The WordPress community has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to the efforts of dedicated individuals committed to providing a helping hand to others, who wish to learn skills that will change their lives. By acting as a mentor to the newcomers, the influence of such WordPress community leaders is essential for the progressive growth of world’s most used CMS. They help to establish a strong sense of togetherness and a culture of learning.
Sarah Pressler epitomizes these inspirational qualities. She helps to equip families with the knowledge and resources for launching work-at-home WordPress businesses. She helps run Happy Joe for this noble purpose. It does not just stop there! Sarah also runs WordPress jobs website for the benefit of her followers. She is widely admired and appreciated for her selfless efforts.
Today, we bring you an exclusive interview with Sarah Pressler. She talks about her love for her family, the WordPress community, WordCamps, her influencers, and her hobbies. We hope her words will inspire you to pursue a career in the WordPress world.
Today, we are honored to have Sarah on board. During her interview, she shares her love for WordPress community, her professional commitments, her passion for helping out other people, and much more.
Cloudways: You have a great amount of experience in project management, blogging, and content management. WordPress is your passion. Share your WordPress story with us.
Sarah Pressler: The WordPress Community is my passion. The tool is just a tool. I’m not a developer or a designer, so I don’t do much with WordPress on the backend. But the community—it draws you in. It is full of self-driven, independent, out-of-the-box thinkers. People who are passionate about living a life set apart from the flow, driven by a strong desire to be producers—not just consumers —who, for the most part, want to make the world a better place. Sure there are plenty of financial opportunists in the mix as well: People who are only involved in WordPress to make money off the open source platform.
There are those who take advantage of the transparent nature of the community and those people seem to expose themselves on a regular basis. But, at the end of the day, the community is very tightly knit group of friends who are very much like family and I love the sense of interwoven togetherness that one can experience when they take the time to become a part of the community at large. I’ve been using WordPress for almost 8 years now, but it isn’t the WordPress ecosystem that interests me. It’s the people.
Cloudways: You are a mother of four. How do you manage your work and family together?
Sarah Pressler: Well the wonderful thing about working remotely is that you can create a life that supports family culture, work commitments, and personal goals. One doesn’t need to be juxtaposed to another.
The incredible thing about working in WordPress is that you see this lifestyle, this model of the home as the center of productivity, exemplified in many families and to be honest—it’s quite the norm. I think by keeping all the different things, one might be interested in pursuing compartmentalized lifestyle. It is unhealthy—and not to mention stressful—way of living. The best life is a balanced one. That’s my motto and I work hard to stick to it!
Cloudways: What is the background of Happy Joe? What do you do for them?
Sarah Pressler: Happy Joe helps US Military Veterans and their spouses develop skills and resources necessary for launching their own WordPress-based businesses. We help them in finding work-at-home jobs using the skills and resources gained through web technology training. We are a team of volunteers passionate about helping others, about doing work that matters, and about changing lives.
Cloudways: Other than work and children, what do you do in your spare time? Any interest in music or sports?
Sarah Pressler: In my spare time? What’s spare time!? No, but seriously, I love to take weekend road trips with my children. I love to spend a date night at a ballet. I love to go to the movies with my girlfriends and just relax and have fun.
I enjoy nature hikes. I love taking the kayak out. Once a week, I teach a ballet class to military women at the ballet studio I grew up dancing in when I was a kid. The children and I are about to start training for spring running season. And… then… of course, I have my little Etsy shop where I sell oilcloth stuff and I’m about to start sewing dresses. I love sewing dresses for little girls!
Cloudways: Human beings always get inspired by someone influential. Who inspired you the most in the WordPress industry? Name any five people.
Sarah Pressler: The first time I heard Carrie Dills speak at WordCamp Austin in 2013 (my first WordCamp!) I was in awe! She wasn’t talking about anything complex or super technical. She was talking about customer service and the importance of customer service in your WordPress business. I thought: “Now here’s a gal who knows what is important!” That was the moment I knew I wanted to find out more about this whole “WordPress community.”
Then, at the same WordCamp, I got to hear Cory Miller talk. I’d been using iThemes products for years, but I really hadn’t ever thought about the person behind the product. I was moved. He was talking about the importance of having a personal mentor. He was talking about how he had been going to see a counselor for a while and what a blessing it was to him and his family. He was so transparent, and raw, and real, and honest. I knew this was a man worth learning more about. I was thrilled to find out I had been using a product built by a man with integrity. That meant a lot to me. Again, I was completely in awe of this little WordPress Community I was discovering.
There have been so many people in the community who have really influenced me. Others would include Diane Kinney who listens, mentors, and encourages without asking for a thing in return! Then there is Chris Lema who is widely known for his generous friendship, wisdom, and cigars. He is always available anytime I need help and I hope that one day I can return the favor.
Most importantly, I would name Paul Clark and Taylor Aldridge as the most influential people in my life for the past two years. Without Paul and Taylor, I wouldn’t even know such a thing as a “WordPress community” existed. They ushered me in and have become my family over the past two years. I genuinely love both of them.
Cloudways: You love to help people. Do you have any plans to return back to the community with your knowledge and work? What are your goals for the next few years?
Sarah Pressler: I’ve just launched a WPCareers website which I hope to move to a self-hosted account soon. I like to post all kinds of jobs for WordPress developers, designers, project managers, etc., on the site about once a month or so. I love to help people find work-at-home jobs, specifically within the WordPress economy. I actively help people get their names to the front of the job hunt line with some of the bigger agencies. And, I get nothing in return for any of this except this good feeling of helping other. I know when I was looking for a work-at-home job, having a little help went a long way. I hope that I can continue to give back to the community like this for the next year or two.
Apart from that, I want to speak at a few more WordCamps on career development within the WordPress ecosystem. I want to build out the WPCareers website and I want to continue helping James grow Happy Joe.
Follow Sarah Pressler on Twitter.
Start Creating Web Apps on Managed Cloud Servers Now
Easy Web App Deployment for Agencies, Developers and E-Commerce Industry.