Member Spotlight: Lilly Garcia, Wild Olive Branding

 

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Lilly Garcia, brand strategist and owner of Wild Olive Branding.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m a brand strategist and designer who helps heart-centered, conscious business owners get clear about their brand and communicate it visually so they can take bold steps toward their goals.

I believe that brand graphics should be more than just pretty, and so I deep-dive with each of my clients to figure out what makes their business tick and find ways to translate those abstract concepts into visuals that actually work.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out
disagree with?

Oh, man! Where to start?

I think the biggest myth I disagree with is that we all have to chase the same definition of success. The 6-figure launch and expensive bag + stilettos and fancy home aren’t what success looks like for everyone. And that’s okay.

You have permission to create your own version of success! No matter what anyone says.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

That I’ve struggled for most of my life with being the weird kid and feeling misunderstood. I suppressed the parts of myself that I thought would offend or be misunderstood for a long time, and I’m just now starting to uncover that part of myself again.

I’ve been working on refining my own definition of success and including a more whole version of myself in that picture.

How has running a business changed you?

It has made me braver about so many things! About communicating openly — with clients, with colleagues, with collaborators. I’ve learned to ask for what I want and need in business, and that has seeped over into every other area of my life.

And I’ve gotten braver about owning my own stuff — my version of success, my values, my background, my priorities. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about who I am and how to be fearless about it.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

To get clear on what they’re about and what they want. To invest time finding their brand so that they can build their business intentionally.

There is so much advice out there — not to mention the endless tools and marketing options and systems. It can easily become overwhelming. But if you start from a place of clarity, the path is smoother and everything is just easier.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently launched the Brand Clarity Quiz to help new and seasoned business owners figure out how well they know their brand. It can help you see how much clarity you have right now and what your next step should be!

That’s a wrap on this Member Spotlight — thanks, Lilly, for sharing so much insight!

solopreneur membership

Member Spotlight: Lauren Pawell, Bixa Media

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Lauren Pawell, marketing strategist + owner of Bixa Media, where she helps entrepreneurs and businesses perform better digitally.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Lauren Pawell, and I’m the founder and owner of Bixa Media, a digital marketing agency focused on helping entrepreneurs generate (and nurture) more leads through their websites.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

Quite frankly, I’m not sure that any “truths” are universal!

That being said, I don’t believe there is one perfect online channel or one perfect tool for every business. Be wary of someone who says “This is THE tool (or channel) that everyone should be using.” All businesses have different needs; the perfect solution for one business will be very different than the perfect solution for another.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

My fiance is a pilot and the current nature of his job means we have a few moves in our future. We recently relocated (temporarily) to Denver and will likely be relocating a couple more times over the next five years. From a business standpoint, this means you’ve got to have services + products that move with you. Fortunately, I’ve got that covered.

Being my own boss makes our uncertain future significantly more certain…at least from an income standpoint and the fact that I don’t have to keep finding new jobs frequently. I can’t imagine telling a future employer that I didn’t know how long I could stick around. Talk about unemployable!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

While most may not consider this a social media platform, I love email. It’s the ultimate 1:1 form of communication and allows you to forge a deep and personal relationship with your audience members that just isn’t always possible on the various 1:many platforms.

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

I LOVE writing marketing emails. Coming up with compelling copy, seeing instant feedback from your audience…I find it very addicting. So much so, it’s one of my favorite things to teach other entrepreneurs how to do! Most think writing emails is difficult; I promise it’s much easier than you think it is.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Freedom.

Running my own business has given me a freedom that would not be possible otherwise.

I’ve been able to take significant time off to care for a sick family member, helped another family member create their own online business, been able to support my fiance’s career change, and travel the world….all while running Bixa Media.

More importantly, I’ve been able to help clients find their own entrepreneurial freedom. I believe that anyone who is willing to go out on their own and overcome all obstacles in order to do so deserves to take back their freedom, too.

What does community mean to you?

A like-minded group of people. In One Woman Shop’s case, it means women who are brave enough, and crazy enough, to go out on their own and pursue their version of entrepreneurial freedom.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Experiment and iterate.

When you’re creating something out of nothing, you have to get creative and experiment with things you’ve never done before.

And of course, not everything is a success right off the bat. But, with continued iteration and improvement, you can often turn so-so efforts into home runs.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Want to go farther, faster? Hire help who’s accomplished what you want to, so you don’t waste time doing the “trial by fire” method.

Whether you want to implement Facebook Ads, build a lead-generating webinar funnel, require new contracts, or need to learn how to do bookkeeping…there are experts out there who can help you with all of that. And most of the time, they can teach you how to do it yourself, should you not want to outsource the process completely.

This approach will save you a ton of time and money long term, even if it requires some upfront investment.

How has running a business changed you?

Unlike my non-entrepreneurial friends, uncertainty no longer scares me. In fact, I’d say it fuels me! I like the challenge of creating something out of nothing…over and over and over again.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I’m currently teaching my audience how to build a site and create an audience from scratch, in a year-long, free experiment called the Transparent Marketing Project.

It’s a lot of fun (and also happens in my limited spare time), so it’s hyper-focused on marketing strategies that produce results.

Plus, you get to see when I try things that don’t work very well. If you’re new to the online marketing world, I highly recommend checking it out. I give away a ton of awesome freebies (think email scripts, website blueprints, etc.)

That’s a wrap on this Member Spotlight — thanks, Lauren, for sharing so much insight!

solopreneur membership

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Is it possible to become exhausted by self-care? Despite being huge advocates of Solopreneur Sanity, we totally get where Alex Durand is coming from in her article for Thrive Global when she shares that her lengthy list of self-care priorities were gradually becoming a source of guilt — and it’s why we focus on just a few non-negotiables to start.

Ladies — Can we get a “hell yes!” for Iceland? The country’s putting regulations in place that’ll hold employers accountable for closing the wage gap between male and female employees in the near future. (Insert hands raised emoji here!)

Before you head to the bank: The online queen of money mindset, Denise Duffield Thomas (AKA Lucky Bitch) is back with a post that’s got fantastic biz advice, no matter your level…5 Ways to Avoid Taking Out a Business Loan.

A question we see in online business all the time: WordPress or SquareSpace? This time around, we’re turning to Marianne Manthey of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog, and her epic breakdown of seven common blogger platforms.

Sanity + your inbox is possible…with SaneBox. (Seriously, it’s tough not to love that name.) SaneBox saves its average user 12+ hours/month on email through its unique filing and task system — and our friends there have offered us a $15 code to layer onto your free trial when you give it a go with this link!

Passive income. Passive income. Passive income. (Oh, it doesn’t work like Beetlejuice?) All joking aside, “passive income” is a popular term you’ve likely heard as an online business owner — but making it happen isn’t as easy as one might make it sound. That’s why we appreciate Farideh’s myth-busting article on passive income.

Despite being a huge perk of being a solopreneur, working from home can sometimes become…mundane. That’s why we’re loving this list of “universally-wining environment designs” from the IDEO team of designers, meant to “deliver a jolt of creativity.” (Yep — these are meant for corporate spaces, but there’s no reason we can’t steal ideas like #3, #9, and more for our home spaces!)

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, 2017 Edition: Nominations Now Open!

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs 2016 nominations now open

As you know, we make it our mission here at One Woman Shop to provide solopreneurs with the best possible tools, resources, and community they need to recognize that “going it alone doesn’t have to be lonely.”

And we know we’re not the only ones on that mission. In fact, in 2015, we proved it when we opened nominations for our first edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, and they started pouring in. Let’s just say it was a tall task to get the list down to 100 when there are so many fantastic websites out there serving solo business owners.

We also know that new sites are popping up every day, and old favorites continue to provide an incredible amount of value — so without further ado, let’s hear your picks for the 2017 edition of 100 Best Sites!

What’s your favorite site for solopreneurs?

We’re looking for the best sites that provide rich, consistently-updated resources for solo business owners on the various elements of starting and running a business. The sites you turn to when you need advice on solopreneur finances. The blogs populating your RSS feeder for when you need launching or email marketing wisdom. The links you visit on the daily for the inspiration to quit your day job, build your side biz, or become location independent. Heck, even the sites you love to visit to give your brain a break so you can come back to your work stronger.

Speak now, fellow solopreneur!

Use the form below to nominate. Numerous nominations are encouraged! Simply submit the form, then choose “Submit another response.” (Oh, and self-nominations count!)

Editor’s note, 3/31/17: Nominations for the 2017 edition closed on Friday, March 31st. Now, we’re behind the scenes compiling your top 100 picks (there were more than we can count!) into a mega list of resources. Stay tuned!

To another year of celebrating a fantastic solopreneur community!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Did you know? In 1967, stockbroker Muriel Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Ubiquity Retirement + Savings is proud to be the only 401(k) provider to have more women in leadership roles than men. (It’s just one reason we love them and their SingleK retirement options for solopreneurs.) #FinancialFeminism

FEBRUARY. It’s all too easy to lose the new-year motivation and fall into the winter slump (for us northern hemisphere-ers, anyway). That’s why we love turning to classic reminders to stay motivated like this one from Marie Forleo. (Hint: Focus on what you’re doing, not what you’re trying to achieve.)

First reason we love this timeline of his business from Matt Giovansci: It’s clean and fun to read through. Second: He’s brutally honest about the “overnight success” his “mildly-successful” business achieved in just 14 years. Like everything Matt does, his transparency and humor always get the best of us.

If you’re like me (Sara) and left Hidden Figures completely inspired and hankering for more crazy awesome stories like it, you’ll love this list of must-reads from Brit & Co.

Adding products to our online businesses an appealing way to generate alternative revenue streams. Of course, it’s easier said than done. That’s why we were psyched to see our friends at ConvertKit curate an issue of articles on adding digital products to your biz last month — with thorough posts on the many faces of online products, the complete guide to e-commerce platforms, and much more.

Do you struggle with pricing? (Let’s be serious…who doesn’t?) Well, stop and read this insight from Seth Godin — and maybe you’ll realize that price isn’t the thing you want to be working on right now, anyway.

List-building is all the rage, and while we’re all out studying the best welcome mats, content upgrades, and software providers, we’re often overlooking the obvious: creating a dedicated opt-in page on our site that makes it easy for subscribers to find, and easy for us to link to. Alison Monday of tiny blue orange has us covered in her latest nerd alert column.

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Fact: “Women are 27% more likely than men to say they have no retirement savings.” That’s why resources like Ubiquity’s Retirement + Savings’ Single(k) is crucial for one woman shops. (And…two thumbs up for their hashtag: #FinancialFeminism)

What can you accomplish in five days? A whole lot when it comes to building a solid foundation of self-care. Whether you want to live and work more mindfully, establish healthy boundaries, or crush your goals, get a free, 5-day email course from Kerstin Auer over at tools for better.

“Ugh.” <-- The standard response from most solopreneurs + creative biz owners when they think about the legal side of things. Luckily, we have amazing resources like Christina Scalera to turn to. We're digging her latest "happy hour" post on what to do once you’ve nailed the legal basics.

It seems like every solopreneur and their mother has a VA (sometimes their VA is their mother…which is totally cool!). Of course, there’s a reason for that. Despite the upfront time investment of integrating a VA into your biz, the benefits are vast — but Indigo Colton shares with us the one benefit that’s often overlooked over on Heather Crabtree’s blog.

Changing your web host is never a fun (nor an easy) task. So when it came time for us to do it this fall as we outgrew our shared plan on Bluehost, we were super grateful to find this resource on the best web hosting on reviews.com — beautifully broken down into language even we can understand. (Spoiler alert: We’re now on inMotion.)

Coworking. Whether in-person or virtually, it’s one of the biggest solutions to overcoming the potential loneliness of solopreneurship. Geraldine Bedell reports on the worldwide coworking culture over on Digg, highlighting one of many things we appreciate about coworking: “A study by Harvard Business Review found that coworkers believe their work has more meaning.” Yes, please.

We love chatting about Tools We Love — so what better way to end this edition of Weekly Finds than by sharing the latest: Coach. Coach combines software that helps you build, engage, and convert your online audience (think: invoicing, scheduling, and content, all in one system) with expert coaching to help you set and achieve your goals along the way.

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

“I am not your girlboss.” If that statement takes you off guard (after all, #girlboss is pretty much everywhere these days), read this insightful piece from Katie Levans of Charlotte Agenda. Her points are real, fellow bosses.

Hey, moms — we know you’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start and run a successful business. Monica of Redefining Mom has done it — and shares how to define the type of business you want to start, how to tackle taxes and financial systems, and how to find the time to build it all while working and taking care of your family in her free 7-day email course. Grab it here!

One of our favorite things about affiliate marketing here at OWS is that it gives us the opportunity to share products + services we believe in, in areas that we aren’t necessarily experts in — saving you the time of scouring the internet. Tad, from Marketing for Hippies, agrees with that benefit — but also points out the potential negatives of affiliate marketing, and how he’s chosen to go about it, moving forward. #likeminded

Stuck wondering what you should blog about in your business? You’re not alone. Ashley Brooks of Brooks Editorial has the answer to that — and more — in her new, 64-page workbook, Blogging for Business. And it’s only $15. (For real!)

Choice. It’s a good thing to have, right? To a certain extent — yes. But what happens when it paralyzes us? Barry Schwartz explores the paradox of choice in this 20-minute, classic Ted Talk that we recently rediscovered and couldn’t help but share in our ever-ending quest for solopreneur sanity.

We all know the airplane rule: In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on before you help others. Selfish? Not quite. Caroline from Made Vibrant invites us to “begin dismantling this idea of what it means to be selfish and reassemble it with the understanding that focusing on one’s self can actually be a very positive thing” in this important letter.

If your shelves are feeling a little lonely lately, you’ll want to dig into this: Bookcelerator ranks the top books that “will make you smarter” by compiling upvotes from Product Hunt, reviews from Amazon and GoodReads, and reading time. Check out collections curated by fellow entrepreneurs, find the shortest business books that you can devour in under two hours, and more.

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

This experiment in web design + business building is currently being embarked upon by OWS community member Ashley Rustad, who is on her second Skillcrush Blueprint and is kindly documenting the process for us here! Take it away, Ashley.


(Editor’s note: In Part I of this series, Ashley broke down how a Skillcrush Blueprint works for us as she was completing the Web Designer Blueprint. In Part II, she introduced us to her current Blueprint, the Freelancer WordPress Developer Blueprint. Below is Part III, where we continue to follow her journey!)

To say the second month of Skillcrush’s Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint was packed with new learning and immense progress would be a crazy understatement. It was during the second phase of the Blueprint that I learned all about the WordPress Professional Best Practices: GitHub, command line, child themes, professional workflow, and advanced themes customizations. (Sound like gibberish? This might be the perfect course for you…)

It was definitely a big month of learning. This class has been harder for me than the past classes I’ve taken; I’m still practicing what I’ve learned, and will be for a while. But that’s not to scare you off — let’s jump right into what you can learn in Skillcrush 203 of the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint so you know if it’s right for you.

My major takeaways from Skillcrush 203: WordPress Professional Best Practices

Takeaway #1: Community is key

Skillcrush 203 kicks off with a five-day crash course on Git, GitHub and command line. In all honesty, this section was definitely the hardest for me to learn, but one of the great things about Skillcrush is that they have Mightybell message boards to post on. The community there allows you to learn from others who are going through the same coursework. The collaborative spirit that they promote is great.

Takeaway #2: WordPress customization is endless

Following Git, GitHub, and command line, we really dug into WordPress child themes — which is how you’re able to turn WordPress into an awesome CMS. We learned how to create custom post types, custom fields, and custom archives, and played around with 404 (error) pages, custom about pages, and contact forms. In simple terms, you learn a lot about changing WordPress into exactly what you want it be.

You also learn a professional workflow for setting up/deploying WordPress sites for clients (or yourself). It’s been really fun learning how to deploy a site the correct and professional way.

Takeaway #3: You get “hands-on experience” with a fictitious client

While learning all of this, you work with a fictitious client to get her site re-designed. Instead of getting your typical email from your Skillcrush instructor, you get an email from “your” client. It’s been fun learning this way, and it’s great practice for working with clients in the future. It was definitely different getting emails from the “client,” but I looked forward to the changes. Truth: I’m not sure I’ll always feel that way when working with actual clients.

Takeaway #4: Skillcrush remains career focused

Like every class I’ve taken so far, Skillcrush 203 includes career content sections. In this class, we focused on how to package and price freelance work, find and land clients, and the fast track way to get clients now. The career content sections come in the form of webinars, which are about an hour long each. The ones I have watched so far are super informative.

Who Skillcrush 203 is for

Skillcrush 203 is for the person that wants to take their knowledge of WordPress to the next level to customize their WordPress site, and work with others to build unique sites. Also — if Git, GitHub, command line, mobile optimization, and professional deployment are terms that aren’t familiar to you, this class might just be the perfect fit.

Who Skillcrush 203 isn’t for

If you’re not interested in learning the next level of WordPress or you’re already a pro at customization, this class might not be for you. Additionally, if you’re not interested in working with clients or other developers on WordPress sites, you may not need all of the material taught here.

Are you interested in taking your knowledge of WordPress to the next level?

I’ve learned so much in this Blueprint so far, and while there’s still more to learn, I’m already feeling empowered to truly customize my own site and start working with clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about Skillcrush, check here for more information. You can take the WordPress Professional Best Practices alone, but I highly recommend looking into the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint, which includes three classes and keeps you on a track that provides context for everything you’re learning. To find out when the next enrollment session is scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Next up for me is Skillcrush 303: WordPress Apprenticeship. I will be learning all about finding, landing and working with a client. Check back here soon for my recap!

What questions do you have about Skillcrush and/or tech skills, in general? Leave ’em in the comments below!

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Skillcrush Blueprints. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from — and Skillcrush is among the best of the best!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Being a solopreneur takes tenacity, organization, and lot of heart. Being a mompreneur? It takes all of that…and more. That’s why Monica of Redefining Mom built Busy Moms Building Online Businesses — a free 7-day email course that teaches you how to define the type of business you want to start, tackle taxes and financial systems, and find the time to build it all while working and taking care of your family.

Cultivating more public relations opportunities isn’t necessarily at the top of every solopreneur’s to-do list — but that’s not to say it shouldn’t be. PR pro Emma Lawrence gives us 7 surefire signs you need to up your PR efforts. (Personally, we’re big fans of #7. #stretchyourself)

Telling your brand story needs more than just words — it needs design that heightens those words. That’s what Holly Meyer is all about — injecting new life into your brand with the perfect visual design and coaching that lights your fire and sharpens your roar. See her work at Holly Meyer Design, and sign up for her free video series that helps you strengthen your voice.

Service-based business owners: Sick of working with clients that just don’t seem to fit you? It’s about time to make a change. Fortunately, RM Harrison has outlined a process for cloning your favorite client — so that you can do the work you love with the people and companies you love.

Let’s talk about why the stuff you’ve tried so far hasn’t quite worked yet. There are a lot of tips, tricks and strategies out there, but they only really work when you have clarity on your brand message, know what you do, and why people should care about it. This summer you can finally figure it out with Hey Shenee’s Summer of Clarity. Refreshed already? Us, too.

Speaking of fixing what’s not working — how about getting a pro’s eyes on your website? And not just any online pro, but the one-and-only Sarah Von Bargen (who we lovingly refer to as SVB). Here’s how to borrow her 12,000 daily readers + 7 years of blogging experience and come away with actionable tips that help you rock the internet starting right meow. (She is a cat lover, after all.)

A common question amongst solopreneurs: Do I really need a blog? Valid inquiry, friends. Well, Lacy Boggs — who’s blog is her best sales tool — helps you figure out the ROI of each blog post with this step-by-step formula, so that next time you’re wondering if you really should be blogging as you’re sloughing through that draft, you know the answer.

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part II)

One Woman Shop Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush, Part II

One Woman Shop Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush, Part II

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

This experiment in web design + business building is currently being embarked upon by OWS community member Ashley Rustad, who is on her second Skillcrush Blueprint and is kindly documenting the process for us here! Take it away, Ashley.


(Editor’s note: Last month, Ashley broke down how a Skillcrush Blueprint works for us as she was completing the Web Designer Blueprint. Now, she’s on to the Freelancer WordPress Developer Blueprint, and is letting us following along!)

April was all about transitioning from the Web Designer Blueprint I completed during the winter and beginning the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint. The first class? Introduction to WordPress. This class is the primer on all things WordPress: It teaches the history of WordPress, how to install it, the WordPress Admin (which includes Posts, Pages, Setting, Widgets, Themes, and Plugins), Introduction to PHP, the WordPress loop, debugging, creating a homepage, QA, launching WordPress, and security.

Also, throughout the course there are “career sections” which include revamping your resume, using Adobe Photoshop, using social media to get hired, and writing cover letters. Needless to say, there is a ton of stuff packed into this first month of the three-month Blueprint. Below, I’m sharing my takeaways, as well as who this class might be a good fit for (and who it might not be).

Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint: Takeaways

I have one overall takeaway that I should share first: This class is the primer for the rest of the Blueprint. That being said, if you already know certain aspects of WordPress, some sections may be more of a review for you than others. That was the case for me.

Takeaway #1 – If you know the WordPress Admin, be prepared for review. If you know nothing about WordPress, there is a big learning curve, but everything is explained very well.

By “knowing” the WordPress backend, I mean you can create a post and page, you know what all the settings are and what they do, you know how to create and organize widgets in the sidebar and footer, you can create menus for the navigation bar, and you can download and install themes and plugins. If that’s all in your wheelhouse, those parts will be a refresher, which was the case for me. But…that’s all I knew.

Takeaway #2 – The bigger learning curve comes with an introduction of PHP. (Already know PHP? This may be a review for you, too, but can be a really good refresher.)

I didn’t know any PHP, which is the programing language that WordPress uses. (It’s amazing.) The Blueprint taught the sections by recording Adda write PHP, having us then copy her on our computer. (It sounds much easier than it is because if you miss one character, it won’t work.) Since this was all new to me, I had to go back and watch a few sections over again to see what I missed. I was never worried about not being able to figure it out — Skillcrush also provides the written out pieces of code to compare against, so I could easily see where I may have gone wrong. Truth: It could be frustrating at times, but when I got it right on the first time, it felt amazing! There was no better thought than, “I’m actually getting this.”

Takeaway #3 – The videos are well done, but be prepared to pause, rewind, and rewatch when it comes to the actual PHP programming.

One thing I didn’t like about the PHP videos is that they went too fast for a beginner like me. Adda is a pro-programmer, so her mind works quickly, sometimes making it hard to keep up with her. Having the video at my fingertips to watch at my own pace meant rewinding to go back and see exactly what she typed. And when all else failed and I couldn’t quite figure it out, the Blueprint provides the actual code to install if I just wanted to move on. Patience is key in learning code.

Takeaway #4 – It’s not just about learning to code; it’s about learning how to apply it as a career.

The program is broken up into weeks and days. There’s homework each weekday for three weeks, then the fourth week is filled with what Skillcrush calls “Career Content.” These weeks have information-packed webinars about the career side of becoming a web developer.

There are three Career Content sections: revamp your resume, Photoshop & social media, and cover letters. Each of the career content sections have a webinar-style video that’s at least 45 minutes long. Skillcrush includes the webinar slides and sometimes an e-book type of download for further reading. I haven’t actually watched all the webinars yet, but ones I have watched have been super informational and helpful in the career aspect of the class. Since they are webinar style, they don’t have the extra graphics and video quality like the rest of the videos from the class, and I do wish they were divided up into shorter segments since they are so information rich. I would have preferred to watch four, 15-minute videos over the course of a week about cover letters.

Who is/isn’t this course for?

The introductory class of the Skillcrush Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint is great for anyone who has little-to-no knowledge about WordPress and/or PHP. With an introductory level knowledge of WordPress and PHP, this course would be a good review. Since I’d worked with the WordPress Admin in the past, that portion was a review for me, while the PHP section was brand new, and more challenging for me to learn.

Overall, I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot. Learning all about WordPress and PHP are the building blocks of becoming a great WordPress Developer — and I can’t wait to go through the next two courses of this Blueprint. Before long, I’ll be building websites for clients and helping them get their message out into the world.

Stay tuned for next month, when I share the behind-the-scenes of the second course in the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint: Git, Github and the Command Line.

What questions do you have about Skillcrush and/or tech skills, in general? Leave ’em in the comments below!

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