In this interview, I chat with Poland based designer and WordPress developer Ania Romańska of Divi Lover. She is an extremely talented designer who went from doing a “work from home” services business to building child themes, products and plugins for the Divi theme. We get to hear her story on how she started her business, began working from home and launched a product based site, all while building her family and now balancing web design life as a Mom of 5 children.
In This Episode
00:00 – Introduction
03:47 – Greeting to Ania
04:29 – Ania’s story
16:51 – Benefits at home
22:01 – Being personable
24:37 – A perfect day
27:21 – Disadvantages
31:19 – Getting more done
33:04 – Struggles
35:44 – Teaching children
41:03 – Popular blog post
42:05 – Divi Lover plans
45:10 – Ania’s advice
47:34 – Woman’s focus
51:04 – Freedom to security
52:18 – Worst case scenario
55:06 – Future plans
57:15 – Appreciative thoughts
This episode is presented by my Divi/CSS Course
Use coupon code “CSS30” at checkout for $30 OFF!
Connect with Ania:
Links mentioned in the episode:
- Creating Custom Tabs With Icons Using Blurbs
- WordCamp Schedule/Directory
- Michelle Nunans (DiviSoup) Child Theme Course
Josh’s Top 3 Takeaway’s:
- With kids and a busy house, early morning hours are often most productive and beneficial
- Getting out of your comfort zone is often the start of a great new chapter
- Freelance web design can get lonely, get connected with the Divi Community & get to a local WordCamp
Episode #3 Full Transcription
What’s up everybody? Welcome to Episode Three. This is an interview with Ania Romanska. Yes, I had to ask her a couple of times how to pronounce that correctly. After all, I’m just a simple uncultured boyfriend, Ohio. So hopefully I got that close on you. But those of you in the Divi community know her from her site at Divi lover.com, which houses some of the most beautiful and premium child themes available for Divi. She also has some very quality and reputable plugins there as well as a bunch of free layouts and resources and tutorials.
So this conversation was awesome, we get to not only know how Anya started her business, and how she built up Divi lover to be her full time job, but we get to hear her story, and how she got involved in web design and how she’s done it successfully and full time working from home all been a while being a mom of five. So yes, he just recently had her fifth kid, and she’s doing Divi lover pretty much full time while working from home. In this episode, we get into how she manages her time between doing web design and being a mom of five. And it’s really, really enlightening. For those of you who are women who would like to be stay at home moms, or maybe you have kids and you’re thinking about doing web design to be able to stay at home, I think you’re gonna get a lot of great actionable tactics and methods and strategies from this episode.
And even as a parent myself, I loved hearing about how Anya manages her time and runs her day as you know, having that many kids. And then for those of you who think maybe this episode isn’t for me, I would encourage you to listen to this, particularly if one day you want to have a family or you think you’re going to be a parent and work from home because there’s a lot of really great tactics here that are going to help you along the way and help prepare you because we really talked about how time is more limited when you have kids, but you can get a lot more done in that time. So you’re gonna love this interview.
Before we dive in. I have I really got to thank Ania for coming on because she is based in Poland. And English is not her first language. So she was a little apprehensive and very nervous about coming on the show. But she did such a great job. For those of you who would like to see subtitles for this you can watch the video on my YouTube channel of this interview and I’ll post it in the show notes below on this episode. But on You did such a great job. She was very generous and very transparent and real about how she started her business when she started having kids and how she manages again her time and her schedule with having quite a few kids and doing web design from home full time.
Before we dive into this interview, this is brought to you by my Divi CSS course. So you’re going to find out that we actually talked about this in the interview. While yes Divi allows us to create websites without having to do much Custom CSS at all. It is very, very important that you know at least the fundamentals of CSS when it comes to customizing sites, particularly for mobile and then very importantly when you’re adding other plugins into the mix because you need to know how to style those and you really want to know CSS to be able to take your websites to the next level. So I have a course on how to do that I would love to help guide you to be a more confident website designer by knowing CSS so check out the link below if you’re interested in that would love to help guide you. Without further ado guys enjoy my interview with the very talented and lovely and amazing designer I mean, honestly I don’t know what is in the water and Poland but it’s like everyone there is just an amazing designer. So here’s my interview with the awesome designer and Mama five Anya.
Ania, thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us. It is awesome to finally talk with you face to face.
Thanks for having me. I’m really excited.
Well, I am really excited as well not only get to get to talk with you about what you do with your site at Divi lover and Divi and child themes and stuff like that, but you’re also a mom of five you got a newborn, and I’m excited to talk about how you manage that you know how you manage being a mom of five and do website design as well as you do. Before we talk about that. Can you just tell me about your story? How did you get into website design and Divi?
Well, I guess my story is pretty like old school way of doing things. And nowadays people would like install WordPress find a theme and go from there. But I started with Photoshop I learned and taught myself how to use Photoshop. When I was still in high school I think. I literally did any every possible tutorial on Photoshop I could find online so I really loved using it. And, and later on when I few years later when I got married. And then when I got pregnant, I knew that I needed a job, remote remote kind of work, right. So like graphic doing graphic design was an obvious choice for me to go. And I kind of taught myself HTML, just by inspecting other websites, the sources trying to copy things and replace my with my own graphics. I needed a website for my own business.
So I just, there was a website CSS tricks. And Chris clear the outer had this great tutorial video tutorials on how to turn PSD to HTML. So I just follow along, and I learned practically everything I know about HTML and CSS from from his site. And yeah, I started and it was like the usual way doing stuff for friends and family at first and then getting somewhere feathers. I was doing mostly, like graphic work like brochures for print and logos and stuff like that. But at that time, everyone wanted a website. So I would hand coded to the plain static HTML sample sites. And then I learned there’s this thing called WordPress, and you can like, do better sites for your clients so they can manage the it themselves. And again, the same site had this video series on how to turn HTML to WordPress. So I learned how to or can’t go to the WordPress thing. So it’s kind of probably not the usual way. Now, I didn’t use premade themes for my clients, I would always design everything in Photoshop, once they approved the logo, I would hand code the theme for them. So it was kind of like time consuming. But that was what was working for me. I did that for a couple of years. And there was a moment when I needed a website for myself. Because together with my husband, it’s kind of a long story. But
This is great. I just love this because I didn’t mean to cut you off. But it’s it’s so funny because I have almost the same story. And so many others have that to where we start with graphic design. We do some websites, static websites, I use Dreamweaver as well. And then you get into a place where you’re doing design for clients, and then they want a website. And then yeah, that’s how it starts.
Yeah, so I there was a point in time when I needed a website for myself and I had to get it done quickly. We actually wanted to open and we did open kind of school, it was after school classes for children, we were teaching them programming and graphic design. And I went online search for a premade theme I could use to for this business and I found Divi. So that was I like that this awesome website in two days using it. And it was like, wow, why I haven’t been using pre my themes before? Much quicker. So yeah, so at that time, I was kind of doing everything. At the same time doing some clients work with Divi, trying to do this program and learn teaching kids stuff. That didn’t last for long. But it’s probably a different story.
But yeah, then I learned about child themes, obviously, that’s the first thing you’ll ever learn your Google things about Divi. And I thought like Well, sure, I could do that. It’s just some like basic CSS, and I could decide or how it’s going to look myself there will be no clients, you know, over my shoulder, telling me to move this here make the logo bigger and stuff like that. So that was very appealing, like trying to being able to you know, create something others may or may use and I actually enrolled in Michel unions, child team course to you know, learn the technical bits and pieces that are involved in creating a child theme.
And that was huge help. And yeah, I did a couple of child’s themes and then people are starting to started to like approaching me asking to redesign websites for them using Divi and I even did this trainings, one on one consultation on Skype and it was really like awesome experience for me because I’ve never dreamed about like that I will be talking to people from around the world and it’s really, really a great experience. I didn’t expect it to escalate.
Awesome, it sounds like it happened pretty quick. I mean, now, do you do any service work for clients? Or do you primarily do child themes and plugins with Divi? lover?
Yeah, I I almost don’t do any clients work nowadays, like, very rarely I would take on a project. But it’s it’s kind of impossible because it’s just, you know, not enough time in a day for me to be able to continue to work on clients projects. So
Not so much anymore.
So you I love I just love hearing your story because I feel like almost everybody in the Divi community and most web designers in general have a similar story. I don’t know anybody who went through a four year college program and then started their web design business. And I’ve, I think I’ve talked about this on a couple episodes. So far, it just seems like everyone has a similar story, because mine parallels that as well. I used to be a cabinet maker. Then I got into Photoshop. I started doing designs for bands and stuff like that. And then that’s when people asked me if I would start designing for them. And then I got HTML sites and CSS is one step at a time. And yeah, here we are. When did you start doing Photoshop and design was that Do you remember what year you started getting into this?
It has to be like 2004 maybe or 3?
Yeah, I was in high school back then. So yeah,
Yeah. Long time.
Not too long ago. When did you start doing WordPress and getting into Divi?
And well, the I found Divi it was I think I was thinking about it. I knew it was ask. So it was beginning of 2016 Divi was 2.4 already, so I’m not very, you know, old school Divi user. But, yeah, I learned about WordPress, maybe 2008 or nine, something around that time. I started my company official company in 2007. So that’s, I remember because I was pregnant with my oldest son. And I always like the years I have to think which children was how old.
Great markers, right? Yeah. Yeah, I was just gonna ask, yeah, when you started your business in relation to when you started having your little ones? Because that’s really important. I mean, it sounds like, Did you guys have a security net of income? Like, did your, you know? Or was that
We were I was still quite young. And we kind of relied on our parents to abate but my husband was working. So we had some sort of income. And I didn’t have much choice. Like I needed to have a remote kind of job. It’s not like I could leave my kid and go to some nine to five or whatever. So yeah. There was not a big safety net. It was but I already knew, like, there was a lot of how to say it. People really wanted that like and
Yes. But I mean, the clients were already there. Yeah, so it was easier because I knew that I will have have work because many people, I knew many people who needed a website or needed some log or starting a business and stuff like that. So
I said, Man, you didn’t even go into it saying, I hope I can find clients. You already knew they were closed.
Yeah, I kind of knew. Yeah, yes. Yes. That’s how it went. Yeah, that’s easier this way, I guess. And
I’m excited to hear about kind of how you manage everything now with so many kids. And that’s one reason I’m so excited to talk with you. Because I think your story is going to be an inspiration to so many gals and ladies out there who want to have remote work and want to be able to stay home with kids and do something you know and I think that’s why a lot of network marketing and like the you know, like the home businesses and sales and that kind of thing is really escalating because yeah, it’s hard to go for, you know, to a nine to five job. I mean, I’ve never been in that situation with with my daughter now that we have. We have our second my second daughter’s coming in about a month here.
Congratulations, by the way. That’s exciting.
Catching up to you. I don’t know if we’ll hit five we’re thinking maybe four but we’ll see. But yeah,
I never planned to have five at the beginning. So you know, okay.
Yeah, I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure how that worked out for him. It just kind of happened or if it was planned, but yeah, it’s
Our second one was B must have been the most stressful one for me. Because the first one was very, like quiet and easy. I was so stressed. What what’s going to happen? When the second one starts crying? I don’t know how to take care of the crying baby. So that was very for me, it was the most stressful pregnancy was the second one, actually. So
I have heard that it’s almost harder to go from one to two, then two to three to three.
Oh, yes, yes. Yes, definitely. Most definitely. I agree with.
Okay, well, good. Good to know. So we just need to get past this this leg.
Yeah. And then you’ll find it just can go to 5, 6, 7.
So that’s really interesting. It’s a good thought that you kind of saw the opportunity and actually had clients, you know, lined up before you just kind of went for it. Although everyone I talked to who starts their business. I mean, we’re all in a similar position to where it’s like you read, there’s really and that’s one that’s a trade off when you do web design as you trade security as opposed to going to a nine to five job you’re, you know, you’re freelance, there’s a lot more risk to it, but I mean, isn’t it?
Like, what’s your income gonna be for the next month? If you are going to get more work? Or not? So it is stressful?
Do you love being home though? With your with your kids? I mean, do you feel like cuz I just feel like the freedom that comes with doing web design. And even though the stability isn’t there, always, particularly in the beginning, I would never trade what I’ve done in order to be well,
Yes, obviously, me neither. But what it has its disadvantages as well. working from home, when there is a lot of people at the house, it’s, it’s quite challenging. So I had times when I dreamed of like, just going to the office and, you know, working with other people, meet someone talk to someone. So yeah, but it’s just you know, it sometimes you miss, like this human contact in this kind of work when you just sit by your computer all day. But yeah, I wouldn’t change that at all. When I have I have friends who has to have to go to work, and they go back in evening, not being able to see their children for almost all day. And yeah, that’s, that’s really awful for me, I yeah. And so our kind of work is, so I better be able to work from home. Definitely.
And that’s what’s so great about the Devi community, isn’t it that like we’ve got connected and your I know you talk with my lead designer Jonathan all the time and like now it kind of even though we don’t see each other in person, unless we’re at a word camp or something like that. There’s such a sense of community with the Divi community is
It’s really it’s really like unique, it’s you don’t see that in like, there are like, even Facebook groups for WordPress, or whatever other niches but there’s, I’ve never seen this kind of connection between other group of people as as if it’s with Divi. Divi community, so it’s really it’s really is amazing. Yeah
Well, I’m really happy for you that you, you know, not only did you start your business and you had all your kids, you know, as the business continued to grow, but I’m really excited that you found it he and you know, I stumbled across one of your tutorials, your your your blurb, slash tab tutorial, which I still use that effect on all my sites, a lot of our sites. And I felt like, I just love the way you came across. And you were very giving with your information. And I love your brand and your design. Like I don’t know what is in the water in Poland. But it seems like everyone there is just a good designer. It’s like you’re born. I don’t know if you guys have better coloring books for the kids. Everyone’s a better designer.
Yeah, there is something to it. I must find this awesome. Yeah, you’re just yeah. I really love living here.
With with your setup right now with your kids. You have five kids, you work from home. How does that work? Do you like sitters or?
Well? I have my parents, both me and my husband also works from home. So we are both home. And yeah, I have my parents to help like they take kids for a weekend like some of the kids the noisiest ones huge help. Yeah, it’s not like I have quintuples. It’s I guess it would be much harder with Quintuples.
Gotcha. Yeah. quintuple error. Yeah. Yeah,
I think so. Because my oldest son is 12. Now, so I don’t have much work around him, right? He’s independent. I only have like, one little kid at a time, then this gets grows. I have a new one. I always have just one little one It’s it. And this one is easier.
What are your kid just ages right now.
So I have a son. He’s 12. And I also have four daughters, age 9, 6, 4 And a little one is three months now.
So I love that day, by the way, one day. Because you took a break. And that’s one thing I would like to talk about as well. I mean, you, you had your your fifth kid and you took a little break. And then you sent a lovely email. I love your emails, like there are a lot of companies in borderline thinking about unsubscribing from because I just don’t know what you when you get an email from somebody you want to be like, oh, cool, I got an email. That’s kind of hope. I’m hoping that’s what people feel for me when I email them. And I feel that way towards your emails because they’re not married. They’re, you know, yes,
I’m saying that. Yeah. I always like promised myself, okay, now I’m going to do it more frequently. But it never works for me.
Well, when I love that, because you said that you were on a break. And you kind of explained why. And then he he posted you know, in there an email is a picture of a little WANDA, who’s adorable. And I love that personal aspect to marketing, particularly when it’s a brand like yours, where it’s very clear, you’re the person behind Divi lover. And that’s, I think that just goes so much further than the company. There’s no personality, you don’t know who’s behind it.
Yeah, I think that’s always felt kind of strange, like calling myself a web design, studio or whatever. Like, I’ve never pretended to be more than one person even earlier in when I started, I always refer to myself as I do this, and I am that way. So. So yeah, I believe that it’s, it’s more personal. And I actually get a lot of responses when I send my newsletter, even though, obviously, everyone knows it’s, you know, it’s an email everyone everyone are getting, I still get a lot of replies. And it’s really, really nice to be able to connect with with people on my list.
You hit on a really important topic there, which I think is worth talking about. Because I agree completely I because same bow I when I had my business and I was a solo freelancer, the verbiage on my sight and in my emails was I and I agree I because a lot of people will start their business and they’re a one man or one woman shop. And then they they act like they’re this massive agency. And I think number one, I just feel like it’s not want us I don’t want to say false advertisement. But you just you really don’t have to come across like that nowadays. clients to know what you expect.
And that’s why I’ll right now I’m transitioning currently from going from me to we, essentially, yeah, I let people know very clearly. And even on my team page that I’m the creative director, I called the head honcho is my official title. And Jonathan’s my lead designer, my wife does the reporting and some administrative stuff. And then I have some subcontractors that they may hear from depending on the project and work and I found that to be great, because it’s kind of you know, yeah. Yeah, yeah, come across how it is, you know, I think it’s. So I wanted to ask you kind of back to your situation right. Now, the reason I asked your kids ages, because because I agree, it’s a lot harder to have four kids that are all around the same age then spread out like that. So do you have like a certain routine and schedule that you stick to?
Well, I try to, although it’s been kind of neglected this past few months, because little ones kind of, you know, shifted everything a bit to her own time.
Slide when a newborn Yeah.
So what I would do on my perfect day, I would get up at four. So I know it’s, it might seem early for some people, but for me, it really works very well because I’m able to now get up and do some exercises or maybe go for a run if it’s summer and it’s not that bad. Yes, and then I would work until seven. At seven, I have to wake up everyone. And we have this awesome we are like soldiers. Morning, it takes like half an hour to get the kids out of the house. Like from the moment they wake up, just now brush your teeth get dressed, here’s your breakfast it up and how this goes and everyone is leaving to school to preschool, only little one stays. So yeah, then we have, again, another couple of hours. When I can do some work, and kids start to come back. Depending on the day, it can sometimes it’s even like 12 or, or sooner. So this
Your day, your day ends pretty early with
Yes, yes, exactly. Yes. Unfortunately, I wish I could like I sometimes I’m saying a bit longer the most. Maybe not noisy, but Okay, yeah, I should say noisy. The girls, the youngest girls, the six and a four year old, they going back from coming back from preschool around three o’clock. So. So that’s the time when it’s hard, like almost impossible to get anything done. So around that time, I would just you know, spend time with with family. Sometimes I would go back to check my emails or support tickets in evening. But just like for an hour or so, and then rinse and repeat.
That’s interesting. You said you start at really early at like 4am. I have a colleague who has four kids, and similar ages from like 10 or 11 to newborn age. And he said the same thing. He said for him the couple hours before everyone got up or like the best hours because yes,
No distraction. You know, any clients aren’t emailing you at that point. Different now global audience with support tickets, but that’s interesting. Now, you you mentioned earlier that there are some disadvantages to working for IBM and having a period. What would you say are some what are some of those disadvantages of things that you’ve you know, you struggle with working from home?
Well, definitely the time like, it’s, I would, because I really liked when I start to, like I start to I don’t know design page, I really like to do it all the time. And that, you know, I could go 10 hours straight doing that, or what? So I really don’t like this interruptions that I have to get up to something around the kids and then come back and finish that again, I would rather just stay start and doing it until I’m done. So it’s not really possible. So yeah, for me, that would be a disadvantage. And also it’s very, very noisy. We have very, our house is not very big. So it’s it’s pretty crowded here. So having a place quiet place for yourself would be Well, for me not having a place like that is a disadvantage. Definitely for workers.
Would you ever be interested? Or are there any like co working places around you where freelancers can rent space and things like that?
Well, I did run an office for a while a few years ago. But that requires your driving to it. And then coming back that that just takes a lot of time. And right now we live in this very small city on the countryside. So I wouldn’t have any co working space near me I would have to draw drive like 10 kilometers or more.
So it would be like you’re going to a job every day. Yeah. And it’s the purpose of being Yes, exactly. Yeah, I know. I’m certainly I’m going to try to work from home as long as I can to avoid I mean, we have a co working spot that’s just five, five minutes up the road from us, which I’ve made do eventually but Yeah, same here. We’re going to try to stay we have we have a smaller house as well. Just three bedrooms. So with our family growing, our daughters are going to share the bedroom. But once number three comes eventually that’s when we’re gonna have to make I might go down to the basement or we’ll figure something out.
Yeah, we are looking at houses in the neighborhood. So yeah, I might go to the basement. So I suppose so I’m really looking forward to it. I am I have my own office in the new house. So yeah, that’s kind of exciting.
Yeah, and that’s interesting for folks for web designers who don’t have kids or a family yet that’s definitely something that I had to adjust to as well because I was in the same boat if I was working on a website and I was fired up and inspired I would sometimes work, you know, really long hours. And not because I was in any sense a workaholic, but it’s just I was feeling creative. And what that does change with kids and family, it’s like, you know what, I have to table this, like, I’ve learned to do smaller, bite sized segments during the day, and we only have one kid now, it’s going to be even different once we have to, to where I’ll do like a two hour block, and then take a break, and then another two hour block, and then take a break that, that seems kind of, but I’m still adjusting to that, as opposed to the, like, 10 hour stretch, you know, I built a whole website in 10 hours. Do you do that as well? Do you kind of have just work segments? As Opposed?
I have to I don’t have much choice now with a little Wanda. I have to like, feed her every couple of hours. So yeah, that’s, she’s my real, living pomodoro. No, yeah.
So makes you get out of out of your chair.
So then when she’s sleeping, now I have to work on work. And then
Do you find, though, that you get more done in less time, because that’s how I feel. Yeah, like, once you have kids, there is no more wasting time. Everything is value.
My husband always says that, you know, if we wouldn’t have kids, we would just you know, we would lie down and watch TV series. You’re still not to get your things done. So, yeah, it’s not Yeah, definitely you get more things done when you have limited time for it.
Would you say to that you make more money when you have kids gods. That’s how I feel like as soon as my daughter came, it was like, my mind activated to a whole nother level one. I was like, I gotta get serious about making more. Yeah. Did you did you kind of feel that way?
Yeah with getting things done comes more money. When you don’t waste your time on, you know, things that don’t bring you money. You have more? Yeah, that’s how it works? Definitely. At least for me.
It’s funny, because my wife and I will say all the time, we’re like, what did we do before we had kids like there must have just been so much time, just get the day going. And it’s already nine or 10 o’clock.
We are we are kind of have a similar thing. But even when we are with just one or two of our of our kids at home, we’re like people doing when they have just one to one child. So it’s similar.
I’d like to ask you, did you have her have any struggles or, or periods through your, your career when you started having kids doing web design? Did you have any points where you, you know, like, you either felt like you didn’t want to do web design anymore? Or the client work dried up? Or has it always been a progression of you know, more work and more opportunity and stuff like that.
But I did have I did have this period of time that I was really, like worn out, I had this client I worked for for a couple of years, he had this ecommerce store, and they were also manufacturing their own products and needed a website for each product. So obviously that took a couple of years to Yeah, and you know, preparing banners for it was very daunting. And that was a time I I struggled to. I didn’t like my job. And then we decided to do the courses for kids. That was kind of when I found the vessel that changed. Yeah, but for me, the biggest thing I had needed to like overcome was like putting myself out there with the lover when I decided I will record my first tutorial and actually show my face to people that was like getting out of my comfort zone was the biggest thing I had to do that’s I never thought I would do that.
I appreciate you talking with me right now and coming on the show and doing video cuz you You said you know you’re very nervous and everything but you’re doing great. Your English is amazing. I mean, I was telling you before we went live that I could tell a big difference from now from last year from those first couple tutorials. It’s like It’s like a whole new you, you know you’re leveling up.
Well, I had a lot of practice. I’ve been doing this one on one, training sessions with all sorts of different people. So it’s like they learn from me, I teach them CSS and whatever and I get to practice my English in the in the meantime, by the So far away from perfect, it’s very, very challenging for me to, you know, find the words and be able to express myself as I was doing in my language. Yeah.
While you’re doing great, it’s one thing that’s really interesting, too, is I just had a conversation yesterday that I think it’s gonna be episode four or five with Dominic de Sosa, from the Divi awards, and we’re talking about passion projects, and the pros and cons to them. With you it sounded like your passion project was teaching kids and it sounds like that’s what kind of got you interested in teaching, right? Doing tutorials. lover? I mean, you say that kind of planted that planted the seed to be interested?
Well, maybe but not not exactly. Now, because it was very different, like, teaching kids is hard. It’s really, especially when they are so young, because we were, I don’t know, if you’ve heard of it, there’s this platform called Scratch, it is just a kid’s programming, they need to assemble the colorful puzzles, they, it basically teaches a logic of how the programming language would work, you know, the, if statements, the loops and stuff like that. So the kids who attended our classes were like, ages six, seven, so still very young. And it was very hard to get them to focus on anything. The graphic design was actually meant for older children or teenagers. And that was very, very rewarding. I, I taught a game and in space, and it was, I could talk to them, like with, you know, with adults.
So it was, it was great experience for me, we had to close that business due to some health issues. And we just didn’t have time because it was you know, it didn’t involve getting rid of all our kids. So, you know, sending them to grandparents or whatever. So because we did that together with my husband, so it was very time consuming, and we just couldn’t pull it off. But actually every woman in my family is a teacher. My mom is a teacher, my mom, my second grandmother, so every woman is a teacher. And I always when I was younger, we were always laughing that I will be a teacher too. But you know, they don’t earn much in Poland. At least. That wasn’t my choice of career. But now with this. After I released this first tutorial, the one you refer to with blurbs stops. It was so like, it was incredible. I the response was so overwhelming. Everyone was so grateful. And it’s just it’s just, you know, amazing feeling that now people from over all over the world would say, hey, thanks, you just made my day or whatever. Like it’s, it’s really, really awesome feeling to prepare something someone will find so useful. So yeah, that’s, that’s how I just I knew I had to make more. Because it was really, really rewarding for me.
That’s interesting that all the women in your family are teachers because it sounds weird. I actually, my grandpa passed away several months ago. And at his funeral, I never really I remember somebody said that he had taught some things on the side. But as they were talking about his life as he was younger, they were saying he really loved teaching. And I was thinking like, wow, that’s like I kind of feel like like that’s kind of been me. Yeah, I’ve only made something. Yeah, I’ve always been interested in teaching. I love it. I mean, I love what I do with web design and my client work, but I love teaching and doing courses way more. And it just is not. I don’t feel I don’t know how you feel about this, but I don’t feel like I’m working. When I’m doing teaching. It feels like I’m off and I’m having fun. And then I got to get back to emails for the clients.
Yeah, I have a similar feeling. Yeah, yeah. Although for me, it’s the English part is when I kind of struggle and what Mike is it’s more difficult for me. And I feel kind of like working because I have to know, would you?
Have you ever thought about or would you consider doing you know, Poland specific lessons or things or program like local programs or anything like that?
I don’t think there would be enough like it wouldn’t be the same. like yeah, it’s it’s so like, awesome to, you know, meet people from all over. I wouldn’t go back like, just limit myself to only Polish audience. Yeah,
Yeah. And no, it’s interesting that because even though maybe the teaching the kids wasn’t necessarily the the start of everything it sound like that definitely helped you learn right before, like you got to learn how to teach and that’s probably the best lesson of all because you’re teaching a very hard demographic. So once you started teaching people in the Divi community, now you’re dealing with people who are older and more mature and actually want to learn. Yes, that’s why I imagine it was even more gratifying for you. Because when you finally put that post out, it was last year right? The blurbs now it
No it was ready to it will be two years now in December. So this
Okay, so yeah, do that. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, cuz I think I stumbled onto it beginning of last year.
Yeah, that’s Yeah, that’s possible. Yeah. It was the end of December. So yeah, yeah, sure.
Yeah. So that had to be really cool. Because you went from snot nosed brats who didn’t want to learn to people in the Divi community who just loved it and embraced you. And you really kind of ran with that.
I really yeah, it was really really I didn’t expect like this. What What happened after was like the, it’s still very, like, I still get comments on that it has like 300 comments on my blog post. So it’s, it’s still very popular. I really didn’t see that coming
I’ll link to it in the show notes. Because it is it’s one of my favorite Divi tutorials is very practical, and it doesn’t break with all the videos.
I do have to, like, revisit it and maybe I can do some fancier version. But But yeah, it still works.
So now Devi lover is your your primary income, right? Maybe not your family’s but your I mean, it’s your almost full time job, right?
And what what do you what do you envision for that? Do you think you’re gonna do? Do you think you might expand and bring on people to help with support in a team? Or do you think you’re just going to try to keep it? You know, just you for a while? Or Yeah, what are your plans now?
Well, for now, I managed to, like there is not too much support requests, not that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It’s like half an hour or an hour a day. So it’s not it’s, it’s not that bad. If it would be longer than definitely I would need to find some help for it. But I kind of like doing everything myself. It’s why I’ve never expanded and never like to hire any subcontractors. Well, I did on occasion, but not, you know, for for a long term. So yeah, I think I will keep doing everything myself as as long as it’s possible. With
That, I think staying as a one man or one woman shop is kind of the new thing is as long as you can at least I know that because I did that for my web design business. I kept it myself. Because I just was content and comfortable doing that. And then once I got to the point where not only did we grow to the point where I had to get some help at one point, I remember, I had Yes, it was February 2018, we had 23 projects. And those were, those weren’t all massive, some were big builds. Some are smaller projects, but still anything that is over a couple hours of work, I consider a project. And that’s when I knew I really needed to take the next level and luckily I just started scaling. But I was very I was fine was saying you know a freelancer a one a one person Freelancer until I just felt the need to take my Josh Hall co stuff to the next level similar to you, once you once you get that itch. And once you find some success with it, you feel that call. That’s when I really wanted to take the next step to grow that But yeah, I mean, that’s suit state, definitely stay a one man shop as long as you can for you to you make good products, and you do good documentation are well supported. That probably takes care of a lot of questions there. Because otherwise you know, rush and that’s a good rule of thumb for people who are doing service work with clients to is if you just rush your workout or if you’re training clients and just rush everything out. Expect a lot more follow up and questions and support. It’s better to take the time to do it right up front and then yeah, not have to worry about that over and over.
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.
Well, that’s awesome. Ani I’ve loved hearing your story again of how you got started because it’s so similar to everyone who just dove into Photoshop and learned HTML and then found WordPress and then found Divi and I think it’s pretty fascinating that you’ve done you’ve kept consistent with your business and then starting with Divi while you had your kids and everything. What do you have any advice for moms or Late gals who are thinking about you know, or would like to be a stay at home mom and doing web design Do you have any advice for, for girls who are interested in being a stay at home mom and doing.
Well, I guess just go for it, it’s, you know, there’s not much you can lose. If you are already a stay at home mom, you know, it’s, you can always spare a few few hours to just, you know, see how that, how that works out for you. So definitely, if, you know, making websites, creating something has always been like, very, like awesome feeling, oh, I’ve managed to do it, it looks so pretty. And so it’s very rewarding. And if you just, you know, just go for it, try. And if, if that’s what you’re if it’s something you will like doing, then you’ve managed to find a way of being able to do it right. All the other pieces fall into place when there’s, you know, there’s a need. So yeah,
I found that, at least from my perspective, it seems like there’s more and more women getting into web design, particularly over the past probably five years or so, just in general. Like, for example, when i, i the only academic or, you know, real education I had was at my community college and I took some web design classes, my degree wasn’t even in while my associate’s degree wasn’t even in web design. It was graphics. So I learned Photoshop and Illustrator and stuff. But the web design courses were primarily guys, it was like, probably 75%. Guys, it seems like more and more women are doing web design and finding a lot of success with that, particularly, I think, for women clients who would prefer somebody who, you know, like, because I’ve had some answers,
and say, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah. And I’ve had that to where I’ve, I’ve had a couple leads who wanted to do like, a woman blog or something like that, where they just wanted somebody who, maybe maybe not even from a design perspective, but just kind of share their interests and understood that more. And I totally understood that. And I kind of feel, I kind of feel like there’s more and more women in web design in general. Did you ever feel I’m just I’m just curious. Did you ever feel like it was kind of hard to get into web design as a woman? Do you feel like you were up against a lot of guy web designers, or
I think the woman’s would focus more on graphic part of that work, and men would do the programming stuff. And now with this awesome tools we have when it’s easier, like you don’t have to know how to code like, in details, like very detailed programming, then it’s easier for women to also take that that part of of business maybe that’s that’s why, but for me, it was. Yeah, I’ve never noticed like any difference. I had both women and men friends doing what I do. So yeah, it kind of felt natural. For me.
It is interesting. It does seem like more and more girls are coding like you are you came into the community. And you heard, I mean, we’d like you actually help Jonathan myself, do some PHP coding with some stuff that’s way above my head. And you’re the you’re the gal that we came through for some help. But that stuff.
Yeah, I like to think of myself that I’m really good in googling stuff.
And your master Googler. Right.
Yeah. That’s, that’s your feeling you need?
What do you What’s your favorite type of work? Do you like to do the layout design? Or do you like teaching the most? Or do you enjoy coding? What’s your favorite type of work?
I do like teaching. That’s probably like, when I really release a tutorial. That’s Yeah, that’s. But also I like to, I like to do the CSS part, which Divi takes away from it. So there’s like less than less CSS needed, because they keep adding all this awesome features. But yeah, I like to, you know, when the people ask questions on Facebook group, I really like loved ones. Like, where is this line coming from? Like the little CSS puzzle when you can go in and inspect what’s happening there? Yeah, I enjoyed finding that. Or like making it look great with CSS. Yeah, that’s Yeah, that’s what it
It is still very important to know and learn CSS because even with Divi, to where you could, you could build a site without technically writing any CSS. If you’re going to add plugins. And if you’re going to have additional functionality, or if you need to troubleshoot something, customize things for mobile. You got to know CSS. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, yes, I think it’s good to have that foundation. And then yes, definitely,
yeah, it makes things like much easier if you know, would know how to like hand coded before us, Divi to do it for you, then you’re good to go.
That’s really good advice I think for for moms and women who are thinking about, you know, having a remote web design career to be able to stay at home and to do stuff like that, to have that freedom. Because Yeah, I think to your point, because I always, I’ve always felt like, go for it, as long as you’re okay with the worst case scenario.
Yeah, sure. what’s the worst that can happen? Like, okay, you don’t find a client or maybe you can, like, try a bit longer, or like, just do some projects for free or whatever, like, as long as it makes you happy. And the work you’re doing is feels like good for you, then just just keep doing it, and the rest will follow. Yeah,
That’s great. Yeah, cuz I know I never wanted, I always wanted freedom over security, which is why I wasn’t interested in being an accountant or something or going to a four year degree cuz I, I was I was okay with the risk of starting my own business. And I’ve had time like years ago, we were late on a couple mortgage payments, because we didn’t make enough that month to cover but we made enough Two weeks later the month that Yeah, luckily, it’s been fine since I started my maintenance plan. And, you know, I have more recurring income now. But yeah, I think I think that’s just good rule of thumb, not only for for stay at home moms who want to do something, whether full time or on the side. But just as a business rule in general, I think it’s good to lay out like, what is the worst thing that could happen for me. Even when I got married, and my wife joined the business, it was like, okay, though, the worst thing that would happen is if clients dried up, and then we couldn’t pay our mortgage, even if we lost our house, we would move in with our parents like, That would suck, but we would rebound and that’s, we’re never gonna get on the streets. Yeah. That’s the worst thing that would happen. And like, I’m alright with that. Let’s go for and I didn’t give that another thought. And I’ve never looked back, since I think a lot of people are so just not willing to take the risk of
Yeah, it’s a great advice, like for every everything, not even like business related. When you think of, of worst case scenario and just accept it, then you’re like, stop worrying about anything, really. So yeah. So whenever you’re worried about something that, should I do this or that, just think of what’s the worst, this worst thing that can happen? And if you accept it, then you don’t need to worry anymore? Yeah, that’s awesome. Advice. I think
That’s a that’s great advice. It’s a really good point for sure. And I think both of us have experienced, you know, going through that, because it’s it’s scary when you take the leap. But I like I said, it sounds like you didn’t dwell on it either too long. It sounds like
For me, it felt like I don’t have other option like I would never like want to go to like the regular type of work having a, you know, a boss over me to tell me what to do. And yeah, having that kind of freedom is way more important that the stability?
Well, I think the fact that you do child themes and products, it’s probably good that you’re you like being in control. And you have that, you know, I don’t want to call you a control freak. But you definitely,
I think you’re in the right business. You’re in the right business, for sure.
Yes, yes. Being. That’s what I love about Child themes. It’s really like, you get to do the websites, like the thing you love to do making a website, but you don’t have a client over your shoulder telling you that he wants it to be purple or whatever. Like, you just do it the way you like it. And yeah, so that’s awesome. I really love knowing that. And that makes me a total control freak.
Oh, that’s all right. I’m really excited and happy for Wanda. And I foresee that your business is only going to continue to grow and you’re only going to continue to do more awesome things especially as little WANDA gets a little bit older and
I’m looking forward to it.
When what what’s the future look like with Divi lover I know you we had talked about I am really encouraging you to do courses because it’s changed my life. I just love it. It’s been meaningful work. Like the products were cool and I’ve never done child themes. But as soon as I got into courses, and I see my students building their own businesses and then they hit me up with a message like I can pay my mortgage now or my mortgage is covered maintenance plan. Now that has been the best thing for me. It’s been the most meaningful work and I love doing it.
Yes, I will. Yeah, I will most certainly follow your footsteps on creating courses. That’s my plan for the next year. And I’m actually now doing and you’re tracking for Divi for life with the new theme builder. That’s pretty exciting for me as well, because it’s something new. And I haven’t done one in a while I realized the girly Child Theme over a year ago. So. So yes, that’s fun to work on some new child things. Yeah. And you need to get on that as well. If I could just, you know, stretch.
Do you think you’ll officially give up doing any service work? Are you already at that?
I don’t think so. Well, I tend to I currently, I’m keep keep rejecting clients. Like I just say I sorry, I don’t have the time. But I feel like there will be time for me to you know, take on some some fun project, because it’s also like, something I really enjoy doing, like creating a website. That’s really awesome for someone’s business. That’s Yeah, I keep saying no to that.
Yeah. And it keeps you grounded you because I think it’s important to still understand what Yeah, what our needs are? Sure. because that’ll help you with products, right? You can figure out you know, if you’re designing websites, and you need something that always leads to the best.
Yes, Yes, Yes, that’s true.
Yeah, well, awesome. I know, this has been a great conversation. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. you’ve, you’ve done great, I know you were really nervous, but you’ve done awesome. A lot of people are gonna get a lot out of this. I think it’s for a lot of people we’re gonna enjoy getting to know you, like I have just to see your story, progress and everything. Do you have any kind of like parting thoughts or anything you’d like to mention, you know, with just with Divi lover or doing what you’re doing, before we wrap up here?
Well, I kind of wanted to like, Thanks, everyone. Thank you. Thanks, Evan. It’s like, our community is really like, for me, it’s I don’t know even how to how to describe it. But it’s been really amazing for me to get to know all sorts of different people from literally every part of the world. It’s so amazing. So I just want to thank you all for being there. And for being so awesome.
Well, that’s awesome. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the majority of the Divi community and say thank you for getting into it and providing some awesome resources, a lot of free resources to that you continue to do so. Those will all pay off in the long run for sure. Maybe, maybe one day, if there’s a word camp near you, I’ll try to get over to Europe or maybe maybe one day you
can maybe one day I will visit the US word camp. I hear they are losing visas for Poland. So maybe we don’t need to have visas anymore. So yeah, but I wasn’t expecting that anytime soon. But I would really I would really like that.
Yeah, for anyone listening definitely go to a word camp and have it even if you’re not a dv user, because
Yes, I did attend to or come simple and it’s it’s always so so awesome to connect with people like like minded people who do the same type of work as you are. And it’s always the best part is are at heart.
Yeah, I’ve heard that we haven’t actually gone to while my wife and I went to wordcamp US which was huge. And we went to a Divi meetup and met Nick and Mitch and the whole team from Elegant Themes and everything. But we went to kind of the pre after party for one, but my wife was pregnant, so we weren’t staying out too late. Yeah. You know, we’re not sure. Yeah. Yeah, no, you’re right, though. It’s, it’s it’s recharging. And that’s kind of fills you up, right. When you Yes, yes.
It’s really it’s really awesome to meet everyone in person. Yeah.
As you said, it can be lonely working from home. So it’s important to have that sense of community, particularly if you can get face to face with people. be doing what we’re doing with a video call, which is awesome, but nothing replaces meeting somebody face to face.
Yes, that’s true. And workups are everywhere. So you don’t need to go to US or you can find a meetup somewhere near you. So yeah, that’s always recommend it to just find one and join the people near you.
Yeah. Awesome. Anya, thank you so much for your time. I do. I’m not even gonna say good luck. With the endeavor because I you’re not going to need it. I know it’s gonna do awesome. So congrats. And yeah, hopefully this helps a lot of people out particularly moms who want to stay at home with their babies and do web design. And yeah, everybody check out db lover.com Thanks again, Anya. I’m sure we’ll talk again soon.
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
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