Photo by Roberto Cortese
This September I joined the SiteGround team. This was a move from freelancing to working for a big company. I was a little anxious about such a serious change. However, it actually felt like quite a natural development. Now, as part of the SiteGround team, I will spend even more time doing what I truly love - being actively involved with the WordPress community. For the past few years I have organized regular WordPress meetups and a WordCamp in my hometown - Torino, Italy. I have also participated in the organization of WordCamp Europe. Now I will continue to be part of these and even more WordPress events. I will keep sharing my experience and volunteering with my time for the WordPress community. What is new is that I will also be part of one of the most amazing teams I have previously only met at WordCamps -- the people of SiteGround. Read below to see how I've ended up here and what is coming.
Since I was a kid, I have always been involved in some kind of community activities. Maybe because I am an only child or because I was always a bit of an outsider in the official activities (school, after school clubs), I always craved the company of like-minded people. I joined and created groups since the age of six basically.
When my son was born I joined a group that would forever change my life, both professionally and personally. My involvement with WordPress started with a knitting club. Yes. No coding classes, no WordCamps: just a community of ladies knitting blankets for preemies. They all had a blog. Why didn’t I have a blog? Soon I found myself helping other people setting up their blogs and websites. A new career was born.
But I felt alone. I read all the small business blogs in the USA and found the advice not easily translatable for the Italian market. What a girl gotta do? Create a new online community for female creative entrepreneurs in Italy, obviously.
And then I met the WordPress.org open source project. For years I made a living from WordPress and the thought I could contribute to it never crossed my mind. A friend helped me get started with volunteer translation work. Then I found out that there was a Community team where I could organize things and help other people through mentorship and I knew I had found my people. That is how I got involved with all the meetups and WordCamps so far.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw SiteGround was looking for someone to be their representative in the WordPress community!
I loved making websites and the interaction with my clients. However since a while I felt I wanted to do more: help more people, reach out further, bring more people together. How do you do that as a one-woman show? You can’t. The freelance business model unfortunately isn’t easily scalable. The natural evolution is building your own products but then you miss out on the one-to-one interactions and I need that as my balcony herbs need their sun and water.
I know SiteGround from the incredible support they give to the WordPress community around the world. Sponsoring and speaking at WordCamps, organizing events, SiteGround is always there to help and support the growing WordPress community.
Since joining the company I feel right at home. Every Monday we have a team breakfast for a power start of the week. It’s an office tradition that gives us a high charge of energy. We put it into everything we do, especially helping clients and the different communities we support.
My first event as a SiteGrounder
On the weekend of September 23 and 24 I attended the Freelancecamp in Italy. In the past six years I worked as a freelance web designer and I was always very vocal about the life of independent workers. From writing books to running blogs and speaking at conferences, most people at the event knew me as an outspoken voice for freelancers in Italy. Coming back as a representative for a big company I was a little worried: will they respond well to my changed status, will they be curious about it, will they accept me in the community even if I am not one of them anymore? All fears disappeared when I stepped into the venue (a bar on the beach by the way, not too shabby!): people seemed to accept the change quite positively as it turned out many of them were already happy SiteGround.it customers.
In the next few months I’ll be traveling and speaking at a lot of events around the world. Come meet me at one of the booths, but be ready: I am a chatter and a hugger. In fact, my colleague Hristo suggested we should have a party parrot chatter as my avatar in the company Slack channel. If you have a good one, send it our way!