Ep: 192: How this WordPress expert and tech educator teaches women to learn online skills to start a business with Tina Patricia
In this week’s episode, I speak with Tina who is a WordPress Expert and Tech Educator.
She escaped the city to live in a small town with her hubby and fur babies, where she began her entrepreneurial journey. With over 4 years in the corporate marketing world, she decided to pursue her passion for web design and tech.
She discovered that many women starting their entrepreneurial journey could not afford a designer in the beginning stages. This is where the WordPress Made Easy Course came alive, to empower women to DIY their website, learn the skills, and feel confident!
Listen to find out how Tina teaches how to make the techy stuff easy so entrepreneurs can focus on growing their business!
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to speak with our guest today. I am here with Tina. Hey Tina, how are you?
Hey, Debbie. I’m great. How are you?
I am wonderful. Can you tell us about you and why you live an offbeat life?
Oh my gosh. Freedom. Freedom is number one. Living the offbeat life and being able to do what you want and not have to answer to anyone but yourself.
I love that and I think most of us really get into remote work being remote entrepreneurs because we have so much more freedom in our lives. And I’m sure that was one of the main things that really attracted you to this type of lifestyle.
So, can you tell us how were you able to start the journey that you’re on and tell us a little bit more of what you do right now?
Yeah, absolutely. Oh my gosh, just when I think back to how everything started, it just blows my mind but I feel like every entrepreneur kind of feels like that. They just stumbled upon one thing and it kept going and here you are right.
I am originally from Toronto. Ontario in Canada and lived in a big city, 9 to 5 everyday, trying to rise up the corporate ladder. You want a bigger salary, you want a nicer office, all these things.
This was a few years ago now but I remember quitting my job because I was contracted out of position. And long story short, I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.” Everyone gets so frustrated. My partner, my boyfriend, he’s like, “Well, you can’t just sit around the house,” and I was like, “I know.”
So I took up odd jobs. I was trying to do the serving thing. I actually even did Uber driving for a little bit. Which is crazy ‘cause there’s not a lot of Uber-driving women. So obviously, you pick up people and you drive around the city and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, it’s a female Uber driver.”
So yeah, long story short: I essentially picked up this one woman. She was originally from Ireland and she was chatting to me and she’s like, “I’m in marketing,” and I was like, “Oh, I love marketing and I love anything digital.”
And she recommended some courses to me and I was like, ”I should check those out.” And I purchased a few courses just to see what it would be like. My partner and I actually wanted to hop on a sailboat and live on a sailboat in the Caribbean for a year. And that’s sort of how I was like, “Okay. Well, how am I going to pay our way, right?”
So we’re so close to buying a sailboat. We had all our paperwork for our dog. I mean we had everything. We were selling things. Oh my gosh, it was such a crazy journey. And then a hurricane came through in North Carolina.
I don’t know if you remember this but it came through and it actually hit where our sailboat was. The sailboat wasn’t damaged and we actually went through with the sail. So it was sort of like a blessing.
Our next move was just to move across the country to Kelowna, BC which is a smaller town compared to Toronto and we both quit our jobs. We’re like, “We’re just going to figure it out,” and fast forward 2 years later, here I am.
I don’t even know time flies and now I am educating women on how to DIY their website, how to learn tech, automate their businesses. I’ve done website design for so many clients and I’m constantly learning myself, right?
Entrepreneurship is one of those things where you’re always learning: Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook. The algorithms are changing. I mean, you name it, you have to do it all and you have to learn all the skills: hire, fail, and succeed. So that is my short story on how I kind of came to be.
Well, that is an amazing story and definitely, little things can… Well, not little things. I mean, a hurricane is a big thing. Definitely change the trajectory of your whole entire story. Who knows where you would be right now, maybe still in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
Oh my gosh. I mean, we are still hoping to do that one day. That’s definitely our dream. We had it all lined up, ready to go. Mind you, we have two dogs. It’s definitely one of our dreams and we’re, “If you can work remotely on your laptop in a cafe like a couple of hours a day, whenever you need to, why not do something crazy?”
We met so many people who were sailing, with their dogs, and loving life. And you’re not spending much ‘cause all you have is your belongings on a sailboat. So we hope that one day that dream will come alive.
I’m sure you’re going to have a floating home one of these days. I’m sure it’ll be sooner rather than later. So that’s going to be so exciting.
When you first started you didn’t have a niche yet. How did you decide on the expertise that you have right now to really dig deeper into it and to help other people create their own sites?
I’ve always been a creative person. I love putting things together whether it’s little mockups or even drawing. When I was a kid, I used to love drawing and putting scrapbooks together and everything like that. So I felt working with my hands and working on the computer. I was super tech-savvy.
I actually started off as an administrative assistant, like a VA. And I was like, “This must be my niche,” and I felt like it was. And I just wanted to do a little bit of creative design on the side but as my own skills grow and you are getting into the entrepreneur space and you’re learning all the new rules that you can become.
I mean, Pinterest manager, Instagram, anything like that. You really start to define your own skillset and I think that’s also how you find your niche. I started just building websites for clients and for friends and family around here. And they were loving it and I was loving it. I was living the process and I was getting better at it.
And I sort of fell into it but once you do find that, you do have to find your niche. You have to find your ideal client and I do believe that your ideal client is always changing because as your business is growing you’re pulling in different aspects of your business whether it’s like trying to master Pinterest, trying to master copywriting.
Your ideal client does change a little bit but that is sort of how I found my niche, it’s just trying to do market research, ask people. I was lucky enough that I love website design. So it was just working with small businesses that needed help, that needed that expertise to bring their website to life and to bring their business to life especially we’re in the tech age that you need to be online.
It’s not just a website anymore. It’s a website with a portfolio and your Instagram, your Facebook, and Pinterest connected. All these things bring it to life. So that was how I found my niche.
It definitely intertwines with so many different things and you learn as you go like you said, Tina. And for most of us, that’s where we really figure out what we love the most and what type of niche that we’re going to go into.
Now, it seems like a huge leap when you left corporate to starting your own business. For a lot of people listening to this like, “Oh my gosh, almost seems like it’s impossible,” because there are so many things to learn, there are so many things that will be an obstacle for you. How did you prepare for that?
How did you make that big change and make sure that it becomes more sustainable for you in the long term?
Absolutely. You know what, Debbie? It’s one of those things and I’m almost positive that an entrepreneur is going to say this: just go for it. Yes, I know some of us aren’t as lucky, some need to pay bills. Bills will never die. I wish they would but they won’t.
I mean, we do have lives, some people rent, some people have homes, some people have cars. Maybe you’re not an entrepreneur who lives in Bali and all you have to do is pay for rent.
It’s really about knowing that if you have some money in the bank and you feel comfortable taking that leap because I do believe consistency trumps skill especially on Instagram and on Facebook and getting those clients – it’s consistency.
It’s showing up every single day and it’s posting and it’s engaging and it’s nurturing that audience. It’s very difficult to do that with a nine-to-five. A lot of women do that. A lot of entrepreneurs hustle in there nine-to-five and then they go home and then they work another few hours after. And I did that for a little bit too.
I actually had a nine-to-five coming over from one province to the other. And because I was lucky enough that my job was like, “You can go remote for a little while.” I did but it was tough and I completely understand that it’s not easy.
But just know that grit and that motivation that you have for working in your nine-to-five and hustling after hours. Is that going to make it or break it? Because you know how that determination, that motivation to leave that nine-to-five. But you’re never going to be ready.
There’s never going to be enough money in the bank. There’s never going to be, “Okay, just one more client, just two more clients and I can leave.” I really truly believe you just have to go for it and just take the leap and know that the money will come especially if you already have a few clients and you’re understanding the business a little bit more and you’ve got the skills.
The first 6 months, you’re pretty much learning all the skills especially if you’ve never done any remote work. You’re just getting into graphic design or virtual assistant work. It’s going to take you time to learn the platforms and to learn the processes that you want for your business.
So I truly believe that once you learn those and you start getting clients and you start understanding the workflow, then it’s really up to you on when you’re going to take that leap. You’re never going to be ready like I mentioned, there’s never going to be enough money in the bank. It’s just up to you to be able to take that leap.
Yeah. I wish we had like a you’re ready button. Wouldn’t that be awesome? But you’re right. It’s always good to hear this because oftentimes you have to start even when you’re not ready and that’s when you should just take that leap because you’re always going to be waiting for the rest of your life. Just keep waiting for some sort of sign.
Oh my gosh, please. If there is a great yield sign saying this way and then there’s a button that says you’re ready, I’ll be in for that. Like, this is your time to leave your nine-to-five and this is when you scale. I wish it was like that.
I mean, it’s the roller coaster of life but entrepreneurship, it’s like you have your own business. It’s amazing for a few months and then you’re like in the dumps and you’re like, “Why am I even doing this? I’m just going to quit this and go back to nine-to-five.” It’s not sunshine and rainbows on either side, you know what I mean?
But it’s only a matter of where you want to see yourself. I feel like nine-to-five is always going to be there and they’re always going to be like a back-up plan for all of us. Like, if for some reason none of this works, we can always go back to that nine-to-five.
But starting your own business, starting your own thing, may not be there or you may not have the right opportunity. I mean, for a lot of people, if you’re still single right now or even if you have a partner and you don’t really have children, hey, this is the best time to do it. You have a lot more time.
It’s probably not going to happen again when you have children. You have so much more responsibilities and so much more headache. So if you’re in that position and I’m pretty sure the people who have children, listening to this, are saying, “Yes, that’s true.”
I think you made such a good point. It’s like the nine-to-five will always be there but in your business, you have to create that. You have to make that moment happen. So many of us are dreaming of the laptop lifestyle.
We own laptops. Everyone has a computer, everyone has an iPad, everyone has an iPhone. Look at all the incredible businesswomen who just pop on their phones and start taking pictures of themselves just to keep themselves accountable and share with the world.
And next thing you know they have a million followers and they’re making so much money almost by accident because it was just something that they picked up. Instagram is free marketing. I mean, why would you not take advantage of something like that? And same with Pinterest, like free marketing.
We all have access to computers, we all have access to the Internet. I mean, there is no start-up fee if you think of it that way. Just as you mentioned, the nine-to-five will be there. Worst case scenario: you fail, you can go back to nine-to-five.
But the best thing is to fail to learn and then to start another business. That is what you want, that’s the ultimate goal – to fail and just keep going. So I agree.
All the moms listening who think, “I can’t start a business,” heck, I follow so many epic moms that just share their lives and are making money too. And are just enjoying it because they get to share their photos of their kids. They got to take beautiful photos of their family.
And yes, it’s a highlight-reel and we all know that they’re probably pulling their hair out on the other end because you do get those slides over there like, “I have the most terrible day. My kids aren’t perfect but it’s really just picking up and going.” Like, if you want to start making kids’ clothes for your community, start there.
I mean, you can do anything. You can sell anything. Whatever people need you can make – just do it.
One of the things that you also mention, Tina, is you don’t live in Asia, right? We often hear people saying, “Our money goes a long way when you live in other countries like in South America, in Southeast Asia, Asia, and even Eastern Europe.” But it’s also great to hear from people like you who are not in those places and are able to make this sustainable.
Because I also want to emphasize that this is not just about leaving where you are. There are some people that like where they are. They love their neighborhood, they love their city. They’re willing to pay for it because they just love it so much. But you can also create this lifestyle from anywhere.
So this is not just for those people that want to travel, who would live in Southeast Asia. This is for everybody. So I love that you are showing us this and who knows where you’re going to be a few years from now. But right now you’re making this sustainable
Absolutely. we did move to a smaller city, I won’t lie. We don’t live in a concrete jungle so to speak, that’s what I like to call Toronto. It’s kind of like New York, it’s very large and it is expensive and we do live in a smaller town.
I wouldn’t say I live with a horse and buggy. It’s crazy, everyone here is an entrepreneur. They own their own businesses. Everything is local: the wine, the craft. We have farmers’ markets on the weekends.
I volunteer for a charity in town that is called Mamas for Mamas and they help women and children and families. And it’s so empowering to be a part of that community. How could you not want to have your own business and be able to be a part of something like that, right?
I would love to go to Bali but I also don’t mind having money in the bank living here and then traveling all over the world on vacations and having more vacation time, right? ‘Cause, it’s your own time, you can take your laptop anywhere.
It really depends on what people want to do. And yes, you see everyone living in Bali as you mentioned, and living in Southeast Asia and affording barely anything. But how incredible is it to be able to live in a city where you call home, your family, and still be able to take five vacations a year instead of just the two weeks, right?
You just have to think outside the box and know that anything is possible.
Now, let’s go back to when you first started your business and you knew you we’re going to do this, how did you land your first client?
Oh my goodness. How did I? Oh, man.
I actually am a huge fan of Facebook groups. I did not know there were hundreds of incredible Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs. I think Facebook is amazing for that and I have learned a lot over the last few years about where my resources can come from.
I landed my first client on a Facebook group. You’re competing and you are sharing your portfolio A.K.A why you should have a website. But yeah, I actually ended my first client on Facebook and I was looking at a travel blog, funny enough, for a girl in Ireland.
It was super cool. We got to connect and I had a low price at that point because I just needed to build up my portfolio and needed to fine-tune my process. So I got my first client there and built her blog out and went through some struggles because with your first client, you’re always nervous and you’re like, “I just want to do the best that I can.” And it turned out so well.
She loved her website and she is still working on it so that’s fantastic. She’s still writing and doing all of that fun stuff. So that’s where my first client came from.
I love when you find those Facebook groups because it is, it’s like a whole lot of people who can potentially be your client and they’re just all in one space.
How much money did you actually save when you set off to start your business? And how did you make it last?
I actually didn’t have that much in the bank. I had maybe a couple of grand, maybe two to four thousand-ish I would say and I was, like I mentioned, working the nine-to-five remotely for my other company in Ontario just for the interim for a few months so I can get situated, find a place here.
But I left that not very long after maybe a few months. My partner was like, “Just go for it.” He’s like, “What’s the worst that’s going to happen? We do have a place. We are okay.” He was working and after that, I was like, “Let’s just go.”
I think I probably had like two, four thousand. Made sure I would spend it on clothes, we just had groceries, our rent. You really do have to watch your finances. When we do have money coming in every two weeks from a corporate job, it’s easy to just swipe that card or pay for things and buy things.
But when you are on a budget, money leaves your bank account and much faster than it’s coming in. And then you’re feeling like you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, which you kind of are.
But the biggest advice that I could give to anyone wanting to do that and if they have,2, 10,000 whatever in the bank: write down everything you are spending. Make a habit of it because when you visualize your spending habits, you are going to be so good at it that you will not want to spend a single dime.
And I think that is the key thing because if you do not see your money coming in, If you do not watch your money going out, you will lose track of it. And I think that is the one thing that I failed in the beginning, not separating my finances, not separating my business and my personal.
I’m not saying that you need to get a business bank account right away, but at least open up a different account in your bank, whether it’s a savings account or another checking account and separating those finances. Because if you can’t visualize them you will just feel so lost and you won’t have a hold of your money.
But if you can visualize it, if you can write it down every single day, make that a habit, you will be surprised at how long that couple of grand can last. So that is definitely important.
And also it’s easier for tax purposes if you are able to separate that because at the end of the year, when taxes are going to be due you’re going to be pulling out your hairs because you don’t know how you’ve spent it.
Exactly. And one thing you don’t want to do is feel like you didn’t put anything away right? So I agree there. It’s great to separate it. And I think that would be my biggest takeaway just from not the mistakes that I did but the things that I could have improved on for sure.
Yeah. So what is the biggest setback that you would say you encountered as an entrepreneur and how did you handle those setbacks?
I would say motivation is one of them, it comes and goes. It’s something that you wake up with and you are gung-ho, you’re ready to go. You have content, you have things going, you’ve got things on your plate. And the next day you could wake up and feel like you have nothing and you feel like you’re struggling. You can’t think of the content. You don’t know where your next client is coming from.
And I thought I was the only one on the planet who felt this way. But you’re not because everyone feels this way at some point and it’s a roller-coaster especially in the beginning when things aren’t consistent but you have to stay consistent.
I think it’s building those habits that allow us to keep that motivation and that consistency. So it’s waking up every morning and not looking at your phone right away and giving yourself that anxiousness that you have a million DMs or a million emails because you’re trying to find leads, right?
It’s waking up and creating those patterns that create joy and positivity because those make the ultimate difference. I see a lot of women now saying, “I don’t have the motivation. I’ve been dragging my feet on my website or have been dragging my feet on my freebie or I don’t have this ready yet.” And that’s the lack of motivation but they are not putting in the proper steps to continue that.
And I think that is the biggest thing that a lot of people struggle with. Yes, when you’re struggling it’s, “How do I keep going.” So I would say that was my biggest setback and it can be all the time even when you do have consistent income, right?
It’s thinking of what’s next, what’s the next thing.
Yeah. And also sometimes you feel like, “Okay. Well, I did enough, what else am I going to do?” It’s like when you don’t have ideas, it’s also unmotivating when things are slowing down.
Honestly, I think being an entrepreneur is like being bipolar: one day it’s really great, the next day it’s really bad. And you’re like, “Oh my God. I’ve been down.”
Oh my gosh. I’m using that example. Bipolar – that is exactly what entrepreneurship feels like. It’s like one day it’s great the next day you’re like, “What am I even doing?”
Oh my goodness. It’s like one day you’re like, “Oh my God. I’m on top of the world,” and the next day you’re like, “I just want to crawl under a rock ‘cause this sucks.”
That is absolutely accurate.
But we’re crazy because we love it. Like it’s still what we like to do. So yeah, we’re the crazy ones.
Oh my gosh. I know, right?
I just thought back to hating my nine-to-five and wanting to get out of it. And here, I don’t hate my job. Yes, we have terrible days and there are some days I just want to sit on the couch, watch Netflix, and eat a bag of chips.
I’m human there is no way around that but I know that the next day and even just scrolling through Instagram and watching other inspiration and going through Pinterest, it’s like inspiring yourself.
I find reading a book gets my gears turning that at night I can’t even sleep ‘cause I’m like, “I have a million and one ideas.” I just need to use my computer and go back in the morning and start banging things up. It’s just finding that.
But you’re right. I feel like we’re the crazy ones. It’s just you get that fire in you and you don’t hate it, you’re just like, “Oh I’m having a bad day.” And that’s okay. We’re all human and we’re allowed to have a bad day.
Sitting in front of Netflix and eating chips is like every other day for me, so…
I’m so glad. We’re BFFs now because I love doing that too.
So, Tina, what are some of the best resources that you have used to start your business and also maybe make your tasks easier.
Oh my goodness. So many and it’s crazy how much I know but I don’t know. And I feel like that’s every person. You find really cool things on the internet and that’s why I love teaching. I guess that’s where my business has turned to.
I was doing website design and now I teach women how to DIY their own websites. But also, I find the coolest tech around. I have two favorites right. One of them is called Shift. So it’s, I would say, an application for your desktop.
I use an Apple computer so it’s on my desktop but because I have three Gmail accounts: I have my business, my personal, and then I have a client’s, I can actually have all my Gmail accounts and other applications within this one app. It’s amazing. You don’t have to toggle through the desktop. Like nothing, it is all in one space.
We all know that with Gmail, you have like seven tabs open on the Internet, it’s just like a mess. Where, with Shift, it keeps it all in one place. So it keeps it organized which is fantastic for someone who has multiple emails. So I highly recommend that.
And my next one is Kartra. It’s a project management tool. So anyone out there, I know if you’re a new entrepreneur this might not apply to you but it’s great to know that in the future or someone who’s looking to build a course has everything in one place. It pretty much does it all for you.
You can have membership websites. You can have landing pages, thank you pages, and checkout pages. It has your email marketing in there. So you pay for one thing and it’s all in there and it just automates itself. So It’s the coolest thing and I love it.
I love that. I love when everything is in one place and you don’t have to keep going to so many different apps and software ‘cause that, again, just adds to the headache with everything. So I love that tip.
Oh, it does. Yeah, exactly.
Let’s fast-forward to 30 to 40 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?
I hope I’m not living on a beach in a hut, first of all, thinking and reminiscing about the life that I had here. I want to be known as someone who is an educator. I think that I want to teach. I’ve always wanted to teach and I want to leave that behind knowing that I have courses and freebies and just a school – that is my goal.
Have a school, a place where new entrepreneurs can go to learn it all. Learn from amazing other entrepreneurs and have a resource library. I think it’s so important. There are so many things.
We didn’t even learn ourselves in school AKA taxes because tax season for everyone is so stressful. What if you could have a place to go to? And somewhere online an accountant is teaching you how to do things properly: what to say, what you can write off.
I mean, that is so important and I want to hopefully be able to have a school that people can remember me by while I’m sitting on the beach.
I love that ‘cause I don’t think most of us here in North America or pretty much most of the places in the world are being taught how to really handle our money properly. I think that should be one of the most important things we should be learning in school since like day one since we can like walk because that’s most of our issues.
So yeah, that would be great.
I couldn’t agree more.
So, are you working on anything currently that is really exciting to you?
So right now I’m actually revamping my own website which I am so excited to be able to provide more free resources and I have a Facebook group for tech entrepreneurs. So any new entrepreneurs that want to learn tech, I do free training there and I’m always sharing free information. So that’s one of my two biggest things that I’m working on right now.
And also just welcoming new students to my WordPress course. So yeah, those are the ones right now.
Perfect. Now, if our listeners want to know more about you where can they find you?
They can find me on Instagram, that’s sort of where I live day to day @tinapatriciatech.
Perfect. Thank you so much, Tina, for being here with us today. We really appreciate it.
Thank you, Debbie. I had so much fun.
Audio Engineer: Ben Smith