What I learned at WordCamp US 2022 (for my business)
I had two main objectives while I was attending WordCamp US this year. I was there to learn things for my clients, but I was also there to learn as a business owner. I’m happy to say the event was an excellent experience for both of my goals. In this blog post, I will share the top lessons I learned throughout the conference.
1 – The members of WebCami Cafe are the BEST!
Getting to spend time with so many people in our Facebook group was the best part of attending WordCamp. I had not seen anyone (other than Ann Marie) in person since WordCamp St. Louis in October of 2019. Granted, it’s still great to connect with folks on Zoom from time to time, but the experience of eating dinner together and talking shop is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
We not only had great dinners, but we also attended the GoDaddy party together. It was at the Air and Space Museum and just a fantastic setting. We had the whole place to ourselves. We got to catch up on so many things together over tacos.
Philip suggested we start doing a monthly or quarterly Cafe Zoom gathering to chat. What do you think?
2 – It’s time to rip the bandaid off and turn off the Classic Editor
A lesson learned for both my list for my business and my clients. Matt Mullenweg made it crystal clear that the block editor isn’t going anywhere, and it’s best to leave the Classic Editor behind. Philip was brave enough to ask a question about it. He took one for the team! This isn’t affecting me that much because I use Beaver Builder, but this blog post is now appearing via the “classic block.” Baby steps.
I don’t see myself building a whole website using the block editor, but I will slowly get my clients up to speed with blogging. I’ve been doing that on my WebCami website for over a year.
3. The WordPress community is filled with great people
Outside of our cafe members, I also interacted with company owners, corporate employees, writers, and other designers/developers like me, just attending to better their knowledge. When you own your own business, there is just magic in finding other people who do what you do and share your highs and lows as a business owner.
It was especially nice to connect again with my friends at GoDaddy. San Diego was the first WordCamp US I attended independently (not part of the GoDaddy team). Still, I often gravitated to their booth in the sponsors’ area. Our Facebook Group was formed on the connections made at the GoDaddy Pro Summit in 2017. I will always be grateful for GoDaddy.
4. WordCamp is quality networking
I learned many things in the sessions at WordCamp, but I learned the most helpful advice in my private conversations with friends old and new at WordCamp. Maybe it’s because I was in BNI for so long that I see networking opportunities as the biggest reason to attend WordCamp. There is no shortage of advice and camaraderie in our conversations outside sessions (the Hallway Track). It felt great.
You also get to chat it up with the creators of your favorite plugins. Ann Marie and I spent time talking to the creators/employees of ManageWP, Gravity Forms, WP Forms, and most notably, Beaver Builder. We felt a bit like fan girls! Everyone is gracious and open to learning about how you use their products.
One networking tip for anyone considering attending WordCamp in the future is to get going on Twitter! I was so happy to meet others I interact with on Twitter for the first time in person. It helped me to know more people than ever before at this conference.
5. Expanding your knowledge makes you a better business owner
I remember when I first heard about WordCamp. At the time, it was just the annual meeting for WordCamp in San Francisco. I always wanted to go but didn’t want to spend the money. After all, my business was just getting started, and every penny counted. So when I finally made it to my first WordCamp Seattle in 2013, the number of things I learned blew my mind. I instantly knew I needed to make time for my local WordCamp.
In 2017, I expanded to attending WordCamp Portland and Sacramento. I came away with a new tip, technique, or strategy for my business each time. And a lot of new friends. So when GoDaddy asked me to attend WordCamp Nashville in 2018 as part of their team, I jumped at the chance. And I was officially hooked.
If you are a seasoned WordPress designer or a new developer, I urge you to start planning to attend at least your local WordCamp as they begin to reappear throughout the globe. Experiences like this make you grow. It helps you overcome imposter syndrome and find colleagues you can connect with.
One final thought. I can’t wrap up this post without thanking Ann Marie Gill. Ann Marie went to college in San Diego and rented a car for the trip. She chauffeured me around, picked restaurants, took me to the beach, and was my BFF the entire trip. We enjoyed downtime when we returned to my room to rest between sessions and braved the pool waterslide together. We’ve been friends for quite a long time, but we now know we can WordCamp US together. I will treasure our time in San Diego, Ann Marie!
I can’t wait until next time.
Mark your calendar for August 23-25 in National Harbor, Maryland: https://us.wordcamp.org/2022/announcing-wordcamp-us-2023/