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...]

Lessons From 5 Years in WordPress Business


February 2nd marked our 5th year in business. What started as moonlighting while working a full-time job and going to night school for my BA turned into a business on Groundhog's Day in 2009. That month was kicked off by friends who had businesses and were waiting for me to have enough time to create a nicer WordPress site for them, and I suddenly had all the time in the world to work on sites. There have been high times and low times. This is actually a low time for us so it felt awkward to write this, BUT IT'S A MILESTONE, and I have faith it will work out. We are doing what we are meant to do, both as individuals and as a family. Times I conceded I'd get a job if a project didn't come in by X day and times my wife was insisting she needed to go back to work. Neither of those things came to fruition because the work always came in time. It's these times that make me look back at epiphanies like I had a few months ago about where we are now compared to where we thought we could be by now, 5 years ago. Where were you FIVE YEARS ago? THREE YEARS? Are you more or less where you wanted to be “someday?” For me, I’m well beyond where I would be by now. I hit that just TWO … [Read more...]

Being More Authentic


I'm pretty big on avoiding people who aren't authentic. I know people who are sunshine and blowing bubbles in fields of green, allergy-free grass every day, but you know there's a hurricane in the area. When things don't line up, I get annoyed that they're not being honest with their friends. Then I was faced with the brutal reality that I've been doing the same thing. I'm sorry. When I greet people now, I'm not going to ask them, "how are you doing?" or "how is your day?" Those questions are too easily dismissed with a formed-by-habit, "fine" and don't connect us any closer, other than I was polite enough to ask about them. Instead, I'll ask a more thought-provoking question. What's been the highlight of your day/week/month/year?" We're not alone on this journey. Let's connect. So... What's been the highlight of your January? Is there anything I can do to improve your February? Talk to me in the comments. I won't bite. … [Read more...]

Using P2 for (Certain) Client Communication

P2 plugins

In my world, my inbox is my second biggest frustration, right after poor/inconsiderate communication of any form. I tried my extreme method of checking my inbox for a while, but it didn’t last more than a week in this form. It wasn’t realistic to go hours into the day not knowing that someone had changed their mind about a change overnight. Why e-mail isn’t ideal for projects Then new issues in my inbox started to become more frustrating. I learned in my last corporate job to not start with the oldest messages because someone usually took the reins or put an end to a thread by the time I got to my desk since many people had company laptops and worked from home after hours. Recently, I noticed several e-mails from people that looked like they were ready for an answer with the latest send, but there was information in the first message that was missing in all of the others. In the end, in order to answer any e-mail from someone or for a project, I have to read all of the messages before responding to anything. My brain is too full for that. It simply doesn’t work that way with all of the other floating points that are informational spinning plates. I miss things. Wires get crossed … [Read more...]

How to Reel in Clients Without Landing a Stinker

Jesse Petersen Speaking WordCamp Orlando 2013

One of the greatest challenges I've faced as a solopreneur is quality client acquisition. Thankfully it's not something that is still a challenge because of the mistakes I've made and the adjustments I've been agile enough to change who can refer to me as their WordPress guy. I was honored to speak at WordCamp Orlando and presented on the topic that is the title of this post. My goal was to help people identify six different types of clients as early in the process as possible to avoid some of the trials I've been through. This is the first in a 7-part series, so be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of them. Six Types of Clients Without watching the video and the lengthy but amazing Q&A, here are the six types of clients I've been quickly able to identify within one or two exchanges and nearly every first call (for those that go that far). They are: the noob the rescue the know-it-all the "Client from Hell" candidate the cheapskate the dream client As you can tell from that list, it's critical to determine a couple of those types immediately. Here is the talk and discussion in its entirety. I'll be writing on each type in the posts that follow to … [Read more...]