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. 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 eliminates the widget area) and putting the other header content into the header hook with the proper ordering for the layout. For mobile, I switched to primary nav above the header. The generated code was exactly … [Read more...]

Fear, Wondering, and Wandering

stress

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

2011-09-22

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

sunshine-flowers

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...]

How Confidence Affects Profits

confidence-jesse-petersen

It's a funny thing, confidence is. There is a fine line between being confident, cocky, and a butt-hole. I know this because I walk that line every day and I probably cross over onto one side or another more often than I realize. Just don't live on one side. Where you live in relation to that line affects your name, your brand. At WordCamp Orlando this past weekend, the questions and conversations had a common thread: how do you have the confidence to charge enough, say "no," tell people to wait, and be confident on a call with a prospective client? the answer is easy - not easy to reach It takes time. I didn't start out confident, but I also started out moonlighting doing support beyond what purchasing a premium theme provides. That's why my e-mail signature since Groundhog Day 2009 has had this at the end: "WordPress and Business Services - for the things premium support doesn't cover." The key there is that I didn't become confident with the caliber of client that makes for a dream client by my standards today. It was with the nervous, desperate, and very small/starter businesses. Knowing your audience includes knowing what level of confidence they expect. With some … [Read more...]

Cutting the Fat: Business Expenses

Cutting Fat

Last week my friend, Curtis McHale, wrote a newsletter about reviewing recurring business expenses to keep overhead low. After a hectic week when it hit my inbox, I finally got around to reading it and it kicked my butt into making a bunch of changes with more to follow. It was simply time to start cutting the fat from my outgo. who's first? The first casualty was Audible, which I use nearly daily on my phone. I had the 2 credits/mo plan for $22.95 and have quite a backlog and had 6 credits available. Just in case the price goes up or they change things soon, I placed it on hold for 90 days. If I am caught up on books by then (after getting 6 more, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy), then I can resume it or alter my plan. Savings: $275/yr. The next one was much rougher, but something I'd been mulling over for many, many, many months. Such a long breakup just made the financial decision all the more obvious and, looking in hindsight, the delay was not very smart. I signed up for Scribe SEO very soon after it was released for 300 inspections/mo for $27/mo, which is no longer an offered plan. That was the sole reason I have held onto my license for over 18 months now and I … [Read more...]

Genesis 2.0 HTML5 Conversion Giveaway

The Genesis framework is going to be releasing their massive and much-anticipated update to version 2.0 any day now. When that happens, you can take advantage of very valuable SEO updates to the child themes, but only if the child themes have the new HTML5 markup enabled. The StudioPress crew, in their vast wisdom, made it clear that you don't have to enable HTML5 to update your Genesis parent theme to 2.0. Updating Genesis is not the same as updating your child theme to be 2.0 markup-compatible (What is markup? Read on.) Everything will still work if you upgrade, but without enabling HTML5 in your child theme, you won't benefit from many things V2.0 includes. This is still consistent with why a framework is important and why Genesis is the only theme family I work with. All of a sudden, if you enable HTML5, the entire site design breaks because of the markup of the new code. Markup are the design bits that your design files look for in order to apply styles, layout, and other behavioral modifications or appearance. Without the proper "addresses" in your design, things break. If you've made any alterations to your child theme over the months or years and don't want to lose … [Read more...]

The Bootstrap Business Life

La Quinta - Locust Grove, GA

One of the pillars of how I do business is that nothing happens unless the funds are available in cash (not credit) and are not a buffer for those down months. It's bootstrap business at its best. While it can be frustrating to not do certain growth activities, it's better than the stress that debt causes. a little story The single most rewarding purchase of my life was a 2011 Mac Mini server. For weeks, no, months, I planned the computer I'd be using for the next 3-5 years. Utilizing pro/con lists, spreadsheets of features, CPU power, upgradability, and cost-per-day calculations, I passed on a 27" iMac and a MacBook Pro in favor of their diminutive brother. It wasn't a moment too soon, because I was driving my wife nuts with my back and forth debates with myself, which sometimes involved her listening. We walked into the Apple Store and asked the man to fetch me one and I grabbed a trackpad. My decision to choose the Mini left plenty of funds in our account, even after a second 22" monitor and additional RAM. It was a good thing, too, because disaster struck. That weekend, we drove from Florida to Ohio to visit my grandparents. Just past Valdosta, GA, the dashboard lights … [Read more...]