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HeroPress: WordPress Gave Me the Perfect Identity

HeroPress: WordPress Gave Me the Perfect Identity
Pull Quote: I have fallen head over heels in love with WordPress and I am excited.

How it all began…

I remember when cybercafés started trending in Nigeria; I had just finished high school and was awaiting my results for admittance into the university. I would spend not less than 10 hours surfing the internet every day, all my pocket money went into buying bulk time at cafes. My first email was opened in 2002 on my 1st attempt to surf the internet. Spending my day at cafes continued till I left the university after which I bought a desktop computer and a modem. You can imagine my excitement as being a proud owner of a PC even though it was a desktop PC.

You see, my first degree was in Philosophy. I remember my dad asking me if I was sure about that course because prior to my senior school leaving exams I had always said I was going to study business administration. What business administration was, to be honest, I had no idea, I only wanted it because I had the impression it was a cool course and I would be a corporate employee in a big firm strutting around in my skirt suit looking all glamorous.

Funny right?

Anyway i always had a thing for Philosophy so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered Philosophy was a course of study, of course I opted to study Philosophy in 2004 and graduated in 2008. However my love for the internet did not reduce by the way. I not only surfed the internet but I spent a lot of time freelancing and testing my skills as a ghost writer on different freelancing sites. I also went into blogging as well in 2009. I tried using blogger, hubpages and WordPress, but oh my, I found WordPress so complicated for me because I did not understand how it worked so I stuck with blogger and hubpages.

Growing up as a Timid but Curious Cat…

During my younger years and even up to two years ago I was always a shy person deep down in my mind, but alas quite a number of people thought I was bold. This might be because 99.9% of my friends were males, or maybe not. Perhaps this could also be because I grew up with 3 brothers and no sister. It’s quite shocking though that they thought that way because it is only quite recent that I cultivated the courage to speak my mind. Prior to a year ago (2016), expressing my feelings by speaking the words out was a herculean task; this was what led me to starting a personal blog around 2009. I needed to let out my feelings and since I dared not speak them out, I blogged them.

Blogging gave me a voice and a medium to express my thoughts and I became a better writer with each passing script. After my one year government mandated youth service in 2010 which is required of every Nigerian citizen after a bachelor’s degree, I bought an HP Mini Laptop. Can you imagine my excitement at owning a personalized computer? This I could carry around, my happiness knew no bounds.

In 2010 thanks to the social network Facebook I met an Uncle of mine and we became BFF’s {Best Friends Forever} even though we had never met physically before. He was in Rome at the period we met studying Media and Communication. He came back home in 2012 but his job as a Salesian Brother took him to Ghana. Of course I made sure to keep a date with him when he came back home briefly in 2012 before heading to resume in Ghana. We had cake and ice cream at my favourite café that day.

Rediscovering WordPress…

Then came 2015, I ended a horrid relationship, I mean I thought I was in love, but alas I had loved the idea of loving a person. I was not happy and I wanted a breath of fresh air and a change of environment. At that period, I had obtained a postgraduate diploma in mass communication and I had started a Masters Degree in Information Management and my required 3 months internship was coming up that summer. So I decided to volunteer in Ghana at the headquarters of the Salesians of Don Bosco in West Africa {SDBAFW} where my Uncle was. My time there was beyond awesome and a new beautiful story in my life chapter.

I worked in the communications department at the SDBAFW province. My Uncle knew how much I loved blogging and he had been my writing tutor for a while, so one day he asked why I was not blogging on WordPress. Of course I went on about how difficult and complicated the platform was, he sighed, told me their organization website was built on WordPress and he gave me a folder with tutorial videos made by Morten Rand-Hendriksen for beginners to go watch.

After two weeks of watching those videos, my life changed. You see prior to 2015 I treated my time online as a purely personal affair because I was just passionate about being online right, exploring, freelancing and discovering. I never thought it would become something I could make a full time career out of. I was still pursuing a career in Human Resources since managing people was another thing I was great at. In late 2015 I had joined a series of online Facebook groups and I was wowed because I saw a lot of people earning an income from things I did and knew for the fun of it. I found myself asking what planet I had been leaving on and why I had not made my passion my business.

So I made a decision in 2016 to make my passion my business, I decided to move to Lagos since I was done with my Master’s coursework and focus on this new journey of mine. Meanwhile in the December of 2015, a woman had contacted me saying she loved how my blog UX on WordPress and if I could work on hers.

As at then I didn’t even know the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org so I started googling which is something I’m also great at.

So I took on the task of redesigning her website and I started troubleshooting all the current issues she had on her site, I read up a lot, I visited the WordPress.Org/showcase and was wowed with all the good things I could do with WordPress.org, I especially loved Snoop Doggs website and told myself my goal would be to be able to make a project that would look like that one day. But of course the first few sites I designed were horrible, when I look back at them now I wonder what was going on in my head when I designed them.

Alas I had great online plans for the year 2016 but up until the middle of year 2016, I had a series of bad experiences that sent me back to the Stone Age and my parents house; I blogged about it here. They were bad experiences alright, but a lot of good came out of them. I got saved bit by bit and found my rhythm again. Meanwhile I was already falling in love with WordPress so I decided to look for ways to give back. That’s when I stumbled upon make.wordpress.org and discovered there were so many ways to give back. I was not a programmer alright so what will I go to do in Core or CLI or any other similar place, so I automatically went for the community.

Building the Nigerian WordPress Community…

In November 2016 I made one of the best decisions that turned my life around. I was fed up because the entire year had not turned out in any way I had planned in December 2015 of the previous year. So I made an interesting decision to turn off my data and go to sleep by 10pm. Trust me this was a big decision for me before I would usually freak out if my data wasn’t functioning or if my phone battery died. Anyway during this period I had moved back to my parents’ right and I needed to work in a quiet room because I so much needed to focus.

Also by now I had discovered there was a WordPress Meetup community in Lagos but when I applied I did so for Ogun which is my state, but during my conversations with WordPress Global they had requested if I would be willing to join the Lagos WordPress Group, at first I was a little hesitant because Lagos is an hour drive from my town, I don’t have a car, so that adds another one hour. Surely you can’t live in Lagos and not know Lagos and traffic are best buddies so that adds another hour to my trip. Without thinking too much about it I agreed. Looking back today I do not regret it one bit.

This started my journey as a WordPress Lagos Community Co-organizer and a Community Deputy.

This is 2017 right, I must not fail to mention it to you that my income in the last one year has come solely from WordPress Web Design. Today the Nigerian WordPress has grown, still growing definitely, the Lagos WordPress Meetup group has also grown and we have had 7 Meetups this year. I have made great friends and co-organizers in the community who are dedicated to building and sharing their WordPress knowledge with the community like I am. We are hosting the very first Nigerian WordCamp in Lagos around February/March 2018. I must not forget to mention that we also now have an Ijebu WordPress Community; that’s my town alright.

So tell me why I shouldn’t be grateful? Why I shouldn’t fall in love with WordPress? Because this is all that has happened to me since I met WordPress, I have fallen head over heels in love with WordPress and I am excited.

What have i gained from WordPress?

  1. I overcame my stage fright fully because i have to get in front of the crowd at every meetup to do the introductions and introduce the WordPress communities.
  2. I attended my first WordCamp in Cape Town, South Africa. Coincidentally this was also my first time outside West Africa. I had never been in an aircraft for more than one hour hour before my trip.
  3. I have made money from WordPress Web Design Projects, enough to sustain me during my learning period. Still learning everyday.

My advice to you from my experience so far…

  1. Always seek to understand the basics of whatever knowledge you seek…never jump in too fast, wanting to spiral to the top while ignoring the learning curve. You will crash down effortlessly if you do so and would have learnt nothing.

The End…?
I Don’t Think So…
My Story has Just Begun…Stay Tuned.

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Source: WordPress