078: Anne-Mieke Bovelett and WordPress Opportunity

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This episode is sponsored by Ninja Forms

About Anne-Mieke Bovelett:

Anne-Mieke Bovelett, a rebel generalista, teaches WordPress and Elementor on agency level. She is an avid accessibility advocate and besides writing functional designs for complex projects, creating video documentation for software is one of her favorite activities.

She was born in The Netherlands in 1971 and comes from a long lineage of professional artists and tech geeks. Her late father was an Oscar winning animator. Celebrating her genes, she also paints and composes music. Having lived and worked in several countries, of which Switzerland was one of her favorites, she permanently moved to Germany in 2019. Anne (as most people call her) runs her agency with the joined forces of her co-working warriors, in Düsseldorf.

Find Anne-Mieke Bovelett: ANNEBOVELETT | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
078: Anne-Mieke Bovelett and WordPress Opportunity
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Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community.

Angela:

Hi, welcome to Women in WP. Today’s episode is sponsored by Ninja Forms, a premium form builder for WordPress. Create contact forms, order forms, donation forms and more in literally minutes using prebuilt templates from Ninja Forms. I’m Angela Bowman.

Amy:

And I’m Amy Masson.

Tracy:

I’m Tracy Apps.

Angela:

Our guest today is Anne-Mieke Bovelett joining us from Germany. Anne-Mieke teaches Agency’s efficient use of WordPress and Elementor Pro, which is how Anne-Mieke and I met. Welcome, Anne-Mieke.

Anne-Mieke:

Thank you. I’m so proud. You would have me in your podcast. And honored.

Angela:

Yeah. We like to start off each episode asking our guest how they got into WordPress. How did you get started?

Anne-Mieke:

I got started I around 2007. Because first when I started creating websites, I first thought having a customer pay me to update their content would be great. And then I figured out that this was interfering with my processes all the time, getting phone calls, “Can you change this sentence here and there?” And so I started looking into something where they could actually manage their own content. This is how I first ran into WordPress.

Angela:

That’s so true for so many of us. Yes. Exact same thing.

Amy:

Yeah. I actually had a few years ago back a few … Back a few years ago. I can’t speak. A student from [inaudible 00:01:45] University contact me and was asking me questions. And then he got really upset that I was using WordPress. And I said … He’s like, “Why wouldn’t you want to maintain all these sites for your clients? You’re throwing away all this money.” And I said, “No, having to do those kind of updates is throwing away money, because I make money when I bring in the new clients, not when I’m updating somebody’s content on their about page.” Obviously I do that for my clients if they need that. But when you are doing all the maintenance on all the sites, you have a limit on how much availability you have to do that maintenance and also take on new clients. And he was just really wrong about where the profit would be coming from.

Angela:

Yeah. There’s a word for that. It’s called the cost of opportunity, opportunity cost. That even if you’re being paid for an opportunity, there’s a price that you pay for taking advantage of that opportunity. And sometimes when you do the math, it’s like, “Oh, the hour here, hour there, hour there, plus ADD,” or whatever. It’s like, “Now I can’t get anything done.”

Anne-Mieke:

Right. And you’re saying hour here, hour there. But the sneaky thing about, it is like you think, “Oh, 10 minutes here. 10 minutes there. I’m not going to charge them for 10 minutes.”

Amy:

Right.

Anne-Mieke:

“Blah, blah, blah, blah.” And then I mean, I made all the business mistakes someone can make when they first start their own business. I was too cheap. I wasn’t charging enough. And having to update client sites. I mean, one day I said to a customer, “Man, I really love you. But where is your bring? This is FTP. This is how you update it.” And he said, “Yes, but I’m really scared of FTP. I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. So please find me something else.” The problem with WordPress though at that time, it couldn’t yet do all the stuff that I wanted it to do. Because when I figured out, “Hey, you can automate things. You could put stuff in databases.” And, “Oh, I want to do this and that.” And I apparently wanted all kinds of stuff that was made possible after WordPress Five. So I got incredibly frustrated with it. And I was working in another system for almost 10 years. I was part of the dev team of something called CMS Made Simple. And I love CMS Made Simple up until today. I love them. I love the team. I love the product. But I love WordPress more.

Tracy:

I love it. Because like I did … So I first found … Well, my first blog was on B2, so that was pre-WordPress. But then I was doing movable type. And then they started charging. Then I moved back to WordPress. And I found that same kind of thing. But I was early enough. The timing was great, because I was in college. So I was able … And then early career. So wasn’t doing … I wasn’t running my own company full-time. I was doing that kind of on the side. So I had some time to kind of learn how to basically hack WordPress into doing what … Because I had the same thing. I wanted to do this. And I’d think of this. “Oh, and I could use this.”

Tracy:

Because if you think about it, in its simplest form, it is taking data and it’s just being able to … And it’s putting it into a database. And then you’re using it in different ways. So there’s lots of ways to customize it. Before all of the advancements, it was more backend and functions, and PHP, and all this stuff. So I was messing around with that and learning that. And I was like, “Oh, I bet you.” I almost saw it as like a bet. Someone was like, “Oh, we need to do this thing.” And I was like, “Hmm, I see this as a challenge. I’m going to figure out how to manipulate WordPress to do this thing.”

Tracy:

And now there’s all these tools and stuff that allow people to do that without the code, which is really great. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. But I think it’s in the right direction. So I agree with you. And there is a space for all the other different solutions. And it’s one thing that, yes, this is the Women in WP Podcast. But we have afinity and we all think very positively of the other things in the space, because they all work together and serve different communities.

Anne-Mieke:

That’s true.

Tracy:

Yeah.

Anne-Mieke:

I think it’s very naive to walk around with only WordPress. I mean, the right tool for the right thing at the right moment, right?

Tracy:

Yep, exactly.

Angela:

Yeah.

Tracy:

Exactly. What kind of things that you were working on, any other system, either just hand coding or doing that versus the CMS experience that you either have found solutions for, different solutions in WordPress. Compare and contrast.

Anne-Mieke:

So I still use CMS Made Simple for certain projects, because that is elastic. I don’t know the right translation for that to English actually. You start out really small. I’ve worked with Drupal for larger solutions. But I’ve found out that doing these big, big projects on my own, it’s just too much in Druple. I lose overview and everything. So yeah, I don’t use many other systems anymore. If I am, and if I’m working with a team, I’ll make sure that I get some experts in. Because this is sometimes way over my head technically. It’s just, as soon as it goes beyond HTML, CSS and some basic PHP and some JavaScript, or jQuery, whatever, I’m basically screwed.

Tracy:

I can relate

Amy:

The frequent topic of conversation of our collective lack of JavaScript abilities.

Anne-Mieke:

Oh, yeah. I’m just so happy that I know so many talented programmers and developers. And even some extremely quick witted go-getters. I know people where I say, “I have this problem here. How would you solve it?” And they go like, “I have no clue. But you know what? Let me get back to you. I’ll know how to do this in half an hour.” And that is fantastic, especially because as of late, I’ve begun specializing on accessibility. And now I am confronted with a lot of scripting stuff that I don’t really know about. But I don’t want to tell some developer, “Your model is completely inaccessible. You have to change it. And bye.” I’d like to be able to point them to, “This is where you look for the information on how to change that.” Or, “This is someone you can talk to,” or something like that. It almost feels like being a lawyer. I’ve worked in lawyers’ offices, and I’ve figured out that a lawyer doesn’t really have to know the law. He has to know where to find it when he or she needs it.

Tracy:

That is so true.

Amy:

And that’s not just lawyers. That’s every-

Angela:

Everyone, yep.

Amy:

… profession. And when I was back in my teaching days when I was a teacher, I taught computers. And it was, it’s not knowing the answer. It’s knowing how to find the answer. And that is all I wanted to teach them was how to find the answer.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. I mean, it’s insane. And people seem to feel ashamed when they have to Google stuff. Well, it’s a common joke on tech Twitter. But if I want to center a div, I still have to Google it. Because you can [crosstalk 00:10:18]. I don’t know how many different ways [inaudible 00:10:21].

Angela:

That is 100% true.

Tracy:

It’s so true.

Anne-Mieke:

You.

Amy:

I’m just going to put this out here for everybody listening, there’s no shame in Google.

Angela:

Nope.

Amy:

Google is your friend.

Angela:

It is.

Amy:

The best friend. If I had a resume to write today, my number one skill would be. “Good at Google.”

Angela:

Yep.

Tracy:

Yeah.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Tracy:

Well, so about … I mean, it’s great. I agree. And I teach the same thing. And I’m like, “Listen, I still I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. And I still have to like, “Oh, I haven’t coded a form element in forever. So I have to look that up.” But accessibility is key. I feel the same way when I’m working, because I’ve done UX and design on big multimillion dollar, big data applications. And accessibility is very much a hindsight when these teams get into the weeds of user stories and functionality. And so I’m always feeling like I’m pulling it back and saying, “Okay. Well, this … Wait a minute, this is not accessible. This is not accessible.” What are your go-to places of finding? Because you said not just saying, “This isn’t accessible, but look here for the answer.” Where are your go-to places of finding that information?

Anne-Mieke:

Man, if you can see my bookmarks list.

Angela:

Yes, please share.

Anne-Mieke:

I have this amazing collection of bookmarks. I Google and Google, and Google. And of course there are certain people who always write about the right stuff. There is the Alley Collective originally based in the Netherlands from Level Level. But they do this worldwide. There are so many names on Twitter. If you want to find stuff, or say create bookmarks, get on Twitter and just subscribe to the hashtag A11Y, which is short for accessibility. I remember when I got into this a few years back, I’m like, “A11, what?” But this is it. And there are people creating fantastic software for this, testing in advance what you’re doing. It is so much. I mean, this is the worst question you could have asked me. Because my brain just goes like, “Where do I start?”

Tracy:

Trust you me, I get a … And that’s why I ask, because I’m the same way. I have so many different resources. And I agree like that. Twitter has been great. There has been so many … And following these accessibility fanatics is key. And I was actually at a conference in Amsterdam. And it was on CSS and UX. But a big, heavy thing on accessibility. And just conferences, it’s been great. And for those listening that don’t … What do we see this, “Alley,” this A11Y. It’s a [numerum 00:13:46]. It basically means that it starts with an A, it ends in a Y, and it’s got 11 numbers in the middle that just are removed, so that it makes the hashtag, “Alley,” smaller. And not taking up all however many characters that Twitter allows. So as an aside, because not a lot of people know that. And it’s kind of hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But so Alley or A11Y is definitely a place to search. And there’s so many really great resources. And we can also put a bunch in the show notes as well. So that’ll be helpful.

Anne-Mieke:

I’m actually … You know what it’s like, right? Shoemakers always wear shoes that needs mending. And I have this … How do you say that? This treasure, this gold platinum treasure in my Twitter bookmarks. And I’m actually currently creating custom post types on my new website. I’m rebuilding my website. I’m creating custom post types for every bookmark that I have. So I can actually comment and sub-comment, but still say to people, “Follow this person,” or, “Follow that person.” And I don’t know how yet, but I’m going to find a way to make this go into my WordPress site automatically.

Anne-Mieke:

But I want to avoid all the cookies. So I don’t want to do embeds or anything. It’s just, “This is a tweet. This is what it’s about.” And then I’m going to tag it. Because the most important thing I learned about accessibility is share, share, share, share, share, whatever. Even if you think you only know three things, share those three things. In your three things, it might be three things other people have never heard of before. And this is something I love so much also about the WordPress community in general. There is so much sharing and caring going on. I love it.

Tracy:

I agree. And I actually have set up a … So remember Delicious Bookmarks. I don’t know if they’re still around.

Amy:

Yes.

Tracy:

I set up my own version on WordPress. And then I just use the book … “Press this bookmarklet tool.” And so I have my own and it looks like the old Delicious layout. And I have all of my tags. And so I want to figure out a way to do a community link share like that. Because I think that would be super helpful for … Get all of that combined knowledge in one place. And just where we can tag and search for [crosstalk 00:16:27]-

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Tracy:

… community stuff. Yep.

Angela:

When did you in your journey counter the WordPress community?

Anne-Mieke:

That was quite late actually. Really very late. I would say 2018. I registered my profile on WordPress.org in 2016. But I was a bit intimidated by all of it. So in 2018, I really ran into the community. I was welcomed with open arms. It felt so great. I had just discovered how I could use custom fields, and how I could do the part that I like to do the least. Which is the design part, how I could speed that up with Elementor. And I figured out, “Whoa, there is no plugin for a recipe schema that automatically pulls all the stuff that I want in that schema.”

Anne-Mieke:

So I wrote my own JSON. And I got up to 90%. And the last 10%, I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I have dyscalculia. It’s incredibly … It’s a strange form of a combination of dyscalculia and dyslexia. And my brain just said, “Oh, screw you. Go do something you like.” And then I was asking for help. And I got so much help. And it was just, it was so amazing. Because I had to write my own JSON script. And I was like, “Jason? That’s a guy, right?”

Tracy:

Yep.

Anne-Mieke:

And it was just wonderful. And I had missed that sense of community so much. Because before the CMS Made Simple community is so much smaller, and it’s all guys. I’ve tried to get girls into our dev team for so long. It’s just guys. And in the end, it was because of a new guy that I left that community. So that was one of the worst experiences in community in my life. And then falling into the WordPress community. I mean, that was like warm pillows on a cold winter night, man.

Tracy:

Hey, Women in WP listeners. This is Tracy with a quick message from our sponsor, Ninja Forms. Wish you could build forms for WordPress without spending forever or recruiting help? You can. Ninja Forms is the WordPress form plugin that is both extremely flexible and easy to use. Create contact forms, order forms, donation forms, and more in literally minutes using prebuilt templates. Easily customize with form logic, upload fields, multi-step pages, and more. Just drag and drop what you need, where you need it. Integrate with hundreds of services like MailChimp, Google Sheets, HubSpot, and more without needing to write a line of code. Get Ninja Forms now at Ninjaforms.com. And now back to our show.

Amy:

So I heard a rumor that you’re part of the organizing team for WordCamp Europe.

Anne-Mieke:

And the rumor is true.

Amy:

Well, it’s-

Anne-Mieke:

I’m a member of the sales and sponsors team. And that’s an amazing journey. I mean, it feels like sitting in a pressure cooker that’s been placed in a rollercoaster currently, because there is always this tension about the pandemic and everything. But we are focused on making this an in-person event. And as far as I can tell by now, it looks good.

Amy:

It does.

Anne-Mieke:

But we started up a little bit later than usual I understand. And it’s interesting to see how part of the team knows the drill, who’s been organizing work camps before. And the other part, like me who is new. But it’s amazing. I mean, I’m like Bambi on ice sometimes. But there’s always someone to pick me up. It’s wonderful. Yeah. Am I going to see you guys there?

Tracy:

Hopefully.

Amy:

Well, I will be in Portugal in three weeks. So I will not be there for WordCamp Europe. It doesn’t work with my schedule for this summer. My son’s graduating high school. So we had to go ahead and use our airline credits from when we were coming in 2020. And so we are going soon. But Angela, you’re going, right?

Angela:

I just got my WCEU ticket yesterday. Because I thought it would just be like me to be like, “Oh, I have an airplane ticket. I have an Airbnb.” And then forget to actually buy a ticket to the event. So I thought I’ll just do that. There’s only 300 tickets left.

Tracy:

Well, maybe I should just go get that, and then worry about that other stuff later. Yeah.

Anne-Mieke:

It’s going fast. Yeah.

Angela:

Yeah. I’m so looking forward to it.

Anne-Mieke:

I’m so going to argue [inaudible 00:21:54].

Angela:

I want you argue [crosstalk 00:21:55].

Tracy:

I love it.

Angela:

I know. What I’m I feel like what I’m really looking forward to about this is that now it’s been … We had such a great time at WordCamp U.S. at the first year of the podcast. So we started the podcast January, February, 2019. We went to a WordCamp U.S. in October, November, 2019. And it was amazing to meet just even the women that we had met so far that year. And then now it’s been two full years. We’ve all been traumatized by the pandemic to some extent. And all these amazing women who’ve been on the show. And so many of them are going to be there in Porto. And I’m looking forward to just a big hug fest. Like a puppy pile-

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Angela:

… of hugs.

Anne-Mieke:

It’s like everybody starts to feel like family. I mean, it’s crazy. Because even when you know that, I think it’s 43% is powered by WordPress of all websites. Right? But the core of the community, I always think … I was looking at the State of the Word. And the first two rows are like, “I know that person. I know that person. I know that person. I know that person.” I was like, “Wow, there are so many faces and names that are familiar to me, even though I have not met them in person.” And the last WordCamp I was at was actually Düsseldorf in 2019. It was great.

Angela:

I bet it was great.

Tracy:

I did the same thing at the State of The Word. I was like, “Oh, look, I know these people.” And I had that same thing when I realized I got, “Oh, WordPress is so huge.” Then I met the community. And then I was like, “Oh, the community is so huge.” And then I started going to things. And I was like, actually the community, there’s this core group. And you just get active and you become … You see people, you recognize people, you get to know people. And it actually feels much smaller, just because everyone kind of just really is excited and the get to know each other.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. I was honored to get an interview from Kinsta in Dutch. And one of the questions was like, “When did you notice you were famous in the WordPress community?” And I’m like, “What? Sorry?”

Amy:

Oh my gosh.

Anne-Mieke:

I was like, “No, no.”

Amy:

Now, what do you say to people that think … Like what Tracy was saying is, we know all these people in the community now. And it’s kind of a group. But there’s some people that argue it has become very cliquey. Now I personally have not seen that, but maybe that’s because I’m on the wrong side.

Anne-Mieke:

I don’t get that sense at all. But I can imagine that in conjunction with the pandemic, it may have started to feel that way a little bit. It doesn’t feel cliquey to me at all. I mean, I am new to the gang. And in our sales and sponsors team, there are some people I had never heard of or seen before. No, it doesn’t feel cliquey to me. But if it does feel cliquey to people, open up your mouth and say something about it. Because it is always good to keep things … How do you say that? In check like, “Hey, guys. Remember to me, it looks like this or that. What’s happening there?” It keeps us awake I think.

Amy:

Yeah. I do think that in our industry, you do have a lot of people that are more introverted than in some other professions. Because so many of us work at home. We work alone. That even when you do go to these events, it’s a little harder to break into these groups of people that already know each other. And I think that can be a little intimidating. For sure it was for me the first time I went to one.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. I can imagine.

Angela:

I think the thing for anyone listening to this, if you are one of the introverted people who’s having a hard time breaking in, just introduce yourself to someone. That’s really brave and hard. But if you’re someone who has a circle of friends, look around you. Pay attention to who’s around you. If you see a wallflower, if you see someone kind of holding back or hanging back on the outskirts, reach out to them. And that happened to me at one of the WordCamps where someone with Give WP came up to me and invited me to come and sit, and have lunch with them.

Anne-Mieke:

Oh, cool.

Angela:

I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I did feel lonely. I felt isolated. I was having massive imposter syndrome as usual. And the big WordCamps are super hard for me. And I have a total emotional meltdown at the end, and everything. And I always feel like I don’t belong. And, “What the hell am I even bothering to try [crosstalk 00:27:10].”

Anne-Mieke:

I know that feeling-

Angela:

No, [crosstalk 00:27:11].

Anne-Mieke:

… [crosstalk 00:27:11] with anyone.

Tracy:

Yep.

Anne-Mieke:

Can I relate. That is so hard.

Angela:

But that whole, just reach … Just make sure if you’re feeling okay, reach out to someone who may not be.

Amy:

And specifically reach out to the three of us if you see us somewhere.

Tracy:

Yeah. Because we’re probably feeling the same thing.

Amy:

Well, in this future world where we can actually see each other in person, I would like to invite everybody to come and talk to me. And I’m sure that Tracy and Angela share that.

Tracy:

Same. Exactly. Because I feel like … Yeah, I could be extroverted. But then if I don’t know people I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to interrupt this, or whatever.” And there was a great … One conference I was at, they had what they called it the Pac-Man rule. So if you knew people and you were in a conversation with people, you had to have at least the … Like the Pac-Man has like the mouth open. So you’re never closed circle. There was always an extra space there consciously so that whatever conversation you were having with whatever group of people, there was a space there, so someone else could just come in and join the conversation. And that is an indication to not only think … Well, yes, I might be really in this conversation, but also other people are more than invited to, even though … Because that’s intimidating if you try to go to a closed circle. But if you have something that’s like, “Oh, there’s a space there for me. I want to add to this conversation.”

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. No, it’s a great thing. Pac-Man rule. I’m going to remember that one.

Tracy:

Yep.

Anne-Mieke:

I am introverted like crazy. But apparently the way I act and talk, walk and talk, you’d say, people don’t suspect it. But it’s like what Angela’s saying here, at the end of a WordCamp or whatever, I’m having a total meltdown myself. And I just need three days to recover.

Angela:

Yeah.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. But it’s true. And it’s always this intrinsic feeling of … It’s not loneliness. I would say aloneness that you can have when you are just not … If you don’t feel at ease to approach people. People always assume if you are a little bit extroverted or if you act extroverted that it’s easy for you to come up to people. And it’s not. I mean, I don’t know how bad language I can use here. But-

Amy:

As much as you want.

Anne-Mieke:

… the assumption is the … How do you say? The assumption is the mother of all fuckups. Period.

Tracy:

Yep.

Anne-Mieke:

So assuming someone will come up to you, wrong. Assuming someone won’t come to you, wrong. Assuming someone doesn’t like you because in spite of you inviting him or her, or them to come and join you means that they don’t like you. Wrong. It’s about communication. Everything is about communication. The WordCamps, your life, whatever you do. And it’s just … I see the relief people feel when they are accepted for who they are. And I think that’s the most important message. Because I mean, can you imagine we are all standing there in a group of girls, and you were like, “Oh,” because we just are like that when we see each other, and we’re really happy. And someone who is more quiet may also feel intimidated by that.

Anne-Mieke:

It depends on the situation and where you’re in, and where you’re at. But I think this is a message we can carry on to the world. And I mean, you are doing such a great job with your podcast. I’ve been listening to a few of the episodes. And I’m enjoying them so much. They’re always almost five or 10 minutes too long for my drive from home to work. But I’ll just sit in the parking lot and listen to the last 10 minutes, because I want to hear it.

Amy:

That is so awesome.

Tracy:

Oh, that is the biggest compliment ever.

Amy:

For sure.

Tracy:

I love that.

Amy:

Well, we are hoping to do … I mean, we, I say we, because I won’t be there, to do an episode from WordCamp Europe. Because Tracy did one when she went to WordCamp Europe back when we still had in-person things. So hopefully we can have another episode and interview so many women.

Angela:

Tracy did an amazing job. I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes for this episode.

Anne-Mieke:

Please do.

Angela:

Tracy interviewed 11 or 12 women in the hallway, and did these five minute interviews. And it was amazing, because we just got this slice of life of all these WordCamp Europe people. And I love those quick kind of like man on the street kind of-

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Angela:

… thing. It was fabulous.

Tracy:

And it really was. I was in a corner kind of underneath a staircase, kind of just like … But kind of in the middle of the hallway. But I’m just like, “Hey.”

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Angela:

“[crosstalk 00:32:27] talk to me?”

Tracy:

I’m just going and grabbing people. They’re like-

Amy:

Was that the one in Berlin?

Tracy:

… “Hey.” That was the Berlin. Yes.

Amy:

Okay.

Tracy:

I had so much fun with that.

Amy:

We should do some kind of sign up. So people can let us know that they would like to … So if you would like to be interviewed for the podcast for a five minute interview at WordCamp Europe in Porto, let us know, people.

Angela:

Yeah. I will set up a web form and tweet that out when we get a little bit closer to the time.

Tracy:

That is a great idea.

Angela:

And I think another thing for people to remember is, no one is cool in WordPress. We’re a bunch of dorks. We’re a bunch of nerds.

Tracy:

It’s so true.

Angela:

There is no coolness here at all. We wear-

Amy:

I am certainly not cool.

Angela:

We wear free t-shirts and stickers. And we’re kind of like band, like being in band or something.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. We are.

Angela:

It’s true.

Anne-Mieke:

We still are.

Tracy:

We’re band geeks.

Amy:

King of the nerds. Queen of the nerds. That’s what we are.

Angela:

Yeah. So just remember that if you’re ever feeling like you’re not in with the cool kids, there are no cool kids.

Anne-Mieke:

No.

Tracy:

We define who the cool kids are. And so we can define that. It’s not traditional cool. We are our own type of cool, which is cooler than that, because we can define it. That’s how I’m justifying it.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. I love that.

Angela:

You have such a rich background. You come from this highly creative family. And then you have a lot of creativity in your life as a result. Can you tell us about what you do that’s not coding website related?

Anne-Mieke:

Oh, my. Yeah. I compose music. Sometimes I compose stuff under my customers’ videos so I do not have any discussions about copyrights. I’m a professional painter. And I have a painting technique that I also teach to others. I do creative coaching with painting. And so often, I get people who work in what they say high places. And they say, “But I can’t paint at all. I am not creative. I am not artistic at all.” And then I’ve had it happen some people would start crying when the painting was finished. And they’re looking at like, “I didn’t know I can make something so beautiful.” And it gives people a complete sense of being okay with who they are. Because the painting technique that I use, there is no way you get to decide what it’s going to be looking. You can not put yourself inside of a box that says, “It has to look like this.”

Anne-Mieke:

You’re not painting a horse or a house, or a cat, or whatever, or a landscape. It’s the …. How do you say? The brush rules. If you have a painting brush, and this is really difficult on audio, I have to remember that we’re on a podcast. But if you have this very wide flat brush, right? And you put on some white paint on one corner of that brush, and some red paint on the other corner of that brush. What most people don’t realize is that white paint has stuff in it that makes it not so fluid, if you’re talking acrylics. And then I will tell people, “Okay, put this brush on the canvas and just push and let it slide.” And because the white stuff is so much sturdier than the red stuff, it will create this great gradient from white to pink, to red. But it will make you go in half circle. There’s no other way.

Angela:

Because the physics.

Anne-Mieke:

This is like physics. But this is also, don’t try to control the art. Because the art is there. It’s there already. And this is so relaxing when you are doing this, it’s like brain vacation. Because you have no control whatsoever. And it’s just happening. And in the end when it’s done, you’re like, “Whoa, did I make that?” And this is-

Tracy:

I love that.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. And it’s so good to see people happy about themselves. And about … It teaches you … I used to have insane anxiety attacks. And I don’t have those anymore. Well, I do, but not in that extent. I deal with them differently through the painting. So this is one of the things that I do. I’m a copywriter in Dutch and English. And if I do it in German, someone has to check my grammar. So I can write flowing texts and make a lot of fun. But that is something that I do. And another thing I do, which is kind of on a hold right now, I have this food blog. I lost 37 kilos. I keep forgetting how much that is in pounds. I think it’s like 80 something.

Angela:

Wow.

Tracy:

It’s amazing.

Anne-Mieke:

Just by eating. Just by eating.

Tracy:

Yep. Wow.

Amy:

Actually eating.

Anne-Mieke:

Actually eating. Because I was eating the normal stuff. Because this is a thing I know now why. Since two years, I know I have ADHD. And I’m turning 51 next week. So I’ve been living without that knowledge for so long. But when I go in hyper-focus, I don’t eat, I don’t drink. I don’t take good care of myself. And then at the end of the day, I’m like, “I’m so hungry.” And then I go. So I knew this was happening. And it literally nearly killed me. And then I learned how to eat properly.

Anne-Mieke:

And I was like, “This is knowledge you have to share. Everybody has to know it.” And then now I realize that by sharing it, I was also gamifying this for myself. Gamification is very important in my life. Just in order to make my brain think, “Oh, this is really cool. Yeah. This is dope.” For those who don’t know much about ADHD, you are like a dopamine junkie. I mean, they don’t know if dopamine is … If you’re using it up too fast or if you’re not producing too much.

Anne-Mieke:

I kind of suspect that we’re using it up too fast. But that’s another topic anyway. But this makes that I have to gamify about everything I do. And so I focus this on my creative stuff, not just the web stuff, but the painting, the cooking. I have changed to eating vegan, because if I eat animal products, it’s very bad for my health, for my joints and stuff. And of course, I mean, it’s a good thing to do for the world and the environment. But everybody has to decide that for themselves. But cooking vegan is incredibly challenging, because you get to get so creative you nearly explode, “I can do this and I can try that.” And I [crosstalk 00:40:35]-

Tracy:

I felt the same-

Anne-Mieke:

… hyper-focus thing. Yeah.

Tracy:

Yeah. I found that exactly the same. Because I found out in my 30s, my early 30s that I was allergic to dairy all of a sudden. And dairy and wine. And so I had to learn how to cook. And you’re right. If you have to cook it yourself, that’s going to be healthier. I definitely relate to the hyper-focus and not eating. And then all of a sudden I ate seven bags of chips at home.

Tracy:

That is definitely something that is very real. And the fact that you were like, “Yeah, I need to share this information.” I love it. We could literally just talk for forever, because I also love what you had said of the art, that you can’t control the art. The art is there. That’s very much my style of painting as well. My style is-

Anne-Mieke:

Cool.

Tracy:

… “Well, I wonder what would happen if.” And that’s what my paintings are. And it is that letting go of that control, and just letting that kind of … Because there’s many parts of our brain that do not have the capability of language. So if we’re trying to think like, “What am I thinking right know?” And I’m trying to put it into words, it might be coming from a different part of the brain that does not have the capability.

Anne-Mieke:

Well, yeah. The problem with thinking is this, as soon as you start to think, you don’t feel.

Tracy:

Yes.

Anne-Mieke:

Thinking is a way of suppressing feelings. And if you become really good at suppressing feelings, it’s going to come back at you like a boomerang with a rock.

Tracy:

Yes. I want T-shirts of all of these little snippets. Can we do this?

Angela:

Yes. Yes. I really want to get our Zazzle store going with all our great quotes from our episodes. Well, Tracy, you’re going to have to come to Porto now, because me, you and Anne-Mieke need to spend some time just talking our-

Tracy:

We’ll do an offshoot podcast where we’ll record all of this. And it might be a couple hours, but that’s fine. Because-

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah.

Angela:

And just, before we sign off, I do want to just mention quickly, because we are running to time now. That Anne-Mieke is also an Elementor Global Team Leader, and on the Experts platform. And that’s how we have met each other. And it’s been so delightful to be part of the Elementor Global Team Leader. And you are the meetup leader for the Elementor … Is it Düsseldorf?

Anne-Mieke:

Düsseldorf.

Angela:

Yeah. Elementor meetup. But you made appearances on our Boulder Elementor meetup.

Anne-Mieke:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Angela:

And so I’m going to pop some links in the show notes for your Elementor involvement, because that’s kind of a big piece of what you’re up to these days.

Anne-Mieke:

Oh, thank you.

Angela:

Yeah. And I’ll let Amy wrap us up.

Amy:

Yeah. Thanks to our sponsor, Ninja Forms for sponsoring and supporting the Women in WP. And before we go, if you can let everybody know where they can find you online.

Anne-Mieke:

Oh, well, the quickest way to find me online is through Twitter. My handle is Bovelett. I’m sure it will be in the description how you spell that.

Angela:

Yes.

Anne-Mieke:

Second, you can find me in the Elementor community Facebook group a lot. And my website is annebovelett.eu. So there are all my other contact possibilities. And of course you can try and contact me through LinkedIn, which I hate with a vengeance. So you’re warned. I’ve even kicked off the LinkedIn app of my phone, because it was just annoying me with messages that I wasn’t reading. I don’t care if someone posts about marketing numbers and stuff like that if I didn’t subscribe. Anyway, that’s a [inaudible 00:44:38].

Angela:

I love it. Well, it’s been so wonderful.

Anne-Mieke:

Thank you for having me. It was so delightful.

Speaker 1:

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