I am Freddy Muriuki, a freelance WordPress blogger and part-time web designer. While it’s somewhat difficult to write about myself, I will try my best to give you a glimpse, however slight, into my beautiful WordPress life. It’s a look back on the beautiful life you so graciously helped me build.
It all started in December 2008, when I discovered WordPress.com. Of course, before then, I had grown an unquenchable interest in all things web design when I started working in a cyber cafe back in 2007, a few months after graduating high school. More about this in a moment.
Long before web design, or even WordPress, I knew I wanted to write. When I was just 12 years old, I put together my first short story; The Adventures of Ronnie and Friends, which later disappeared from my locker under mysterious circumstances. At that tender age, I never for once thought I would eventually put bread on the table writing, or rather blogging.
Before I discovered blogging though, I would write short stories, poems, letters and whatever, and later mail (and much, much later email) them to friends and lovers. I loved pouring thoughts into words, and before long I was addicted to just how much I achieved simply by putting pen to paper. I’m talking about romantic conquests here, the dream of every young man. Of course, it helped my grades as well.
When I went to high school, I forgot all about writing for three good years before finally deciding to pick up the craft and write the second installment of “Ronnie and Friends”. After graduating, a year later, I put writing on the back burner when I went to work as an a UT teacher. However, my saving grace came in the form of a cyber cafe attendant job I landed a few months later.
At the cyber cafe, a lot happened. The opportunity opened my eyes to a whole new world. I met so many people, both online and offline. One of the people I met online, God bless him, introduced me to SEO writing. At the same time, since I had unlimited access to the internet, I developed an intense love for web design, which I kept learning day in, day out.
By the time I left for university, a couple of months later, I was an underpaid SEO writer, and a beginner web designer. I had learned some C++ too, so yeah, I was already having fun with computers and writing. The erratic and meager pay from SEO writing didn’t bother me one bit, and I can’t recall whether that’s because I was fresh in university with some savings on the side, or simply because I enjoyed writing.
I joined the university in the month of November, 2008, and by December the same year, I was writing regularly in the evenings. All my writing centered around SEO, and a few other mundane topics. Then I discovered WordPress.com by chance (or is it fate?) and started a free blog.
However, I would go long periods without posting on the blog since I had school work on one hand, and SEO writing on the other. At the same time, I was still confused about what I wanted to do with my life, even if I had enrolled in what many would consider a prestigious and lucrative course. By the second year, balancing school work and SEO writing was taking a toll on me. I was torn between coursework and writing full-time, especially since the pay from SEO writing was getting better.
I could not drop out, because I had no balls, and felt my folks wouldn’t have any of that. After soul searching, I decided to dedicate more time to writing and learning the code, sometimes at the expense of my classes. Then I spent the next three years
partying like crazy researching and deciding whether I should drop out and work on my craft full-time, or just tough it out, and spend the rest of my life regretting for not taking my chances.
I was updating my free WordPress.com blog now and then, without any real plan, and since I was busy studying for exams and stuff, I had little time to make any real progress. Then I put together a team of writers to help with the work load, freeing enough time to do actual research into how to make money blogging.
In the last quarter of 2011, I chanced upon a couple of blogs (Location 180 and Leaving Work Behind among others) that advocated for the kind of lifestyle I always dreamed of. I became a firm believer of the principles taught on these blogs, which revolve around integrating work into your life, so seamlessly, you hardly can tell the which is which. Work to live, not live to work right?
After following these bloggers for a while, I had the materials and the spirit I needed to start my very own online business. At the same time, I had learned more about WordPress, the free version, but the idea of a self-hosted blog was still so alien to me. What that means is, I simply didn’t know my way around servers, and how to install scripts and such.
So I dedicated a couple of hours per day to learning more about self-hosted WordPress, and in December 2012, I launched my first WordPress site. I remember the day so well. Not because I made a huge deal out of it, but because I was so excited to own my own website. My first few readers comprised of friends and readers from my free WordPress.com blog.
I started my self-hosted blog with ten posts and a couple of pages with the clear objective of teaching other online entrepreneurs what I knew about SEO and creating effective web content. This doesn’t discount the fact that I had no idea who my target audience was.
I started with a shred of an idea, but I was so motivated after reading and re-reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Some of my friends thought I was crazy to “peg my future” on a mere eBook. I wasn’t discouraged, and even though I had no idea what I was doing, I kept hacking away, writing and scrambling along.
If I could build a readership, the plan was to then start offering web content creation services to the online entrepreneurs I would attract to the blog. I kept posting to the blog, working on it every day, while still doing business with my SEO clients. I needed the SEO money to support my otherwise outlandish party life in college. What? It’s college. Plus I was having so much fun working for myself!
By the time I discovered The Problogger Job Board thanks to Tom Ewer, my blog had taken shape, in that I could showcase to potential clients. It was a lifesaver, the job board, because the pay was way better than what I was making from SEO writing.
I submitted my first application, and that was the beginning of another chapter in my life. I had no idea I would later on become a WordPress blogger when I submitted that first application in the last quarter of 2013, but that first blogging job opened doors to a whole new world of WordPress opportunities. I never looked back ever since, and I’m glad I never did. In fact, most of my work today revolves around WordPress. I dabble in web design, and internet marketing, but still, WordPress carries the day for me.
I have worked with a number of great WordPress clients since 2013, and I must confess, the job has been as enjoyable as it’s lucrative. It has been a great learning opportunity that has allowed me to meet so many beautiful people. You, my dear reader, are one of these beautiful people.
Every morning, I look forward to sharing my little world with you via WordPress blogging. When I share experiences, tips or tutorials, and move you closer to your goals, that there is the epitome of my beautiful WordPress life. When you come to the comment section, and share your opinion and ideas, I can’t help but feel incredibly humbled. You make my WordPress life beautiful.
When you lovingly spread our posts via social media, it’s easy to feel great, but only because you’re helping us reach out, and help more people. When I wake up in the morning, and before I go back to bed, all I want to do nowadays is put pen to paper, and come through for you, if only to share one extra tip, one extra idea concerning this platform we both love so much.
I’ve never fallen in love with a platform so much as I have with WordPress, but that’s because you, my dear reader, have been by my side all along. She swept me off my feet since day one, WordPress, in the process helping me build a thoroughly stimulating blogging business. WordPress might be the engine, but you are the beauty of my WordPress life.
And that’s because without you, I would cease to exist – I would be irrelevant. You made me what I am, and in the process, you helped me become who I am. You are the beauty of my WordPress life.
Resources I used Along the Way
The following tools and resources were invaluable to me while building my WordPress blogging business:
- Great WordPress themes – You need a professional WordPress theme to standout. I’ve used WPExplorer themes since I started.
- Trello because you need to keep your projects organized. Thanks a lot to Dev Sharma for introducing me to this great service.
- Symple Shortcodes for the nice extras (e.g. accordions, buttons, callouts, testimonials etc) you need to stand out.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast, because SEO is an important ingredient if you’re trying to make it online.
- Google Analytics to track web traffic
- Akismet to keep the bad guys out. See also, Top 10 WordPress Profanity Filters and Spam Blocking Plugins.
- Great and affordable WordPress hosting. See also, How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting
- Great domain hosting by Namecheap. I host all my domain names here, since I started, and I have never had a single reason to complain.
- A pen and a notebook are my favorite tools so far. I write all my post down on paper first, because I want to preserve that aspect (feeling) of writing. What? Every person to their methods.
- A slew of social media plugins because you need to share your awesome blog content
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for the motivation, and crafting that master plan you know you need.
- Leaving Work Behind by Tom Ewer. Tom will show you how to build a lucrative blogging business, even if you failed English, and suck at everything else in life. He’s been of great help.
- Location 180 because Sean Ogle believes in lifestyle re-design. He will show you exactly how to build a business, live anywhere, and achieve freedom.
- WordPress.com – Start here to own a free WordPress blog in less than 5 minutes.
- WordPress.org – Start here if you are interested in learning more about WordPress.
I will keep updating this list in the comments, so be on the look out! However, if you’re looking for more WordPress resources for your own professional toolkit, please feel free to check out:
- WordPress Toolkit: WordPress Resources for Users & Developers
- WordPress Resources: Best WordPress Podcasts
- 10 WordPress Resources you Need to Bookmark Right Now
- The Best WordPress Tools & Resources for Freelancers
What Does the Future Hold for Us?
While writing about WordPress will remain my number love, I plan to dabble in WordPress theme development in the near future. This will let me put my web design skills into good use, while giving back to the community that has given me so much.
I will continue blogging about WordPress because as the platform proliferates in the market, more people need to learn how best to use it to further their ambitions. Just like I learnt from others, I will keep the spirit of sharing alive, so we can all look back one day in the future, and see the great works we’ve achieved together.
I didn’t come this far all by myself. I had a lot of help along the way. My WordPress blogging journey wouldn’t be this much fun were it not for a few special people who have been really awesome. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Kyla Glover, AJ Clarke, Tom Ewer, Kevin Muldoon, Dev Sharma, Sean Ogle, and most importantly, you my dear reader. Thank you for the awesome support and standing by my side since day one. You are all gracious souls, and have impacted my life in ways you’ll never know or imagine.
After being employed twice, I knew for sure I would suck big time as an employee. I knew I wanted to run my own business, and have fun while doing it. I had no idea where that would take me, but I took my leap of faith, and while the journey has been (and still is) challenging, I get to enjoy working whenever and from wherever. Well, I haven’t got myself to work in pjs yet, but that’s story for another day.
Today, I want to say a BIG thank you for being a big part of what makes my WordPress life beautiful. I solemnly pray and hope that you’ll also create the life of your dreams. Thanks so much amigo. See you around…