Learn New Tech Skills

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Julia Taylor

Today's Guest: Julia Taylor

CEO and Founder - GeekPack®

Durango, CO

Ep. #1097 - Learn New Tech Skills

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, it’s time to consider why you should learn new tech skills. Lauren Conaway enjoys a thought-provoking conversation with Julia Taylor, CEO and Founder of GeekPack®. Look into the benefits of defining your “why” and how to improve your self-esteem by learning new skills. Additionally, discover what GeekPack does for its members and their professional growth.

Covered In This Episode

How do we deal with our fear of “asking the wrong questions”? What does feminism look like as the decades roll? And why should you learn new tech skills right now?

Join the conversation with Lauren and Julia. From founder to founder, they examine the effect of learning new skills on self-esteem. And why you should discover your “why” to grow and succeed.

Get Started with Full Scale

Also, get to know what GeekPack can do for you. Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode today!

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


  • Looking back to 2018 and Julia’s life (02:12)
  • The when and how of Julia’s entrepreneurial journey (04:37)
  • On experiencing a pushback and being discouraged (08:59)
  • The GeekPack® community, its environment, and its members (11:07)
  • Feminism and gender equity in different generations (13:34)
  • Identifying the “why” in doing things (17:57)
  • How GeekPack connects with its members (23:21)
  • Why does Julia focus on the “superior species”? (27:53)
  • Can men join the community? (32:39)
  • GeekPack—its tech stack, core concepts, and teachings (34:59)
  • The future evolution of GeekPack (38:57)

Key Quotes

So a large part of being a developer is figuring things out, talking to other people, and asking what they did. So I find it interesting that you were receiving pushback on doing something developers naturally do.

– Lauren Conaway

You’re doing it for a reason. Like there is a reason why you are going out on a limb and why you are learning this thing and doing this thing. And whatever that reason is for you, figure that out.

– Julia Taylor

Anyone can learn these skills. And when you do, it’s such a confidence boost.

– Julia Taylor

Sponsor Highlight

Where can you find highly qualified software developers? Full Scale has the people and the technology for your project, specializing in building long-term teams that only work for you. Use the advanced yet client-friendly platform to recruit the best software development team now!

On the other hand, if you need business solutions beyond software development, our Startup Hustle partners offer a wide range of services.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we are back! Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. But Full Scale can help you build a software development team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. All right, friends, so today, well, we have a pretty fabulous guest. And we’re gonna be talking about a lot of things that, unsurprisingly, I love to talk about. We have with us today Julia Taylor. Julia is the CEO and founder of GeekPack®. And I am just really excited to delve into GeekPack® because GeekPack® exists to empower women and girls to change their lives for the better through the power of code, community, and confidence. All three of those are things that we love. And, of course, we love talking about empowering women on my episodes of the show. But Julia, I gotta tell you, my friend, I’m super psyched to have you here today and to have this conversation. Thank you so much for being here.

Julia Taylor 01:08
Thank you so much for having me. I am very excited to chat more and to hear more about InnovateHER KC.

Lauren Conaway 01:17
Oh, this is gonna be good. I can tell already. All right, well, let’s dive right into it. I have my notebook. And I have a pen. Pretty sure we’re somewhere around here. There it is. Found it. I am ready to go. Julia, why don’t you tell us about your journey?

Julia Taylor 01:32
All right. Oh, gosh, my journey. So I’m going to take us back to 2008 because that’s really where my entrepreneurial journey began. In 2008, I used to work for the US Department of Defense. I worked for the intelligence community.

Lauren Conaway 01:52
I kind of have to ask, though, were you a spy? Ish. If you told me, you’d have to kill me.

Julia Taylor 02:03
It’s not quite that. I wish it was as cool as what you see on TV in Hollywood. But they definitely make it a lot more exciting than it was. But in 2008, I was deployed to Afghanistan. It was my first deployment there. I was there for six months. And while I was there, I met and fell in love with my now husband. He’s, yep, he is British, and it’s worth knowing that because we did long distance for about a year and a half. And I had an amazing job with the government. You know, career progression was on the rise. I traveled all over the world, and I got to do amazing things. But met him and fell in love. And I decided to leave my job and move to the UK. And we got married. And I became a military wife, which I’m immensely proud of. But my career progression just really took a nosedive. And we moved a number of times, and I was never able to kind of find another job. That’s what I used to have. Because, of course, I’d moved countries. Yeah. So while I was in one of my regular old, kind of nine-to-five admin-type jobs in the UK, I was working at a university. And my boss walks in and asks me to fix something on the website. Now I have no tech background, I’ve no tech degree, and I have a degree but not in tech. I learned Russian when I was in college. So I had no idea how to do what he asked her to do.

Lauren Conaway 03:37
I was just sorry. I started to laugh. And I think Julia saw that because I’m like, you learned Russian, and gods are random. Yeah, it was. You know, that comic Family Circus where you see Billy like the little lions following him as he walks around the neighborhood like that’s what I’m seeing your progression, but continue.

Julia Taylor 03:57
Oh, yeah. Yeah. All over the place. And so he comes in? And he says, right, can you fix our website? It needs to be able to do X. And I’m kind of like, I have no idea how to do what he has asked me to do. So I go to Google. And this is about 2014. So this is kind of the time gap there. So I go on Google, and I search for how to do the thing that he has asked me to do. And sure enough, I get all these search results. And there’s this line of code. And again, I have no background in tech. I didn’t know how to code, nothing. But I Googled what to do with this line of code. I put it on the website. And sure enough, it worked. And it was this real kind of lightbulb moment where I thought to myself, hang on. I just figured something out. I figured out some code on Google in five minutes, and I loved it. I loved the immediate change and that I saw something different and I saw it on the website. Done. And it took me down this journey of learning how to code by myself completely all alone in a vacuum. And I Google everything. I want you to videos, and I did. I taught myself how to code, you know, basic-ish enough to be able to offer it as a service and for people to pay me to build websites, fix websites for them. That kind of went down the web development, right. And in that time, between 2014 till 2018, when I started GeekPack®, in that time, I struggled massively learning to code by myself, and because I didn’t have a community to ask questions when things didn’t work. And I would go to Facebook groups, or I would go to Stack Overflow, or I would go to all these different forums, and I would ask questions, and I would get made fun of, and I would be told, Oh, you know, if you don’t have a degree, you shouldn’t be doing this. Or if you don’t know the answer to that, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t be offering it. And it was really, really discouraging. And it took me a long time to get to the point where I was comfortable starting my own business and offering it as a service. And so when I got 2018, my husband retired from the military, and we decided to move into an RV and travel around the US to find where we wanted to settle. And so we sell everything, we move into the RV, and we start traveling, and I’m documenting our travel on Instagram, and people are kind of in this way. This was in 2018. So pre, COVID. And everyone wants to know, how are you able to travel full time? What do you do for work? So I started to talk about how I learned to code. I taught myself how to code how I build websites, I started my business, I found clients, and I started having that conversation online. And people say to me, I want to learn to do what you have done. Can you teach us? And that’s where geek PAC kind of came to life organically because people wanted to be able to do what I was doing. So I started teaching people. But when I started teaching people how to do what I taught myself how to do, I was determined that a supportive and encouraging community would come alongside it because I want other people to struggle the way that I felt.

Lauren Conaway 07:20
And I want to just really quickly, I want to take a moment. You know, I’ve worked in the tech space throughout my career. And one of the things that I found most jarring, I think, actually about your story is the fact that every single developer, I know, even like the true rock stars, like no developer knows how to create code out of thin air just out of their head for everything. And so a large part of being a developer is figuring things out and talking to other people and asking what they did. And so I find it interesting that you were receiving pushback on doing something that developers very naturally do. I mean, that’s why you have so much documentation in code. And that’s why you have so many. I mean, I don’t know, like agile meetings and things like that, because collaboration and continuous research and learning is a huge part of being a developer, right? Yeah. Do you know why people were kind of giving you that pushback?

Julia Taylor 08:23
It was definitely not. It wasn’t everyone. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t all the time, it was enough so I can remember two instances in particular, that that kind of knocked me back. And then it was discouraging enough for me to not continue on and kind of pause what I was doing. And it just made everything take a lot longer to have the confidence to then say to, you know, a friend, a family member of someone in town, this is what I do. I would like to help you with your website or build your website or fix it for whatever was wrong with it. So it was not the majority, but it happened enough to, and I spoke to a lot of people who had similar experiences, and I’ve since then been doing podcasts and TV interviews and things like that, that have similar experiences where they had a negative encounter. And I think because I didn’t have a tech degree because I didn’t have any formal education. I was just hypersensitive to getting that negative feedback. And it just hit me a lot harder.

Lauren Conaway 09:31
Yeah, well, I just wanted to take a moment to explore that because This is for our listeners. Hey friends, don’t do that. You know, if somebody comes to you as a developer and as he tells you that they’re trying to figure something out that’s part of the process, that’s not something to be demonized at all. So So anyways, let’s talk about this community like you wanted to create this really strong support of communities so that people like you who were just coming to coding, which was just discovering their talent or their interest in this, you know, they could be shepherded along in better ways than you were and I appreciate you saying that it wasn’t everybody. And I fully believe that, but you know, even if it happens once or twice, that can be really disheartening when you’re trying to learn something, and you’re trying to evolve. So, talk to us about this community, what are some of the characteristics that you wanted to see your members exhibit? As you were trying to build this community?

Julia Taylor 10:37
Yeah, sure. And the thing is kind of a tagline for the community is there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Because no matter how many times we say that, and I think that is a big part of it is the fear to ask a question, whether you have been knocked down or you’ve, you know, someone who has made fun of you or said, oh, you know, you shouldn’t be doing that. It’s the what if, and I think a lot of particularly women, and in our community, we’re, it’s primarily a community of women. We have lots of amazing guys who are awesome. But there is that I’m so terrified to ask a silly question that I won’t even ask. And that’s something that we constantly tell people is there’s no such thing as we all started at the very, very beginning. We didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to code and being a techie. We learned. And that’s probably the main thing. There’s no such thing as a silly question or stupid question in our community. And also, we are, I would say, the majority of the women in our community are 40 Plus, which I love, because it’s there, and I don’t. I don’t want to say it is fact or it’s true. But it’s kind of this perceived thing that women in tech are younger, they have gone to college, they’ve done all those things. And, we have found this amazing group of women who don’t want to feel like they’ve forgotten where the world is going with tech, and everything is digital and online. And maybe they either were really good at math when they were young, and then they got busy, but they want to get back into it, or they’re lifelong learners, and they never want to let their, you know, mind stop thinking and doing things. So that’s really where the community has kind of gone over the years is no such thing as a stupid question. And regardless of age, regardless of education, regardless of financial status. You are welcome. And you can learn these skills, if you want to, and you know, put in the effort to do it. Yeah.

Lauren Conaway 12:54
Well, and I want to take, I want to drill down on something really quickly. One of us recently had an event where we talked about feminism through the decades, basically, like we had a panel discussion, and we had a bunch of women leaders who each represented a different, you know, millennials, Gen X Gen Z boomers, and we brought them together for a conversation. And the reason that we did that was because of exactly what you alluded to, or mentioned, the fact that there’s a lot of ageism, around gender equity that we need to be aware of when we talk about intersectionality and intersectional identities. We actually had someone up on the stage, one of the women who was representing baby boomers, she talked about the fact that as she has grown older, and I prefer not to use the term old I prefer to use the wisdom like you’re more wisdom, this. But this is very incredible wisdom, this woman was talking about the fact that she is actually experiencing more gendered situations now that she is older than she ever did when she was younger, because there’s a lot of ageism. And so the fact that you are creating a community to support and, and champion and and really help some of these women, that’s really impressive. What are some of the feedback that you’ve gotten from your members?

Julia Taylor 14:24
They are always so blown away that it exists, that there’s kind of a safe space for them to be among other women like them. Yeah, similar ages, but also to be to be excited about learning something new and we have accountability groups, and we call them geek ability pods, we throw in gig pretty much everywhere we can and in the amount of times that we’ll we’ll kind of match groups of women together and you know, they they find there, they find that Ask friends online. And it’s especially during COVID. Because we kicked off the pack in 2018. And we had exponential growth through COVID. And since then, because it gave women a place to come and just converse and talk about these things and cheer each other on. And that’s something that I’m really, really proud of the community is there’s no no one’s kind of fighting over opportunities, there are enough opportunities out there for everyone. And we aren’t celebrating wins, no matter how big or how small, we’re always just encouraging each other. And we hear all the time from members that they’re just blown away that something like this exists, because I don’t think it’s super common for a tech community, for female adult learners really, if I don’t think it’s all that common.

Lauren Conaway 15:57
Yeah. Well, so one of the things that I have learned and what’s interesting, and I love this alignment between the two of us, but we’re both community builders each in our own way we have different focuses, but there’s definitely some intersections and some overlap. And one of the things that I have learned in, in cultivating community and being a steward of a community, because that’s what you are, is that you have to be very, very intentional about not just what you say, and what you what you put out into the universe is what you believe about that community. But you actually have to attach an action to, to those beliefs into those statements. And so just as a, for instance, in innovator, I decided very early on that I wanted to cultivate a culture of winning, because I think that women often have difficulty bragging quote, unquote, like they think it’s bragging if they talk about their accomplishments, and if they share, you know, the things that make them special, and I was like, No, that’s bullshit. Let’s not do that. So I decided this, and then I was like, Okay, well, what action can back that up. And so periodically, you know, once every once a week, a couple times a week, I’ll go in, and I’ll share a member when, and and I do that, because I need to cultivate the kind of culture that I want to see. And so often, that as a leader, that means that you have to be the person ready to put yourself out there and do the thing and show people what it looks like to model that behavior. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you did that within your community?

Julia Taylor 17:31
Yeah, the the first thing that comes to mind is such a great question is one of the very first things we get our, our community members to do when they join our students is to identify their why that’s what we refer to it as we actually send out postcards, and we get them to write it down, that we could post it somewhere. Because what we tell them and we’re completely honest and transparent about everything we do is, this is not going to be easy.

Lauren Conaway 18:10
You’re not taking an easy route by, you know, deciding to start your own business, be an entrepreneur, learn these skills, find clients, things that it’s easy before you get started, like, don’t think that that’s not correct. It’s gonna be the most exhilarating, wonderful thing you’ve ever done. And it’s also going to make you feel worse about yourself than you ever thought humanly possible.

Julia Taylor 18:23
So yes, 100% So we make that very clear, upfront. You know, we’re not we’re not selling a get rich in five days sort of thing. This is real, tangible, you know, learn skills to offer it. So we say all that, but then we also kind of say, but you’re doing it for a reason. Like your there is a reason why you are going out on a limb and why you are learning this thing and doing this thing and whatever that reason is for you figure that out, what is your why maybe it’s to stay home with your kids, maybe it’s to look after your your aging parents to have more flexibility to travel full time, like whatever that that thing is for you. We asked them at the beginning to identify it to write it down, we have a whole exercise that they go through. Because when it gets tough, we want them to be able to remember, okay, it’s tough right now, but I have a wine. And one of the things that I did this was probably a year or so ago is exactly as you’ve said. Well, if I’m asking them to identify their why what is not just mine personally, but my business, what is the GeekPack®? Why is this effectively our vision? Yeah, and, and, and we’ve gone very big. We’ve said we want to empower over 100,000 women in the next five years by learning to code, learning tech skills, and to have more economic independence. And so we went for a period of time and a number and it is what they call the big hairy audacious goal. That is what that is. But that is our y. That is kind of our team, our drumbeat that is why we do what we do. And is it? Is it always easy? Do I know how we’re going to reach that many women? No, but we are going for it. And when times are tough when we have, you know, issues with a system or whatever things happen, that isn’t going right. And I want to burn the business to the ground. Because I think as normal sometimes, I remember why we’re doing what we’re doing. And when we have students who share incredible wins, I remind everyone on my team, like this is exactly why we’re doing what we do. Because we are making a difference. We are you know, whether it’s one person or 10 women or 100,000. If we can continue to make those differences and help them change their lives, then that’s what we’re here to do.

Lauren Conaway 21:00
Well, that, man, that’s like a mic drop moment, right there. You know, one of these things will happen really quickly. I have to break in, and I just have to talk a little bit about Full Scale. And no, let me rephrase, I get to talk a little bit about Full Scale, you know, I would not be doing this job. If it weren’t for Full Scale, Startup Hustle wouldn’t be what it is without Full Scale. And I have to tell you, as a host, I don’t talk about things that I don’t really believe in, and I believe in Full Scale, it Full Scale, they know that finding expert software developers can be really difficult. But when you visit FullScale.io, you can build a software team quickly and affordably. And as founders that quickly and affordably piece like that’s, that’s so key for all of us. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Friends, we are here with Julia Taylor, CEO and founder of GeekPack®. And we’re talking about a lot of cool stuff. I always suffer a little bit when I’m talking to leaders within and community building spaces, particularly women and girl focus spaces, because they’re always so many things that I want to talk about. So I’m going to try to stay a little linear here for you. So we’ve talked about the community piece. Let’s talk a little just a little bit about the user experience of GeekPack®. So how do you attract members? What does their experience look like? There’s a I’m assuming there’s a virtual community they can avail themselves of but what are some of the touch points and access points that you use to connect with your members?

Julia Taylor 22:41
Yeah, sure. So let’s see, it was probably about six or eight months ago, when I was trying to figure out how in the world am I going to get closer to this vision of 100,000 reaching 100,000 women? Because, you know, paid advertising is expensive, and they’re you know, how can we really start moving in that direction? And I worked with a local accelerator program here in Colorado, and got introduced and kind of got into the world of getting investment and grants and all this kind of stuff that I’ve never looked into before. And I really was blown away with not only how much I learned, but the confidence that they had in my business. Because at the time, I didn’t realize how it was a big deal that I run a profitable business and we were profitable from the start. We’ve never had outside investment. That was just how I’ve always done it. And I didn’t know there was another way to build a business. And long story short, I kind of thought okay, well, you know, now if they believe in me that I need to believe in myself and I started reaching out to big online course companies trying to figure out how we can really expand what we offer in order to reach a lot more women. I spoke to Udemy, Coursera, Code Academy and a number of other companies. And we ended up partnering with Udemy, a huge online kind of course marketplace. And now. So back to your original question. When someone joins gate pack, they get access to two things: they get access to the partner version of Udemy and that business kind of tears off all those courses, but they also get access to our online community. So it’s a virtual community. And in there we have team members who are there supporting them answering questions along the way. But we also have a live cohort where I have two former teachers, former middle school teachers who are amazing and they are leading our women through content on hot topics. that that people want to learn now. So we’ve taken this, you know, access to a whole bunch of skill learning, but we’ve really narrowed it down and said, okay, because we asked our students, what do you want, they want accountability. They want small groups to learn and go through and actually learn the skill implemented, offered as a service, charge more, learn the skill, you know, just do all those things. So on the community side, that’s where we have our live cohorts. And I, we have about five that we’re running now from front end development to SEO UX UI copywriting. And of course, there’s another I can’t think of. So we’ve kind of taken this isolated view of learning tech skills at home on your own. And we’ve given it to the women in our community. So they have my team members for support, they have the live learning opportunity for accountability, and it’s working really well. So those are the main kind of touch points.

Lauren Conaway 26:03
Okay. All right. So I have to tell you something. Actually, I don’t have to tell you something. But I’m going to tell you something, because I have been laughing in my head since I read this question. So we have a setlist that our amazing producers, the amazing Startup Hustle producers provide to us and it has some ideas for questions. Sometimes I live, I use them, sometimes I don’t. You know, it has some context on the company and things like that. But I’m reading this, this, this list of questions. And I’m going to read you a question because it’s making me laugh. Learning new tech skills make sense for anyone? Why are you focusing on the superior species for your efforts? And here’s the thing, number one, I don’t believe that women are superior. I’m very much a fervent believer in equality. And I know that I’ve had amazing male allies, friends, mentors, supporters, like is it but I do have to admit that that question gave me a giggle. So I’m gonna go ahead and ask it. What’s your reason for focusing on the quote unquote, superior species? We’ve already covered it, but I just wanted to read that to you. Because I imagine you were probably wondering why I was laughing.

Julia Taylor 27:13
That’s hilarious. I do want to say, I completely agree with you that I want to say why women, it just happened naturally, it was not on purpose. It was not intentional. And as I said, we have lots of amazing guys who are in the program, and everyone is welcome. But we organically and, you know, obviously, I’m a woman and my team members are women. I’ve had guys on my team in the past, but it’s just, it’s what we do. It’s what we’re, we it’s what we know, it’s what we’re comfortable with. It’s how we talk to a very sensitive, you know, emotional person. I used to think they were bad traits. And I have fully kind of accepted those. And I, you know, I cry a lot when good things happen. And I’m very comfortable with knowing that about myself now. And actually, I’m like, No, this is my superhero. I lead an amazing team, I lead an amazing community, I can be sensitive and emotional and you know, have feelings and show those and be okay. So though, I think because I am the CEO and founder, I’m also a bit of the face of the brand. I think women like me, or just they see something and they’re kind of attracted to what we do and how we do things. So it’s been completely organic. It’s not been on purpose, but we have found our niche. And we have just run with it because it’s working. And like I said, Guys come in all the time. And they’re awesome.

Lauren Conaway 28:57
Yeah. Well, and I love things that happen organically, because those are the things that usually kicked off because of personal experience and my favorite entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurs that take their own personal experience, and use it to make the world better for people who look, think and act like them, or maybe even people who don’t look, think and act like them. One of the things that I find Well, I mean, if we reframe this, one of the conversations that we have often in the EIB circles relates to the difference between equality and equity. Right? Equality is where you give exactly the same things to everybody and expect them to have similar results. But the fact is, there are people who are starting from a further back starting point. There are people who deal with deep disadvantages and I mean, some of it’s related to gender, some of it’s related to the color of your skin. Some of it’s related to your religion or a disability that you might have. If you give everybody the exact tools I’ve seen, but they’re coming from different starting points again, you find inequity, and you see these deep gulfs start to, to not just exist, but exponentially increase as, as these issues arise. And so my point, I have one, I swear, my point is that sometimes you have to give additional assistance or additional resources or additional things to the folks who need that little bit of extra help. Right. And so when people ask me like, why innovator, why are you focusing on women and gender minorities? My answer, that’s my answer to them, like sometimes women who, you know, are dealing with systemic barriers, and some really, really deep inequities and issues within their professional lives, sometimes they just need a little bit of extra help, you know, to get to the next level and to catch up to their, maybe their male counterparts, or their white counterparts or their straight counterparts. And I think that acknowledging that is, is really powerful. You know, it’s a way to say not only do I see you, but I believe that you deserve the agency and respect necessary to move forward so that you can thrive as well as all of these other people who might have started out a little bit ahead of the game, right. And so I feel like that’s what you’re doing here, you’re offering that additional support for those additional resources, you’re not doing it in an exclusive kind of way. Because, as you’ve said, multiple times, like men are welcome, like, come on and learn. But understand that this, this can be like one of the things that I did when I talk about InnovateHER. I have guys come to me all the time, and they’re like, can we come to your events? And I’m like, yeah, absolutely. Understand that, you know, this is a female focused space, but it’s not female exclusive. We welcome anybody who wants to be a part of this beautiful community that we’re building. Right? Is that kind of how you feel about it?

Julia Taylor 31:59
Yeah, absolutely. 100%? And, yeah, I think so. When guys asked, you know, can we join? It’s exactly that, yeah, of course, you can. But just know, the space that we have created is a safe space, it is no silly questions you support, you encourage, where we feel we’re sensitive, where, you know, all those all those things. And I think, also, to your point there, I think a lot of the women who come into our community struggle with confidence.

Lauren Conaway 32:31
And that’s why women in general struggle with confidence.

Julia Taylor 32:35
But yes, absolutely. And that’s something that we really put a lot of emphasis on. And that’s why I’m such a big believer in learning tech skills and learning to code the kind of quote unquote, hard skills that only young people can learn now, like, if you can, anyone can learn these skills. And when you do, it’s such a confidence boost, that we have women all the time who have never done anything like this before. And they learn a little bit. And they’re just like, I cannot believe I just did this thing. They’ll go and show their family, show their friends, and theirs. And they just think, well, if I just did this, what else can I do? And that was my exact experience. So that’s something that everything that we do is, you know, learn the tech skills within a supportive safe space community and build that competence. And know that if you can do this thing, what else can you do? It opens up so many other opportunities.

Lauren Conaway 33:31
You’re talking about that beautiful exponential impact, you know, the impact that you have is not just confined to the one area that you’re addressing. If you can help a woman with confidence, if you can help anyone with confidence, it touches every aspect of their life. And in doing so touches the different aspects of the people who surround them. And so you’re creating a ripple effect very organically. I kind of love it. Thank you for that. Talk to us a little bit. Talk to us about the tech side of things like you talked a bit, you know, about Udemy and partnerships and things like that. But I’d be really interested to know, you know, what’s your tech stack? What are you? What are some of the things that you teach some of the core concepts? Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Julia Taylor 34:19
Yeah, of course. So when we first started GeekPack®, I had a done about four years prior where I taught myself to code I focus primarily on front end, and then I found WordPress and I thought, oh, you know, great, but I really wanted to learn it the hard way I’ve never really used the the builders or any you know, any of the the easier things that are out there I really wanted to fully understand what was going on in the back end. And I dove in deep in WordPress development and I did contract work for a number of big companies doing the you know, they’d really diving into the code. And that’s what I loved was figuring out like, Why isn’t this working? And how can I? How can I fix it? And that’s where when I first started GeekPack®, that’s what I started to teach was WordPress development. And we turned into that. So that’s what people wanted to learn. But they also wanted to learn how to start a business. And is it an LLC? Or are you a sole proprietor? Or do you want to, you know, do a C Corp, or an S corp, and all of the stuff that goes along with starting a business and then finding clients and marketing yourself? And do you want to be an employee Do you want and we’ve had students who’ve gone on to work for big companies, most of our students have kind of followed in the same journey that I did, which is, you know, the point that you made, my entrepreneurial journey is exactly what I teach and what everyone on my team has done and what they kind of empower the women in our community to do. So it is that starting your own business, and using the skills to offer those things as a service. So we started very heavily with WordPress development. And now we have access to all of the Udemy content, we are really expanding that out and doing a lot more, you know, doing some stuff with Python, we know a lot more with React and JavaScript and on the stuff on the data side cloud computing. So it’s a lot broader. And I have you know, full transparency now I have a team of women who are doing the teaching and the facilitating of the content. Whereas now I just have the joy and pleasure of doing things like this and getting the word out about what we’re doing. And being the visionary of the company, rather than in the weeds, although I do love being in the weeds when it comes to coding.

Lauren Conaway 37:04
I love that. And honestly, like I’ve just got a big smile on my face as you’re talking because I I think Tech is an opportunity in the tech field to be a great equalizer. You know, this is a field that is growing. This is a field that is well established and has been established for a while now. But by encouraging women and minorities and, you know, any, any historically excluded individual to take part and be a part of the tech community. There’s a huge opportunity there. Because you know, these are well paying jobs, this is an opportunity to generate some generational wealth for communities who haven’t previously had it. This is an opportunity to build competence for women, this is an app. And it’s an opportunity for, you know, the really easy answer for people to have jobs. Yeah. Love it. So, talk to us. Real quick talk to us about the future, you know, you have a lot of exciting things happening, your community is growing. What do you see as the evolution of geek PAC?

Julia Taylor 38:12
Wow, that’s a big question.

Lauren Conaway 38:14
I like questions. I don’t know. I can tell.

Julia Taylor 38:17
Let’s see, it’s, and I think when I am at the, at the heart of what I love, and what I am doing and get to do is, how many ways can we take what we’ve already done, and just exponentially reach more women? And that’s really my job right now. How do we hit that? 100,000? How do we hit a million, which is incredibly daunting to say that number? How do we change the conversation? And I think really, what I want is I want the word geek to be something that people are proud of. too proud to call themselves a geek and, and tell other people about how they’re, they’re good at tech, and they’re good at digital stuff. Because so many times I hear women say “oh I’m not very techie and it’s no but you can be” don’t tell yourself that if you want to be you can they don’t put yourself in the box. And just you know, be really proud to be geeky. And I want to change the narrative around that word and make it not, you know, a kid with a hoodie in his glasses and you know, in his basement working late at night. I want it to be a woman who is thriving and loving what you’re doing and being and having economic independence because of it.

Lauren Conaway 39:52
Well, I’ll tell you what, you’ve certainly reached one woman right here. I am proud to be a geek. I will say it out loud. Only I will probably say to anybody that I come into contact with today at the very least, you know, you actually were up on the human question here. And I’m very excited for it because you, you don’t know it yet. But you gave me permission to ask this question because you said the word. And so now I’m going to ask you, you said the word superhero. And I love superheroes. And I want to talk to you if you were a superhero. What would you think your power would be?

Julia Taylor 40:30
Wow, it’s funny because I’ve actually done a video that we use for some marketing, where I have a cape, and I am Super Geek.

Lauren Conaway 40:40
What was a little nameplate right here that I keep on my office desk? It says undercover superhero. I love it.

Julia Taylor 40:53
I think it would be too much to just give a little bit of confidence to anyone who needs it. Just enough for them to go. Ooh, I feel really good about this thing. I’m going to try something new.

Lauren Conaway 41:09
Okay, so what is your superhero name? Confidence woman? No, that sounds like, I think, the con man. Isn’t that short for confidence? Man. I don’t know if we could be confident that we might have the wrong. Wrong tone. A really good superhero name for you.

Julia Taylor 41:26
Yeah, well, yeah, I’ve always done that.

Lauren Conaway 41:29
There you go. Well, Julia, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. And I just really wish you all the best in your endeavors. You are doing some incredible work, reaching over 2400 women and folks who just need a little bit of empowerment and a little bit of instruction and guidance around that tech geek life that they want to live. So thank you so much for your work. And thank you for being here on the show today.

Julia Taylor 41:57
Thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be here.

Lauren Conaway 42:00
Wonderful. I’m so glad to hear that. I am also glad to have the opportunity to talk once again about Full Scale. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. They have the people on the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you to learn more when you visit FullScale.io. In France, I’m going to point you to founder Fridays. I don’t know if you have found it yet. I hope you have. But not too long ago, we had Kansas City’s illustrious culture-building expert Frank Keck, as a guest host on Startup Hustle. And he actually interviewed all of the hosts, myself, including Matt, Matt, and Andrew. And we talked about culture and building culture within our organizations. And we all had some different answers. And we had some commonalities in that it was a really great series; Frank Keck is nothing if not a master of the penetrating question. So I would invite you to find those episodes of Founder Fridays with Frank Keck, give them a listen if you are looking to build an intentional, inclusive, strong culture within your organization, and I will say to you what I said to Frank, if you don’t establish your culture early and reinforce it, often someone else is going to do it for you and you’re not going to like it. So definitely give your culture a thought and listen to Founder Fridays with Frank. And friends, we are so very grateful that you continue to listen to us week after week. Keep on downloading, subscribing, and sharing all of those beautiful things so that we can continue to bring you stories of founders and the wonderful work that you all do. Thanks so much, and we will catch you next time.