How WebCami Found Her Groove as a WordPress Web Designer

How WebCami Found Her Groove as a WordPress Web Designer


– I picked up “HTML For Dummies”. And it was like, “Oh my God, this is what “I’m supposed to do with my whole life.” (upbeat music) She sends me this racy blog to post– – What, no wait, when you say racy. – It was alternative uses for dog toys. – Oh fantastic. (upbeat music) – The fact that there was naked people in the room was just… Wow! (upbeat music) – Hey everybody, welcome to the show. This is a show about messing up. This is a show about making mistakes. In general, I mean, we
also talk about lots of other things because, lets face it, I just like really getting to know people and you really like getting to know people and that’s what we’re gonna do. And tonight we have Cami
from WebCami Site Design. She is a working, very busy, web business and, for me, that’s been
pretty rare these days. So, I’m excited to find out more, let’s get on with the show. (upbeat music) Hey everybody, welcome to the show! I am here with Cami from WebCami
Site Design, is that right? – That’s correct! (gasping)
You got it. – Like it’s that hard,
WebCami Site Design. – Yeah. (laughing)
– To put that together. Tell us a little bit about what you do. – Well, I’m a web designer
here in Seattle, Washington and I build websites for small
businesses and non-profits. – Oh very cool.
– Yeah. – Only small businesses? Is that what you’ve
done your whole career? – It’s pretty much what
I’ve done my whole career. I kinda am working for
other small businesses like myself to work with. But occasionally I’ll get a big fish like, you know a large charity
or something like that. – Yeah, so like a non-profit still? – Yes, yeah. St. Vincent de Paul in
Seattle is one of my clients. – You know what, (gasps)
this is so interesting. One of the only websites
I ever made money on, building a website,
was St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, Arizona. – Oh cool! – And I’m sure they do
not use what I made, like, I dunno, 15 years ago. – Oh yeah. – So did you build your
first site in notepad? – It was a really old, I think
it was called Arachnophobe– – I know what you’re
talking about! Arachnophobe. I love it, I love it! – I know it’s one of those… Weird names (laughs)
– Arachnophobia. It was that thing. – It was kinda like that. But it would change colors for you and help you do all your– – Oh it has the color syntax – Yes.
– That came out? Super helpful.
– Yeah, that was cool. – ‘Cause you were like,
“Why isn’t this working? “Oh I forgot to close a tag. – Right.
– “Again.” – I remember working in Front
Page for like, you know, but would only use the code side because it had really good color contrast. – Yeah, ’cause it would
do this… (laughs) we get so excited about
syntax highlighting. Right now there are people watching, they’re like, “Nope, I’m done”. (both laughing) “I have no idea what
they’re talking about.” I’m so excited, I’m like,
“Oh I remember that, “I remember that.”
– Yeah. – You have been doing this
for a while, that’s great! – A really long time. I love WordPress.
– Kindred spirits. – Yes.
– Oh my gosh. – I am so glad that came
around and so much easier now. – Was that the first CMS that you used or did you use, like
Movable Type or Typepad? – Oh no, WordPress was
the first one I used. – That was the first one? And that’s the one that
you’ve even continued with? – Yeah. – You lucked out. – I did, I didn’t pick
something else, yes. (upbeat music) – Tell me how you got into it, did you do print work previous to this? Did you do other types of design work previous to the internet stuff? – Well, not really, do
you remember a company in Seattle called Jay Jacobs? – Jay Jacobs? Oh the clothing store? – A retail clothing store. – Jay Jacobs,
– Do you remember them? – Yeah I totally remember Jay Jacobs. – I know you’re from Idaho. So I figure you probably knew them. – Jack do you remember Jay Jacobs? – I do. – [Shawn] Did you buy
clothes at Jay Jacobs? – I did not. (laughing) – Yeah, didn’t have the $99
men’s suit at Jay Jacobs. – No, so did you– – I worked for that company,
I was an allocation analyst, which I was one of the people that decided how much
inventory a store would get. – [Shawn] Yeah. – And so it was very computer… You know, paradox and
it was one of those jobs where you’re just analyzing
numbers all the time. But when I was in high
school a year book editor and I did graphic design in college and so, how I fell into
this is I had a kid and I didn’t want to work at Jay Jacobs, I worked at Eddie Bauer too for a while, but it was super long hours and traveling and everything and I wanted
something I could do from home. – [Shawn] Yeah. – So, I picked up “HTML For Dummies”. And it was like, “Oh my God, this is what “I’m supposed to do with my whole life.” and I enrolled in school at
Seattle Community College and here I am. – Oh my god, so from Jay
Jacobs, Eddie Bauer to there– – [CAMI] Stay home mom – [SHAWN] Holy cow! – I couldn’t just be a stay at home mom, it was driving me nuts so – So did you start
right out of your house? – I sure did! I started at
home, I started volunteering all over my community in west Seattle, and I did preschools and little league, and The Seattle School
District use to allow people to hire somebody to do
an actual school website so I did Schmitz Park
Elementary, Alki Elementary, and so that was how I, kind of started getting traction,
was volunteering. – Backing up even further then, you did design work with the yearbook, when you were in high school? – Yeah I was totally,
when I was a little kid, I wanted to be Darrin
Stephens, on Bewitched. Like I saw those reruns, right? I’m not quite that old, but– – That wasn’t the astronaut? That was different one?
Right? Yeah? – No, no he was an advertising agent. And he had like a big
pad of paper, you know? And he would show,
anyway, go watch a rerun. – No, the astronaut was
from I Dream of Jeannie. – Yes, that’s different.
– I know, I got you I like Bewitched.
– Yeah so, I used to make signs, my
parents had their own business and I would make little
advertisements for them, and so– – Would the, this is really,
of course they would use them Did they use the signs that you made? – Well, they hung them up in their shop, I don’t they– – They weren’t like “oh let’s
go make a million of these!” – But you know it was like
a Snoopy drawing with like– and that kind of thing. – What was the business
that they were running? – My parents made hand bags
and did arts and crafts fairs all over the state of
California for 30 years. – Oh my god, so they would
travel to different festivals? – [CAMI] Yeah. – So they would travel
to different festivals and things like that?
– Yep – Yeah they did the
Gilroy Garlic Festival, like all the big ones in California. – Wait, I don’t even know what
the Gilroy Garlic Festival is – You don’t know what that is? It’s huge! – No, no I just like that you
were like “all the big ones” in California.
– Yeah, but it was a big one. – It is the Garlic Festival.
– The Garlic Festival is huge! Yeah, but it was really good, I learned how to sell, and that has been a really important part of my business because I’m not just the
behind the computer person, I’m also the salesman for my business – Well, you have to.
This is the first time that I’ve seen you drink, it’s behind you. – (Cami giggles) Jack, are you? I think you’re ready – Oh, I’m ready. – He’s ready, what are we drinking? – We’re drinking the most
wonderful, tasty, delicious drink called the Spark and Snaps, we got some gin here, some aqauvit, pretty flowers, – Oh wow. – Bergamot, the tastiest of all tasties. – Wow, that’s beautiful. – Wait, what’s, what’s bergamot Jack? – [CAMI] Citrus fruit. – That’s right! It’s citrus. – House made lime,
rosemary shrub, maraschino. – Wow, I wore the right jacket. (laughter erupts) – Oh, are we going to say cheers? Is that what we’re going to do? – Yeah, cheers.
– All right, Cheers. (Cups clink)
– There’s a straw. – It’s to Netscape. – To Netscape, oh wait we have to do it! – Oh okay. – To Netscape!
– To Netscape! (Shawn laughs) – Oh, I know there are nerds everywhere rejoicing that we said– – Oh, that’s good., yeah.
– Okay, web design, business, speaking from personal experience, – Yes. Not an easy gig to kind of continue with, you started off pretty early, there were like web masters everywhere, like all over the place,
how did you differentiate, or, create a career out
of that when you’ve got “Hey, I have a kid in a basement that can build a website for me.” – Oh yeah, I still get
that, I still get that. I am, well, I think finding
my business name WebCami ended up being a really great thing to do. – [SHAWN] Really? – Cause in my neighborhood,
I’m the person that builds websites and people will
just call me WebCami, right? Because that’s what I do. – I call you WebCami.
(Cami giggling) – I almost introduced you as WebCami, instead of just Cami.
– It happens, it happens. But you know, I feel like
I just kept volunteering and kept, I just didn’t go away. I was just always there,
and I really focused on my local communities. And so, you know, just that community experience
really helped me build a good clientele. – So start at that smaller space and now you just have
your small community. – Right, start where you
live and really reach out tell all your friends what you’re doing. I mean I’ve done websites
for my friends in California, you know, it just, it’s a great way to get your name out there. – Is there any equivalent
that used to exist for the work that you do now, I think back in that time
frame, it probably would be sort of like year book stuff? – Yeah, totally.
– Magazines maybe? I learned layout skills
and things like that cause you really need to have some good, I think you need, good
print design skills, to be a good web designer, and you know, white space and using space
well and all that stuff. – Oh yeah.
– So I learned that. – What were the challenges that you saw when you first started that, I guess, from your past experience,
didn’t quite translate? What are the, what are sort of
the difficulties that you saw with designing for the
web that you didn’t see in designing for like yearbooks,
or print, previously? – Well, I guess you, I mean,
I know that you had the “what you see is what
you get” screen, right? But if you’re wanted to be
a coder, you were working in the other environment
and you’d have to just always be flipping back and forth to check on how things were balancing
when you were coding so, you know, that was kind
of an interesting piece to it. You know, I used to spend
house just making sure my navigation didn’t move one
pixel on every single page, and things like that, that just
used to take hours of time, that I don’t even pay attention to now, cause I don’t have to. – Well, like the JavaScript rollovers, when they first had them, right? – On mouse out, on mouse over.
– And they would come over and then you would see
like it’s a pixel off. – Oh yeah, and then you’d
be so upset, like why? – And you’d be like why, why is that– – I did the same thing,
why is it doing this? – Oh no, I know! – And then your each page had
all your header information versus – Oh right, because we didn’t
have includes at the time. – Right. (upbeat music) – I would say that the thing
that makes me cringe the most and when I look back on
starting my business, was when I first started using WordPress, and I had been building
sites in code, right? So now I have this dashboard, and they all the dashboards look the same – [SHAWN] Right. – So, I had more than one dashboard open. – Cause more than one website. – Yeah, I had like
thirty tabs open, right? (Shawn laughing)
Cause that’s how– I still do that, but I will
only have one website open now, because this happened. So I had a client who was a waxxer and she had a racey blog. You know this is a few years ago, she sends me this racy blog to post, – Okay, no wait, when you say racey? – It was alternative uses for dog toys. – Oh, fantastic!
– Okay, so I’m putting this blog post up for her and I hit publish and then
I click the URL to check it and it opens up and it wasn’t her blog! – Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god– – It was somebody else’s blog! So I instantly knew
that I made the mistake but I had the panicked feeling, right? And it was probably only up for 30 seconds so, like I instantly delete it. And then I’m just like
sweating it for like, I can’t believe I just did that but it was up for 30 seconds, I checked the Wayback
machine for a year because I was afraid! – I was just gonna say
the same thing, I was like “When does Wayback capture?” – I mean it would have
had to capture it at the very moment that I had published it. – Well, I’m a little disappointed. I love that you just said
you checked it because guess what I was gonna do
as soon as we were done? – What?
– Go to the Wayback machine. – Yeah, it’s not on
there, it’s not on there. – Like 100 percent. – But it was like the most
sinking feeling I have had as a business owner, like
how could I mess that up? Like it was just, it would
have been okay if I put it on the Doggy Daycare website, right? (Laughter Erupts) – No, no, no, no, no! On
the Doggy Daycare website! – But anyways, that was
a learning experience I do not work on more than
one website at a time. (upbeat music) – What is it that you don’t know, where you’ve just got to
pull in somebody else? Or have you just had to
boot strap and figure out everything across the board
for what you’re doing, to like, run an actual business? Like make a living in
doing what you’re doing? – Well, I try to stay in my lane, so I don’t take on a lot of projects that I’m not really 100% sure are right for me. And so that’s where all these
partnerships come in to play. – Is that a, like a lesson learned? – Oh big time, yeah. (Shawn laughing) Yeah, you know there’s nothing, you know, when you’re first
starting out your business you’re like, you get
opportunities, and you’re like “oh sure, you found that
theme on theme forest, I can do this!” And then,
you log in and you’re like “oh my god, I’ve never
seen anything like this, I don’t”– – You don’t even know who made the theme? It could be totally, yeah. – Yeah , yeah it could be
like they bought the theme and only three had been sold or something and like, there was no support. So, I developed my own system, and now if somebody comes to me, they’re going to get a website built with what I use and
they’re going to host it, where I recommend that they host it, and they’re going to get their
domain where I say, yeah. So, I just kind of, that
is totally a huge lesson that I wish I would have learned early cause I spun out trying
to do so many things that I just had no idea what I was doing. – I mean, that makes sense, it you’re like just doing it all on your own. So as soon as somebody
says like, “I have money, I will give it to you” You’re like “Okay,–” – Yeah, and when your starting, – “what do you want me to do?” or you know, they’d ask
you to make a business card and then you know, the
next thing you know, you’re doing their brochure and — (Shawn laughing) – And you’re still, and the
whole time you’re doing it you’re thinking ‘but I’m
really just a web designer, this is not what I want
to spend my day doing’ – So did you do brochures? – Oh yeah. – So, do you do that now? – Oh no! – You’re clear. – I’ve got my trusted partner (Cami and Shawn laughing) – Lindsay, you know, I have my go to – Thank you, Lindsay, and you go to her, for taking care of that stuff? – Yeah, that’s right. I send people to work with her directly. The more confident I
got in what I was doing, the easier it was for me to say no, to projects, cause we all,
I’m a people pleaser man. I wanna make people happy. – [SHAWN] Yeah – And so, of course, I got this
client, I did their website, now they want me to do a business card, I hate doing business
cards but I’m gonna do it cause I just love this client, you know. I spend fifteen hours
building a business card cause I’m not that good at it, you know? I spent longer on the business
card than the website. – Yeah, I would have done
the exact same thing. – Yeah. – For sure, for sure. – So, I think that’s just
something people learn over time. – Is there anything
that you would do, like, if you weren’t doing this,
do you have anything else where you have that inkling
of, “that looks like fun” is there something that
you might want to do? – I really think I am doing
exactly what I was meant to do. – You’re set. – I used to, when I was in high school, I wanted to be the yearbook lady that came to all the high schools to teach people, like the one rep.
– I wanna be the yearbook lady – I can tell you, Hearth Jones, it was the Hearth Jones representative. I thought that that was the coolest. – The Hearth Jones lady. – Yeah, I don’t know what
her title was, I was 17. I wasn’t paying that much attention. – Yeah, but you saw that
and you’re like “That’s it!” – Yeah, “Ou, that’s a great job!” – Sometimes I’ve seen designers, like, what you need to learn how to do, could translate into like gallery art. Like that type of stuff,
have you ever thought about– – I took fine art classes in college, I remember the first art
class where the nude model was and that was like amazingly bizarre to me because I went to a
private, Christian school and I, you know, the fact that
there was like naked people in the room was just.. wow! – I don’t know what I would do even now if they, I would be like twelve years old. – But I have like the, portfolio thing, and charcoal drawings, and the whole bit. – [SHAWN] Wow. – So yeah, I did art, a
little, but I like to do, I wanted to do magazines
and the advertising thing. I just knew that was in my blood. – Yeah. – But you had to do those
art classes and then, well, I hate to date myself, but
the computer was like in a you know, clean room, it
was this giant IBM thing so, you know, what I do now didn’t even exist when I was in college. – You talked a lot about, or little about, I mean it made sense, on
building your business was focused on community, so
in the space that you were in, the people that you were
working with, in that area, where you live. That’s like the physical community. I know that the WordPress
community was like, a pretty, pretty big deal , like
they’re pretty tight. – We have a really big
community in Seattle, there’s like 2800 members
in the WordPress meet-up. – Wow! – I cohost a WordPress
Fundamentals once a month, in Seattle, with another developer and we just help people that are
trying to figure out WordPress for the first time. – Yeah, and then, WordCamps. – Wordcamps, I love Woordcamps. How would you describe
WordCamps? Like for like, my mom? That has no idea what it
is, what would you say? – WordCamp is a, it’s like a seminar, for people who use WordPress and it’s not only people who build websites, it’s people who use them,
and like big agencies, and companies like GoDaddy and, you know, everybody comes together
and learns about WordPress and running a WordPress business
and then we go to karaoke. (laughs) You’ve gotta go into this
tiny little dive bar, in Missouri, you just don’t
get those experiences. It was the best karaoke
bar I had ever been to. It was awesome, there was
a bride doing karaoke. – What? – In her wedding dress, and
they were like the whole crowd. It was like a concert. It was so cool. – That’s amazing. So look, look what you get for working with WordPress. You get to see a bride, dive
bar, peanuts on the floor, – Yeah.
– singing her heart out. – That’s how I roll. (Laughs) – Thank you for being on the show. – Oh, thank you so much.
I had a great time! – [SHANE] This is a lot of fun, how are you feeling, good? – I’m feeling good. – Well one more, one more toast. – One more drink, thank you. – Oh what were we saying? Oh, Netscape! – What else could we– – Uh, what’s an old one? – Ask Jeeves? I don’t know – Ask Jeeves? Let’s do that! – Ask Jeeves
– Ask Jeeves, that’s great. Thanks Cami for being on the show, that was great and I have been drinking, so I am slurring my speech a little bit. If you want to see more
people like Cami on the show then, subscribe, ring the
bell, do that type of stuff, and we’ll show up in
your YouTube whatever. And if you have a of your own
and you wanna be on the show go to effup.com, we
would love to have you. (upbeat music)


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