In this episode:
Interview – Rebecca Gill and her amazing life
With special guest – Rebecca Gill
This is a little bit of a departure for us today because we take a deep dive into the life of our guest – Rebecca Gill. Typically on the podcast we chat about plugins and themes and talk to developers about their ideas and their code. Not today, well not just that today! Today we listen to the story of how life has shaped Rebecca, and I can tell you that so much has happened to her that it’s amazing that she’s still able to get up in the morning.
If you’re lucky enough to have a had a stable background and had people around you who loved you, you’re off to a good start. Now, my understanding of child psychology could be written with a thick pen on a small postage stamp, but I do know that if your life is full of trouble and strife, your chances and opportunities are stymied. Many people faced with a poor start never recover from it, but others seem to be able to rise above it, they have a tenacity that enables them to keep going, to take charge of their own destiny and to flourish. Rebecca chose to flourish.
We talk about her early years and how she made the decision to move away form her parents at a very young age; to go and live with her relatives instead. Perhaps, it turns out, this was one of the most important decisions that she ever made. She left her home for a holiday and never went back. Her life from this point had new influences and those influences were powerful and proudly shaped who she now is. She learned that she didn’t need to be burdened by the worries of other people and all the things that they can dump upon you, if you let them.
Having a background which was completely bereft of technology, she found computers and fell in love with what they could do, and has never stopped loving them! Having worked a series of jobs which taught her that she enjoyed working with software, she experimented with different CMS systems and decided quite quickly that WordPress was going to be her weapon of choice, but there was a piece of the puzzle that was missing… at this point Rebecca did not have a community, she was using WordPress but was not part of the community.
A pivotal moment came when Chris Lema persuaded her that she ought to get stuck into the WordPress community with what she could do and not worry about what she could not do. He taught her to loose the imposter syndrome because WordPress is not all about code and introducing yourself as someone that “does not code” is forgetting your uniqueness, it’s about knowing that the community is enormous and that people who don’t code are of equal importance as the people who do. This she did, and the friendships began to form and before too long WordPress had become her life! She now regards her WordPress friendships as some of the most important in her life.
Perhaps it’s important to understand that the life that we lead, the life of the keyboard, of the screen, of the mouse, of WordPress and of the chair does not have to be the limits of our existence, there is more out there. I’m not talking about your family and your vacation, I’m talking about an extension of the keyboard and WordPress – real world events where you get to meet with people who are a lot like you. Maybe you’re the only person you know in your geographical location who is like you; you’re a square peg trying to fit into round hole. If you make the effort to get to a WordPress event like a WordCamp or a WordPress MeetUp, you’re going to find that there a loads of people who are square pegs all fitting nicely into the square holes that these events provide! You can make relationships online, but you will strengthen them during real life meetups.
We end by talking about how she has grown her business, which is firmly centred around her expertise in SEO. She started out growing the business very successfully only to realise that her success led to unexpected consequences that she did not want, having to deal with payroll and the like. The fun had gone and she wanted it back, so she sold off significant parts of her business like the Theme Store, and stopped focussing upon growth and outsourcing, and returned to the aspects of her work that make her happy, working directly with clients and having an impact that she could see, not because she was told about it in a meeting. The message is don’t jeopardise the things in your business that make you happy, if your growth brings less happiness, maybe it’s time to look again at your business and see if you need to make a change.
This is a wonderfully refreshing chat that’s so different from what we normally do. I hope that you enjoy it. Thank you Rebecca for your honesty.