Q&A with WordPress expert Carrie Dils

Q&A with Carrie dils

One morning, when I lived in Fort Worth, TX, I was going to work. It was sometime in the late 2000s, maybe in 2008.

I needed coffee. The powers to be had built a Starbucks on my way to work, so I swung by for a quick cup of joe. When I walked in, this young lady, one of the baristas, was singing.

I called her the “Singing Barista.” She had a fun, energetic personality.

A few years later, I relocated to Arkansas, my home state. I began to delve even more into the WordPress arena.

I began using the Genesis Theme Framework. One of the people I learned from quite a bit was Carrie Dils.

She was smart, had an engaging personality, and always willing to answer questions. Eventually, she started the Office Hours podcast, which became a community for many of us.

What does this have to do with the “Singing Barista.”

Well, I learned over time that Carrie used to work at Starbucks in Fort Worth. Somehow when I lived in Fort Worth, to my knowledge, I never met Carrie.

Living in a small state, it seems impossible. I often wondered if Carrie was the “Singing Barista” that morning.

Did you know that Carrie can play the guitar and sing? Yup, she has a song on Youtube called the “Scope Creep Blues.”

She may not have been the “Singing Barista,” but she could be called the “Singing WordPresser.”

Today we chat with Carrie. She answered a few of my questions. What did we learn?

  • Her biggest struggle as an entrepreneur
  • Why she loves to go paddleboarding
  • What she wishes she knew before starting her business
  • Her advice to a new website designer
  • Her two favorite tools
  • Her top three pieces of advice for WordPress professionals
  • The one thing she would like to see improved in the WordPress world

Without further adieu. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Carrie Dils.

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?

Focus. There are so many things I can do. The challenge for me is focusing on the activities that add tangible value to my business.

What do you do for fun? What are your favorite hobbies?

In the warm months, I love going to a lake and paddleboarding. Being on the water is peaceful, and it clears my mind. Other than that, I’m kinda boring. I like reading books, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

Why did you decide to start making courses and learning training material?

Through writing on my blog and presenting at local meetups/conferences, I learned that I have a knack for explaining concepts in a relatable way. It’s totally gratifying to hear someone tell me that I’ve helped them have an “aha” moment or accomplish something they wanted to do. As long as somebody’s still paying attention, I’ll keep creating educational content.

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

I wish I knew more about the logistics of actually running a business (i.e., how to deal with taxes, legal structure, accounting, etc.). I started back in 1998 — finding information online was nothing like it is now. Those were all lessons I just learned along the way (some of them were painful lessons!)

If you were advising a new website designer, what would you tell him or her?

Find a community of people who do what you do (or are in the vicinity of what you do). You’ll learn from them, make new friends, and possibly find new work. Use Meetup.com or social media to find web designers that meet locally or online.

Carrie Dils
Carrie Dils

What tools can you not live without?

I love the Todoist app for keeping track of to-dos and Toggl (plus the browser add-on) for tracking my time. Toggl also has a Pomodoro timer that works well to keep me focused (and remind me to take breaks).

What are your top three pieces of advice for other WordPress Professionals?

In no particular order:

– Get involved with the WordPress community, be it a Facebook group, a local Meetup, WordCamp, or whatever.
– Be helpful to others. When you share your knowledge with others, you develop a reputation for helpfulness and competence in your domain. Help will come back to you when you need it.
– Stay up to date with industry happenings through podcasts, WordPress news sites, etc.

How do you want to see WordPress improve?

I’d like to see more transparency in the relationship between Automattic/Matt Mullenweg and WordPress. There’s a WordPress Governance project that’s tried to get off the ground this year. I’d like to see that happen.

Wrapping it up

Many of us have learned a lot from Carrie Dils in the past few years. She teaches others through her blog posts, her podcasts, her presentations, her leadership, and of course, professional courses.

You can find one of her courses on Lynda.com and see many of her free content at her website, CarrieDils.com.

Carrie also has a freelancer course where she teaches freelancers the basics of running a business.

Thanks for answering the questions, Carrie!

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys

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