WordCamp Sacramento Speaker Q&A: Bernice “Be” Lee

WordCamp Sacramento Bernice Lee

Get To Know Bernice “Be” Lee

Bernice began her journey as a self-taught developer in 1998, but stopped to complete a college degree and a graphic communication certificate. At the urging of a friend, Bernice attended a WordPress meetup in early 2013, where she caught the WordPress bug. Since then, she has attended 13 WordCamps, countless meetups, and continues her self-taught journey as a developer. She is passionate about helping others who are starting to learn WordPress themselves. Bernice currently creates websites using WordPress, focusing on development, design, and web strategy.

We’re thrilled Be will be speaking at WordCamp Sacramento 2015 on taking WordPress from a hobby to a side job as a freelancer!

Speaker Q&A With Be

Tell us about your talk?

The talk I will be giving is WordPress as a hobby to a Side Job as a freelancer. I notice that there is a gap of people who are similar to me, where we came into WordPress as a hobby, and we started to get paid for it as freelancers. Once you start getting paid, the government sees it as income even if it’s just a side job. I will be cover basic things you might want to consider to setup up as a freelancer, what to consider in basic business plan, and tips from other freelancers.

What is your history or experience with moving from WordPress hobbyist to a side job as a freelancer?

In 1998, I was a self-taught Web Developer, when there was only HTML. I stopped in 2000, because I did not like Flash, nor did I like Dreamweaver. I had always wanted to get back into but felt that I was too far behind with all the new programming languages. Coming back into WordPress, it was more of a hobby. After picking up a few freelancing projects, LA City sent me a letter wanting to collect taxes for that income that I made. This is how this talk was formed.

My background is a Customer Service, Legal Field, and Human Services. I have a BA in Asian American Studies with a minor in Chicana/o Studio, Graphic Communications Certificate, Graduate Diamonds Diploma from GIA, then when attended a Paralegal Program and Master Program in Social Work. Also was a trained as Mediator by Mediation of the Pacific. I will be attending the Otis College of Art and Design starting this spring for their Graphic Design Certificate Program.

How did you get started with WordPress? Why WordPress?

A good friend talked me into going to going to a WordPress meeting with them, then to a WordCamp, and somehow I caught the WordPress bug. The main reasons that attracted me to the WordPress is the amazing community, the open source cultural, and it’s a great CMS to work with.

What is your favorite thing about WordPress?

The community. I got back into Web Design and Development by the grace of the WordPress Community. I have grown, developed, and stayed in because of the support of the community.

Can you share a couple WordPress plugins that you love or recommend?

Draw Attention Plugin. Disclaimer, my friends built this one, and I saw the idea being conceptualized before it became a plugin. It’s a fun plugin that you can use to map most images on a WordPress site. The possibilities are endless that you can use it in.

Wordfence Security Plugin. I use this on all my sites. I leave it up to my clients to decide if they want to use the pro version. I’m always keeping my ears and eyes open for other security plugins.

Desktop Server. If you are building sites, buy this. Makes your life so much easier in building it locally, and launching sites. They give really good support, it gets updates, and it’s run by really great people.

Resources or recommendations?

There are a lot of online schools to improve your skills no matter what area it’s in. Check your local libraries to see if they team up with Lynda.com. For LA county libraries, the basic account is included free with your library card.

If you are working in the WordPress field, learn basic html + CSS. There is plenty of free online classes, and places that will teach you. I seen this so many times, where people freeze up or walk out of talks, when they see very basic code and miss the point of the talk.

Pay for your tools. It will save you time and money in the long run and help support the developers to improve them. Don’t be afraid to charge your clients for them if you are using for their projects. It’s saving them money.

Check Out The Speakers

WordCamp Sacramento 2015 is bringing you an awesome line up of speakers from not only our greater Sacramento region, but throughout California and beyond. Check out our speakers page to see the 2015 WordCamp Sacramento Speakers, and be sure to follow them on Twitter.