Hello there, Beyonder!
BeyondBeaver.com actually began as a web agency who started to develop child themes and page templates for the Beaver Builder drag-and-drop WordPress page builder. When we're not behind the computer, we're actually normal people doing normal things! We promise!
Let's take Grant for example, the head honcho here at BeyondBeaver.com and a long-time WordPress enthusiast. When he's not online, you can find him and his girlfriend Remy off on their next travel adventure which they record over on BorderBrats.com. He also likes the gym, surfing, music and food. (That was really hard not to say "down the beach", but we'll get to that in a minute).
He's worked for some of Australia's largest web agencies in multiple roles, working with clients to specify their online needs, designing the solution, turning the art into code, and then supporting the client in using WordPress and the other softwares and services integrated with their website.
What you can find on this page
As long-time readers of blogs and listeners to podcasts, what we've found makes us follow a figure on these channels is that we understand them personally. We've been exposed to the journey they took to get to where they are, and each time they explain or communicate something, we can understand where they are coming from and thus value it a lot more than the others. I mean, c'mon, what makes you like your friends more than strangers? It's because you understand them and how they work.
For this reason, we're going to share the personal journey of Grant so you can better understand why he writes the posts he writes and values the things he does.
But first! Don't miss out on exclusive updates and stuff Grant and the team send to help you and others build websites faster.
Now, Get to know Grant
At age 19 I deferred university and decided to move from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, to Port Macquarie, a more rural town which was extremely different to the environment I had grown up in. Sure, there were beaches, my 5 siblings and mum (even a nephew came about that year), but not growing up there meant I didn't have much to fill my days. Between the gym and hanging with the family, I decided to start looking for a design job, which mean developing my first website to put my work onto.
This week was the first week I ever designed and coded a website, and I fell in love.
I put up my grantambrose.com portfolio website - a static HTML/CSS website.
I landed a solely Web Designer job back in Sydney and made the move back down to the Northern Beaches, where I help this role for 2 years, designing two websites a day, with 3 variations for each. I learnt to work fast and to design under the constraints of WordPress, and how to communicate with the development team in the room next to us Designers.
But I kept developing my design and development skills and learning after hours in my own time.
In my free time I studied code from Lynda.com, and tried to land as many family-friend websites as I could to practise my development skills with CSS/HTML/JS static websites.
I also went to university one day a week to finish my course, making up the lost hours for my employer on the 4 days I worked full-time. This meant working longer hours each day but I kew the end would justify the means.
A local website company offering online directory services contacted me to say they were looking at offering a small business website service and was wondering if I wanted to be a part of the start-up. Working exclusively as a web designer currently, I had always wanted to develop my coding skills...
So I said yes!
The first couple of clients came rolling in with a deadline of 4 weeks to complete the project, and they were passed to me, the only guy there besides the sales guy.
Looking back on this now, I actually LOL out loud. I mean, I had clients wanting websites, websites that were sold as WordPress websites, but I had never even used a WordPress website.
I remember I found a tutorial online on how to install WordPress the easy way, and I followed it. It worked, after some difficulty.
Error establishing database connection
I remember I kept getting this on all the sites I set up and I would just re set them up, going through these notes I had made in a .txt document on my computer. These were literal step 1, step 2, step 3 sorts of notes, where I would follow them and they would work, but I had no idea what they were actually doing. What did they mean and why am I doing them?
How funny is that - LOL
I laugh at how I used to run a website
The more plugins the better, as the less I actually had to learn how to code or do myself. Updating WordPress - why? The website works. Plugin is up for renewal - we can't charge the customer as we didn't let me know they had to pay again this year!
A blessing in disguise, the sales team were still finding their bearings also, so each site was sold in a different way and each had a unique set of requirements.
New WordPress guy (me) + random fuctionality = lots and lots of learning
And learn I did. Each curve ball I would type into google and land on a forum, with either code snippets I had to copy into my functions.php file (what the hell is that I used to think) or a tutorial I had to follow.
This is the exact reason I have started this website myself
I would never have been able to mash together a working solution for those clients at the beginning if someone else out there had not posted solutions on their own website to help me. I would have thrown in the towel and not know anything I know today with WordPress.
I hope the information and courses I post on this website grantambrose.com, coupled together with the themes I release, help you learn that things you need to know to get by as both a web designer or a web developer.
This website is here to make your creation processes as simple, affordable and as stable as they can be for you, individually, and your web agency clients.
So, why you should follow my website and the content I post.
AKA why should you care about what I'm writing when there's thousands of people out there with blogs on WordPress?
Because I have learnt what not to do and I am still learning today.
I've taken the best from the leading web agencies I've worked for and combined it with the real life experiences I've had from my freelance career, producing a wealth of knowledge that I'd love to share with you and everyone else.
But that's not to say it's all the "best and only way" to do something. I'm always refining and researching, and I'm sure what I preach today will change in the future. But you can never really know the best way to do something. I've accepted that. Technology changes too fast. We'll all continue to change. I'll just offer my advice along the way.
And Lastly, Chapter Six
The cheatsheet on getting to know me
- I'm a university bred Designer who graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia)
- I love photography, skateboarding and surfing.
- Horror movies are essential
- I've always grown up near the beach in Sydney, Australia
- I am currently on a two year Working Holiday Visa in Vancouver, Canada (recommendations on what to do are always welcome!). BTW It's my first time living overseas and away from the beach, hence my struggle at the start of this page not to mention the beach - eek!
- My focus on the gym is constantly battling the "I want a beer" micro-brewery voices in my head. Vancouver is to blame for their great beers!
- For 4 years I've sat behind a 27inch iMac computer but recently bought a Macbook laptop. Now you can find me in Starbucks every day working for hours and my iMac is turned off at home. I've found I work much better out in public - go figure! I did used to listen to coffee shop sounds from https://coffitivity.com/ when I did work from home, so maybe I should have realized this many moons ago.
- Seriously a coffee addict
- Somewhere along time I've developed such nicknames as Bam, Bammy and Crammy.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the posts I write and the emails I send out on the mailing list.
Constant WordPress learner and process refiner