Show Notes

In this episode, Michelle and Samah talk with Kristina Louise Treadwell, owner of Web Pro Geeks. We discuss how she started her business, how she manages a team, and how she’s used Underrepresented in Tech for hiring.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] Speaker A: Hello, Samah.


[00:00:05] Speaker B: Hello, Michelle. How are you?


[00:00:07] Speaker A: I am good. How are you?


[00:00:10] Speaker B: I’m good, I’m good. It was really amazing. WordCamp Europe, like three weeks ago, and I finally saw you. That was really in a live version.


That was really nice.


[00:00:21] Speaker A: I have my mug for you.

I discovered something. We’ll introduce our guest in a moment. Hold on, Christina, we’re coming back to you.

I pulled out one of the Samah, which brought me some wonderful Belgian beer, and I pulled one out. I was going to have it towards the end of the day the other day, and they don’t screw. They’re not screwtops like they are in the United States. I couldn’t, like, screw it up. So I have to find my bottle opener and bring it into my office from where my little mini fridge is so that I can pop it open at the end of the day. So that’s my goal today, which is to find that bottle opener. I have a live-stream podcast at 05:00, and I plan to drink it on the podcast. So that is my goal for today. But yes. And we will talk a little bit about WordCamp Europe, I’m sure, throughout some of this. Unfortunately, our guest wasn’t there, but maybe in the future, maybe WordCamp US. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s in the cards for you, but our guest today is Christina Louise Treadwell. Christina is the owner and founder of Web Pro Geeks. Welcome to the show.


[00:01:29] Speaker C: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.


[00:01:32] Speaker A: So one of the things that, like, I mean, it’s a little reconnaissance, you know, looking around, and I actually know a few people that work for you. They introduced us.


But you are a black woman-owned business, which I love, and you employ two of my black women friends, who I love.


And you told us right before the show that you also have hired through our website. So, can you tell us a little bit, first of all, tell us about yourself and what you do. What is web pro geeks? And, you know, and I know that you’re nomadic this summer, so talk a little bit about what you’re doing yourself. And then I want to dive into how you used our website, how you are, you know, running your business, and how you are able to use the Underrepresented In Tech. But let’s start with first things. Tell us a little bit about yourself.


[00:02:21] Speaker C: Well, as you said, I’m Christina Louise Treadwell. I am a WordPress developer. I’ve been breaking and building websites for. I was trying to do the math. I think it’s about 30 years at this point. So I started in like 94. By 95, I was taught myself HTML.


I never get tired of the Internet. I love all things related to coding. By the time I finished grad school with a master’s in library science, I decided this was definitely what I wanted to do full-time. So, I’ve been building sites professionally for 20 years and haven’t had any side quests in 15 years. So it’s just been 100% strict web development only.


But, yeah, so that’s me personally. As web pro geeks, we do fractional CWO services. So if you’re a small to medium-sized business and you don’t want to keep a CWO on staff full time, my team will come in, and we’ll take care of your client-facing website. We’ll act as the communication bridge between the IT team and the marketing team because they usually don’t get along very well. And that’s our job, which is to make sure that team security teams are being met, the marketing team’s content needs are being met, and everybody plays along nicely with each other. So then we also do SEO services as SEO pro geeks, digital ads as ad pro geeks, and WordPress accessibility remediation as Ally pro geeks. And that’s a huge part of what we do right now: remediate sites, keep people compliant, and determine where they should be on the right path. So, yeah, we’re very, very busy geeks over there. And I have Allie and Nyesha, two of your favorite people in the world.


[00:04:00] Speaker A: That’s right.


[00:04:02] Speaker C: Yeah. Allie’s, like, my product manager, and Nyesha is my lead developer, so we’re very happy.


[00:04:10] Speaker A: they both slept on that couch in the last three years.


[00:04:14] Speaker C: Yes.


[00:04:15] Speaker A: We gotta get some on over here too soon.


[00:04:21] Speaker C: Allie and I met speaking at Wordcamp Miami back in 2017, which feels so long ago. Actually, I met you at Wordcamp 2020.


[00:04:30] Speaker A: That was the last one. Yeah.


[00:04:32] Speaker C: Yeah. And I haven’t met Nyesha in person yet, but hopefully, I will soon. I will be hoping so.


[00:04:38] Speaker A: Yeah, for sure. Awesome. And you are. You said it was a road trip in the summer, right? So you’re just kind of like living, living life on the road. I love it. At least you’re in North Carolina.


[00:04:50] Speaker C: Yeah, we’re in North Carolina right now. We were in Michigan before. I’m based in Miami, but Miami in the summer is not a very fun place to be.


[00:05:01] Speaker A: I’ve been seeing these TikToks, so Samah and I are both on TikTok, and we send each other TikToks. And I’ve been seeing all these TikToks about how people in the UK keep saying how, like, in England, the heat waves are much worse than what we experienced in the US. And somebody responded, it’s 75 degrees there. That’s why we set our air conditioning to lower. It’s finally cool.


[00:05:32] Speaker C: Yeah, it’s a whole different. When you walk outside of Miami in the summer, you can taste the water in the air. It’s that humidous. It’s great for my curls, but I bet my sanity. I’ll be back in the fall once it chills down.


[00:05:49] Speaker A: So, did you learn about Underrepresented in Tech through Allie or someplace else? Because we want to know the story.


[00:05:56] Speaker C: Yeah. So she had told me about the idea in passing as you guys were going through it. It was just one of those, like, I’m going to chit-chat about this with my friend type of things. And then I formally heard about it at a black press meeting during COVID-19 Obviously, we were on. It was a Zoom meetup, and she went through and walked everybody through the whole thing and explained exactly how it worked. And I’m just sitting there thinking, I am the busiest person in the world, and I always need more people, but it feels so daunting and difficult to find people. And you’re just browsing through LinkedIn, you’re asking for referrals, and I’m like, you know what? There’s this whole site of people who are like, I’m ready. I want to work right now. And here’s exactly what I do, and here’s exactly how to meet me. And I just logged on and started grabbing people. So, for a couple of freelance projects, I worked with a couple of people, but now I have a guy from Kenya named Manuel. Emmanuel. I call him Manuel, but Emmanuel. And he’s been with me for the better part of a year. I think I need to look and see exactly how long, but I have him on retainer. He’s my go-to guy for Elementor. I hate Elementor. He loves Elementor.


[00:07:08] Speaker A: Not a sponsor.


[00:07:11] Speaker C: Well, I don’t like using it, but I don’t like builders. I’m a developer, so, you know, we’re always anti-builders, but it’s okay.


But he’s a wizard with it.


[00:07:24] Speaker A: We say, that’s awesome. I’m so glad. Do you know he’s from the African continent, did you say?


[00:07:31] Speaker C: Yeah, he’s from Kenya.


He lives right outside of Nairobi.


So, yeah, it’s actually been kind of cool when, because of the time difference, my day ends and wraps up as his day begins. So I’ll be, honey. Yeah, it’s like 04:00 or 05:00 p.m. I’ve had this whole day of stuff with clients, like, changes and needs and stuff. I’ll task everything out and, you know, have a quick conversation with him, and then he starts, and then by the time I wake up, he’s wrapping up his day, and everything’s done. I’m like, okay, that was great.


[00:08:04] Speaker A: That is so.


[00:08:04] Speaker C: It’s been fun. Yeah. Having an international team definitely has its perks. I’ve realized that the time difference is an asset, not at all a deterrent.


[00:08:13] Speaker A: So, yeah, it’s been very, if there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, and I’m not, I don’t say that lightly, because it was and has continued to be a very challenging time, but it did manage to bring to make the world feel a little bit smaller and make it feel like we’re more connected to each other. So I guess if you have to go through something as horrible as it was to be able to find some modicum of goodness out of it, I think it turned out to be a good thing. And I think that being able to connect with people, I mean, this project was born through that. Right. Underrepresented in tech.


Because Allie and I kept getting asked, do you know anybody who’s black who could speak at this event? Do you know anybody who can speak at this event who’s whatever? You know, we’re like, we are not the gatekeepers of the black people in WordPress, folks.


[00:09:07] Speaker C: But you guys know all of them. But now, at least, they’re all at all.


[00:09:11] Speaker A: They’re all one way.


After we had created Underrepresented In Tech, Nigel Rogers came to us and asked if we would do it and explained it to his meetup. I wish I could remember where he is on the African continent. I just am struggling right now to remember.


Sorry, Nigel, if you’re listening, but I, so Allie, couldn’t meet with us that night. And so I got online, and I was talking to his group, and there wasn’t a woman in the group. It was all black men. And they asked me why we needed you. You’re the minority here. I was right, but I’m not in the global WordPress community. And they’re like, oh, yeah, that’s true. So, it is all relative. And I was like, oh, that. I just got a little bit of a wake-up call from this whole group of people.


But it is true. And it is harder for women. It’s harder for people of color; it’s harder for disabled people. LGBTQ is underrepresented in all the different underrepresented groups. It becomes more difficult for whatever underrepresented group you’re in. And if you tick multiple boxes, it’s that much more, exponentially more difficult. I don’t know how to forge a path and find recognition, and I don’t know, even sometimes, just empathy. Right? Like, some of those things. So, um, yeah, no, I’m just, like, super excited that you’re as successful as you are, that you’re hiring people, and that you’re using our project to do it. Fantastic. Samah, what do you think?


[00:10:45] Speaker B: I’m dying to ask you a question from the beginning. It’s just like; I would love to know what the unique challenges you face as a black female business owner, especially in the tech industry, and how you think you can share experiences with the people, how we can make things better, and promote and support underrepresented people to start their own business and grow? Because being the first one or being from the minority to do it, it’s put a lot of pressure.


Yeah. I would love to hear your experience and your thoughts about it.


[00:11:32] Speaker C: I can definitely say that I did want to go into business for myself because of some of that difficulty. I saw I did kind of cut and run as soon as I realized that there was going to be a little bit of pushback. I’m not one to. I don’t like selling myself to people. I much prefer to. It’s like, I don’t want to sit at your table. I’ll just make my own table, and if you fit over here, you can sit with me. But I’m just not that type of a joiner. So, for me, it was like watching all of my friends in tech go through this intense interview process and dealing with all this corporate bureaucracy and red tape and just nonsense. It was just like, I’m not built for that at all. I’m just going to do my own thing. I will work with the people who want to work with me. I’m going to let the trash take itself out, and I’m not going to deal with any of that. So early on, I was kind of playing little games to try and get around the whole thing, like letting people know, like, oh, she’s plus size, she’s black, she’s a woman. And trying to hide it. So I wouldn’t be on camera a lot. Like, I’m rarely on camera.


And because my middle name is Louise, I would tell people, oh, yeah, this is Lou Treadwell. And maybe I wouldn’t get on the phone. I’d only talk with them by email. I also saw how differently potential clients would treat me if they thought they were talking to Lou or if they thought they were talking to Louise. And once the contract was signed, it’s like, haha, gotcha.


[00:12:59] Speaker A: Here I am, little bait and switch.


[00:13:03] Speaker C: And it was like, okay. But now you guys realize I really do know what I’m doing. But then I ended up having a client base that didn’t actually respect me for who I was. The worst experience was when I had a guy actually try to explain to me how to install WordPress. Mind you, I’m a WordPress developer. I’ve been doing this for years. I was coding before WordPress existed. I remember when PHP launched. I was really excited when CSS became a thing. Like, I’m that old. So for him to explain mansplain, I think you.


[00:13:35] Speaker A: Mansplain, yes, mansplain.


[00:13:39] Speaker C: Graphic detail. How to install WordPress was the most shocking thing ever. And I’m like, you know what, I said, if you’re confused about the process, I’d be happy to help break it down. Do you have any specific questions?


I wish I could say I was being clever, but I genuinely was like, are you okay?


[00:14:00] Speaker A: What’s wrong?


[00:14:02] Speaker C: So after stuff like that, I’m like, you know what, let me not hide. I’m not gonna try and, you know, sneak my way into particular rooms. I’m just going to be loud. And if I’m meeting with a client, I’m not selling my services to them. It’s a mutual conversation to see if we’re a good fit. If we’re a good fit, great. I’m happy to work with you. So, right now, I have a client base that I honestly adore. When my phone rings, I’m happy to hear from them. If I see an email, it’s like when you’re all freelancers. Know this: when you’re working with the wrong people, you have that sense of dread with certain people who call you. I never have that. Now, every time they call, I’m so sorry to bother you. I’m like, no, I am happy to hear from you. How can I help you today? I want to fix all your problems. So that’s been. It’s. I guess it was kind of a blessing because I wonder if other groups of people don’t have the luxury of having their clients be very forward and very upfront that they do not like you. So now that I know who doesn’t like me, I know who to avoid. And I can spend all my time and energy making lots of money with people who really appreciate me and want to be there.


[00:15:07] Speaker B: So that’s great. That’s really awesome. In the end, it’s so amazing and really impressive how you find your way. In the end, it’s like, yeah, if you want to work with you, this is who you are. You are more than welcome. If not, we say in Dutch, Doei, goodbye, yeah.


[00:15:28] Speaker C: Peace out.


[00:15:30] Speaker A: Exactly. I had freelance days, and I remember just wishing I liked taking almost any client at the beginning because I just needed money. And then you realize that the clients who, like I say, the clients who use the words just and only, are not the clients for you. Right.


[00:15:48] Speaker C: Thank you. Yeah.


[00:15:49] Speaker A: It’s just three pages. First of all, it’s never just three pages. It’s only. No, it’s never only anything. Like trust the process. There’s a process here. And I will tell you, you will just cost me time and money.


Move along. Get your cousin to make you a Wix site. This is not the place.


[00:16:09] Speaker C: I definitely refer many people to Wix in Squarespace, but to be fair, it’s not, you know, it’s not always a complete shove-off. Sometimes it is. You know what? The best client is the one who really knows what they want. And if you haven’t suffered through Wix or Squarespace, you don’t really know what you want yet. So do that.


Yeah. Come back with a solid list of complaints, concerns, and missing features. Now, we can build you something custom that you’ll love. But until then, I need you guys to be a little bit more focused. So that’s. I like building. I like fixing broken websites because those clients usually come in with a much greater appreciation for what we do. Because that, like you said, is the just only. And a real quick.


[00:16:58] Speaker A: Oh, yeah, real quick.


My favorite, though, is how hard could it be, right?


[00:17:04] Speaker C: Right. I don’t know. You do it and then tell me.


[00:17:07] Speaker A: Yeah. Oh, you’re a house painter. How hard can that be? I’ll build your website. You paint my house. Let’s see. You know. You know what I mean? Just like. Yeah, it’s crazy.


[00:17:16] Speaker C: No, absolutely not. But yeah, the. What’s the saying? The good, fast, cheap pick, too. Yeah, I’m fast and good, so I’m not cheap. And that’s. I’m perfectly happy in that space.


[00:17:29] Speaker A: But I love that.


That’s awesome.


Yeah. Samah, do you have more questions? I don’t want to keep talking over you.


[00:17:40] Speaker B: I just want to tell you something.


This is my first time meeting you, and I’m really happy. So I have something. I was googling you. I was reading about you. Oh, no, I’m just creeping a little bit. And I know that you have. You mentioned they have three amazing boys, and you’re spending time with your family, and now I can see you’re traveling. I just wanna. It’s sometimes very difficult for women to have it all. The family, the kids, the success, the business, the life and everything. And sometimes, I know it’s okay not to have it all, but I think you have it all. You’re a very successful woman, and you’re raising your kids. You’re spending time, and you’re doing amazing to help others. So I want to know how you did it. How did you manage the priorities?


[00:18:40] Speaker C: I would love to know the short answer. I have a husband. I have a partner. I have a partner who completely and fully supports what I do, which I think is what makes it hard for women to have it all, is when they don’t have somebody supportive in their corner, whether it’s their partner, whether it’s their parents, their friends, some sort of community that can be there to help pick up everything else. Because I don’t know how, right now, I wouldn’t be able to talk to you guys if my kids were in the back. I’m doing an interview in my truck, but my husband’s inside the house with the kids. They’re doing breakfast, wrangling all the things. I don’t even know what’s going on in there, but he’s got them covered, so I can do what I have to do, and that way I don’t have actually to juggle. So, having community support is a huge piece. When Covid started, I was still. I would say I was a baby agency. So it’s like that between freelance and agency. But I didn’t have many people on my team yet. And my husband was working as a photographer and a promoter. Like, he had his whole, you know, out of the house business. I had my in-the-house business. Well, COVID destroyed his business completely. So it was very much of a. Okay, you know what? Handing off the baton, you go, I’ve got this, you’ve got that. And we weren’t splitting the family stuff anymore. So he’s, like, full-time, stay-at-home dad. He’s the one who has to when the school calls, you know, eight times a day because the kids have whatever going on. He’s up there. He’s on the board of the PTA. He’s on all those things, going on the field trips and all the stuff that I was mortified to do. And it was stressful for me. He’s, you know, daddy of the century. So I get now how so many male CEOs can just do the thing because they have these amazing women in their corner. They have a partner who’s handling all the stuff, and now I have that, and I can focus all my time and energy if I need to. If I need to hyper-focus one day. I can do that because I know my kids are covered. And they have it all part is a little bit. I can’t say I have it all because I don’t know what size shoes my kids wear right now. If I had to buy them clothes, I would not know what size anybody wears.


I don’t know exactly how my kids like their tacos made because I have been making them for the past year. So, little things like that will cause you to fall behind. But we still have our relationship with the kids. Like, I still hang out with them. We still have fun because, you know, the nature of a digital business, you can do it anywhere. But it’s something that I just think it’s unfair to expect women to really, truly be able to do everything without having somebody to help them because everybody needs somebody to help. Otherwise, it’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. You’re just. It’s this never-ending chaos. Or was the other one somebody said, turning on a fan and trying to, like, file paperwork?


[00:21:35] Speaker B: I love the metaphor.


[00:21:37] Speaker A: I love it.


The toothpaste and Oreo thing has got me over here. Like, ugh, I get it.


[00:21:45] Speaker C: It is. But, yeah, with my three kids, it’s a lot. And all three of them have, you know, various disabilities, so that adds a different layer to it, which, being self-employed, really helps with that, and we can actually have that flexibility. So even if I have to be in the car with one kid and he’s at a doctor’s appointment with the other one, it’s still infinitely better than if I was trying to squeeze my business in between his life and his career. And it’s nice to have somebody prioritize your dreams and just say, okay, yeah, what you’re doing is super important, and it’s doing great things for our family. And he’s like, Allie can tell you, when she and I are meeting, he’s like, in the background usually, you know, kind of chiming in and taking her side always.


But he’s got great insights because, you know, we’ve run businesses together in the past. That’s how we met. But, you know, it’s just great having somebody like your actual cheerleader who wants you to win. It’s like pushing you. Like, no, you’re. You’re the smartest person I know. Like, you’re. You’re great at this. You’ve got this. And screw those people who don’t understand you. Like, it’s cool. And then my mom and my dad are like that, too. They’re my cheerleaders as well. So it’s. I love that that’s what it is. A woman who has it all must have people behind her who want her to have it all. So I can’t get it if people are in my way and no one’s in my way.


But, yeah, I hope I answered your question kind of in a roundabout way.


[00:23:10] Speaker B: Actually, you answered in a really perfect way because I believe women based 20 years ago, they always tell us, you can have it all, but sometimes you have to step back, or you need this really amazing support. Your community, as you say, your partner or your family. And otherwise, you will never be able to shine because we are emotional creatures.


I don’t know if you feel guilty leaving your kids and you’re thinking about it, but when you have a partner, you really can count on him to do the things and give you your time and support to shine. And as you said, he told you you can do it. That is something really important. And, yeah, no, I’m really impressed with your business, and I was reading about your life.


She annoys me. I’m not creepy that I was looking. Okay.


[00:24:07] Speaker A: She’s a researcher. She really is.


Well, now I want to know what.


[00:24:11] Speaker C: Well, now I want to know what you learned about me. I don’t know how the information’s out there.


[00:24:16] Speaker B: No, I can talk about anything.


[00:24:18] Speaker C: Good.


[00:24:19] Speaker B: Everything is perfect. Like, I want to be you. You know, I was checking the first live that you spoke about in 2022. No, I am a researcher. That’s a nicer way than to say I creep on people online. I’m researching.


[00:24:35] Speaker C: No, it’s okay. Like I said, I’ve got my degree in library science. I am the FBI when it comes to tracking people down. Oh, and I like doing genealogy, which tracks the living and the dead.


[00:24:47] Speaker A: I’m coming to both of you with my future needs. That’s all I have to say.


[00:24:50] Speaker C: I am territory. As long as your needs are legal, I’m your girl.


[00:24:55] Speaker A: Always, always legal. We want to talk about the other stuff, Christine.


[00:25:01] Speaker B: I will cover the States. I will cover Europe. You know, like, we can share the territories.


[00:25:07] Speaker A: And now I got my group. I got my girls, my girls’ gang.


Oh, that’s awesome. Well, I’m super excited about all the work you’re doing. I’m really excited that Allie introduced us and that you consented to be on camera. I know that’s not something you enjoy, but. No, but you have a lot of things to say and a lot of examples, and just the life you’re living is a good example to others that it is possible. And it’s funny because.


It’s funny because sama asks, like, how do you manage to do it all? It’s like, that is the quintessential question that women get asked all the time, right? And when a man asks us, it feels so invasive. Like, what do you mean? But when women ask each other, it’s like we just really want to know the secret.


[00:25:57] Speaker C: Right? It’s like, I actually want to know.


No, and it’s a fair question because it does. Like you were saying, you have to sacrifice some things, and you decide what you will sacrifice. But knowing that things are taken care of is such a huge help. Like, what’s the. There’s a phrase called weaponized incompetence.


[00:26:15] Speaker A: Is that what it is?


[00:26:17] Speaker C: Yeah. So I’ve seen many women lose their careers over that, with their partners. They have a partner, and the partner acts like they can’t do anything. So she ends up having to take more and more of her energy, time, and mental energy away from what she’s trying to do for herself and further her career and her business and pour it back into somebody who’s just not. Not even trying. Like, it’s not an I feel like the weaponized incompetence is not a, like, it’s not like, oh, your partner has ADHD. It’s like, no, your partner’s a jerk. And when that happens, you can’t move forward at all because you’re spending all your time trying to fix other people’s problems that aren’t even really problems, and it just sucks away at your soul. And I’ve seen so many people have to dive back into a life they didn’t want. And I think being a stay-at-home parent is a very noble and important thing, but it should be something you want to do. And to see people who don’t want to do that get pulled into it, it’s just. It’s so unfair. I hate to see it, but it happens all the time.


[00:27:23] Speaker A: I was a single. I was a single mom raising my daughter, trying and, you know, working in a college, getting my MBA, all at the same time. And at that point, we moved back here. This. Actually, it’s my condo, but this used to be my parents, and the room that’s my office was my daughter’s in my bedroom. So, like, literally, she used to sleep where I’m sitting. And so it was one of those things where I loved being a mom, but I have never admitted this out loud, so the rest. The Internet can now hate me for saying this, but I hated reading to my daughter. I absolutely detested sitting down with a book and reading to my daughter. I don’t know why I hated it so much. It was not something I enjoyed. It just didn’t. I loved all.


[00:28:05] Speaker C: Everything else was great.


[00:28:06] Speaker A: Let’s go for a walk. Let’s watch a movie. Let’s play a game.


Her favorite thing was to sit, like, let’s have a laugh fest, and we would just literally lay in her bed, and she’d start giggling for no reason. And then I’d be giggling, and we laughed in earnest. Right. But reading to her, I love that. Reading to her just made me want to pull my fingernails off.


So, I had other people in my life who loved reading with her. And even though I still feel a little guilty that I didn’t read with her, she didn’t. It wasn’t that she didn’t get read to or read with. Right. So, you must learn to let some of that go because I couldn’t be a single mom, make a better life for us, and do all the little things. And so, that whole thing takes a village kind of thing, it’s not wrong. It’s not wrong at all. Especially when you need a little bit of help. And everybody does. Everybody does. Especially when kids are involved, you just can’t do it all alone. Absolutely.


[00:29:04] Speaker C: Yeah. That’s why I hate it when people call themselves self-made. I’m like, are you, though? Was it really just 100% you? Were you? I always look at my dad and how I grew up, and I don’t have to worry about paying for college. That’s called being born on third base. That’s a huge step. Like being able to take financial risks or being able to do certain things and knowing that I had family who is like, yeah, if you screw everything up and everything falls away, you can come live in our basement. Like, you, your husband, your three kids, we got you. When you have that type of backing, it makes you braver. You do all kinds of crazy things. Like, you’re like, you know what? I’m just going to throw this away, jump over, do this, and try this really risky thing. I will pick up my whole family and move from Michigan to Miami. When my husband and I first moved to Miami, we had nowhere to live. We were living in hotels for a month, which, yeah, we were living in hotels for a month. We weren’t homeless. So it’s just knowing that you were alone, but you weren’t really alone. You had all these people behind you, had all the support behind you. And when you have that, you can get away with doing a lot. And I think if we acknowledge that for ourselves, then we can show that support to other people and not expect to say, oh, well, if I did it, you can.


No, you need help. And here’s how I’m going to help. So, I will bring you to work with me on this project. Yes, I’m going to introduce you to this person. I’m going to do this, do this, do this. Do not always think about charging people and how it will help you. You are just reaching out into the world and doing stuff for people because everybody needs it so badly, and that’s all we can do.


It’s one thing we can do.


[00:30:46] Speaker A: It’s definitely a big thing we can do. It also reminds me of the fact that I love when people say, oh, they’re an overnight success. There’s no such thing as overnight success. And I can tell that you have worked hard to be where you are.


So, I want to ask you: What is your definition of success in your business and in your life?


[00:31:11] Speaker C: A big one? I said earlier that every time my phone rings, I’m not stressed out at all; I’m happy to answer it. That tells me that I did a good job of selecting my clients and marketing myself correctly to avoid attracting the wrong clients.


That’s the happiness part of business for me. It’s like, yes, turning a profit. Obviously, you want to ensure that you’re doing that and that your staff doesn’t hate or resent you. So, in the same way, I’m happy with my clients, call me. I want my staff to be happy when I reach out to them that they’re eager and that they can actually criticize me. I don’t think you’re a successful business if your staff can’t come to you and say, hey, here’s something you did last week that didn’t sit well with me, even if they don’t have a solution, you know, just to say, hey, look, this isn’t cool. Then I can say, okay, great, you actually are honest with me now we can go forward and fix it. So the relationship part, like, all of that will lead towards you not being stressed and just being, you know, I wake up every day and choose happiness. So, I choose to be happy. I choose not to be mad at people. And that can’t happen unless you’ve made some good choices on the back end to kind of roll all that together. So, yeah, personal responsibility, maybe that’s the success then, that you can actually personally control your own happiness.


Yeah, I like that answer. I’ll go with that.


[00:32:35] Speaker A: I like that answer, too. I had no idea what you’d come up with, but I think that’s.


[00:32:39] Speaker C: I wasn’t either. I was just gonna start talking to get there. Kind of like a Michael Scott train of thought, but we got there in the end.


[00:32:47] Speaker A: I love that. Also, I think if I can put some words in your mouth, from my perspective, being able to contribute to other people’s success and happiness by employing others, to me, is a huge success, at least from the outside looking in. So kudos to you for that as well, because that is. That is a sign of success, not only to build for yourself but to continue to build for others. So congratulations.


Yeah, yeah.


[00:33:15] Speaker C: When you see people post on LinkedIn that they’re happy and under your team, it’s like.


[00:33:21] Speaker A: Exactly.


[00:33:22] Speaker C: They like me, but, you know, it’s business, but it’s personal. It’s always personal when it’s your personal because it’s relational.


[00:33:31] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. Business is business, but it’s built on relationships, and relationships are built between people. Absolutely.


[00:33:39] Speaker C: Yep. Amen to that.


[00:33:41] Speaker A: Any last piece of advice or, I don’t know, pearl of wisdom you’d like to drop before we sign off our episode for today?


And nothing, no pressure.


[00:33:51] Speaker C: I just want to know what you guys found on Google about me. Besides, you said you are just speaking at word camps, but I don’t know.


[00:34:01] Speaker A: I’m.


[00:34:01] Speaker C: Trying to think of any other little nuggets of wisdom. I guess I said that’s one thing I’ve had people tell me a lot: that I am a positive person.


I think a huge part of that. I told my mom I stopped having haters when I stopped hating on people. So, I don’t spend much time and energy worrying about what other people are doing or why they’re doing it or criticizing them because it felt like it opened me to that nonsense. Now, I’m in a space where I feel like I can hop on LinkedIn and say something, and I’m not worried about who will say something in the comments because I haven’t put that energy out in years. I am so grown now that I haven’t been arguing with people and starting petty things and whatever. So it’s. It’s a cool place to be in that, you know, you put out what you want to give back. And so far, it’s been working. We’ll see. Ask me again in ten years if it’s still working.


[00:34:54] Speaker A: We’ll have you back when I’ll be 65, but we’ll still. I’ll still be here. It’s all good.


[00:35:03] Speaker C: But, yeah, no, it was great meeting you both and chatting.


[00:35:06] Speaker A: So, thank you for joining us. Yeah, absolutely.


[00:35:12] Speaker B: Thanks for joining.


[00:35:13] Speaker A: Yeah, wonderful stuff.


Yeah, no, I’m just. I like heads going in 5 million different directions, so I’m sure we’ll be talking again because there are more ideas and things spinning out there.


Well, thank you for being here with us today. I really appreciate it. And sama, your afternoon. Thank you.


Not the morning.


Not the morning.


[00:35:36] Speaker C: Enjoy the end of your day.


[00:35:39] Speaker B: No, it’s a pleasure having you. And it’s, yeah. And I cannot wait to meet you in the future, hopefully personally or at another time. So, yeah, definitely. And I will. I will continue my research. Because, you know, I want to know more.


[00:35:58] Speaker A: I love it.


[00:35:59] Speaker C: Well, you let me know what you figure out, and we will. We’ll share notes. I’ll tell you what’s not true, but no, I’m definitely looking forward to meeting you guys. I want to get out to WordCamp Europe and, hopefully, WordCamp US at some point. It’s just the world is so different now with all the online camps, so it’s time to get back out there.


[00:36:16] Speaker A: Yeah.


Very good. Well, we always say at the end of every episode, we have no idea what we’re going to talk about next week, but we do know what we’re going to talk about next week. And I will say it out loud so that we actually have it back.


Jewel, let me open it up.


Shahjahan Jewel, a WordPress enthusiast, has written an open letter to Wordcamp Europe organizers because Wordcamp Europe will be held again next year on Eid al Adha. Please correct me, Samah, if I’m saying that wrong.


[00:36:49] Speaker B: It’s Eid al Adha, but it’s okay.


[00:36:51] Speaker A: Thank you.


My very American pronunciation of things is one of the two most holy days in the Muslim religion. And so has written a letter asking, can we please not do this, continue to do this, because apparently, I guess it’s not the first time that’s happened. So we’re going to talk about next week. We’re going to delve in. We are the podcast that doesn’t pull any punches and doesn’t say no to any topics. We’re going to talk about religion next week. And so imagine we’ll make some enemies. But I mean, it’s all good because we’re trying to.


We try to make the WordPress world a little bit of a better place for people and the tech world a little better place for underrepresented people. And let’s just agree that that is not a small religion; that is not a small group of people. So, yeah, we’re gonna talk a little bit about that next week, but we hope this week, I know that you’ll come back. If you have ideas, feel free to send them to us because we wanna hear more voices on this and have a better discussion about the situation. So again, thank you, Christina, for being here. Samah, I will see you next week, and everybody else will see you in the next episode. Yep. Of underrepresented tech.


[00:38:07] Speaker B: Bye bye, Christina. Bye.


[00:38:09] Speaker C: Bye. Bye.


[00:38:10] Speaker B: C next week. Bye.


Michelle Frechette

Michelle Frechette


Samah Nasr

Samah Nasr