We had the good fortune of connecting with Theresa Kilcourse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Theresa, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Well I’m glad you asked! Because this is actually a pretty important factor in the kinds of clients I pursue. I don’t know if I can claim to be doing anything on as grand a scale as helping the WORLD, but I do prefer to work for nonprofits and small businesses. I’ve always been a person who roots for the underdog, and it feels natural to want to put my skills toward assisting people who really do need help. Also, I tend to throw myself into a project, and when I’m doing lots of extra work and research for nothing I want to feel that the recipient is really deserving of my energy. Too I have to say that these are also the people who have the most passion and enthusiasm for their projects, and it’s just more fun collaborating with them.
What should our readers know about your business?
First, my business in recent years has primarily been centered around web design so in regard to that I will say that I put a lot of emphasis on not only the pretty-pretty, but the experience for the end user. Every decision has to make sense in terms of what it’s doing to promote a client’s endeavor, and I do spend a lot of time making sure that the content is organized in a way that makes sense, is geared to the user, and that the focus is placed on the most important message. This is a big priority for me. I also love LOVE diving into everyone’s various trades and trim. I like learning a little bit about every organization I work with. I enjoy brainstorming with others, and I get especially excited by new ideas on ways to tackle old problems.
As far as how easy it is, it’s easy and it’s NOT easy. Design is easy because it’s fun, and I could spend all day doing it. It gives me real pleasure to work with people to make an effective product. It is NOT easy for me to do all of the business-related stuff, like marketing and bookkeeping, and I have to force myself to do a lot of daily tasks.
I’ll share a trick that I have developed to overcome an ongoing issue I’ve had as a parent who works out of my house. My day is broken up by a lot of disparate tasks. I might have to jump up and go drive someone somewhere (back in the days before covid!), or I may need to take some time off to do some housework in the middle of the day. I also like to get out and exercise while the kids are at school. None of this throws me off because I have a dedicated number of pomodoros that I must complete before the end of each day.
The pomodoro method is a time management technique that was developed by the Italian Francesco Cirillo, who used a cute little tomato kitchen timer to break time into 25 minute intervals (“pomodoro” is Italian for tomato). In this system as long as you can stay completely focused on a task for 25 minutes, you’re permitted a five-minute break before starting another 25-minute interval. It sounds pretty nutty, but this system really works for me. Like many, I’m easily enticed by the bounty of information available on the world wide web—and it’s dangerous for me to have a computer in front of me that is attached to it. This trick keeps me from getting distracted, and it also prevents me from popping up every time I want a cup of tea. If you know you can get a cup in 25 minutes, it’s easier to stay in your seat and on task for the moment.
I heard an author say he managed to write his books by telling himself he had only to write 3 pages a day before he could indulge in anything else he wanted to do that day, and I thought this is perfect. It’s just a way of getting yourself started, basically.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.\
Oy. Well I’m not very exciting, so I usually do have trouble recommending places for friends who visit. I always send them to the Malibu beaches, and usually they want to see the Hollywood sign. The most interesting way to view the sign is actually to take the stairs of the original Hollywoodland development. It’s shadier there and the houses are really interesting. I believe the stairs were designed to give residents the opportunity of cutting off the switchbacks on the hills—by a perhaps deluded developer who thought people would actually want to walk in their neighborhoods.
If visitors want to go to a museum I always recommend the La Brea Tar Pits, which I think is fascinating, and there are also the comedy clubs and food trucks—very L.A. if you don’t have them in your city. If it’s wildflower season I send them to Topanga. There are also some cool fleamarkets here—I like Silverlake (clothes) and Rose Bowl (everything)—and Japantown is another place I like for interesting stuff.
But I’m in the Valley. I actually do take visitors to the local places that I’m everlastingly grateful for: Macleod’s Brewery, Laemmle Theaters, The Iliad used bookstore, and our farmers markets—from the historic market at The Grove to my humble Encino market—and I take them to my own “secret” hikes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ll give a shoutout to the incredibly nurturing and generous WordPress community. Not only is WordPress itself free to use, but there is an incredible wealth of knowledge freely shared by its expert users, for whom there never seems to be a dumb question. I love being a part of this group.