I’m not sure if it was my idea or my husband’s idea for me to learn to build websites. I do know that Jay (my husband, but boyfriend at the time) saw that I was capable of more than I thought I was. At least, that’s what he told me over and over again.
When I first started doing this, I was working other jobs to stay afloat at the same time. My divorce had knocked any semblance of confidence out of me. I went from feeling like a fairly intelligent, confident woman and business owner (I owned a business with my ex that I left behind with him), to an anxiety-ridden shell of a woman, barely making ends meet and no clue what to do with my life.
Looking back though, I never was confident. I didn’t know what it really meant.
Even though I didn’t think I had what it took, I began watching tutorials. I started monkeying around in the WordPress dashboard to make websites do things. All I knew about WordPress up to that point was that you could blog with it. I didn’t know anything about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, SEO, keywords, plugins, themes, child themes, user experience, conversion rates, or really anything at all. It was a little overwhelming at first, to say the least.
Regardless, I saw the potential for a new path, so I dove in to the best of my ability. It was frustrating at times, but I plugged away and learned more as I plodded along. I learned what a widget was, and how to use shortcodes to give a page multiple columns. Jay showed me how to use the Inspect browser tool to “test” CSS changes such as outlining a menu block in a different color, so I played with that and learned more about CSS as I went along. I stayed up all night, immersing myself in this stuff.
I’ll stop before I get too nerdy in here.
This is not one of those stories where I end up living in a high-rise Manhattan apartment, laughing with my rich friends and bathing in money. This is real life. I didn’t start making six figures, or anything drastic. I was able to work a flexible schedule though, which was pretty helpful with three young children. Have you seen daycare rates lately? No thanks.
Learning to build websites (and all of the pieces that are required for that) changed my life. It might sound a little “woo-woo”, but it’s the truth. It was the beginning of the process of change. With every new client, and every new project, I learned something new. Every skill built on top of the other, and eventually I was able to tackle projects almost completely on my own.
My confidence in myself, my ability, and my creativity has soared. It isn’t just the code, or the plugin, or the theme knowledge. It’s learning how everything fits together, how to make it do what I want, and how to create something that is both useful and beautiful. It makes my practical little heart happy.
I wish I could teach everybody (who wanted to learn) how to do this or something like it, but thankfully there are many teachers out there who offer free and inexpensive courses on all sorts of topics related to web design, writing, user experience, SEO, I could go on. Lynda and YouTube are my go-to favorites, as well as a few smart people in the industry that I trust to give actually good advice.
Here, I’ll talk about websites, working from home (although I do work at an office from time to time by choice), WordPress tips, and related topics. Bloomin’ Ash is my blog related to mental health, parenting, divorce, and recovery. Peak Solutions is Jay’s company (along with his business partner, Chris), and I love working with them and the rest of the team at Peak. My children keep me busy, and I have some of the best clients I could ask for.
All in all, I’m thankful. My future posts will have more structure and takeaway tips that you should find helpful, but this was more of a free-flowing intro post. We’ll go with that, anyway.
That’s all, folks! ♥