WordCamp Slides 004: Communication


To recap the opening premise for this series, when presenting in front of a "live studio audience," I always feel the gaze of a sniper with a finger on the trigger if I pause or stumble, so I keep right on going and frequently skip cool stories or points. Also, after 4 WordCamps, I've yet to have a presentation without a technical issue. Each affected my notes or ability to go to the next slide remotely. This is Slide 4 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being More Profitable in WordPress. At WordCamp Tampa a couple of months ago, my friend, John Hawkins from 9seeds, told us a story about when he failed a client by solving a problem over the course of a couple hours early one morning. His transparency reminded me of a couple of failures I'd had over the years. A client had emailed the company early one morning that something was down, so John set to the task of diagnosing and fixing it, and then he'd be the hero when he replied and CC'd everyone that he'd fixed the problem with no further questions or issues... but the client didn't know anyone was working on the problem. "Did you see the email from Bill and Ted this morning?" I like to make up names. "Yeah! I'm on it … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slides 003: Pricing


To recap the opening premise for this series, when presenting in front of a "live studio audience," I always feel the gaze of a sniper with a finger on the trigger if I pause or stumble, so I keep right on going and frequently skip cool stories or points. Also, after 4 WordCamps, I've yet to have a presentation without a technical issue. Each affected my notes or ability to go to the next slide remotely. This is Slide 3 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being More Profitable in WordPress. Time ≠ Value In no case with custom work or expert support does time equal value. Period. I hope I'm not being unclear on that point. Value = Value What something is worth with our industry is strictly determined by what someone will pay for it. It doesn't matter what we say something is worth if we can't find anyone to sell to. A Bugatti Veyron is only worth over $1,000,000 if people will pay that much, but material goods - physical goods - are at least worth the value of the material used. A sure thing: taxes Each year, I don't really care how much time it takes for my CPA to prepare our taxes for the IRS. We spend time filling out his forms and sending his packet back, but after … [Read more...]

New Roles: Stop Working IN Your Business


Sometimes life moves at a crazy pace for the better, though that sort of activity can be detrimental to your life and health if you don't have a plan. Thankfully, I have a plan! Ever since we made the decision to team up with Mason James' team at The WP Valet, I've been forced to make plans. What work will I be doing for PMG now? What work will I be doing for WPV? How will we structure compensation? What does the future look like? For too long, I've been working IN my business instead of working ON my business. Sure, I have days or weekends - like every WordCamp - that makes me think outside of my very limiting box. But then life gets back into stride when the next week begins (or the week after that because of the funk of data-induced paralysis). I'll implement a new service, remove a batch of clients, or change some major tool. But unless I did work, work didn't get done. Money didn't come in. I owned my job. When I started having CEO lunches with Mason, I still remember his personal shift about 3 lunches in. He started to think about strategy, writing posts, and delegate more duties. There I was, a proud solopreneur sitting on the other side of the booth thinking … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slide 002: Know Your Client

Know Your Clients

In case you missed the first article in the series, visit WordCamp Slide 001: Know Thyself to start at the beginning. This is actually Slide 2 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being Profitable in WP (SpeakerDeck link). My first WordPress job was as Support Manager for a theme shop and 99% of my customer interaction was on the forums. The number of calls I got on could easily be counted on one hand. Then I started moonlighting and started my business and the whole client interaction game started to change. I didn't want to get on Skype as one of the first interactions because I was afraid they'd ask me a question I didn't know the answer to. Before too long, I learned a new phrase, which you can feel free to steal: "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back with you." Simple, I know! It took me far longer than most to realize this point, I'm sure, because I'm a blockhead, but a call after a couple of email exchanges to ensure the contact has decent communication skills and isn't completely crazy quickly can build rapport. Rapport is like currency in this industry. Rapport = leverage Need more time to complete something? Do you think you'll get more time with … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slide 001: Know Thyself

Know Thyself

Welcome to the inaugural article of WordCamp Slide! In these long-form articles, I'm going to break down each slide from my WordCamp presentations the way I wanted to present them. I've always left something out when the pressure hits, so here is a chance to say it all. You see, combined with impostor syndrome (video), I also feel like I'm talking at triple speed and that if I pause for a moment, someone in the audience is going to shoot me and take over without hesitation. Being told no fewer than four times yesterday that there were proper pauses, I'm just going to have to believe that to be true. Ridiculous, I know, but after four WordCamp presentations, I'm pretty sure that feeling is never going away. Hopefully this format is more valuable with everything I intended to convey live. There will also be a video edition for each of these coming along after each article. This slide is from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being Profitable in WP (SpeakerDeck link) Before you can be profitable in anything, not even restricted to monetary profit, someone must know themselves. If you don't know who you are, you really don't know anything of value. Do you know what makes you … [Read more...]

Just Ship

Are you busy? I'm busy. When I get busy, I have the horrible habit of taking on even more things. Here I am writing instead of coding or reviewing my presentation for WordCamp Orlando this weekend. In reality, though, I should be writing every day or few anyway. Writing is good for my soul and a few people (I won't name names) have told me they enjoy the content. The problem I have today is that I just shipped a lot of stuff. Scotch is for shippers, so I'm three sheets to... no, but that would be rewarding. Since I shipped, I'm in the "what to do next" moment. Of course, I need to recite my presentation aloud to see how long it is since I hit the road tomorrow at lunch. The rest of the afternoon will probably be spent on a couple of emails for some more December revenue and starting the next project in my queue. I told her my goal was to be done by the 18th. This is what happens when you set goals. You find a way to meet them and you can't be concerned about every little detail or you'll never ship and never get paid, move on, drink scotch, etc. So get going and finish something, cross it off your list, and move on to the next thing.   This post? It's not … [Read more...]

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: https://twitter.com/jpetersen/status/471358249787469824 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...]