Over the weekend we sponsored and participated in the 1K in 1Day, an initiative that set the ambitious goal to have 1000 women start an online business in 24 hours. This is the story of what I learned that day about community spirit and goodwill, and how good ideas can help start a movement.
The head coordinator of the 1K1Day is a woman named Lea Woodward, who is the CEO of the parent company for the 1k1day initiative, StartUpTrainingSchool. She lives in London, so she reached out via email a few months ago in June and began explaining details for the event and right away I was sold.
1k in 1 Day organized local meetups, all over the world, to provide women with the tools and the means to start an online business that they could manage from anywhere. I knew WP Engine should not only sponsor 1k in 1Day, but also host the local Austin Event. Being a woman growing up in the middle of so much technology I wanted to help open the door to women who only dreamed of having a social presence online and of running their own business.
Lea chose WordPress to be the platform for the women to build their business on. All the tutorials, the webinar, and special perks (Hosting from WP Engine, WooThemes theme, Moo cards business cards) for the attendees were tailored to building a business on WordPress, joining the 20,000 others who already have their business built on WordPress as well as promoted the spirit of entrepreneurship. Lea like so many other business owners (Our boss Jason Cohen too!) saw WordPress as the perfect platform and community to start an online business and is part of what inspired her to start the One K in One Day program to spread the love of the open source WordPress community.
Lea and I coordinated from across the Atlantic. When I would head into the office, she would be heading to bed. We spent many hours emailing back and forth with each other as well as reaching out to as many people as we could to get involved. WP Engine coordinated the Austin meetup and found local resources by tapping into our local Austin WordPress community as well as reaching out to women-led organizations in town. I shared this with as many women as I could, from housewives to students, hoping they would see the value and want to get involved both for themselves and for the future women entrepreneurs.
The event happened on September 9th. The organizers provided online tutorials and a webinar to help the ladies get set up on WordPress. We had more than a dozen volunteers to help women start their first WordPress, design it, and begin their online business. All the women shared both the highs and lows of starting their first online business.
On the actual day, we had 13 volunteers and 23 women who shared the better part of their Sunday morning with us. It was so nice seeing all these people showing up not just to help me set up, but to support these women, my team of volunteers were the real coordinators and without their help this event wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.
What really stood out to me was the persistence both of the women and of the volunteers. Learning something new can be daunting, but these women powered through it all, and the volunteers were there right with them breaking down the WordPress dashboard, explaining plugins, and helping the women choose the right theme.
I spent a lot of the event chatting with the attendees one-on-one, hearing about how much this day had changed them. You could see their spirits lifted, they were doing something they had only dreamed of doing, and we were getting to share in that moment with them.
I relate to the feeling of having a great business idea but not knowing how to turn it into a reality and source of income. I think that’s something that a lot of the women who attended felt as well. I am so proud of them for seeing the opportunity and taking it by the horns.
It’s something that I haven’t just seen at this event, I see it every time I attend a WordCamp or a meetup, the spirit of the WordPress community is to pass on the knowledge and to teach the next generation, whether that be a group of young high school students or a group of ambitious women. WordPress is opening up possibilities for millions of men and women around the world to do something greater than just starting a business or blog online. It’s providing them with a Community of people who want to see them succeed as people and as entrepreneurs.
One of my favorite quotes is “a rising tide lifts all boats” and I’ve never felt it more applicable than to the WordPress community.
It’s been magical to see the 1k in 1Day community grow. Every day the Facebook group has more members, the women shared success stories with one another while also contributing to those who might have been hung up on something. It was a team effort to contribute to my belief that women should be empowered to succeed in the digital world.
WP Engine is grateful for the opportunity to be supporting this awesome event and I’m personally thankful to get to share exciting community events like this with the rest of the world. WP Engine will always be in support of Women and Entrepreneurship. If you are organizing such an event you can check out our community involvement form for details of how we make sponsorship decisions, etc.
A big thanks again to all my volunteers and to those who came out for the event, you all ROCK!