeared. And when she started teaching photography I was there driving boxes of props to workshops, precariously balanced around small children in car seats.
About a year ago we did an experiment to see if we could offer a similar experience to the workshops Emily runs, but without the precarious box-balancing, and combine my knowledge of tech, video and design to offer courses online.
Short story – it kind of worked! And a few months ago we decided that for us to grow Makelight into what I think this community could be, I needed to take the plunge, leave the big tech consulting project I was leading and put all of our efforts behind Emily’s vision.
I'm really excited by what's been happening with Makelight since. And a bit nervous, because… this week I've taken another plunge and I'm going to be offering my own course here too.
I'm a technologist and designer. I ran a design agency for about ten years (built Vivienne Westwood’s website dontchaknow), rediscovered a love of programming, built websites, apps, games, all sorts of things… Yet the thing that has always felt most fulfilling is to help people with new ideas and projects turn them into successes.
So we decided I should do a Makelight course to share some of that knowledge! We kept getting questions from you all on the courses, and we’ve done our best to answer. But it felt like we needed to put together a really awesome, pragmatic, real-world course just for the Makelight community all about using tech.
Not “how you need to learn to code” or “how to make $1m this afternoon with this one weird trick”, just “how to use modern tech tools to grow whatever it is that you do”.
Just like we’ve been doing with Makelight. I know this might sound odd, but one of the principles we’ve had, while Emily and I have been working together on Makelight, is that we try not to do anything particularly fancy with tech.
Keeping things really simple means that all of us can fix things, run things, and make it all work. To do that, we’re using all the best stuff I’ve found over the last few years, and I guess I’m old enough now not to need to prove anything about how complicated or fancy I can make things.
“Could we just use Squarespace?” You know, yes we could! So we did…
I think there's huge potential, now that the internet has matured, for people with great, creative, inspiring ideas to build businesses that help them earn a living from what they love to do.
Not everyone aspires to build one of these billion-dollar success stories. Could you imagine the stress and pressure?
I think there's a quiet revolution going on. I think the humble “lifestyle business” is an awesome thing to aim for, and with Makelight being our only source of income now, we’re experiencing first hand how you can make a living from doing what you’re good at.
A creative person, who can surround themselves with a group of people who love what they do, can now build a sustainable living by providing value to them. It sounds so simple, but until just a few years ago the average person was still wary of the internet.
They'd worry about buying things online. They'd worry about trusting people on the basis of just a web page.
But things are different now.
We're all comfortable using the internet. We love following people who inspire us. We want to support or back people who are doing awesome things. And I think that there's a huge opportunity for people like us – creative people with a dream for a life they want to live – to make it happen.
Feeling daunted is okay
Even with all of this at our disposal, time is short, life is busy and it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. For us, it’s a constant battle with how much we can get done during the windows of childcare during the day!
So I’m spending the next few weeks designing and creating videos for our new tech course with the Makelight community in mind. If you’re in the community, you’ve taken a course and you want to learn how to grow your project / business / blog, then I’m designing it for you.
If you’d love to get going or go faster but you’re feeling like you can’t, maybe this could be a course that unsticks you and gets you going. I hope so!
Thanks for having me with you, I’m really enjoying offering advice and help during the courses, and being part of the community. It’s a rare thing to be part of something so positive!
Check out my Makelight Tech course page with all the info. And if you've enjoyed this, please leave a comment or tap that heart icon!