I always knew I wanted to have a career, and I also knew I wanted a family. As my family grew, I realized that a typical job where you have to show up at an office every day didn’t work with the dynamic and unpredictable nature of kids. I didn’t understand why being at a physical office was a requirement: wasn’t the most important thing getting the work done? I could work just as well from home, and the flexibility would mean I could do my work at hours that worked for me. Who cares if I finished a project at 11 pm, if I did it well and on time?
So after my fourth kid was born, I decided to create that flexibility for myself, and went freelance, but with a vision to grow into a company. That’s why from the beginning I created a brand for my services, and called the “company” illuminea. At first I offered content related services, like marketing writing, and Hebrew to English translation. Increasingly the work I was doing was related to company websites, and the power websites had in terms of communicating messages and content marketing really caught my attention. I also had always been fascinated by technology.
So I started to teach myself how to build websites, using Google as my teacher.
At first I built basic HTML websites, but as I also learned about web marketing I realized that a site that can’t be easily updated is not doing any favors for its owners. Website content needs to be quickly and easily updatable. So I started researching CMS options. Many companies in those days were using expensive and clunky proprietary CMSs, and I was not impressed. I tested the three leading Open Source CMSs, and fell in love with WordPress. I was impressed by the templating system, the plugin ecosystem, and the community.
Moving to WordPress
At that time companies did not take WordPress seriously as a CMS. Blogging was catching on, so companies would install a WordPress blog as a subdomain, but they weren’t using it for general site management. I thought it could be more, and managed to convince a few clients to let me build their sites on WP.
And then version 3.0 was released, and WP became a full-fledged CMS.
Companies started to become sick of the limitations and costs of their proprietary CMSs, and since I was one of the first in the Israeli market to offer WP as a service, I started to get more and more clients for full website projects.
Right before I had my fifth kid, I made my first hire: Rebecca Markowitz. I taught her whatever I knew, and she quickly surpassed me with her skills in many areas. We have been working (and laughing) together ever since!
One thing led to another and illuminea became one of the leading providers of custom WordPress business solutions in Israel. We were privileged to work with inspiring innovators and generally nice people.
Building Something New
I had had many ideas for products throughout the years, but managing a business and having babies meant I could not realistically build a product on the side. However, after about twelve years of illuminea, and when my youngest was no longer a baby, I had an idea for a WordPress-related product: our clients, and ourselves, were suffering from issues related to speed and security. No matter what we did, we could never speed up client websites as much as they or we would have liked; and no matter what we did on the security side, sites still had vulnerabilities too often. So I thought: why not convert WordPress websites to serverless and static versions of themselves so they’ll be fast and secure?
I decided to go for it. I got accepted to a Jerusalem startup accelerator called Siftech, and they gave me the tools and access to resources and mentors that I needed to take the next steps.
I called that venture Strattic, and today we are a venture-backed team of seven with a great product that our clients love.
I can’t imagine how I could have ever achieved my goal of integrating family and an impactful career without WordPress. To this day I love that I am always challenged and learning more, and always meeting more people in our amazing community, while also having the flexibility I need to be a mom. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good, thank God.