I’ve been using Joomla and participating in the community for a long while, but my involvement with the Joomla community went to an entirely new level in 2015. Joomla has been a never ending source of opportunities in my business and there is no question my life would be much different had I not discovered it. I could have never imagined a piece of software I started learning to make some extra money would have such a huge impact on my life. I can honestly say that 2015 was the best year of my life because of Joomla, but the road to get here was difficult. But without the struggles I faced along the way the success could have never happened.
I went to college for music and psychology. I got plenty of computer experience in college working as a music lab tech, but it was mostly music experience and I had very little experience in websites or coding. A career as a playing musician is difficult financially so I expanded into marketing and promotions. I started with websites the same way a lot of people do, making DreamWeaver table sites and doing designs for MySpace pages - back when those were things. I eventually learned how to do things the right way and the more I learned the more it seemed I had a knack for it. Much to my surprise, it quickly turned into a full time business outside of the music industry. It wasn’t long before I started looking for ways to let my clients to update their own content. After trying a few CMS options I stumbled across Joomla and it instantly made sense to me for some reason so I stuck with it.
I first started using Joomla 1.5 around 2007. The first Joomla site I ever built used the default 1.5 template called Milky Way, designed by Andy Miller. I found quickly that one can only use the same template for so long and I was getting too busy to make a custom design for every project, so I started looking at template club solutions. I immediately found a template club called Rocket Theme, owned by Andy Miller. I immediately loved the designs and the tons of options the templates had, plus I knew the templates were built by a Joomla professional. I had a lot of success with the combination of Joomla and Rocket Theme and started down the long road of building a website business.
Even though I had some websites under my belt, I was a rookie and Joomla was the only platform I knew. My experience was low and the market for what I did wasn’t always steady. So I kept learning as much as I could. My life was changing and money was more important than ever. My music career was pretty much over and I was engaged to be married. I started looking at jobs in my area and I was lucky to get a job at a WordPress firm that had a Joomla site or two on the roster. It was a bit over my head and I knew it, but my CSS skills helped me stick around for awhile. I dived into learning WP and PHP, both of which quickly became new passions. Along the way I got some real world experience with corporate web development. I gave it my best shot but I just couldn’t learn fast enough and I was let go. That's never fun but I walked away with some new skills that would end up opening some new doors.
The timing of this transition was a bit unfortunate. I had just gotten married and closed on a house just a few weeks before. Things at home got a bit shaky at that point and started going downhill. I knew I had a lot of new responsibilities to handle but I was determined to make it work so I continued freelancing and exploring new job options.
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