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Learn sales first or programming?

GRIT

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Jun 5, 2018
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Hi all,
Really enjoying the advice and ideas in this forum! Great community here
I have 2 months of holiday before university starts again and I was wondering what I should do.
My end goal is to freelance and then eventually a tech startup but I know I need to do something fast - to prove my parents that I can drop out of university and still be successful.

Plan A: Initially, I was planning on getting a sales job, and then using my spare time to 70% learning sales and 30% coding. I do know some coding e.g. data structures, basics of C.
Plan B: My other idea is to learn coding intensively these 2 months and THEN focus on learning sales skills and getting freelance clients on upwork or whatever the sites are. It's not easy to learn a lot of coding if I don't devote much time to it these 2 months and learning sales requires practice over time as it is a soft skill.

What are your thoughts? Should I go with plan A or plan B or do you have any other suggestions?
 

Thomas Baptiste

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Learning code is going to take time and devotion. Sales less so. I was recently faced with a similar decision. I decided on programming, but to also read up on marketing and economics in my spare time. If you're looking to get into selling software, make sure you actually know how to make what ever value you're going to put out there. That's been a big factor for me.
 

MarekB

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Oct 26, 2018
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Learning coding for two months won't get you very far. In addition, on websites like upwork you will have heaps of very cheap competition (all more experienced than you).

If you have a talent for sales, sell software to people and then outsource the development on upwork.
 

daru

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Having some C-programming background at least put you ahead pretty far compared to anyone starting out totally fresh.
But 2 months to "learn programming" is rough. It can sort of be done if you really really devote yourself. I think there is an example in Cal Newports - Deep work about a guy learning to program in a short period of time.
But on the other hand: Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years

It all depends on the end goal. Getting an MVP up to start selling and then hire programmers to do the real work: Ok.
Really learn programming: Na.. ?

I don't know about sales. What is the consensus about how long that takes to "learn"?
 

ZF Lee

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Hi all,
Really enjoying the advice and ideas in this forum! Great community here
I have 2 months of holiday before university starts again and I was wondering what I should do.
My end goal is to freelance and then eventually a tech startup but I know I need to do something fast - to prove my parents that I can drop out of university and still be successful.

Plan A: Initially, I was planning on getting a sales job, and then using my spare time to 70% learning sales and 30% coding. I do know some coding e.g. data structures, basics of C.
Plan B: My other idea is to learn coding intensively these 2 months and THEN focus on learning sales skills and getting freelance clients on upwork or whatever the sites are. It's not easy to learn a lot of coding if I don't devote much time to it these 2 months and learning sales requires practice over time as it is a soft skill.

What are your thoughts? Should I go with plan A or plan B or do you have any other suggestions?
I'm not going to say which plan is best for you.

But I'll say that on Upwork, I should have spent 90% of the time SELLING, refining and researching prospects, and going for interviews. I could cut down the time once I have developed some good sales scripts via trial and error, discovering similar clients with similar needs, and having some return referrals, but in the beginning, the time is needed.

Both sales and programming are always work in progress. There's never enough of mastery in both fields.
 

MB2

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Sep 20, 2016
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Hi all,
Really enjoying the advice and ideas in this forum! Great community here
I have 2 months of holiday before university starts again and I was wondering what I should do.
My end goal is to freelance and then eventually a tech startup but I know I need to do something fast - to prove my parents that I can drop out of university and still be successful.

Plan A: Initially, I was planning on getting a sales job, and then using my spare time to 70% learning sales and 30% coding. I do know some coding e.g. data structures, basics of C.
Plan B: My other idea is to learn coding intensively these 2 months and THEN focus on learning sales skills and getting freelance clients on upwork or whatever the sites are. It's not easy to learn a lot of coding if I don't devote much time to it these 2 months and learning sales requires practice over time as it is a soft skill.

What are your thoughts? Should I go with plan A or plan B or do you have any other suggestions?
Whatever you do, make sure that you go out there and do something in order to learn that skill. Sounds simple. But it is pretty easy to lost yourself in books without actually applying what you learnt.

So, learn both. Don't limit only to one skill. Therefore learn both. And yes never stop learning.Keep improving FOREVER!

But do make sure that you do zero action faking. I did it. It's not pleasant in long term.

Therefore brotha, just go out there and do. Engage yourself by helping people with your skills.
 

Andy Black

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Your goal isn’t to “learn”, it’s to help people, and get paid.

Who do you already know that could do with a new website (for example)? Family, friends, teachers/lecturers?

Put feelers out NOW and get someone “signed up” this week.


...

Back in 2009 I decided to “learn” how to build websites. But I know how we really learn, so I chose to find someone who needed a website and offer to build one for him.

Full radio interview about that story HERE.
 

Mshupp

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Nov 23, 2018
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You can and should do both. The coding is going to be your product/service. You will then need to know how to sell and market that service. Selling is a transference of emotion from you to the prospect/Client. You will need to know your product and service and then focus on how it will benefit them. You will need to know your stuff to a sufficient level that you can enthusiastically present what you are offering as a solution.

The prospect/client is always thinking "what's in it for me?"

You will need to be able to relate your offer to the buyer/client in that manner.

So you need to learn how to ask the right questions to determine what they are looking for and what problem your product or services solves for them. Alway think "how is what I am offering going to solve this problem?"

For this go back to the product and service and write out a list of benefits the product or service solves and how you can help the customer solve them. How does the product solve a pain point for the customer? How does it save time? Save money? Eliminate steps and improve efficiency? Increase profitability? Make them look good to their bosses?

Once you have the benefits and solutions you provided and know you can provide them, then get on the phone, or email, on net-work your way find a customer and ask them, "So what is the one issue you are having with, blah blah blah? " Then shut up a listen. Prospecting and probing questions are something you will need to know and script out.

Listen to what they are saying as well as how they are saying it. Listen for them to express their frustrations and pain points. You just nod your head and listen.

Now you have a starting point to present your opportunity. also something your will have to know and script out.

There is much more detail that goes into it (rapport building, mind set, active listening, language patters, prospecting methods, presenting types, closing techniques, following --up processes, etc) but always go back to this "what problem am I solving"

The mechanics of sales are not difficult, but they are like anything a skill you must learn. If you develop the mind set of " I am providing a solution to problems" You will succeed.
 
Last edited:

Kid

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Mar 1, 2016
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Sales first. There are two reasons for that.

1) Sales team is paid 2x of the programmers wage.

2) If you will start with programming there's big chance
you won't learn what people really want.
You could end up with software with multiple great features that nobody buys.

So sales first.
 

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