Why are you so happy?
I began creating [if you want to call it that] websites in 2000. It was the days of html and css. My sites would look great in Internet Explorer and horrible in Firefox. It was a time, when some web designers [such as myself] felt like they were film directors. I used flash in all my sites…every page had something moving. I was loving life. It was a hobby, which I could spend hours upon hours working on. It was unlike golf, my other passion…the season did not determine my hobby. Web design was very inexpensive, I had invested in Abode [about $500] and had a shared hosting plan [$5/month]. I spent many hours on youtube and google. The internet was full of great tutorials. My hobby would stay that, until I found myself unemployed with a wife and four small children in 2007.
Sipping on an adult beverage with my neighbor [who found himself unemployed about three months prior to me], I overhead him yelling at his web designer. My neighbor had decided to create his own company. I told my neighbor, that I created several websites. He asked to see some of my work. I pulled up several of my designs. He offer me a job on the spot. I did not know about scope, fees, time, support, etc. He offer me a couple of thousand and my company was launched.
In 2011, I was introduced to wordpress. I had heard it was a great platform for bloggers. It was open source, not free…open source. I was offer the opportunity to re-design a website for a faith based organization. My client loved wordpress. It was very easy to update. I needed the cash, and had to put in some extra work to learn about wordpress. Seven years later, I am still learning about wordpress. Wordpress has help to move me from a struggling company, to a very successful design firm.
In 2014, I was invited to Wordcamp Atlanta. I made a critical mistake. I spoke to another wordpress designer, who claimed Wordcamp was a waste of time. No potential clients would be present, only theme, plugin developers looking for cash from me. My budget/cash flow was very limited. I decided to pass on Wordcamp.
Later in 2014, I was invited to a meetup in my neighborhood. Everyone was talking about how much they learned at Wordcamp Atlanta. They had meet several representatives from plugins [developers], theme [creators], hosting [companies], and who’s who [in wordpress]. I felt totally foolish. I pencil the meetup in my calendar. I would meet several local designers and developers. It was a great time to learn, and share my knowledge with newbies.
As Wordcamp 2015 was quickly approaching, I was told about tickets going on sale. I did not hesitate about purchasing the tickets. It was the same weekend as my daughter’s eighteen  birthday. I remember taking her out to her favorite restaurant on Friday. Everyone was wondering, why I took her out the day before? I knew my wife had planned a party on Saturday Evening. I was nervous, anxiety at my first Wordcamp. It was ten times better than I could ever imagine, I meet hosting companies, back up companies, and plugin creators representatives. I had lunch with designers, and developers. We discuss business goals, ways we secured potential clients, and everyday challenges. I learned about programs, which would help me with my business.
In December 2015, I was among the 2, 000+ designers/developers to attend Wordcamp US in Philadelphia. It was awesome, to meet wordpress designers and developers. I had an opportunity to discuss some of my struggles, and receive some great advice. I had an opportunity to speak with a newbie, he was struggling to get his free lance business off the ground. I was able to offer some advice on what I did [early on in my career]? We discuss my marketing strategies, KLT. KNOW, LIKE and TRUST and how I use it for my company. It is awesome to mentor a wordpress newbie.
Since January 2016, I have spoke at WordCamp Atlanta 2017, WordCamp Atlanta 2018, WordCamp Asheville WordCamp 2017, Organizer (Volunteers) WordCamp Atlanta, and will be speaking at WordCamp Asheville 2018 and WordCamp Pittsburgh 2018.
Why am I so happy? I am happy because of the sense of community. We have many meetup communities in the Greater Atlanta Area. I am a member of many of them, I think it is 8 (eight) or 9 (nine). I lose count. I have spoke at most of them or been on a panel discussion. Giving back is such a wonderfully feeling.
If you have a startup or mid size company and you are interested in a complimentary review of your website, then I am available and be reached at 678-718-5489, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out this questionnaire.
Image Courtesy of Mayur Gala.