Doing the Unexpected: Joining a Team

Shocked Face

It's true! Shocker. I know what some of you who have known me for two to six years are saying, "but you said you'd never give up working for yourself for less than $1,000,000!" You're right... and you're wrong. I also said I wouldn't fault anyone for taking a job that's best for their family, and what is coming next fits that bill and was far from a hasty move on anyone's part. First: the News As of today, I'm fully-engaged partnering with WP Valet as Mr. Genesis (for now) and equipping the team to support and develop Genesis sites in the best possible marrying of our core values and abilities. Our cool arrangement has created new Genesis Service Plans and a reputable Genesis Specialized Sites segment within an agency already established as a big deal, white glove company. A lot of people still haven't heard of WP Valet, but that's because they're not after the whole market. They are very selective because you don't find service like this offered on every corner, just how I've always made myself hard to get and have constantly raised prices to offer my best to the best - the serious site owners. We let Brian Gardner in on the news ahead of time and he's graciously given us … [Read more...]

Never Give Up

Have you ever given something everything you had and wondered when life was going to get easier? It's easy to get discouraged when you are working so hard and every day feels like you're suiting up for battle and going to bed exhausted and waking up just as tired. I've been there. Thankfully, we're in the middle of our best month ever and each day (well, maybe not my inbox on Mondays) is way more fun when things are clicking. I think I've almost thrown in the towel and looked for a job or tried to go back to my last office job at least three times in the past nearly six years. Each time was because I was not being a good businessman in one way or another and that caused money and stress problems. The two were never independent and were always an unhappy couple. Here's some encouragement to not give up in the form of a list of tips: Wake up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to that, no matter what time you went to bed, so be kind to your body and don't stay up too late. My alarm is set for 5:03 every day. Every day. 5:03 because 5am would be too early! Exercise, even if it's a walk. Moving around releases happy chemicals in your brain and you'll feel … [Read more...]

Genesis Framework Foundations: Treehouse Course by Jesse Petersen

A theme abomination rising up to attack Tokyo

I'm proud to announce that my first Team Treehouse course has launched today! I wrote yesterday about my Treehouse experience back in September when I was their guest instructor for a week in Orlando, and today the course has gone live: Genesis Framework Foundations. In the course, I discuss and demonstrate Genesis child theme selection, Genesis-specific plugins, the framework settings, and run through a couple of child theme demo site setups using a simple FTP/SFTP connection and some simple CSS edits and pasting a PHP snippet from the StudioPress site. Here is the trailer for the course you'll see on the Treehouse site: Everything from the producer, audio tech, and teleprompter were top-notch and it really helped make the best product I was capable of on my first go. Then the artists and motion graphics department took my scripted descriptions of my vision of what would help the students and they blew me away! I am also happy to let you know that we are working on our next course that will lead into something... special. Something a LOT of people will want to dig into. I can't say what either one is yet, but I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to teach people … [Read more...]

My Treehouse Course Story

Jesse Petersen at Treehouse Island

Back in May, I was watching my Twitter stream instead of working (admit it, you do that, too) and saw my friend, Zac Gordon, ask for Genesis experts to do a course. Me, being no dummy and being a big fan of being in the right place at the right time said: Looking at that now, I can't believe I saw that one week after he tweeted it. That's a bit odd. I met Zac in person at WordCamp Orlando 2013 and I was already familiar with Treehouse from the previous year's WordCamp where I met another Treehouse instructor and got an account for a year. I was familiar with the quality and my mind started racing about how to teach Genesis. Rewind nearly 15 years and you'd find me working at a local startup in Tampa doing screencasting tutorials of dozens of popular software suites from the likes of Microsoft and Adobe by decompiling their help files, creating scripts, screencasting, voiceovers, and quality control. Funny how life comes full circle on some things... After one Google Hangout, it became clear the task was mine to lose, so I took to writing an outline and we agreed on a schedule. In September, I was their guest in … [Read more...]

How Eight Years Is Both Forever and (Just) a Day

happy anniversary

I have done a pretty good job keeping this site all professional and not personal, but when I was thinking about where to post this for today, I realized that most of my professional posts are personal anyway. My business is an extension of my life: my values, my ethics, and my relationships. Well, this is my BIG relationship. Most of you probably don't know the Mrs. behind Petersen Media Group, but I can assure you that I married way up. When we met, I was full of potential, but a quick label indicating me to be a less ambitious man based on my status at the time would have been warranted. Shoot, a lot of people still had their doubts as they were eating our wedding cake, I'm sure. Thinking back on eight years, I simultaneously can't believe we've done all we've done in less than a decade and also feel like we've hardly begun to grow old together yet. Maybe another 18 foster kids will change that feeling but I'm not ready for a walker quite yet. Maybe a one-story ranch, but not a walker. While I was a guest at Treehouse filming my course for Genesis Framework Foundations, I took a few moments to write a script and loaded it into the teleprompter and asked my producer and … [Read more...]

Disable Mobile Browser Telephone Links for Genesis Framework

Disable mobile phone linking in Genesis Framework

I was blasting through a PSD to Genesis project yesterday and opened up Safari on my iPad mini at the end of the day, only to find the numerous phone numbers on my client site were all the hyperlink orange, which didn't always go with the design, besides being a visual distraction. I really wanted to disable mobile browser telephone links to regain control of the design. Solving it is very simple, though. Go to the Genesis settings page and scroll down to the header scripts box and enter: I refreshed the mobile browser and all was well. (If you still don't have the Genesis Framework, join the best WordPress theme community with your own copy.) … [Read more...]

Quality Over Quantity: My Escape

It's been made pretty clear recently that the constants in our lives have a lot of control. We all have the same number of minutes in each day and one brain that can only control so much at once. A lot of us have families that need our attention, sometimes throughout the day. It's these constants that forced me to look at what I'm doing and ask "can I do this better?" I scheduled a call with a very successful startup expert and I listened for 30 minutes to ideas and tips until we struck on something. stretched thin “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” -Bilbo Baggins The Lord of the Ring Too many obligations to trade time for money and producing something every month have created a couple of nasty unintended consequences that are unacceptable in my eyes. First, I've let a couple of people down with my work or my communication or both. Second, I feel torn separating myself from my family for so much of the day and for so many first time events. This current model is tied directly with getting time at my desk and being insanely productive, all the while keeping up with my network, my inbox, and just trying to keep up with my writing. … [Read more...]

The Art of Being Trustworthy

trust me

Several recent mini-projects that have come my way through referrals who see my About page or seeing my profile listed on a recommended list have come to the same conclusion and they've asked for a call to verify their initial impression. Are you trustworthy? Each person wants to confirm my claims of keeping clients, preferring long-term relationships with clients, and giving a straight answer. Do you make any claims about yourself or your services on any open channels? What would happen if someone tweeted the world asking what they think of your services? Over the years I've been supporting people using WordPress in various roles, hardly a month goes by that someone doesn't request help after [insert sob story here]. I've had claims that a developer took their money TWICE and they still didn't get what they asked for. Sometimes it's just been some organization that gets you to send money and shuts down communication and others are people you'd think would care about their reputation. So before we continue, ask yourself if you are trustworthy enough for someone to send you a couple thousand dollars, do the work that's been asked of you, do it to the best of your ability … [Read more...]

Adding Simple Social Icons & a Search Form to a Genesis Menu

Header area

It's great how new client projects, especially those that a designer has a hand in, push a developer's abilities. Every now and then, I mange to do something cool by piecing together functions and making something not only nice for a client but something to share with the community. In this case, it's both Simple Social Icons and a search form inside Genesis menu items. It should go without saying that this is for child themes running on the Genesis framework only, but I just said it. If you need help getting started editing Genesis themes, take a look at this starter tutorial. Menu case study #1 My last project was a complete theme re-write of a bunch of stuff being done with hard-coded functions or page templates exiting out of PHP and writing entire sections of the page in HTML. That had to be fixed. One of those bits was putting a search form INTO the nav menu. We were using the header right widget area with the custom menu and it was a major pain to put the form where I wanted because of a lack of hooks exactly where needed and additional widgets in the area. With a little more study of the situation, I went back to Gary Jones' Genesis Header Nav plugin (which … [Read more...]

Fear, Wondering, and Wandering


Running a business, especially as a solopreneur who is responsible for every aspect of the business, is really, really difficult. I won’t try to sugar-coat or deceive anyone about that. Sure, I take off more time than I ever used to working a J.O.B., but I’m the hardest boss I’ve ever had and there are times we don’t get to do what we want because a paycheck doesn’t just happen from sitting at your desk and going through the motions. I've never worked harder than I have in the past 5 years, nor had more fun. I started losing my jobs back in 1998. By the time 2002 rolled around, I’d had 7 jobs in 6 different fields, ranging from cancer research technician to construction material testing. Ask me about those sometime - I used to be a jack of all trades. There was usually a celebration happening every time I hit the 90-day mark at any given position. the event The last time that happened, I was with a start-up and had already made the fearful leap to leave a “secure job” - lots of contracts and a lot of unique skills that made me (painfully) indisposable for more than a week of vacation. So, I’d already learned to work from home, work nights and weekends, and deal with … [Read more...]