From website burnout to –>
Jackson, MS Web Designer
It all started with me giving up on my first online business.
After wrestling with my first website for longer than I like to admit, I was burnt out. So I threw in the towel. But I didn't just drop my website. I quit my business.
I was in over my head. I was frustrated with technology I didn’t understand. And I was disappointed that despite my best efforts, I couldn’t make it work.
Now my mission is to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s because I believe your business and creative aspirations shouldn’t be hindered by website problems.
I build and manage websites for folks who’d rather run a business than a website.
Building and maintaining a website, handling security threats, optimizing SEO… It’s all A LOT of work.
Over the years evolutions in technology have made much of that work more user-friendly. But the time required to get past the learning curve isn’t feasible for busy people.
Giving up on my first business
Like I said. I quit my first entrepreneurial, online venture. It was a fitness and sports nutrition blog and coaching service. My plan was to write helpful blogs that would educate site visitors and eventually convert them into paying clients.
I hired a professional web developer to build a custom website for me – and it was LEGIT. It was just what I needed for the little bit of blogging and coaching I did on the side while I was studying Exercise Physiology at Mississippi College. My coaching business was never reliably profitable. Feast and famine, ya know? But I was sure I could grow that business if I could ramp up my website and marketing.
About the same time I got serious about growing the business I was starting to become seriously frustrated that I didn't know how to do more with my website.
I realized very quickly that I did not have the skill set required to take my website to the “next level” I was envisioning. As a broke college student I didn't have the money to pay my developer to make any more website adjustments for me. Heck. I could barely afford him the first go 'round. I was late making payments on more than one occasion over the course of my installment plan.
It was obvious that I wouldn't be able to get professional help at the time. I dreamed of doing so much more with it. But it was a custom-built site constructed on a framework that my developer knew backwards and forwards. And I was clueless.
I didn't have access to the backend of my site which, in retrospect, was a good thing. It protected me from myself. Even if I had been granted access, I surely would've broken the thing during my first attempt to tinker.
So there I was. Broken and defeated. Longing to have the website I was dreaming of so I could launch my online fitness career. But I didn't even know how to change my logo.
As the reality of my situation crept in, my whole life began to feel, for lack of a better word, “fuzzy”. A palpable darkness settled in.
When warm air settles over a cold body of water, the temperature differential turns the moisture in the air into fog. And like a fog bank rolls over a lake before a big storm, I was gradually blanketed in a shroud of dullness that 22yr old me would later have diagnosed as my first brush with major depression and an existential crisis.
Depression is awful.
Watching that dream slip away crushed me. When it became clear that I was not going to become (at least at that time) who I thought I was put on this Earth to become, I didn't know what to do.
When you're young, every “bad thing” that happens to you seems both more significant and more direly consequential than it actually is. And when you're depressed, multiply that x1000. I know that now. But back then, I thought my fate was sealed.
I was about to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Mississippi College. And I had long before sworn off the prospect of working in a commercial gym when I was done with school. I had bigger plans in mind.
But when the “side-hustle” I had banked on becoming my dream job went belly up, it seemed inevitable I'd have to accept the kind of job I vowed I'd NEVER take. My inner entrepreneur was aiming to make a career for himself. Road less traveled type stuff.
I thought I was going to become one of those fitness entrepreneurs who hustled and blazed the trail of a unique career path where I'd design the kind of work-life I wanted for myself.
I wanted to set my own work hours. And I wanted to earn a comfortable living without having to trade my time for money. I wanted the luxury of having my take home pay scale in proportion to the results I delivered through my work. And I loved the idea of not having an income ceiling.
At any commercial gym in the area, I would have had to book a full schedule of clients from 8 to 5 week-in and week-out to afford health insurance and pay rent. Much less eat.
The thought of being required to come to physical location for a set number of hours every day and working for a set amount of money was suffocating. I wanted the flexibility of an entrepreneurial life. And thankfully, that fire never completely died.
Then there was a pivot
*pause for dramatic effect*
I had never fully gotten over the fact that I gave up on that fitness business because of my inability to figure out how to make my website work.
I may not have been able to pick up where my developer had left off, but that site was built on a platform for real web developers. I needed something I could understand more easily. And I believed that I surely could figure things out if I started from square one with a simpler website framework.
I decided to learn WordPress.
At the time, it was the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world with something like 50% of market share in that space. Since it seemed to be what most everyone else was using, I made it my platform of choice
And WordPress' popularity has only increased since then. In 2020, WordPress has 60.4% of the marketshare for CMS platforms. That means they've got more users than all the other platforms combined (Square Space, Wix, Weebly, etc.).
I started from ground zero so I could understand how a website comes together. WordPress for Dummies type stuff. That's probably actually a real book. *pensive hand on chin emoji*
I set out to learn the bare minimum required to build the fitness website I previously wanted so badly.
But the more I learned, the more I came to love working with websites. And the desire to get my fitness website back up and running gradually faded. I had a new fascination with websites. And I wanted to learn everything I could to make my own WordPress website looks great and load fast.
I thought, gosh, with all I've learned about building websites I bet I could really save some people a lot of headaches and heartache. And if I can help them get a website they love, they'll have a platform to share their passions, skills, and gifts with the world. Then maybe they won't get discouraged and give up on their business aspirations like I did.
Something “clicked” in me at the soul level
I realized my website services were fulfilling the spirit of what I had been pursuing all along: helping make other people's lives better by doing something I loved. And that made me press into this kind of work even more. It felt like answering a calling.
I haven't lost my wonder for exercise physiology. I'll always be passionate about health, fitness, coaching, and teaching. The difference now is I've got this new outlet to channel my energy into. it's meaningful work that makes other people's lives and businesses better. And I feel good about that.
Now I design websites for businesses in the Jackson-Metro area and beyond.
After a few years of deep learning with WordPress via online courses, tutorials, and breaking my own site (and having learn to to put it back together again in a panic), I’m now a WordPress web designer in Jackson, MS (Clinton, actually).
I use my skill set to protect others from sharing the unfortunate experience I went through with my first website.
I get no greater joy than when I work with local businesses and creatives to get their website worries sorted so they can do do the work they love instead of wrestling with their website.
I specialize in the Divi Theme/Framework and GeneratePress Theme
I've completed these Divi-specific courses with flying colors:
And while Divi and GeneratePress are my bread and butter, I also look after client's sites that are built on other themes.
No one should have to learn web design just to build a website for their business, project, or event.
If you want to follow in my footsteps and learn things the long way 'round, I respect that. Just make sure you're not in a hurry and you have a few years to spare.
I believe business owners and creatives should never be tempted to give up on their aspirations due to frustrations with their website or lack thereof.
I also believe in empowering website owners to do whatever they want with their site. If you want to learn how to manage your website on your own, I’ll set you up and teach you how to do that.
But if you need a trusted partner to handle everything for you, I'm your guy.
Hey, you. You've got a lot to offer to the world.
That idea for the business, non-profit, or ministry is important.
Maybe it's something that has been floating around in your head for months, maybe years at this point.
What if that is the thing you were put on this Earth to do?
If your ideas, products, and services don't get released into the world, you won't be the only one who misses out. Other people are going to hurt.
I'm calling you out. Don't let the hurdle of website headaches hold you back from doing the work were made to do.
4 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes When Hiring A Web Designer [PDF]
Businesses grow when they team up with the right people. And they stagnate when they get sucked into bad partnerships.
Hire the right person for your website project the first time. You’ll save time and money. And you’ll spare yourself a lot of frustration in the process.
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