WPWeekly Episode 243 – The Struggle is Real

In this unconventional episode of WordPress Weekly, Marcus Couch and I are joined by Cory Miller, founder of iThemes and a mental health advocate. Normally we discuss the news of the week but both Marcus and I had some things we wanted to get off our chest.

We started the show by reviewing my trip to Oklahoma to attend the state’s first WordCamp. During the middle part of the show, Marcus shared a personal story of a troubling experience he recently had in the WordPress community. He describes what it was like to hit rock bottom on a mental and physical front. Cory provided some much-needed guidance based on his personal experience on what it takes to come back to the surface.

During the third and final part of the show, I discuss some of the troubles I experience being a WordPress journalist and the toll it takes when I make mistakes. We also discuss the impacts transparency and communication has on customers. While it may seem like common sense, it doesn’t appear as though many companies know how to manage crises.

Cory helped us wrap up the show by giving Marcus and I as well as the audience words of advice and encouragement.

Stories Discussed:

The Iceberg of Life

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, August 17th 9:30 P.M. Eastern

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Listen To Episode #243:

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8 Comments


  1. This is awesome. As a society, we need to be more open and honest about mental health issues.

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    1. Not when you are on a fixed retainer. I wish I had hourly contracts in those instances, but it’s not always possible.

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to discuss these issues. I am one of those isolated WordPress Fortresses of Solitude (or whatever you called them!) and feel a lot of the same things on a regular basis. It’s “nice” (not a great term, sorry) to know that I am not the only one. Ironically just hours before I listened to this I watched a presentation from WordCamp Europe that dealt with the issue of “imposter syndrome.” Check it out; great advice there too.

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  3. Some really good stuff in here. Thanks. I know as a remote worker there are times when you feel alone. The fear, uncertainty and doubt starts to creep in. You also hear some of the same concerns from start-up founders. As for the plug-in developer, it sounds like they let their emotions rule. It could be they are going through an equally tough time and just took their frustration out in that email.

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  4. Wow that story was almost scary to hear, I thought that was more of early stage thing. I mean I have only been doing remote work as sole income for 5 years and I know I started only getting like $10 more than if I was unemployed getting money from government. Now earning more but crazy hours and guessed that it was one of those things that just slowly paid off overtime….

    But as mentioned something about people knowing you, but not looking to you to work because they think you are out of their budget because of your podcasts. That phrase near the end after hearing everything else really is stuck in my head and will be thinking about this more.

    I hope you and your family keeps well Marcus and you get control of your life again.

    Also to both you and Jeff, I hope the podcast continues and WP Tavern, as until you guys I didn’t even listen to podcasts. But I won’t ever be annoyed if you guys need a break.

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  5. Marcus,

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story. I’m just a small town WordPress freelancer who is feeling the very real struggle but from a different angle. While you have the benefits of being close to those who are immersed in WordPress, I am extremely isolated. The struggle is real.

    Currently I am in the midst of re-designing my own freelance business website. Until just the past several months, I have spent the last 6 years attempting to draw in clients that would be willing to pay me for my talents. While I’m nowhere close to your level of expertise, I have struggled to teach myself as much as I can about the WordPress ecosphere and bring my skill-sets to the levels they are now.

    I am fortunate that my wife has supported me all the way and place her utmost faith in my capabilities. Just like any other freelancer, my goal is to separate from my current full-time gig to take on my dreams of being a successful agency. However, the process has been slow. I have unfortunately been nearly giving my services and talents away for mere pittance.

    But my drive to continue to push towards the level of success is as high, if not higher than it always has been. If I may, let me add that I feel deprived of two of my favorite podcasters when you and Jeff miss a week due to other commitments or other related type issues. I place as much value in this podcast as well as the other one you co-host on as much as I value my business. The amount of information that I have been blessed enough to absorb through both of them is beyond any dollar amount I could even begin to place on them.

    My ultimate goal is to acquire enough decent playing clientele over the next several months that I can re-invest it into your online membership coach courses. I know that I need to take my design and development capabilities to a new level. I realize the importance that membership sites hold and have across the Internet. While I have toyed with BuddyPress (half-butted at best,) I realize there is so much more that I need to learn. I know that you are the only person who can take me into the right direction to realize this vision.

    Don’t ever underestimate yourself and continue to press forward. Even if nobody else realizes the amazing talents that you bring to the table, you can bet this small town Arkansas boy more than appreciates what you bring to the WordPress community. If I was a rich man, I would certainly be at any event you were speaking at just so I could pack down my notepads and any electronic devices I could with your information.

    I am going to tell you that when I heard the remark “that you felt you were at the end” resonated through my soul! I felt almost like I had just lost my best friend or a member of my family. Again, I’m just an unknown nobody located in Arkansas who places more value in the level of your expertise that you can begin to fathom.

    To both you and Jeff, my prayers for the both of you is that you begin to realize a level of financial growth that you have never dreamed of.

    Maybe someday in life I will be blessed enough to meet you two remarkable gentlemen.

    Respectfully,

    Greg Hyatt

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    1. Greg, just wanted to reach out and say that I work in-house at a company and also tend to feel very isolated from the WordPress/dev community. Lately I’ve been just trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. I feel the same way towards the leaders in the community, where the podcasts & blogs fill my weekends and I end up feeling a real connection to the authors. You’re not alone; I’d be willing to bet the majority of WordPress users & devs feel isolated.

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