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In this weeks episode of The #PressForward Podcast by WP&UP we’ll be hearing from two guests; Laura Nelson and Matt Medeiros.
Laura shares some of her experiences of dealing with mental ill health and how the agency she works for, Pragmatic, supported her. She’ll talk about her experience in dealing with anxiety and panic attacks.
She’ll also share some of the positive, people centric management techniques that have helped her to transition back into a regular working day.
Our second guest on the show, Matt, a member of the Pagely family. Talks about his experiences of being self-employed, the challenges he faced, the highs and the lows. He talks candidly about his thoughts on the WordPress community, WordCamps and what he’d like to see going forward.
Both guests talk about their personally experiences and share advice for those facing challenges with their well-being.
Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.
And remember… Together we can #PressForward
[00:00 Matt Medeiros] I’m my own worst enemy in terms of like anxiety and stress. How do I find more business? How do I, you know, do my pricing? How do I find better clients? How do I find bigger clients? Did I make the sale? Did I lose the sale? Payroll, cashflow. So for me it’s like how do I get to the next step? We see all these agencies growing and hiring and then you just sit back and you’re like, we’re three people and we’re trying to, you know, at the time sell a website more than $3,000 so it’s not something I was ever able really to turn off in the early days. [00:40 Nathan Wrigley] A very warm welcome to episode four of the #PressForwrad Podcast from WP&UP, although it’s still early days, it’s been great to hear the feedback that you’ve provided about the subjects that we’ve covered thus far. We hope that you’ll find the topics that we cover to be both informative and useful. They may be something that you’ve had personal experience with and perhaps we’ll cover areas that you’d like some help with. WP&UP is a charity in the WordPress space with a mission to support our community. Our help is freely available at https://wpandup.org or you can call +44 (0)20 3322 1080 the support is structured into four hubs. They are mental health, physical health, skills health and business health. We know that admitting that we need help and support can sometimes be a real challenge. Many people like to carry on and assume that things will just get better by themselves. [01:54 Nathan Wrigley] We’re here to support you when you feel that you need a helping hand. Reach out to us and see how WP&UP can help you. The sharing of stories can be so useful and today we’re going to share stories from two people, Laura and Matt. Their stories touch on completely different topics, but they have a common purpose to make you aware that you’re not alone and that there are people out there who are going through the same things that you are. It’s about shining a light on subjects that are often kept in the dark, making things public and sharing your experience can really have an impact upon other people. If you think that you’d like to share your story on the podcast, then please visit https://wpandup.org/contact [02:50 Nathan Wrigley] So first up, we’re going to hear from Laura. She’s from the UK and has been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. I came across Laura from a video that I’d watched from WordCamp Europe. In that video, she very candidly explained what caused her to have panic attacks and how she managed them. So this is a trigger warning that we will be talking about anxiety and recovery if you are impacted by these subjects. You can skip this section, which is roughly six minutes in length. I started by asking Laura to explain the background to her panic attacks, how they started and how they affected her ability to work. [03:36 Laura Nelson] So in early 2017 I was signed off work for a period of four weeks in total, um, with severe anxiety. Prior to those four weeks I had, I wasn’t sleeping, I was having panic attacks. Wasn’t really sure what the, like why this is happening or if there’s a specific thing at work or at home that was causing this, so I went to the doctors they prescribed me some anti-anxiety medication, long period of time off work, which I was ordered to relax. Also they referred me to Mind here is another mental health charity, who would be able to work with me in getting myself back to work and not feeling anxious about the fact that I’d had this time off, which is quite a key point where the type of anxiety that I, uh suffer with is generalised anxiety that some of the things that bother me are; am I doing enough at work or um is the work I’m doing being seen and all that sorts of things. [04:41 Laura Nelson] So to then have time off, I think the doctor could see my face, it’s like oh no, you know, this isn’t going to help, I’m not doing things. Am I gonna get in trouble for that. Yeah. It was really good to work with that charity. And what this time off did was really make, it gave me time to reflect on how I was looking after myself or how I wasn’t looking after myself, so I started reading a lot more into anxiety and what you can do, like perhaps you can do everyday to kind of help it. And it gave me the opportunity to really sort of turn, turn my life around how I saw this. It was no longer a massive drain on me. It changed into being, almost like a puzzle. You know, when I um, uh, I spoke about it in my talk at WordCamp Europe, but I do this exercise where I list the things that are making me anxious and then I’ll try and find a solution to those, not a solution but a way of making that a bit easier for myself. [05:50 Laura Nelson] Turning it on its head and sort of looking at it like that has really, really helped me and since those four weeks off, I’m not going to say I haven’t ever been anxious ever again. It was, you know, it’s not that life changing, but I have learned to manage it in a way that is in, it doesn’t drain me anymore. I look at it as like small problems that break up and I find solutions to it and it’s actually got a really nice sense of achievement and doing that. Someone mentioned it somewhere on the Internet, I don’t even know what I was looking at. Um, it talked about keeping, this, they called it a worry diary. There’s no one, you know, one size fits all. You have to do what’s right for you. For me, that really, really worked and it just, the process of writing it down almost felt like it was like coming out of my head then and it’s somewhere else. [06:40 Laura Nelson] Um, you know, I know what I’m going to do with it. I know I will find a way of making it easier for myself and it always satisfied my anxious brain into me doing something about it. I am what you would have described as like a worry child [laughter] as a child. I worried about everything I was like in school reports and stuff, the term that was used to describe me for, I was like very conscientious, like meaning I really thought about things and it’s not necessarily a good thing cause I would over think things. And I think before, it’s probably only in the last less than 10 years, I’d say maybe five ish that I realized what it is. And before that it was, it’s a lot harder because it would impact what I did on a day to day basis. Little things like going out to see a friend that evening. [07:37 Laura Nelson] And if I was having a particularly bad day with feeling, I mean I wouldn’t know it was anxiety. I just felt like I just don’t, I just don’t want to do, I just don’t feel like I can do it. I didn’t feel that that was a good enough reason to give to a friend, you know, I do like, do you want to see, you know, there’s this weird feeling of just not wanting to do it. Pretty strong to the point where I’d be like, Oh, you know, I’ve got flu, I’ve got you know, bad tummy ache or something. I feel like lie and it’s always being there. That as I said, it’s probably only really in the last sort of, uh, maybe five to seven years that I’ve given it a name. That in itself was quite a relief, it’s like, oh, there’s no longer this weird thing that you know, takes over my head sometimes and I don’t know what to do about. Now as soon as you give it a name, it’s almost like, okay, well there’s things you can do about that. Starting to say that opened up more conversations with friends who were also experiencing like anxiety or depression, who again hadn’t spoken about it and it gave them some, oh actually, I, I feel like that sometimes too. And then so my support network then just grew instantly just bug me talking, you know, mentioning it’s friends, it’s pretty nice now. [08:56 Laura Nelson] If I’m never ever not feeling like doing something, I can just say; you know what I’m not feeling up to it or my anxiety is quite bad today, do you mind if we rescheduled to next week or something. The reaction is always “absolutely no problem, take care of yourself and let me know if you need anything”. It’s, it’s really, really nice. [09:22 Nathan Wrigley] To give you some context about WP&UP. We’ve already provided nearly 800 hours of mentorship and over 3,300 hours have been donated by the many people who are now volunteering for WP&UP. So we are very serious about supporting the WordPress community, but we’re just getting started. If you’d like to help WP&UP financially, then please visit https://wpandup.org/give If you would like to get involved in WP&UP, then please visit https://wpandup.org/contact or look for the social links in the footer of the website. For WP&UP to carry out its work, we need your support. That could be just listening to this podcast or perhaps donating your time or your money. Sponsorship is also an option and sponsoring WP&UP is a cool thing to do. You’ll be supporting the important work that we’re undertaking and you can be featured on the podcast like this. The #PressForwrad Podcast is brought to you today by GreenGeeks. GreenGeeks offers an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, backed by 24/7 experts support. [10:57 Nathan Wrigley] The second story today comes from Matt. Matt is a well known voice in the WordPress world. He’s been a blogger, agency owner, plugin founder and an employee in his time. Today we have a wide ranging conversation about his experiences in all of the different roles that he’s had. We cover a lot of ground from his thoughts on overexposure to social media, to how working alone affects him and his family. We start though with a recollection of a moment in the past where he experienced a panic attack, so this is a trigger warning that we will be talking about anxiety and recovery. Although much of Matt’s story is not related to this subject, if you are impacted by this subject, you can skip this section which is roughly 30 minutes in length. I asked Matt about this experience and what was happening his life at this time? [11:57 Matt Medeiros] I can remember probably about, I want to say maybe six or seven years ago going through, you know, a lot with, you know, back then starting my business and just really trying to get my footing in all of that and going through a, you know, an actual, if we’re going to go pretty open here, going through a pretty rough breakup. Actually many years ago, and I remember being out one night, I had a room-mate, uh, at that, uh, I owned a house so I had a room-mate and I was out to dinner by myself. It was just, you know, after work I went out to to grab some Sushi and I remember vividly like sitting at the, at the countertop, at the bar, at the Sushi place and just having some Sushi and I think I had a beer or whatever. I remember just like my breathing, just getting super tough, right? [12:45 Matt Medeiros] It was very difficult to breathe. I started like, the music was sort of like fading in the background and I remember like, something’s just not right with what’s happening with me right now. You know, I remember paying the, I don’t even know if I paid the bill. I think I do remember leaving some money and just leaving. I’m like, I actually have to, I think I had to go to a hospital that was about 15 minutes away from my house and I was driving down the highway and I texted my, sent a text message to my room-mate and I was like, Hey, I think I need you to meet me outside and take me to the hospital because like I have never felt this way before and shortness of breath and sort of dizziness. So, you know, he was like, all right man, I’ll meet you outside. [13:25 Matt Medeiros] And so he took me to the hospital and sure enough, it was just a panic attack. This sort of just set in. I just, out of nowhere, just randomly out of nowhere, uh, as I was sitting there eating some, eating some food, you know, went to the hospital, whatever, and that, you know, that’s what they said, it’s a panic attack. I, you know, I calmed down, like I could actually breathe again. And it happened probably two more times in my, uh, in my life since then, but haven’t had a panic attack and in some years at this point. But it was just a culmination of, of the stresses of life and business just all coming together at the same time. Uh, and it was, it was quite strange because it wasn’t something that I wasn’t even really actively like thinking about work. It was just like the end of the workday and you know, and I was just grabbing some dinner before I headed home and is just sort of hit me out of out of nowhere and it, and it happened, like I said, two or three times afterwards. [14:19 Matt Medeiros] And you know, I, I get pretty emotional over things. Luckily though, I’ve been able to, to keep that at bay and you know, one of them being of course like understanding, you know, what I have control over in business and what I don’t and what I have control over in life and what I don’t, you know. So, certainly if an organisation like this was available to me back then and I was just privy to all of this stuff coming together, I mean certainly could lean on an organisation like WP&UP, and, and get this, you know, sort of situated before it. Uh, it got any more serious. [14:54 Nathan Wrigley] People have different reactions to situations like the one that Matt experienced. It affects them in different ways and the ways that they go about dealing with the aftermath can also be different. As you’ll hear. Matt chose to seek help from the medical profession. He explains what they were able to offer him. [15:16 Matt Medeiros] I’m typically that hard headed person who’s just like, I’m not going to the doctor ever for anything. Um, and the physical ailments of what was happening to me, like the shortness of breath and, and vision, blurry vision, that was all like pretty scary. That was like, okay, you can’t mess around with this because I couldn’t even control it. Like it was just like this thing that was happening to me and it was just, I couldn’t even like tell myself to calm down. Um, uh, so you know, going to the hospital, they’re going to the emergency room to get that looked at. Yeah, absolutely. I remember going to the doctors the next day or the couple of days afterwards and uh, they, you know, the typical thing was like, well, hey, we can prescribe you some stuff. And I was like, no, I don’t, I know this is number, this is like first incident. I don’t want to, to go down that path just yet. I want to be able to deal with this on my own terms and um, so, uh, you know, I hadn’t ever s I never Seeked any kind of medical attention afterwards. Um, I feel like with a balance of, like I said before, like knowing what I control and when I can’t, uh, getting back into physical health, uh, you know, back then, cause it wasn’t really top priority, uh, sort of really helped iron out some of that control, uh, of, of the problem. [16:44 Nathan Wrigley] I got to wondering if there might be a connection between working at a computer all day and what Matt had experienced. Does sitting near a screen all day, have an impact. And does the fact that our industry never stand still, cause more stress than in other industries? [17:03 Matt Medeiros] Yeah, I can. I, I agree with all of those, those points. Um, you know, a physical sort of being one of them for sure. Uh, for me, I mean it’s actually more a front loaded for me where it’s my own and I caused my own I my own worst enemy in terms of like anxiety and stress. And especially back then, uh, when I was just kicking off the, the agency was like, how do I find more business? How do I, you know, do my pricing? How do I find better clients? How do I find bigger clients? Did I make the sale? Did I lose the sale? You know, payroll, you know, cause we had employees and it was very early on that we had employees. So payroll and, and cashflow is huge. Um, so for me it’s like, I’m always like, how do I get to the next step? And, uh, to your point of like, we’re in this tech space and we’re in the WordPress space and we see all these plugins doing really great and having these awesome business models or business ventures. [18:03 Matt Medeiros] We see all these agencies growing and hiring and then you just sit back and you’re like, God, you know, we’re three people and we’re trying to, you know, at the time, sell a website more than $3,000. So, you know, we all of that, at least in my own context is always something that is just like me pushing myself right to do better and to build the business. But it just, it’s not something I was ever able really to turn off in the early days. Like I couldn’t just, okay, I’m home, I’m done. Uh, you know, I don’t even think Netflix was around back then, but like, you know, sit down and watch a Netflix show and just shut off from business. Um, that was something that was just, I would just be up 24, seven, just thinking and doing and working. [18:48 Nathan Wrigley] We live in a world that’s never been as connected as it is now. We get to help check our email, then Facebook messages from friends. Maybe Slack messages are in the mix too. We’re doing this on our commute in our beds, walking down the street. It’s now possible to literally be connected to the Internet and work every waking moment. To some people it’s important to be available all the time, but then again, maybe we need some downtime. [19:23 Matt Medeiros] It’s something that I’m always like thinking of ah, it’s this constant. Uh, I don’t even know like mindset or dimension that we’re in uh, and I’m, and I’m, I’m always trying to be like cognisant of like, I see this stuff like, you know, very popular in the u s is Gary Vaynerchuk and hustle and work hard. And he sort of, he sort of reframe that a little bit so people aren’t, so um on edge when it comes to, like his advice. Um, but all of these little signals are constantly firing at you. Whether or not you’re consuming that content or not. If you’re just scrolling, if you’re doing the mindless scroll on Facebook on like Instagram or YouTube, um, it’s your, your brain still registers it and you’re still somehow affected by it because you’re like, there’s another Gary V post, you know, there was another, you know, insert your favourite business person who’s making 10 x more money than you and it’s just, you’re saying you’re not looking at it, but it’s firing some synapse to let you know that it’s still there. [20:28 Matt Medeiros] The same time, it’s a double edged sword because I like, you have this love hate relationship with social media. It’s like you kind of need to be on it to stay relevant and to find new customers. Um, there is a little bit of, it gives some ambition to, to, to see what others are doing, but like, wow, that’s a great idea. I think I can, I think I can do that or I think I can do that or have a little twist on it. So it’s like one of these things that we just have to use with caution I guess, and in the human race still hasn’t been able, like this is brand new stuff. People like, nope, no one knows how to deal with this yet. It’s only been out for five years. [21:03 Nathan Wrigley] In my own life, I know that I’ve been guilty of allowing my phone to rule it and I know that many people are the same. I don’t really know how we all allowed our phones to become so integral to our lives. But last year I made a decision that I was at least going to exert some influence over how my phone ruled my life. I turned off all notifications, all of them, no exceptions. This has worked well for me, but I wanted to know if this would be desirable for Matt [21:40 Matt Medeiros] To a degree. You know, I did shut off like, uh, the, the instant notifications on, on all the social platforms, but that’s because I was just more, more bothered by the phone vibrating and making noise like all the time. Um, it’s not something I’ve been able to fully control because I dunno, I just feel like in the world that I live in, I do need alerts from people, you know, whether or not it’s like I, you know, somebody reaching out because they want to, you know, I dunno talk about a new product that they’re launching and it sort of breaking news ish, a new sales lead comes in. So I kinda need to be, you know, cognisant of that, you know, I haven’t gone to that extent. Um, there are some people that are really, really good at that, shutting everything off time boxing their emails. [22:34 Matt Medeiros] Like I’ll send people emails and they’re like, well, we don’t, I don’t, and then the autoresponder comes back. I don’t respond until three o’clock and I’m just like, Jeez, okay. Like that. I get it. I totally get it. But they recently just had a meeting with somebody the other day who shuts off all of the notifications and does the timebox thing with the, and I’m trying to notify them that I need to be 15 minutes early to my next meeting. And I tried them on Twitter, I tried them on email and I tried them, I think on Skype and I just got these time blocks in all of these channels. I’m like, all right, well I kind of need to talk to you about something. [23:11 Nathan Wrigley] I move the conversation along and asked Matt if working alone was something that he likes to do or if he prefers to work in the same space as other people. [23:22 Matt Medeiros] Yeah, I mean, I, you know, physically alone all the time, you know, and uh, in, uh, even in a small company, it’s still, you know, thinking back about a decade ago when I started the agency and there was like three or four of us, it’s, you know, you’re still, it’s not like you’re surrounded by a squad of people all the time. And even at Pagely where I am now, we’re, we’re, you know, just over 50 people. It’s, um, you know, we’re all remote. It’s still all, you know, disconnected, uh, to a degree. So, um, you know, it’s, it’s still in our own. We’re still in her own thoughts in her own head. [24:02 Nathan Wrigley] I need to get up and move around during the day. Just spending some time, not looking at the screen. I asked Matt if this was something that he was mindful of too? [24:16 Matt Medeiros] Exiting the screen is, is one that is virtually impossible for me and one that doesn’t really bother me so much. Um, and maybe it’s different for other people. Um, I can say that. So I’m up up in my, uh, my converted attic into office third, third floor of my house. So, um, my kids are downstairs, my wife is home. She only works 24 hours a week as an ICU nurse. So we’re able to sort of transition a fairly easily, but if it’s too noisy in the house and I can’t focus or I’m just sick of being in this room for, for days on end, you know, the simple thing is just go to the coffee shop. The weather’s getting better now, so you’ll be able to sit outside. Um, I do have a membership at a local, a co-working space, um, which helps tremendously when you just want to be around other people and just like hear other conversations happening. [25:10 Matt Medeiros] And it just sort of is a, it’s like a white noise effect to just know that there’s other people around. And, uh, you know, my, my children are young and I haven’t been able to be as physically active, uh, over the last couple of years. But I am kickstarting that again. Um, so I’ve gone to the gym I already four times in the last week and a half ish, which is pretty good for where I’ve been the last couple of years. So starting to break up, I don’t have a particular routine. Um, you know, as a content creator slash sales person, slash, podcaster, everything is sort of dynamic. There isn’t, there’s not a, a typical routine that I can fall into because I’m beholden to a sales calls and that’s at the clients, at the will of the client. Uh, and then within those pockets of time is where I’m creating content. So, uh, so I can dive in and do a YouTube video or dive in over here and do an audio podcast, that kind of thing. [26:12 Nathan Wrigley] Matt has a very eclectic work-life. He juggles many different balls at the same time. I know that some people thrive on doing multiple tasks, where as other do not. Matt creates lots of content, especially on YouTube. And I wanted to know if he’s scheduled, was carefully planned or to see thrive better, just fitting his work in the little spaces that he has in his calendar. [26:39 Matt Medeiros] That’s exactly, you know how it goes. I’m, I’m jealous of, of folks like you because I’ve been on your other podcast and now of course this one and I see how prepared you are and you have templates and forms and, and I am quite the opposite. Um, because I’m, I’m always changing that. Then I’m always like, hey, if I built this template, I would just, I would be sick of it in a couple of weeks and I’d be changing it again. So I just find it better to say, here’s my calendar link, let’s connect and we’ll just talk when we get on a show. [27:10 Nathan Wrigley] Although Matt likes to work on the spur of the moment. A few years ago he decided to take on a position at Pagely. Perhaps this was to add a little security and predictability into his work life. [27:25 Matt Medeiros] That was a huge decision factor in joining Pagely. So about, well Jez has been about two, almost two and a half years now at this point, but when I sort of stepped out of my day to day role at the agency just still running, my father still runs it, the team is still there. Agency life was pretty difficult right around the last US presidential election and whether it was because of the election or the economy, things were getting pretty tight in a website sales and general internet marketing, there was lot of stress and it was again the same things. Payroll, you’re only as good as your last project, right? In Agency world, right? You only have so much runway. You only have so much business booked out. And it was just like I was, I had my, had my youngest, we were about to have our second and I was just like, yeah, I need something that is going to be much more stable and something that I can really thrive at. And the opportunity at Pagely was, was perfect for that, for, for where I was and still am, you know, in life. So, uh, that was a huge factor. [28:32 Nathan Wrigley] Freelance work can be enormously rewarding when times are good, you are the one that made it happen. But of course the reverse is also true. When times are hard, there might not be anyone there to share that worry with you. [28:49 Matt Medeiros] The freelance, I’d say if you’re like freelancer or even like boutique shop like is where I would, I would categorise Slocum, our agency, it’s very much like blogging, right? So if you, if you read anything about, you know, how to be a better blogger, it’s always about you make one blog post and you just promote the heck out of that 10 times more than it’s, it took, it takes you to actually write the content, right and no different than if you’re a freelancer. You have to do the project, but then promote yourself 10 times as much as you spent on the project or have a marketing wheel, uh, so that people can, can find you and you can sell to them and just, you know, have, keep that, uh, that, that pipeline field as much as you can or at least top of mind of prospects. [29:37 Matt Medeiros] So that when the, when the down season comes, which is generally holiday season, uh, for, for agency space, you know that, that people are ready to hit the road with you January one or, or whatever so that they know that you’re available for hire. A WP&UP would be, you know, poised to, to have talks and have discussions, you know, round someone’s healthy business, right? Healthy mind and a healthy business. And you know, diversifying yourself, uh, diversifying the business. You know, one of the things that really kept the business of float, which is sort of something that is, um, uh, forbidden is not the right word, but leave a, a lot of distaste in, in a lot of freelancers is, is hosting, right? And hosting for the small customer, I mean hosting or maintenance contracts, however you want to to spin it. I mean, if you are selling to smaller website or building out smaller websites for smaller customers, mom and pop shots, people that aren’t doing, you know, heck, even tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of page views. Yeah, you could probably host it for them and have a maintenance agreement with them. And that recurring revenue will really keep you afloat. And that’s just one idea. But you know, having a healthy, diversified business, we’ll help you get through those, those downturns, which is generally, like I said, the holiday season and it would that recurring revenue. Um, it’s not as stressful. [31:04 Nathan Wrigley] We work in one of the most wonderful industries in the world. It’s constantly evolving. And the things which were true last year might not be true next year. Ways of doing our work change all the time. Perhaps though this is also one of the biggest downsides of working with technology. We’re always having to learn a new, keep ourselves updated lest we stagnate and become a relic. I know that this is an area that Matt thinks a lot about. So I asked him to just share his thoughts. [31:39 Matt Medeiros] Yeah, I mean I have a lot of thoughts around, around this topic. Um, you know, from a mindset perspective, this, this was one that was very difficult for me to really get a grasp around in my first few years of, of being in the digital space, right. And, um, even before starting the WordPress agency, but really understanding that we, we ultimately don’t have control over any of this stuff. So let’s just come to terms with that right now, right? Like, which was difficult for me to learn in the beginning. So what do I mean by that? Some examples were, hey, seeing other agencies or other developers when projects that you know, I was bidding against or bidding for and just like how did they get that? Oh they’re, they’re part of the WordPress community already. They, they’re known they’re, they have connections, they have an in. [32:31 Matt Medeiros] And then it became, hey, let’s get into the theme space and we started building out themes and putting themes up in WordPress.org and then, you know, we’d see we’d see ours get denied, but others get approved. And I’m looking at it going what was the same thing. What, why are we, why are we getting, oh, there were, there were a well known author. Yeah. They have connections to the community. And this is how, so kind of understanding that, look, I don’t have control over all of this stuff and I need to come to terms with that and understand that it can change on a dime. It could change overnight. It could change in an hour, it could change in a year. And just me understanding, I like to say that, you know, I like agency space because to me it’s sort of a game where the rules are just stay in bounds and I can do anything in the middle, you know, and, and no one is going to. [33:16 Matt Medeiros] So as long as I don’t go out of bounds, I can, I can try to, you know, move the ball to use a sports analogy. I can move the ball down the field. However, I see fit business is like that too. It’s not just the WordPress space. I always see it as a game where it can, it can change, but I can still do whatever I want to push forward. So that’s like sort of step, you know, number one in the WordPress space more specifically. And any business I guess too, it’s, it’s, there will always be the ups and the downs. I’m sure that there’s a, a real scientific term for this or a real, like a theory around this. But we have a roller coaster ride is how I would put it. And it’s always up and down. And I think now we’re what we’re, what we’re about to see is we’re going to go back up, like we went down this last, these last couple of years in terms of agency work and, and even themes and plugin products. [34:10 Matt Medeiros] Uh, the, the adoption or the rollout of, of Gutenberg really cause like this down. But I think now the, we’re going to start to see the upswing. We’re about to see what new opportunities, you know, lie ahead. Out of all of this chaos will come, you know, the new thing that folks are, are going to latch onto in the WordPress space. With that said, I’m always, I always know that it can change and I’m always looking at, you know, what’s the one degree away from WordPress that I either can pivot to or that I should be learning about or that I should keep a finger on the pulse of, uh, in the event WordPress.org ceases to exist. It’s a, that’s a tall order. That’s certainly a tall order, but you just never know what could happen. [34:59 Nathan Wrigley] As we learned, Pagely is a distributed team of roughly 50 people in a company of that size. It’s likely that the staff will need to take time off unexpectedly. I know that Matt had a very varied work history and I asked him next if working for an employer had enabled him to worry less about some of the unpredictabilities that life can throw at you. [35:25 Matt Medeiros] I’ve gone through a pretty interesting career, uh, over, I think I’m, I think I’m about to be 38 in April. And so I started in, my family family owned a car dealership. So I grew, grew up in sales, in business and entrepreneurship, literally all my life. So I went from, you know, doing every job you can imagine at a car dealership from picking up trash around the lot to selling cars. And then as I got older, I went to college and I was just like, I’m out of the family business. I don’t want to do this anymore. And I went, uh, went to college and found a job at, in sales at a retailer called Circuit City, which was an electronic sales department store in the US at the time where like if you went to buy a laptop, the laptop was like $4,000. [36:18 Matt Medeiros] Right? I mean, he’s like, you know, towers were massive, monitors were massive. That was just, it was just like a totally different, it was a total three, one 80, uh, from family owned dealership to big corporate department store. Right. And what those stresses were like. Then as I finished university, I went to, uh, a local Internet service provider and I started from a support rep all the way up to a product manager. And it was just, it was a tech tech scene. You know, tech was booming. This is like early two thousands or late nineties, early two thousands. So tech was booming and then tech dropped and then it was three owners in this tech business and it just became, literally became a violent place to work at. There was just fights all the time with the, with the partners. So I’ve seen it all. And then I started my own agency and went through those ups and downs and those stresses. [37:11 Matt Medeiros] Pagely has been a warm blanket, you know, compared to things that I have seen and they will definitely, uh, when I had my, my, my kids, you know, Josh was like, I don’t want to see you around here for a couple months. Like, don’t even check in. I don’t want to see your name pop up in slack, take a couple, take a couple months off and do whatever. And if you need more, just just let us know. You know, we’ve had some people in the organisation just take time off because you know, they, they too were just getting, you know, burned out of, of the workload and the stress that comes with supporting customers and technology and they, you know, they are gracious with mental health. It’s, it’s sort of top of line every time we have our stand up meeting, which is today, every Tuesday [37:54 Nathan Wrigley] We often talk about the WordPress community. And I, for one love being part of it, Matt next spoke about his thoughts on where the WordPress community is going. One of the things he wants to see is more local events, something in between a WordPress meetup and a WordCamp. [38:14 Matt Medeiros] All right, so I recently spoke at an event called Nerds Summit nerd. N-E-R-D. Um, and this was something that it’s in western mass. It’s, it’s the only conference happens in, in Western Massachusetts, in the US and um. It spawned from a Drupal meetup. So I don’t know if we can say Drupal on a WordPress centric podcast, but, um, they were a bunch of folks that it was always about Drupal and they said, you know what, people are using other technologies, other coding. There’s other like APIs and services that are connecting up to Drupal. We need to kind of talk about marketing too, to help people who are developers and agencies get more business. So they sort of uh umbrella that with calling it the Nerd Summit and they do it once a year, very much like a WordCamp, but for just generalised technology and it, and it sort of made me think that there’s, there’s a lot of WordPress meetups around the world and you know, these types of things, websites like meetup.com and heck even Facebook groups and things like that, people can be empowered to set up these social meetups, these social conferences, call it whatever you want. [39:25 Matt Medeiros] But I like to use technology for this purpose where we can grow awareness, connect a bunch of people together and say, we’re going to be here this weekend. You know, everybody come here and let’s meet in person and take this discussion, quote unquote offline and discover new just new ideas and discover people that are probably literally right down the street from you that you had no idea it was a WordPress developer or a Drupal developer, whatever. I’m really interested in the years to come for WordPress to see how this, this portion of the WordPress community evolves. And can people spin up more of these bigger sized for that cheap 50 cent word, a bigger sized version of a meetup that’s not as big as a WordCamp but has more meat to it where people can go and experience it for like, you know, a day, a full day or something like that. [40:17 Matt Medeiros] There’s probably another professor or doctor out here that has come up with this theory in the scientific study, but I’m a huge believer in sort of here we are in 2019 the general Internet user, the General Internet consumer has now been conditioned to understand what social media has done and it has, you know, aside from like the vanity stuff and the celebrity stuff, it has connected people in a sense where people can get it now. So here’s an example. I started a local podcast for my local area, right? It’s just for a, I’m in the south coast of Massachusetts. It’s an hour south of Boston. And so I just, you know, doing a podcast like I do with the Matt Report, but just for my area, had I done this at the same time I launched Matt Report, which was like seven years ago, people would have been like, what’s a podcast? [41:11 Matt Medeiros] You know, like my local area that, you know, the people around here, the business people, um, who are, you know, maybe the demographic is older than us. They would have been like, I don’t even, I don’t even know what that is. How do I even get that? But you fast forward to 2019 I can now launch a podcast and people are like, oh cool, I get it. I can subscribe to this. I understand. And I’ve actually seen a lot of people winning with, not to go too far off the track, but with like membership sites that are like trying to sell pro like digital product for $97, you know, uh, here and there for these courses. And they’re pitching it online where everyone is. I’ve seen them take that offline and pitch the same product for $400 because they’re in a room with everyone and they’re, they’re, they’re pitching that I, they’re pitching that course. [42:00 Matt Medeiros] They’re giving out a talk or, or a seminar about whatever topic it is and people, the people in the audience that the potential customer, like it’s not foreign to them to go to a website now drop in a credit card and pay for information. Like, you know, it’s, it’s, people have been conditioned to understand it sounds crazy. Oh, this person is a consultant. They have an online course. I can go by. I’m going to do that because I understand all of this. And now, oh by the way, it’s connected to my apple pay. So I just go to their website, swipe my thumb, you know, and I’ve bought there, I’ve bought their course. I’m a huge believer in that this technology, while it’s still in its infancy, people are catching on to this stuff we shouldn’t stress ourselves out about constantly trying to find this big audience on the Internet when it could be right in front of you. No matter what town, city, suburb you live in, you know you can make an impact locally using the technology online. [43:03 Nathan Wrigley] If you’ve experienced any of the issues raised during this podcast, then you should know that WP&UP is here to help you visit https://wpandup.org or call +44(0)20 3322 1087. The #PressForwrad Podcast is brought to you today by GreenGeeks. GreenGeeks offers a specially engineered platform that gives WordPress users web hosting that is designed to be the fastest, most secure and scalable hosting available in multiple data centres. Their WordPress hosting makes deploying and managing WordPress websites easy with automatic one click install managed updates, real time security protection, SSD raid 10 storage arrays, power cacher and expert 24 seven support to make for the best web hosting experience. And we thank GreenGeeks for their support of The #PressForwrad Podcast. Right. that’s it for this week. Please let us know if you’re enjoying this podcast, perhaps you finding it useful or helpful. Remember, there’s a serious point to all of this though, and that is the WP&UP is here to provide help and support that help is available for you or people you know and can be easily accessed at the wpandup.org website please spread the word about this new podcast, tell your friends and subscribe on iTunes or your favourite podcast player. So until next time, hashtag #PressForward.