10 Life Lessons From My Web Design Teacher


10 Life Lessons From My Web Design Teacher

Photo by Chris T.

It’s been 3 months since I quit my 9-5 job and 2 months since I started my web design program.

In addition to learning about the web in the last 2 months, I’ve gained a sense of focus, calm and simplicity from my web design teacher’s practical and zen-like approach.

Here are 10 simple web design lessons that are life lessons as well.

1. Action beats inaction, every time.

Doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing at all.
“The worse webpage you put up is the one you didn’t put up.”

2. Focus on what matters.

Don’t spend time knick picking. “We get caught up in small details, but other people won’t even notice – it’s because they don’t matter.”

(I really got this lesson after I spent 2 hours unsuccessfully fixing a minor misalignment; when I presented my site, no one even noticed it.)

3. Forget perfection. Fix as you go along.

Everything is changing all the time. “Better to let 1000 people see your crappy work, than to have no one see the “perfect” work that you won’t ever finish.”

4. You can accomplish lots by doing a bit at a time.

“If you can only put up one webpage today, then put it up. You can add or change it tomorrow. Even if you can only make one page a day, you’ll have a full website in a month.”

5. Get out there and keep your karma flowing.

“When you’re starting out, search on craigslist, email random people, negotiate, barter. Keep working and keep the karma flowing.” “If you get work you don’t know how to do, pass it to someone else. Never say no.”

6. “Time is money.”

Figuratively and literally. Every minute you waste is time you could have better spent on something else.

7. Add value to the world.

Every time you see something that could be better, faster, nicer, that’s an opportunity for you to make your mark.

8. There’s lots of work if you just look.

“There’s millions of websites, and millions more that need to be made. If you can’t find any work, you’re not looking hard enough.”

9. You’ll always look different to different people.

“People never see your work exactly as you intended it to look. Your website will look different on different browsers. So let it go, or you’ll go crazy.”

10. Manage information overload.

“Most things aren’t worth reading until it’s been mentioned 100 times.”

This is especially true when it comes to news, articles, and trends.

Bonus lesson:

11. With the internet, anything is possible.

“If you can imagine it, you can make it happen” – referring to the guy who traded a red paper clip for a house with 14 trades over the course of a year, and the guy who had 1 job/week for 52 weeks.

What are your favourite lessons from your teachers, bosses or colleagues? Leave your comment below!


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  • Biff Gorky

    The thing is, you lost me with all the spelling mistakes – which shows that little things do matter.

  • Great article. I think 1, 3, and 4 are particularly valuable. People tend to overanalyze, procrastinate, and dither. Just taking action (however small), and refining as you go along can achieve so much. Your web design tutor was very wise! By the way, the one job a week project you linked to is incredible – what an awesome idea!

    • Glad you enjoyed the article Tony. My web teacher follows my blog sometimes, so he’ll be happy to hear that you also consider him to be wise :)

      I love the one job a week project too – it makes a lot of sense for young people in particular. It’d be great if companies actually had programs like that where you can do 1 week rotations in all their departments. It’s like speed dating, but for jobs!

      – Lily

  • Do you have a work portfolio, or are you just starting out?
    Good luck anyway :) !

    • I’m just starting out, but I have a mini-portfolio at http://lilyleung.com. Just checked out your blog – you’re hitchhiking from Sweden to India?! That’s amazing – I can’t wait to see more of your updates!

  • Very informative blog. Surely will help me in certain everyday realizations.

    if you're interested in travel, visit us at bookitnow.com. :) see you there and kudos to you fellow blogger! :)