Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
My background was retail management… pretty far from WordPress. I was widowed in 2003 and was working full time when I lost my husband. My kids were only 6 & 2 and after a few years of continuing to work I knew there had to be a better way to make a living. I had attended a conference in 2006 and went to a breakout session on Internet Marketing. I was hooked instantly. I had owned a couple of my own businesses (retail scrapbook store and a contract retail recruiting company) but nothing was as appealing as making a living online.
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In 2008 I had a little bit of a cushion and decided to go full time. I thought I was going to make my living selling eBooks and found WordPress mid-2008. I simply fell in love with the platform and how easy it was to publish content. I grabbed the domain name (thewpchick.com) before I really knew what I was doing. I simply stuck with it.
Q2: What should readers know about your services, & what kinds of clients are a good fit?
My focus is much more on the marketing side of things that development. I have a team that works with me for websites but I do more of the strategy and marketing than the website work. I do coaching with clients as well (more strategy type sessions than long-term coaching). We also offer podcasting services (done for you or done with you). I’m a big believer in content marketing and connecting with your audience, so my ideal clients are business owners who aren’t afraid of producing content, measuring what’s working and are willing to bring their personalities into their business (tend to me smaller businesses or solo entrepreneurs).
Q3: What challenges did you face in building your business?
I sort of ‘fell into’ website work because I was enjoying WordPress so much. I’m not a developer or coder so ran into a lot of challenges with the really technical side of things because I was self-taught. Once I realized my strengths were in teaching the everyday user how to use their site I got smart and hired a team to do what I wasn’t good at. This made a huge difference for me. The other challenge (and I’ve seen this a lot in this space) was in marketing myself. Unfortunately, I feel this is a big issue in the WordPress space. Basic direct marketing principles have a negative connotation in this space as opposed to being fundamentals of running a successful business.
Q4: Did anything surprise you during the process of growing it?
That I was way more technical that I thought I was. I’ve always had a creative side but being able to put understand some of the more technical things was a huge surprise. It also surprised me that I had such a hard time with self-promotion for probably the first 5 years of my business. It wasn’t until I launched my podcast a few years ago that I started to get over that. It has, without a doubt, been the best thing I’ve done for my business. WhenI launched it I simply wanted to have more fun and was a fan of podcasting. The relationships and connections have been such a blessing.
Q5: What does the future look like for your business?
I’m about to re-launch my site with a new theme and more focus. Right now it’s not very clear what I do or how people can work with me so that will be more obvious. I’m working on a new content strategy and am excited about using that to drive things. I’ll be launching a podcast course as well as another podcast with my friend Jon Perez (launched already but it’s going through re-branding).
Q6: What’s the WP community in the Bay Area like?
The community is great. I wish I was more involved (I spent too may years commuting in the Bay Area… not a fan of the traffic) but have been honored to speak at a few meetups and connect with people in person. It’s fun to see larger companies getting more involved with WordPress and supporting the community (like GoDaddy).
Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?
The older I get the more I enjoy the simple things, but I love to travel, am kind of a movie geek, avid reader (aren’t most entrepreneurs?) and love spending time with family and friends. I’m not a super complicated person.
Q8: Who should we interview next, and why?
Carrie Dils… because not only is she wicked smart but she’s ridiculously funny and simply a quality human being!