[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hey, everybody welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Talisha Lewallen. Talisha is the CEO of WP Connects whose mission it is to help military personnel find their next career. And their focus is on the WordPress industry, which for the listeners who are unfamiliar with WordPress and what that is.
[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: And we’re gonna get into that a little bit later. in, the episode, but just real quick, it’s a website management software. That’s used by nearly half of the websites on the internet today. So there’s a huge [00:01:00] opportunity out there for careers within the WordPress industry. And WP Connects is helping to bridge that gap between military veterans and the WordPress space.
[00:01:09] Scott DeLuzio: So without further ado, welcome to the show Taisha. I’m really glad to have you on
[00:01:13] Talisha Lewallen: thank you for having me.
[00:01:14] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
[00:01:19] Talisha Lewallen: All right. I started my WordPress career back, whenever COVID started. I feel like everybody else did too.
[00:01:26] Talisha Lewallen: You know, you’re stuck at home and you’re like, what am I gonna do? I’m gonna make a company. So I own a cattle farm and we started wholeselling our beef, you know, with beef shortages and stuff. That actually led my way into being the director of operations for Post Status, which is a great community for WordPress users.
[00:01:45] Talisha Lewallen: And while I was in Post Status in that operations role, we started realizing that the community had a really big need of needing, trained employees. There’s a lot of hiring. That we just decided to fill the need [00:02:00] for, and as luck would have it, we kinda ran into Hector of a solutions and he and I, and Cory Miller, the owner of Post Status got to talking and we decided to create WP connect.
[00:02:12] Talisha Lewallen: So we’re just connecting military personnel that are separating from the military to WordPress jobs. So it’s kinda how you fell into WordPress and WP.
[00:02:24] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and that’s a great it’s a great thing that you’re doing too, because. You know, I’ve talked to so many veterans through this podcast and other places, and as they’re transitioning out of the military, sometimes they’re like, I just don’t know what I want to do next.
[00:02:37] Scott DeLuzio: You know, they, maybe they enjoyed the job that they had in the military. Maybe they didn’t they’re looking for something new and they want a fresh start, but they don’t necessarily know what to do. And they don’t know how. Follow those steps that they need to take in order to get to where they want to be.
[00:02:54] Scott DeLuzio: And so something like this is really great because I gotta imagine someone [00:03:00] who’s six months out, a year out from getting out of the military, their first thought. Is not popping in their head. Like, gee, what kind of job can I get in WordPress? Right. That’s not probably top of mind. And yet here you are coming up with ways to get veterans who are or service members who are transitioning out get them involved.
[00:03:21] Scott DeLuzio: And get them the training that they need and the resources so that they can be an effective employee at whatever job that they, they wind up getting into.
[00:03:30] Talisha Lewallen: Right. So, yeah, I think that’s a good point too. It’s, you know, I mean, it’s almost like, you know, you, all of a sudden, you’re like, there’s this big world out there and what am I gonna do?
[00:03:40] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. And with WP Connects and Aero Solutions, Aero Solutions, employees are all ex-military they have either served or they’re veterans currently serving. So they know what it’s like to be in that position. And so we’re trying to get these men and women to really think about their next career path while they’re still in the service.
[00:03:58] Talisha Lewallen: So our credentialing assistant [00:04:00] program is actually for active duty military person. So we’re giving them a skill for when they do separate, they can then automatically fall into, even if it’s not WordPress, they could fall into a tech field with our training. And so, but yeah, it just gets them thinking about what is that next step.
[00:04:15] Talisha Lewallen: If I’m not going to retire from the military, you know, most, I would say most people don’t, maybe I’m wrong on that. I’m not gonna give a statistic, but I would assume that most people are not actually going to full out retire from the military. And even if you do it, a lot of them have second career.
[00:04:31] Talisha Lewallen: And this just opens up that or allows you. A lot of people think they wanna start their own company and WordPress is a great way to start that company. And so we’re just trying to give that training and getting ’em thinking about it too. Just what is next?
[00:04:45] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I wanna talk about WordPress more generally for a bit, because one of the reasons why I really wanted you to be on this podcast and talk about this is because I’ve worked with WordPress professionally for the better part of a decade.
[00:04:59] Scott DeLuzio: Now I’ve [00:05:00] dabbled with it even before then when I was building sites professionally. But WordPress is the software that has been putting food on my family’s table, keeping a roof over our head. The vacations and the trips and all the things that we’ve done has all been because of WordPress and the great thing about it for me and my personality, the.
[00:05:22] Scott DeLuzio: The type of career that I was looking for at the time when I was starting off with this was I wanted to be independent. I didn’t want to be reporting to somebody, you know, in a typical nine to five kind of job going into an office. And now I have a boss after report to, and who has his own boss or her own boss or whatever.
[00:05:42] Scott DeLuzio: And I, I didn’t want that. I kind of wanted. To go the entrepreneurial route and WordPress just has so many possibilities out there for people like that who want to. Be independent. They don’t want to be chained down to a desk if you will. Right. But there’s also those opportunities too, where if [00:06:00] you don’t want to take that risk and being a freelancer or an entrepreneur or whatever, you don’t, you wanna have a stable job, a steady job not worrying about where’s the next paycheck coming from WordPress has those opportunities as well.
[00:06:11] Scott DeLuzio: So I think it’s an incredibly great place to start a career with. And I did do a brief overview of WordPress in the intro. But let’s talk a little bit more about what it is and what kind of careers are actually available in the WordPress industry.
[00:06:25] Talisha Lewallen: So WordPress is fantastic, like you said, for many different facets.
[00:06:29] Talisha Lewallen: One is. I’m not exactly a tech person. I wouldn’t say that somebody’s gonna bring me their laptop and say, fix my computer, cuz I’d probably rather throw it against the wall. That’s my way of fixing it. You know, I’m just, I am not techy. But what I do is operations management. I do project management. WordPress has faces for people that are not quote unquote techy to the techiest of tech people.
[00:06:54] Talisha Lewallen: If you could take something and completely build your laptop, if you could take something and complet. [00:07:00] Do I mean any type of tech WordPress has it. But there’s just so many jobs and that’s one thing whenever I started working with Aero Solutions most tech fields and tech companies that they work with, there is an exact career path.
[00:07:13] Talisha Lewallen: There is an exact job title with job description. And so working with me has been a little bit new for them as well. Because I’m like we don’t have one. Do you wanna be a blogger? Do you wanna be a coder? Do you wanna be a full stack developer? Do you wanna be, I mean, what do you wanna be? We have jobs for you.
[00:07:30] Talisha Lewallen: And that has been eyeopening, I think for them, but also interesting for me to really dive in and see what all does WordPress have. And like you said, I mean, you could be freelance, you could start your own company. You could work for WP Engine, Go Daddy, Stellar, Nexus. I mean, there’s all these very large companies that.
[00:07:49] Talisha Lewallen: And you do have that structure, but it’s also remote work. So you still get that freedom generally to be able to still be in your environment, but have the community with you. And I think [00:08:00] that’s the other part of WordPress that sometimes get not all the time, but sometimes gets left out when we really talk about WordPress is the community.
[00:08:07] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. And especially for people coming out of the military the military is very communal and you have, you know, this band of people that are in it with you. And WordPress really has that. I’ve worked in many different fields from social work to all different kinds of weird things, but none of them have that community like WordPress does.
[00:08:28] Talisha Lewallen: There’s they are genuinely there to help you. If you have a site development problem, you can put like in Post Status, you could post in a slack channel and somebody just says, give me your login. And they fix the issue for you. And they don’t. Expect payment. They don’t expect anything in return. They genuinely just wanna help you.
[00:08:45] Talisha Lewallen: And it’s an amazing community,
[00:08:46] Scott DeLuzio: right? Yeah. And I’m glad you brought up the community aspect of it because that’s a huge thing with veterans coming out of the military is that, that lack of a sense of belonging or com camaraderie [00:09:00] and things like that. And so. If we have a second here, I’d like to actually share a personal story that I had with the WordPress community and how I kind of stumbled into this community.
[00:09:11] Scott DeLuzio: So one of, one of the things that drew me to the WordPress industry was that sense of belonging that you’re talking about that community and veterans, like you said, can totally understand. What we’re talking about here. And I remember the first word camp that I attended and people who are listening, word camps are one of the big industry conferences that WordPress that WordPress industry has.
[00:09:32] Scott DeLuzio: And I was still very much coming out of the military. I was very much against being in crowds, being in large public areas. I. I resisted going two word camps, even though I knew about them for several years, I just didn’t want to do it because I just was uncomfortable with that. You know, and full transparency.
[00:09:47] Scott DeLuzio: I’m still uncomfortable with it, but I kind of ripped the bandaid off and I still I went and did it right. I almost actually turned around and went back home. As I was walking into the building. I saw the crowd of people and I was like Nope, screw this. I’m outta here. But I forced myself to go and I said, you know, I’m gonna stay at [00:10:00] least until lunch and see, just see how it goes.
[00:10:02] Scott DeLuzio: And I found myself just sticking to the wall, watching the crowd, pretending to be. Fidgeting with my phone. Like I was expecting a call or something stupid like that. Right.
[00:10:09] Talisha Lewallen: That we all do in those awkward social settings.
[00:10:12] Scott DeLuzio: exactly right. And so I’m standing there all by myself. Nobody’s I didn’t know anybody there.
[00:10:17] Scott DeLuzio: I, you know, whatever. And someone walked up to me, introduced themselves and sort of took me under his wing. He got to know what I did with WordPress. He asked me questions about myself and what kind of work I did. And we got to know each other a little bit. And then he started.
[00:10:30] Scott DeLuzio: Taking me around and introducing me to other people. And by the end of that first day, like literally one day at a conference, I had a bunch of people that I knew that I could hang out with, I could talk to comfortably. Right. And it was kind of like walking into a VFW or an American Legion or something like that, where maybe you walk in, you don’t know anybody there, but you all have similar experiences.
[00:10:53] Scott DeLuzio: And when you go in, you start talking to these people, you will eventually find some [00:11:00] common ground. You might find something that you can start talking about. Right. And. You know, so by the end of that first day, I had several new friends that I still have to this day. And that was the very first conference I went to.
[00:11:11] Scott DeLuzio: And I felt like I, I just belonged there. Everyone was very welcoming. They were very helpful. And over the years I found that while nothing quite compared to the comradery in the military the WordPress community is really honestly the closest thing that I found. Something in the civilian world where people are just there, they genuinely want to help you.
[00:11:32] Scott DeLuzio: They want you to succeed. And as a matter of fact, the guy who I was talking about who introduced me to all these people a couple years later he did a talk at one of these conferences with one of his competitors. The two of them got up on stage. They were talking together and the title of the the talk was co.
[00:11:51] Scott DeLuzio: And so combining the words, cooperation and competition they’re competitors. Right. But they helped each other. They were able to send [00:12:00] some of their customers to the other person. The other person was able to send customers and vice versa, and they were able to build their businesses that way by, by helping each other out.
[00:12:08] Scott DeLuzio: And so I think that word, that co petition. Such a, it’s a unique word, but it totally goes to show what WordPress is like.
[00:12:17] Talisha Lewallen: Yes, exactly. I mean, that seriously does. Especially at like, Post Status Post Status is a community for WordPress users. So the majority of people in there are in some way, a competitor.
[00:12:28] Talisha Lewallen: Does that stop them from helping each other? No. On the other end, like it’s literally the opposite. And when they get somebody in the Post Status channels, that is. Looking out for themselves and being super competitive and just being that way, somebody private messages them and is like, Hey, let’s have a meeting and talk about how we are in this community.
[00:12:48] Talisha Lewallen: And that’s what I’m really trying to push for. The PE the men and women that we’re helping is that you can’t come into this community and be for yourself like and that’s been a little different for error solutions too. Cause you know, we’re, we still have [00:13:00] to make money too. It is a company and you know, it, it is.
[00:13:04] Talisha Lewallen: You know, the gross word, nobody wants to talk about, you know, like finances, but it’s still there. And we’re trying to talk about how to make our bottom dollar. And I’m like, you can’t come into this community and be thinking about how much money you’re gonna make. It just doesn’t happen like that.
[00:13:18] Talisha Lewallen: But it is so many people just it’s all for one and one for all. I mean, it’s ridiculous. We help Post Status has a saying of growing. And it really is. You’re helping each other grow together and we can’t grow if we’re not, if we’re not helping each other and really being there. And I have a very similar WordPress story for, I didn’t go, I still have not been to a word camp.
[00:13:39] Talisha Lewallen: For those of you that don’t know word camps are these massive, like what 300 to 1200 people like convent. That WordPress people get together and they socialize and they just do all these things. I have not been to one but I went to a Post Status convention or like little meeting and there’s about 30 people there.
[00:13:58] Talisha Lewallen: But I’m sitting at the bar [00:14:00] the first night, cause I’m like, oh, I don’t really know anybody. Cory wasn’t there yet. And people had seen me over. And so somebody came up and was like, Hey Taisha, come on over here. And there’s like, all of these WordPress people that I have never met in my life. And I started getting like really bad social anxiety.
[00:14:15] Talisha Lewallen: So I did the same thing. I’m gonna sit here and act like I’m plan on my phone. Or like I’m texting somebody or who knows. I might’ve actually been texting somebody like, oh my God, save me. I’m sitting in this meeting and I don’t know anybody, but by the end of the night, like everybody was like, you couldn’t tell you, couldn’t tell people.
[00:14:31] Talisha Lewallen: Didn’t know each. The third night everybody was exhausted and it’s more just from socially exhausted. And I even confided and said, you know, these type of meetings very much socially, like exhaust me and I am ready to go home and not be around people. You know, we work at home, we’re not used to being around people.
[00:14:47] Talisha Lewallen: Right. And so I was like, I’m ready to go home. And everybody else literally sat there and was like, oh my God, us two. And it’s like, I always put it. And I use this term in the most friendly, loving way possible, and I hate it. And I know that, you [00:15:00] know, they say nerds have taken nerd back, you know, and it’s a positive thing, but I really think that has a lot to do with the community.
[00:15:05] Talisha Lewallen: A lot of these people have not, were not socially accepted in social environments, maybe in high school, middle school, you know, the beginning part of our time. And they know what it feels like to be ostracized and not be around. And they don’t want, they actually truly don’t want other people to feel that way.
[00:15:21] Talisha Lewallen: And I think that. A large part of it, maybe, I mean, could be, that could just be my 2 cents into it. Sure. But they are just the most welcoming people. I have not been introduced to somebody that was not truly welcoming in some way.
[00:15:35] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And the thing is you can clearly see who is the opposite of that.
[00:15:42] Scott DeLuzio: And they stick out like a sore thumb. Yeah. And it’s like, you know what? I don’t wanna be around that dude. Cause he is just totally. Off putting and everything like that. And when people start thinking about it and they’re like, okay, this sounds like this sounds great, but how is this really gonna work in practice?
[00:15:56] Scott DeLuzio: You know, when you have you’re trying to run a business and [00:16:00] make money, how is it that you’re gonna make money by sending your customers to a competitor or something like that? Right. And I, that’s not necessarily what. We’re trying to say, we’re not saying, you know, just send all of your your customers away and somehow magically your bank.
[00:16:15] Scott DeLuzio: Account’s gonna be filled up. Oh yeah. That’s not what we’re saying at all. But when we help each other out you know, look, I got a customer. I have a problem with this customer. I’m trying to solve this problem. I know somebody else out there has dealt with this type of problem. They let me go ask ’em about it.
[00:16:32] Scott DeLuzio: It’s not costing them anything to help me with that. Right. And so that’s what we’re talking about is yeah, is they just take five minutes of their time and say, Hey. I can’t necessarily maybe do it for you, or maybe I can, but I might charge you for it, but you know, I can’t necessarily do it for you, but here’s, I’m gonna set you in the right direction.
[00:16:48] Scott DeLuzio: So you can at least you know, learn this up for yourself for the future and help out this customer and make everything better for yourself, for the customer for everybody really. And so, you know, that’s more, I think what we’re talking [00:17:00] about. So it’s it’s just a way to help each other.
[00:17:04] Scott DeLuzio: Progress and make make better relationships really. Right. And then you never know down the line, some of those people that you’ve helped out along the way you know, maybe there’s gonna be a business relationship that, that forms out of that. Right. And then you can, you know, maybe you merge your companies together and you go and do bigger and better things together.
[00:17:22] Scott DeLuzio: Cause I don’t know.
[00:17:24] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. There’s a lot of that. There, there is. There’s so much of.
[00:17:28] Scott DeLuzio: There’s a ton of that going on, especially right now. There’s a lot of that going on. And I think it’s incredible really how everything is maturing in this way. So, and the other thing too, is how you mentioned how a lot of the jobs are remote jobs.
[00:17:41] Scott DeLuzio: You’re not necessarily working in an office nine to five, whatever. A lot of the jobs are very much flexible. You don’t have to necessarily work certain hours. You can work when it’s convenient, you know, as long as you get your job done, most companies don’t particularly care what hours you’re checking in on or whatever, you know, it’s like, you know, as long as the [00:18:00] work’s getting done, sorry to
[00:18:01] Talisha Lewallen: interrupt.
[00:18:01] Talisha Lewallen: Some of these are global. Actually I would almost say the majority of them are global companies. So I mean, working at any, whenever I was at Post Status, we had people that were in Europe. We had people here in the United States. We had somebody in Canada. So, no matter what hour I was working, somebody was working.
[00:18:19] Talisha Lewallen: And so, I think I could think of two or three companies right off the top of my head that are in that are not here in the us, but are in other parts of the world, but they have people working in here in the us. So it’s very interesting to see those dynamics in the flexibility. Not every company has that lovely level of flexibility.
[00:18:36] Talisha Lewallen: Right. But with that flexibility also comes with, you have to be able to set your. And I actually just wrote an article on that because whenever I started and not even just working in WordPress, but whenever I started working remotely, I thought it would help my work life balance, you know, because, oh, my kids are sick.
[00:18:52] Talisha Lewallen: I could run to the doctor real quick and work at 10 o’clock at night. Well, the next thing I know, I’m checking my email at 11:00 PM every single night [00:19:00] and you know, working till 11 o’clock at night. And it’s because I let those boundaries that I had at an in person job at a brick and mortar.
[00:19:07] Talisha Lewallen: Completely go out the window. And so I really had to set those boundaries to make that flexibility be beneficial. I think that’s the best way to put it be beneficial for me and the company, cuz you don’t wanna burn out either. And it, the company does not even, I haven’t ever met a WordPress company that expects you to work that many hours or that late.
[00:19:26] Talisha Lewallen: But I mean, that’s just my my Bo my personal boundaries went a little skewed for a little while. And so with that flexibility, you do have. Really be able to monitor your boundaries. But it is, I have always loved working from home. Yeah. I know some people that can’t handle it, but I think it’s great.
[00:19:44] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And if you can handle it’s definitely a great way to go. And so let’s talk about WP Connects and how. Y’all are working to help service members and veterans transition into a career in WordPress and technology and the things that you guys are doing. [00:20:00] So how does that all work?
[00:20:01] Talisha Lewallen: So our first step is when somebody is active duty right now, we’re with the army in the air force. We’re looking to we just got in with the air force, but we’re looking to expand to all the branches. And that does not mean that if you’re in another branch that you cannot take our program or. It just means that we have contracts with the air force in the army.
[00:20:20] Talisha Lewallen: So we have a credentialing assistance program and ours currently is called the web foundation series. And it is beginning level tech. So if you’ve never done anything in tech and you’re like, this is a great industry and I love the jobs that are going into it. I love the pay that’s there and the flexibility it could teach you how to very.
[00:20:38] Talisha Lewallen: Or if your job in the military is tech, I mean, they’re a lot of those jobs coming out. It can also just help you get that credentialing assistance that can help you get that next job. So we have that it’s an eight week course. Again, that’s just through the credentialing assistant. So that’s active duty military personnel while they’re active duty, they can take this course to prepare them for when they.
[00:20:57] Talisha Lewallen: Then we have skill bridge. Our skill bridge [00:21:00] course is whenever a service man or woman decides to separate in the last 180 days of their contract, they can start signing up for our skill bridge program. And that’s pretty much it’s basically an in, in a way, an internship, you spend so many hours a week through one of our WordPress specific training courses.
[00:21:19] Talisha Lewallen: It’s 12 weeks long. Whenever you’re done with that program, you will learn again, basic HTML all the way to you are fully developing a website on your own. It’s a very expansive course. And at the end of that, you are able to interview with one of our partners to get a job. Some of them are intro to like support technology positions, but then they have advancement to grow.
[00:21:42] Talisha Lewallen: So if ours are not. Higher level positions, then they have promotion opportunities. You know, sometimes we all have to start at the bottom, but these companies they know what you’ve been through. They know that some of you all were 18 when you signed [00:22:00] up and you’ve never wrote a resume. You’ve never done a job interview.
[00:22:02] Talisha Lewallen: I have fully vetted these companies on my own. I have talked to them and told them that this is something that, you know, they have to take into consider. You know, these aren’t 30, 40 year old people that have went through 20 odd years of job searching. But that doesn’t mean that there’s any less skill there.
[00:22:19] Talisha Lewallen: It’s actually, there’s more skill. So, I vetted these companies personally and talked to them. So, part of our training is also resume building to help you transfer the skills that you have went through in the military to correlate into the professional field of technology. A lot of that is just wordsmith.
[00:22:37] Talisha Lewallen: You know, you just kind of gotta tweak things. It doesn’t mean you don’t have the experience. It just means we have to find the right way to word your experience to fit the job. Yep. So we teach that and that is what skill bridge is. We are also in the works of doing a mentorship program. I’m hopeful.
[00:22:53] Talisha Lewallen: That’ll roll out at the end of August, maybe September. So it should be fully [00:23:00] operational, but who. And it’s, there’s a lot that goes into it and thank God I got a solutions that’s really helping WP Connects Wade through those waters, but we’re very helpful that we’ll have that mentor or oh my gosh, that apprenticeship program.
[00:23:12] Talisha Lewallen: And then with all of that, we also have our mentorship program, which is once you get a job with one of our partnered companies, I assign you to one of our mentors who I have vetted them all. So. And all of them have served in some form of capacity in the us military, in some branch active duty reserve, something they have military experience to hopefully know what you’re going through and to help you transition into this lovely world of WordPress and civilian life.
[00:23:45] Talisha Lewallen: And these people know what it has been like. They’ve been there. And so we’re helping you pull out transition and have somebody to go to, or if you’re like me and you’d never reach out to them, their job is to reach out to you and say, Hey, how are you doing? Cause I would [00:24:00] not call nobody. So I’ve fully told all of them.
[00:24:02] Talisha Lewallen: You have to make the first call. You have to, I really need you to make that first awkward introduction cuz not everybody’s gonna do that. So we’ve really put some thought and we’re hoping that you know, it is effective and helpful to everybody.
[00:24:15] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I know from my experience, I and a lot of the people I’ve talked to, they just would not be the type of people to reach out and say, Hey, I need help with something.
[00:24:27] Scott DeLuzio: Or I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where to turn whatever they’re just not gonna do that necessarily. And so having that mentor available who will reach out and say, Hey, just checking in. Yeah, what’s going on? You know, how can I help you? Succeed in this new career. I mean, having that built in is like, is priceless.
[00:24:46] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, because so many people, they’re scouring through LinkedIn and other places trying to find a mentor in whatever inter industry that they’re going into to help guide them in the right direction. But that’s so hard to do that. [00:25:00] It’s so hard to just find a mentor, like what do you do?
[00:25:03] Scott DeLuzio: Hey, Can you be my mentor, you know, like it’s an awkward, yeah. That’s an awkward conversation to have. Right. And so, you know, a lot of people are just gonna be like, well, you know, what heck would I’m just gonna wing it and see how I, I do. But when you have that built in to this program and people will have a mentor, someone that just like that person who at that word camp I was talking about who went and introduced me to other.
[00:25:27] Scott DeLuzio: Took it upon himself. I didn’t ask him to do it. He just came up to me and said, Hey, you look like you’re standing here all by yourself. Get off the wall. Let’s go, let’s move. And let’s get you introduced to some people. And now I started to know people, those other people introduced me to other people, not the network grows that way.
[00:25:43] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And so just like that you have somebody who. We’ll take you under their wing, they’ll help you out. They’ll point you in the right direction. If there’s resources that you are unaware of, they, they can help you find those resources. They can do so many things like that. And quite frankly I don’t think that there’s a limit [00:26:00] to what the mentor would be able to do.
[00:26:02] Scott DeLuzio: Right. You know, I think just knowing the community, people will bend over backwards to help you succeed. And. You know, it’s just such a great community to be a part of. And when you have that kind of support it’s like you, it would be hard for you to fail getting
[00:26:19] Talisha Lewallen: into that, right?
[00:26:19] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. You actually have to try to fail in WordPress. I mean it lit, yeah, it literally is one of those. It’s even if you have a job idea and you’re like, I might wanna start a company, you could call up just about anybody and say, here’s my idea. What do you think? And they will genuinely help you with yeah.
[00:26:38] Talisha Lewallen: Advice and it’s not, self-serving advice. It’s legitimate advice to help your business grow or to help you as an individual. And I will say every time I’ve, you know, I’m trying to push our name out as much as we can. One define reach as many active duty service members and military veterans, but two to reach out to WordPress jobs and [00:27:00] get more companies in and willing to hire the people that we are training and getting out there.
[00:27:05] Talisha Lewallen: And the number one call that I get is people that are like, what can I do to help you? I was in the military. I was this person, my dad, my sister, my brother. I know what it’s like, I wanna help, how can I help? And people are legitimately reaching out to me, asking how they can help. I mean, that’s how amazing this community is.
[00:27:21] Talisha Lewallen: So our mentors are one that I am like, yes, I need mentors. I need people that can spend time to call. And just to talk or just, you know, there’s different. There’s different. I mean, it, it could be little, it could be big. It could be whatever you make. Is WordPress you post also had this term that you carry your own bags.
[00:27:39] Talisha Lewallen: We provide you with every opportunity, but you have to make sure you show up. You have to make sure you walk yourself through the door. Just like you did a WordPress. I mean, with word camp, you had to make the step to walk into the door. But once you’re there, people are there to help you. Yeah. And they’ll point you in the right direction and pretty much all, and some of them probably will carry your bags for you.
[00:27:58] Talisha Lewallen: But most of it, you [00:28:00] know, it’s just, you have to make the effort. That’s we just wanna be here to be the platform to really just hold your hand and reach out and just say here, take, let us help you join this amazing community.
[00:28:12] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I know there’s probably some people out there listening who might be saying to themselves that, to themselves, that this all sounds great.
[00:28:20] Scott DeLuzio: It sounds like, like something really cool. It’s a great program, but they’re not a developer. They’re not even very tech savvy. And I know you said that there’s some training to, to get someone the basic skills that they might need, but maybe that’s not even something that they wanna do.
[00:28:35] Scott DeLuzio: They don’t want to be a techy. Person like that’s just not in their blood or their DNA, whatever you want to call it. Right. Yeah. So what other jobs are there available that people can get into? That aren’t necessarily sitting there coding a website and all that kind of stuff.
[00:28:50] Talisha Lewallen: So there are a lot of other jobs, like I said, that that was never my my forte is to code or that it’s literally speaking a completely [00:29:00] different language. I do project management. I do you know, any type of I mean, operational development. What have you? I have trained people before.
[00:29:08] Talisha Lewallen: So, I mean, there are there are many different types of jobs. There’s always marketing, there’s sales. If you’re there’s people that can sell somebody, the shoes on their feet, and there are sales jobs within WordPress. Even if you wanna learn how to be a salesman, this is a great way to. There’s those jobs.
[00:29:22] Talisha Lewallen: If you are amazing at writing, there are blog blog posts. You can write, people are always needing content marketing. They’re needing social media marketing. I mean, whenever I say you can literally do anything, you can literally do anything from sales to writing, just professional writing to even just account management.
[00:29:41] Talisha Lewallen: I mean, maybe that’s what I mean. Instead of project management is managing an account. There are just so many different jobs out there. Our specific training program is for the CA program. So it is the web development associate. But if that’s something that you’re not in reach out to me and just [00:30:00] say, Hey, that ain’t for me, but this is what I wanna do.
[00:30:03] Talisha Lewallen: And is there something else because a solutions has a lot of different training opportunities. Most of them are also in the tech field. But that’s something we can work with because that’s not something that I would’ve been interested in. I wish my brain worked that way. It would make things a lot easier but you know, it just doesn’t.
[00:30:19] Talisha Lewallen: And so I under, I understand you if you wanna work in the tech field, but you are not tech savvy, I get you. So it’s just one of those that there are so many different types of jobs. Or if you wanna start your own business, I have started four. They are not always successful. Let me just tell you, you know, I worked two jobs.
[00:30:36] Talisha Lewallen: I started other jobs. I know how to make your LLC. I know how to get your bank account paperwork. I know how to get all, everything that you need to know how to run and start your business. I have done it four different times. You know, one of ’em is my BLT business. Cory Miller and I started another business.
[00:30:52] Talisha Lewallen: It was missing something, you know, it’s just some of them, it’s a great idea, but once you get into theory and practice of it it’s just, you know, sometimes you gotta fail a few times [00:31:00] before you. Exactly. You know, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, there’s just not, you tried something and it didn’t work.
[00:31:06] Talisha Lewallen: So try again and right. Try,
[00:31:08] Scott DeLuzio: try something different, learn what, learn from those mistakes. Exactly. And the next thing that you do will be even better because it’ll be stronger cause you won’t be making those mistakes from the last time. Right. As long as you’ve learned something from that and apply it then you’ll definitely end up in a better position.
[00:31:22] Scott DeLuzio: So, so yeah, absolutely. I mean, try fail, you know, but
[00:31:26] Talisha Lewallen: fail fast, fail only failure. If you give. It’s only failing if you stop trying. And that’s, I would, I love being an entrepreneur. I love everything about being my own boss. You know, and even as I sit here and getting this off the ground, I’m working another job.
[00:31:41] Talisha Lewallen: Cause I have to make sure, you know, I feed my family too, as much I would love for this company to already be making me enough money to do on my own. It’s not, you know, yet it. But it’s just having to keep going. And it’s Cory Miller always gives the iceberg effect. It’s not what everybody sees on the top.
[00:31:59] Talisha Lewallen: [00:32:00] It’s the work that you put underneath the water. That is the effective part. That’s the part that’s gonna make your, what everybody else sees worth it. But you have to dive deep and you have to work long hours to start your own business. You have to, I mean, it’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth.
[00:32:15] Talisha Lewallen: To both.
[00:32:15] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And I actually had Cory on this podcast a few years ago and he talked about the iceberg where and for people who haven’t listened to that episode I’ll link to it in the show notes. So you can check that one out previous. Definitely do, but. Just real quick.
[00:32:29] Scott DeLuzio: The gist of it is when you look at an iceberg if you just look at what’s above the surface, all you’re seeing is just this little piece of it. And then underneath the surface, there’s this huge chunk of ice underneath the surface. And that’s all the struggle, the late nights the You know, the anxiety, the where’s my next paycheck coming from.
[00:32:48] Scott DeLuzio: Where’s the, you know, all this stress and anxiety, all this stuff, but all anyone ever sees is a thing on top of the surface and it’s a success. It’s the project that went well. It’s all the good things is all the stuff [00:33:00] that people ever really see. They don’t see the late nights and all the other yeah.
[00:33:03] Scott DeLuzio: Hard stuff that goes into building a business or starting a career from scratch or whatever it is that you’re doing anything. That’s hard. You can apply this iceberg concept too. Yeah. And you can look at it like, okay, there’s this person who seems like they got it all. They have everything going for ’em everything’s going well.
[00:33:23] Scott DeLuzio: They’re so lucky they got everything right. But you don’t see all that other not luck. It’s hard. It is it is right. Yeah, exactly.
[00:33:32] Talisha Lewallen: I think that that’s a very good point. It’s ever, if you wanna start a business or if you’re just trying to be successful in working for somebody else’s company, there’s nothing wrong with working for somebody else and being no that employee, there really there’s something for that too.
[00:33:45] Talisha Lewallen: But even in that, you still have to get work hard. You still have to grind. You still have to do all of these things in life. And that’s the bottom of the iceberg. So it is You can like Google image, search it too. There’s like this whole like poster, [00:34:00] but you know, it is it’s I think it’s something to look for in life.
[00:34:03] Talisha Lewallen: It’s it’s kind of being resilient. It’s if you get knocked down, get back up again, it’s only failing whenever you stop. Not whenever you try again.
[00:34:11] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Dust yourself off. Try again, you know. It’s really that, that simple just don’t quit. Yes.
[00:34:17] Talisha Lewallen: Don’t quit. Don’t quit. It’s that simple?
[00:34:19] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah, you’re fine.
[00:34:21] Scott DeLuzio: I mean, it’s harder in practice, obviously, because you’re gonna, you’re gonna beat yourself up. You’re gonna get down on yourself, your, ah, this isn’t worth it. I can’t do this whatev you know, you’re gonna have all that negative self talk going on in your head. You’re gonna be beating yourself up inside but really.
[00:34:34] Scott DeLuzio: If you don’t quit and you keep pushing forward, you will start to see the results and the success. I mean, I would not be able to continue to put food on my family’s table if I quit exactly nine, 10 years, you know, however many years ago that I started working in WordPress, because I’ll tell you the very first month that I had my business, when I was doing website support and website development stuff for [00:35:00] clients.
[00:35:01] Scott DeLuzio: The very first month that I started, I made about a hundred dollars . And at the end of that month, I was like, oh crap, what did I do? What did I do to right. But the next month I built up more and more. And then by the end of that year, I was like, okay, I gotta, I got a stable client base here and I’m able to do this.
[00:35:21] Scott DeLuzio: So, yeah, may, maybe, you know, that, that example, wasn’t probably the best example selling people on getting into jumping into a career like this. But you know, fortunately for me I had some money saved up. I was, it wasn’t like we were unable to feed our family or whatever, you know exactly.
[00:35:36] Scott DeLuzio: You do it smart and you don’t quit. Yes. You’re gonna see some success. So, you know, keep at it is, I guess the main point here. So,
[00:35:43] Talisha Lewallen: You know, and that’s like we said, you know, it’s, there are people in WordPress that have came out of the military. If I have had success because I am resilient.
[00:35:51] Talisha Lewallen: But you still wouldn’t believe the amount of self-doubt and negative thoughts that go through my mind every. Am I taking too much time [00:36:00] away from my kids. What am I trying to do? Oh my gosh, this is just too much. Yeah. I mean, there is the amount of self doubt that you go through and every, any job change, any career change, anything like that, you’re gonna have that self doubt if you’re making or starting your own business, or if you’re just changing career field that, what am I doing?
[00:36:17] Talisha Lewallen: Because you’re out of your norm, you’re out of what you are comfortable with. It’s hard. And so it is just keep pushing. You did make a good decision. You made a good decision for you and or your family. And that’s where our mentorship program comes in because we have people that have been there and they’ve had that self doubt and they could talk you through it.
[00:36:36] Talisha Lewallen: And at least we call it experience share. It’s not giving advice. Nobody listens to advice, man. You know, you’ve been there, you’ve done it. I know what I’m doing. I’m a grown adult. But experience sharing, just saying, this is what I did. You can sit there and form your own opinions and your own advice through an experience share.
[00:36:53] Talisha Lewallen: So that’s what we do. That’s what Post Status does to help people is experience share. It’s not, we’re [00:37:00] not gonna say, oh, you need to take steps. 1, 2, 3. It’s a, whenever I was in your situation, this is what I did. And this is what I’ve heard somebody else do. And it’s just sharing experience.
[00:37:10] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:37:12] Scott DeLuzio: And the WordPress industry is full of that. People are doing it every day. I just another example of me and Cory when I was starting, I had an idea for a new product that I wanted to develop. And for the listeners, I do the coding side, the more techy side of things. Cory had put out a post on Twitter saying if anyone wants to just chat 15 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever, to, you know, just run through an idea.
[00:37:38] Scott DeLuzio: Let me know. I’d be happy to set up some time with people. And this was a few years ago. And so I got on a call with Cory. Didn’t pay him a penny. He hasn’t seen a, you know, anything like that. I just ran the idea by him and he gave me the pros, the cons and you know, where I. Wanna pivot things and maybe look at things a little bit differently and you know, it was like I couldn’t have done that just on my own [00:38:00] because I’m stuck in my own head.
[00:38:01] Scott DeLuzio: Like, yeah, I have this idea. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best idea in the world. Great. Yeah. It’s
[00:38:05] Talisha Lewallen: great. You can’t see the forest through the trees. Exactly.
[00:38:08] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And then, so I had someone else who’s been there. Who’s done that. They’ve suffered through. You know, the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, they, you know, and Cory, he helped me out with figuring out you know, the right direction to go with this.
[00:38:20] Scott DeLuzio: And you know, the product’s still available today still available for sale and everything. So I, you know, I you know, I really do thank him for all of that. And, but it’s not just one or two people that you can pick from this community. There’s so many people out there who.
[00:38:34] Talisha Lewallen: To throw a rock and hit five. I mean, yeah. It’s not even hit one. You could throw a rock and hit five people that, and it, to me, it’s not even CEOs owners of these very large companies. You can walk up and talk to. I think I’ve had two that Cory’s like, oh, I have to introduce you. And I’m like, oh those people, but gener that is the exception.
[00:38:56] Talisha Lewallen: Not the. I mean these like, again, I talk to people and then [00:39:00] I find out later that they’re an owner of a million dollar company or something. And I’m like, and you’re talking to me. Right. You know, it’s just one of those, but they are just so helpful. And so, and they will experience share with you. They’ll tell you what, where their business failed at first, before they kept going again.
[00:39:14] Talisha Lewallen: I mean, they’re, I cannot talk enough about how communal and open this community is to helping people.
[00:39:23] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think it’s all really great. And I want to just give you the opportunity to cover anything else that you might have coming up. I know this episode’s coming out and this is probably gonna be end of October or so when this episode comes out, but I’m sure there’s going to be some stuff you know, in the next few months as as things are coming up that you might want to promote and talk about to drive people, to check out what WP Connects has going.
[00:39:46] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. So for when this airs, this will be the end of our first skill bridge program. I believe it ends either the 25th or the 30th of October. So we’ll be gearing up to start our next one, which will be at the [00:40:00] first part of November. I think we give ourself a week off, you know, I don’t why who needs time off?
[00:40:04] Talisha Lewallen: So we give ourself, I think, a week between the end to the start of the next, still bridge in that week. We’ll be going over what worked and what we wanna do differently for the next. So you won’t be our Guinea pig if you join in November. So we’ll actually have that second class going. By then I would really hope that we have our apprenticeship program up and rolling.
[00:40:24] Talisha Lewallen: That kind of depends on the state, a few other things, but anyway, I digress. So we’ll have those going. Our CA program is around the clock. It is constantly, you can sign up tomorrow and start in a week. It’s just one of those. So, yeah, I mean, it’s just, I’m here to talk. I will walk the walk if you will say, if you wanna talk about if you wanna start a business and you’re just like, is WordPress for me?
[00:40:48] Talisha Lewallen: I might not be able to tell you that, but I could put you with the people that can I know plenty of, I know plenty of people through my networking and really Cory’s network that we can help you do that. Or if you’re just like, this [00:41:00] is what I’m going through. Again, just shoot me an email, shoot me a text, message me on LinkedIn.
[00:41:07] Talisha Lewallen: You know, whatever it is. I really wanna be here to help our service men and women find that next career path. And I hope it is in WordPress because our community is fantastic. I think that they’re helpful, but again, if you have any questions, concerns, comments, feel free to hit me up and I could talk, you.
[00:41:25] Scott DeLuzio: And where can people go to get in touch with you, your website and things like
[00:41:28] Talisha Lewallen: that? Yep. Our website is WP Connects.com. My LinkedIn page is under my name. I’m sure Scott will type my name out since it’s a little weird. But it’s, my LinkedIn page is under Taisha, Lou Allen, and we also have an Instagram account, a Twitter account.
[00:41:43] Talisha Lewallen: I apologize. Twitter account and it’s WP underscore connects, I believe. Okay. But yep. We’re and I we’re out.
[00:41:52] Scott DeLuzio: I will have links to all of those in the show notes so that anyone who’s looking to connect, forgive the pun there, [00:42:00] you know, anyone who’s looking to connect can definitely click through those links and get in touch with Disha and.
[00:42:08] Scott DeLuzio: Like she said, if she’s not the one to answer the particular question that you have she has a network of people who she can put you in touch with. I have a network of people I can put you in touch with. I can answer a lot of these questions too. So, reach out to myself, reach out to Alicia.
[00:42:23] Scott DeLuzio: We would be more than happy to help get you pointed in the right direction. And yeah, it’s really I think a. Opportunity a great career path for a lot of people. And for the employers who are out there look, you can train a skill development skill, a customer support, a marketing Account management project manage.
[00:42:42] Scott DeLuzio: You could teach skills. Anyone can learn skills like that. Especially if you’re talking about someone who came out of the military, we all went into the military, not knowing, not having a clue, what we were doing. as far as our job was concerned, but we all went through a basic training. Our Or advanced training for our jobs or whatever.
[00:42:59] Scott DeLuzio: And [00:43:00] we learn something. So we’re trainable. We can be trained how to do something, what you can’t train or at least not very easily. You can’t train character and you get that coming out of the military. You get people with the character who are willing to work hard. Who want to succeed, who want to be a team player who want great things to happen?
[00:43:20] Scott DeLuzio: They have the motivation, the ambition, the drive, they have all of those things. You’re getting that with people coming out of the military. So, you know, if you’re looking to hire people in your company I don’t care what the industry is. Look for people coming out of the military, cuz you’re gonna get that character.
[00:43:34] Scott DeLuzio: First and foremost, and you could train just about anything else.
[00:43:37] Talisha Lewallen: Exactly. And it’s proven character. I mean, that’s the thing they are proven. Yeah, military personnel have been trained and proven to be able to do these skills. And like you said, I actually wrote another article about hiring for character and training for skill.
[00:43:51] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. Because it’s a great point. And especially in a world remote world, you have to be able to trust your employees. And it’s there. And that’s where service men and women and military [00:44:00] personnel are at it’s they’ve been trained. They are they’re. So just hire ’em. If you’re a company that’s wanting to hire military personnel and veterans hit me up to I could put you in contact with them, great people that can help there’s tax write off.
[00:44:14] Talisha Lewallen: I mean, there’s all kinds of tax breaks and financial benefits for company hiring veterans as well. Not that everything’s about financial sides of it, that if you are a military member or an employer looking to hire military members, reach out to either Scott or I, and we can get you put into contact
[00:44:29] Scott DeLuzio: with.
[00:44:31] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Well, Taisha, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today. I probably could go on afternoon talking about this and you know, just talk your ear off and talk the listeners ears off as well. But you know, I’m really glad that we had this opportunity to chat about this, and I’m sure that a lot of great things are gonna be happening with WP Connects.
[00:44:48] Scott DeLuzio: I’m looking forward to seeing. Where this takes you and where this takes the veterans who get involved with the program. So, thank you again for taking the time to join me.
[00:44:56] Talisha Lewallen: Oh, no problem. And thank you for having me.
[00:44:59] Scott DeLuzio: You bet. [00:45:00] Thanks.
[00:45:01] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.