Finally found what she wants for the next chapter of her life
Alison was heading into an empty nest when she joined WP Rockstar. She used to co-write For Dummies books, but that was more of a summer job and didn’t give her a stable income. She started to look farther in the future, and what she wanted to do with the extra time she just had.
That’s when a great opportunity came up!
The Buddhist Temple where she worked part-time needed a new website, and she quickly offered to build it. She took the opportunity to ask if they’d pay her to learn how to build the site, and guess what? They said yes!
That’s when she decided to join WP Rockstar.
“So then I had the access to the course and I had a way to use what I was learning, which for me is really the best way to learn, to have the context to put stuff into.”
It was the perfect opportunity for Alison - she was getting paid to learn an in-demand skill that she was really interested in.
Ever since joining the program, Alison fully committed to a career building websites. Her kids are now in college age and after 20 years of homeschooling, she’s ready to get back out there.
“I think it's time for something new. And I finally decided that this is what it's going to be.”
She had some contact with WordPress before joining WP Rockstar but was completely new to the entrepreneurship world.
“Everything I learned about business processes, I learned from WP Rockstar.”
It took Alison about 3 months to make back her investment in the course. She ended up building two websites for her previous admin job and that was a great way to get experience and put into practice all that she was learning.
Her first official freelancing client was during the pandemic. She lives in a small town and at the time the fire department was doing COVID tests.
They were overwhelmed with people showing up wanting tests, and that’s when Alison offered to build them a simple website with all the information they needed plus a way to book the tests.
Alison charged $500 for this, but also got them on a hosting and maintenance plan - yay recurring revenue!
After that, Alison found clients through word of mouth and Facebook groups.
Those projects got her way past her first $1,000 as a freelancer and she really appreciates the support of the community.
“I really appreciated the community. The Rockstar Community is really incredible - to be able to get on and ask a question and get it answered quite quickly.”
The Rockstar Community was really valuable to her at the beginning of her journey when she was learning and needed help with troubleshooting. Not only GeekPack staff but also other students pitching in to help is super helpful.
“And to have other people in the same boat that you can talk to about it, super valuable.”
When you join the Rockstar Community we invite you to join a Geekability Pod. We do our best to match you with fellow Geeks in a similar time zone and on a similar learning path.
“Last week I spent like an hour with one of my geek pod people helping her rewrite her landing page, you know, and they've helped me with a variety of issues. I had a site down this week and I got support from them on that. That's been very useful.”
It really stood out to Alison how helpful the whole community is, how she can easily and quickly get answers to her questions and chat about business with like-minded people.
She’s now found what she wants for the next chapter of her life. Now that her children are all grown up and in college age, she feels ready to take this step.
“This is what I'm committing to now. This is what I want to do. And, having the WP Rockstar community is very helpful in getting going with that because I can ask all kinds of questions. Not just technical questions, but also business-related questions.”
Before WP Rockstar, Alison took a course about data analytics, and even though that taught her a lot of skills, it didn’t really go into the business side. She believes WP Rockstar really stands out for that, as it not only teaches you the skills but gives you an amazing basis to build your own business.
“I mention WP Rockstar to people because it's very strong in that department. It really does give you a basis for the processes you need to run a business.”
She LOVES working from home, she loves being able to check in with family in the middle of the week, she loves that she can take a break whenever she needs to and the flexibility to work less than 40 hours a week.
We are SO happy to have Alison as a member of our community and we’re super proud of everything she’s achieved so far.
If you, like Alison, would like to give tech a go, we’d also love to support you through this journey!
How did you find out about the WP Rockstar
I think I must have found out about WP Rockstar through a Facebook ad. I had taken a different class on a totally different topic. I was changing tacks and I'm pretty sure that's I'm pretty sure I got targeted by those ads and they suck me in.
What was your life like before you joined WP Rockstar?
Before I started WP Rockstar. So I had kids at home in their teens. You know, late in high school, I was looking at having an empty nest. I was working part time as an admin. I had been a For Dummies author, so I had written for Dummies books, often with other authors, but those had faded away.
And that was very much a kind of a gig job, right? So I would work really hard in the summer for six weeks and then be done. And so I was starting to think about what I wanted to do in the future. So but I was a part time admin at the time for a Buddhist temple.
And then they said, we need a new website. And I was like, my antenna went up. I was like, Oh, you need a new website. Maybe I could do that. You know? So I strategized a little about that. And I had that website to work on and I'd ask them, Well, would you pay me to, you know, can I bill you hours to learn to build the website?
And they said yes. So that's when I joined WP Rockstar. So then I had the access to the course and I had a way to use what I was learning, which for me is really the best way to learn, to have context, to put stuff into. Yeah, so that's what it was like before. Yeah. And at the beginning of.
Yeah. I mean I was a pretty low paid admin, you know, hourly, but yeah, I had a way to use the skills right away. So context for learning more motivation to keep learning and a way to get my investment back.
What actions did you take as a result of taking the course and being part of the Rockstar community?
So I've committed to a career building websites, you know, So this is what I'm planning for this next chapter of my life. Now that my kids are all college age. Yeah, I feel like in many ways I'm just at the beginning. But maybe for the first time I've decided what I'm going to do when I grow up.
You know, I've been lucky to have interesting work in the past, but I spent 20 years pretty much at home homeschooling my three three sons. So, yeah, I think it's time for something new. And I finally decided that this is what it's going to be.
Did you have experience as a freelancer or building websites prior to joining the program?
I didn't have any experience building websites before I joined the program at all. I had maybe made edits. I definitely made edits to a WordPress website, but I hadn't ever built anything. And it was scary. Like when I touched that website, I was like, okay, here we go. Now, I didn't do anything complicated. I did a tiny bit of freelancing as a technical writer, but I had no idea about having processes or that people had processes.
Everything I learned about business processes, I learned from WP Rockstar. So again, that's a little bit, but not a lot is the answer. A little bit of experience, but not a lot.
Have you ever had any contact with coding before the course or did you feel intimidated by it?
I wasn't that intimidated. So way, way, way back I'd done some Excel macro work. I supported a software years ago where there was a little bit of macro coding and before I decided to do websites, I was learning Python to do data analytics. So I was learning coding too. So it's certainly not native to me. It's not something I ever went to school for, but I don't think I wasn't really intimidated by it either.
How long did it take you to earn back your investment?
So at the time, I tracked very carefully how long it was taking me to earn back my investment. But I've since deleted that spreadsheet. So the way I earned that back was extra hours at the admin job that I had at the time where they needed a new website. So I think probably about three months.
So I wasn't getting paid a lot, but it wasn't that many hours. It took three months to turn back my investment.
Can you talk a little bit about your first projects or first clients after this?
My first client was at the admin job that I had and in fact I built two different websites for them because I was working with a committee and even though I felt like we did it step by step and got approval and stuff, there was enough pushback on that first website that we started over. So that was good training for processes and working with a committee.
I'm working with a committee right now on a website too, so my next one, what I consider kind of my first real client that I went out and found. So it was somebody I knew . Ah, I live in a small town and our fire department at the time was doing a lot of COVID tests. That was right at the height of Omicron, and they were doing all their appointments by phone.
So people would call and say, Can I come for a test? And then people would call and say, I'm in the parking lot, can I get a test? And I knew it was driving them crazy so I went to the chief and I said, " I can help you with this.
I can make you a website. People can make appointments through the website. The website can have all the information they need that they need to know before they get a COVID test. And he said, okay. And he said, I want to pay you. I'm like, okay, So I charge him $500, but he's on hosting and maintenance. So I've made more than that for sure.
So I created the website, I created the whole system. I got them a Google Voice account. I found them old cell phones that they could use on wifi for Google Voice text. So they didn't have to do everything by a phone call. They could also get texts, they could get transcripts of messages. So yeah, so that was my first one.
And then I did a bunch of hourly work. So I had a client that a friend told her about me. And I thought originally we were going to do mostly Google Business Profile, local SEO work. But in fact I built her website. But that was hourly because I didn't realize quite soon enough that that was what she was doing.
I regret that now because there's stuff that didn't get done because it was hourly and she never approved it. But so I did hourly work for her. I found a client through my alumni, one of my alumni Facebook groups. So my college Facebook group, I went to kind of a small college, a women's college so there's a good level of trust there. So I found a client through that.
And another client was hourly. We reconnected at a party, you know, and she was talking. She's a counselor and she was talking about our website. So I currently have two bigger clients that I sort of consider sort of I found through more normal channels.
So one was, I don't know, it was relationship building. I was her customer first and we talked a little about business and then months later, I didn't really push on her very hard. But months later she came back to me and said, I think we need a website refresh. And the other one was a friend. A friend's church needed a new website and he said, Oh, you should talk to Alison.
And that was an RFP, a request for proposal. And so I chatted with them. I made a proposal. There were three proposals and they chose me. So working on that at the moment.
I guess those projects built up to your first thousand dollars?
And well past that now. I would say the first thousand was probably the first thousand dollars was probably building the website at my admin job, adding hours on that and then building a website for the fire department.
It was low paid but, and then hourly clients and that one hosting and maintenance client that I had at the beginning.
How much time on average did you put into the course?
You know, I just, you know, so there's weeks when I did nothing. So I joined the course quite a while ago. I think it was about two years ago, a little less than two years ago. So I'd say 1 to 5 hours a week. Yeah. So the new course came out six months ago and I finished it.
So yeah, 1 to 5 hours a week, some weeks nothing.
Did you feel supported when going through WP Rockstar and being part of the community?
Yeah. So I really appreciated the community. The Rockstar Community is really incredible - to be able to get on and ask a question and get it answered quite quickly. Usually yeah. At the beginning especially, I would do sort of panic or back and forth and I just don't get this, I just don't get this.
And GeekPack staff, those Rockstar staff or other WP Rockstar students would jump in and really take a lot of time to help me figure out a lot of back and forth just in the Facebook group, you know.
So yeah, a lot of hand-holding there. I have a geek pod, so there's four of us we meet every week. We'll meet later today. And that's been fabulous too. So it's not so much motivation for the course. But as we all get our businesses going, there's so many issues that come up. And to have other people in the same boat that you can talk to about it, super valuable.
I mean, sometimes it's still just chatting, but it's not just chatting. We're creating a connection where we can call on it. Last week I spent like an hour with one of my geek pod people helping her rewrite her landing page, you know, and they've helped me with a variety of issues. I had a site down this week and I got support from them on that.
That's been very useful.
What are your future plans?
So my future plans are to make a go of having a website business. So I feel like I've made a good start with it. I have a long way to go. I have income goals that I would like to meet, but this is what I'm committing to now.
This is what I want to do. And, having the WP Rockstar community is very helpful in getting going with that because I can ask all kinds of questions, not just technical questions, but also business related questions.
What stood out to you about GeekPack and WP Rockstar?
So what really stands out to me about WP Rockstar is how helpful the community is, how accessible, and how quick they are to respond. I have my geek pod, so the four of us in a group who can chat about our business and our learning and learning how to run a freelancing business is also huge.
Prior course I was taking when I was looking at going into data analytics, it taught me the skills, but it didn't teach me anything at all about business.
And as I was doing that, I realized I wanted to work from home. Ideally, I wanted to be a freelancer and WP Rockstar really gives you the basis to learn how to do that.
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about joining WP Rockstar?
So I would say if you want to freelance or if you want to start a business, you want to make sure that you're not only learning the skills you need to do that job, but also the processes you need to run a business.
And I mentioned Rockstar to people because it's very strong in that department. It really does give you a basis for the processes you need to run a business.
What’s the main reason you want to work from home?
I love working from home.
I love sitting here in my house with my bird feeder right there. I have a downy woodpecker right next to me right now.
I love having family members come through and being able to check in with them during the day, just casually. I love that I can take a break if I want and I have my comfortable furniture to sit on.
I can take a walk if I need a break or if I just need a refresh or just time to think about what I'm working on. I'm not being watched.
I think at work, you know, you're always in somebody's eye. That's not true when I'm working from home. And the flexibility to work less than 40 hours a week is really important to me too.