How I became a Shopify Developer: Taylor Page
Welcome Taylor! What was that first interaction like with code?
Well my first would've been in high school. There was a computer science class where we touched basic HTML and CSS. What I did looked terrible, but it was cool to build stuff.
But fast-forward a decade later, I was working at a church. I was on staff there, and the guy who had built our church website had left. So we were left with a wordpress site that nobody wanted to touch with a ten-foot pole, except for me.
So I volunteered to take a look and update our website, and started teaching myself how to code. I loved it; it opened up a whole new world to me.
Wow - A church website for your first project. That’s epic. So what was your job situation at the time?
I had a full-time job and then some.
Working at the church was a part-time thing. And then I had another full-time job as a social worker - which is in line with what I studied during my masters: Counseling & psychology. So I've done a lot of social work jobs over the years, and I enjoyed it but discovering a passion for web development really set me on a different path.
So when did you fall into the world of Shopify?
It was only when I read a couple articles on drop shipping that I became intrigued. I actually decided to start a “funny coffee mug” business with my wife, and that was going to be how we paid off our student loans and made a killing. But that didn’t quite go as planned… We made one sale that year. One. Single. Sale.
At that point I realized I didn’t like the marketing aspects of Shopify, but what I did like was playing around with the code. So from there I learned more about the platform, and my experience with the mug business definitely helped me empathise with how difficult it is to succeed in eCommerce - which is something I take with me when I’m working on dev projects with merchants.
Which resources did you leverage to level up on Shopify?
The partner academy had some good introductions to liquid. I also followed Chris the freelancer who shares lots of great resources and introductions to liquid. Beyond that, Coding with Jan is another good one. Those were and still are some of my favorite resources.
When did you decide to go all in on freelance?
Freelancing for me started off as a side hustle. I've got kids and I couldn't make the jump without having a pretty decent safety net. So I had been side hustling, doing it on the side nights and weekends for several years - but it was never serious, until I fell into shopify freelancing specifically.
But at the end of 2019, I was helping a friend out on a Shopify build and he opened me to a world of jobs and opportunities on Shopify. That’s when I started to shift my focus away from broader projects and honed in on Shopify.
That happened at the end of 2019 - and now it’s all I do. That’s also right around the time I stumbled upon Storetasker - which gave me enough confidence to quit my full-time role and go all in.
And it’s been fantastic. Last year was the best year I ever had.
Congratulations! That’s still so recent. Can’t wait to see how much you’ll accomplish this year. Could we end on some advice for younger developers - looking to jump into the space?
Don't sell yourself short on your skillset.
As a dev, there's this irrational fear that there are so many devs out there, and that you can’t compete technically with them. But you have to remember that technical skills are only one portion of the job and that you can outshine many with other soft skills that are crucial in freelancing.
And one more thing - get your reps up on Fiverr or Upwork, and then once you’re ready apply for Storetasker. It’s really worked out for me and I hope it will for you too.