Hey all! I hope all is well. Things are moving along over here at Hill Academy. We are working on some new courses and a few course updates. I have been spending a lot of time trying to decide which direction I want to go with this website. My initial inclination is to teach about all of the things I am passionate about. This would include photography, website design, graphic design, small business, mobile devices and more. My only worry is that Hill Academy might become fragmented and lack direction. That can happen to a website. If there is no clear focus, it can be confusing for the users of the website. On the other side of this thought, I feel that specializing on one subject would leave a lot of content with no place to live.
Let’s spend a moment talking about these different categories of education I have created content for and am considering to add into the mix here at Hill Academy.
Photography – The first full length course I created was a photography course. The launch of this course lit a fire under me that has been driving me to create more content. Prior to producing the Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual course, I had been putting our short tutorials on YouTube and an occasional blog on my website. Having a complete course out there was a real accomplishment for me. It was also very fulfilling to see people take this course and share photos they were able to capture using the techniques I described. If I had to choose one subject to teach on, it would be photography. I have learned a lot since I started in photography back in 2005. Over 100,000 people have taken the Ditch Auto course which is amazing and at the same time humbling.
Website Design – I have been building websites twice as long as I have been a Photographer. I built my first website for a business I wanted to start. Having a website built in 1998 was expensive. I taught myself how to build websites and a few years later I was designing them for clients. Much has changed online over the last 18 years. My experience in starting my own businesses has provided me a unique perspective when designing websites for clients of mine. I love building websites and watching them get found by people through search engines. Whether it’s a business or a blog, publishing something for the world to see is pretty fantastic. To provide the most value to my clients, I continue to learn and grow as the Internet becomes more complex. I produced my first website related course on WordPress to help my clients and others learn more about using WordPress. I have a lot more website design related information I would like to put out there.
Small Business – I have been a small business owner since I was a kid. It started with a lemonade stand. I gave traditional education a go, but it didn’t work for me. It taught me how I didn’t want to be educated. I was always a hands on learner. I typically only needed to see something done once and I could do it myself. It was easier for me to learn by example. This has made for an interesting journey as a small business owner. Though I often learn my lessons the hard way, it happens fast and early. It allows me to adapt and pivot when I need to. I have made decisions that have grown my business year over year and I have held on to other businesses too long resulting in wasted time and effort. As I write this, I am 18 years into working for myself, 16 years since I quit my last job. I have not made all of the right decisions, but I have a long track record of running businesses that can support my family and employees.
Technology & Mobile – I was that kid in high school who had a Palm Pilot. I didn’t like paper and binders. I wanted all of my information in the smallest form. I had smartphones before the iPhone came out. I was first in line to buy the new iPhone and bought the first ever Android phone. Technology is my outlet. I love it and I love learning more about it. From smartphones to camera drones, I love learning about new technologies. It’s my hobby and my outlet. I enjoy learning about new technologies and if I find value in them, teach others about them. James, who has been part of the Hill Media Group team for four years feels the same way about tech as I do. He takes part in helping me produce some of the technology courses.
The goal here is to build something. That is always the goal. When I set out to start taking photos for other people, I wanted to build a business. When I started creating content online, it was simply to teach others and help them create the kind of freedom in their lives that I have been able to create. Everything that I have figured out has either came from an online article or video, or from trial and error. I have learned a lot from others and I always feel the desire to give back. That is why so many of my courses are free.
As I continue to figure out what I want this site to become, I will keep working at it. The feedback I continue to receive from many of you helps a lot. It helps me understand where the crossroad is between the value I have to offer and the value that all of you want. Even if I can just help one person create some freedom in their life it was all worth it.
Check back often, as I will try and keep this blog updated with what we are working on. I am going to use social media to post more as well which will include some behind the scenes content as well.