Episode 253: FocusWP, WordPress, Outsourcing and More


Show Highlights

Rob Cairns talks to Stephanie Hudson.

Show Highlights:

  1. What is Focus WP.
  2. How Outsourcing can benefit your business.
  3. WordPress trends and changes.

Show Notes

Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and today I’m here with my good friend Stephanie Hudson of Focus WP and more which we’ll get to in a minute.

How are you Stephanie?

I’m doing so good Rob happy Friday to you.

Yeah, happy Friday.

So before we get to a big announcement ’cause I like teasers here.

Let’s talk about how you got into WordPress in your WordPress origin story.

One of my favorite questions.

The WordPress origin story.

It’s funny that you just asked me that because I was just literally thinking today like maybe 2 hours ago.

I was thinking you.

Well, I really can’t remember that like when I switched over to WordPress and I literally thought I should figure that out because that’s a thing that people ask.

So that’s crazy that you.

Asked Me 2 hours later what I do know is that around 2010 to 2012 I was working.

At Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA, I was a web developer for the College of Engineering.

I was the web developer that I was the entire.

I was at outside of engineers and admin.

I was it like that was me.

If anybody needed anything remotely right brained.

Go to but I also was building the website doing graphics and stuff like that and we built the College of Engineering site in Drupal and so.

Well, it wasn’t at that point.

It was shortly thereafter that I happened upon WordPress and I like I said I don’t know the.

Exact day, but.

Boy, I never looked back that’s for sure.

It was just a that was a.

One way St for me.

Yeah it it’s interesting how people get in and, uh.

You know it’s it’s funny.

I have, uh, a very technical background.

I was sharing with you and believe.

It or not, I.

Don’t miss things like server administration coding.

And I.

Don’t do searching for that missing semi colon for hours at three in the morning.

Oh I I’m an old school COBOL programmer, and in those days it was period.

So you know, I can’t tell you we had a.

We had a guy who used to leave his coding up in the computer lab back in the 80s on.

Cool and uh.

Yours truly went in and removed the period in the middle of a pilot code and just kind of what it?

Said so mean.

I think it took, uh, I think it took him like 3 hours just to figure it out to you.

Oh my gosh.

If you want meaner.

You guys heard it here first.

Do not cross Rob Cairns.

Yeah, thank you you want mean or we had a guy in high school and in those days we still had a punch card at an IBM 11:30.

And our teacher used to say number your punch cards on the back in case you ever dropped him.

This guy wouldn’t do it.

So one day we took his deck.

And shuffled it when he went to the washroom.

Just oh.

The the the.

Text do.

It’s just, you know I’ve been, I’ve been doing it that long that I’ve done work on terminals.

I’ve done work.

Big mainframes have done work on big machines.

It doesn’t matter, it’s just.

I mean I, I thought I was old ’cause I started it went with dial-up, Internet romping or.

I started up on.

You win.

I actually started up on CompuServe and Genie and I was before the Internet for a couple years.

I was involved in the old Fido net network which was a network where we moved mail.

I don’t even know.

And I actually moved the mail between networks for Toronto for a couple years, so I’ve been I’ve been.

Added, uh so.

I feel, uh, I’m a Gen X.

Are and I feel like.

Like I was some you know some people say like oh, I was born in the wrong generation or they’re they’re an old soul, or this so I feel like I was born exactly where I was supposed to be.

I I think I’m so fortunate because I grew up with, you know, a corded phone and of you know, VCR.

When it like first came out we were so fancy.

My dad splurged and got us a VCR when we were kids.

And you know, like I have all these things.

But we like we just went outside and rode our bikes and we didn’t wear helmets and it was nothing was captured on.

Social media during my chubby, awkward, prepubescent years.

You know it’s like, but then it all happened when I was young enough for it to be easy to adopt.

You know we had AOL and instant messaging, and that’s how that’s how I learned to type ’cause you you really?

I mean, I had a class.

On it or whatever, but like that’s when you learn how to type because you gotta get your joke in before your friend.

Say something else you know you gotta be able to like communicate fast.

Remember the days of ICQ and IRC.

So you know.

Ah, for sure, yeah, totally all of those we I was more of a name girl.

That was where my friends were and I never got super into Myspace.

I had an account, but I wasn’t like Blinging mine out and doing all that stuff but but yeah so so to come up during all of those things.

You know, as a teenager and we had a my brother and I are close in age only a year and a half apart.

So we shared.

A car and at some point my folks got us a car phone.

You know it wasn’t a cell phone or a mobile phone, it was a car phone and it stayed in the car and so we.

But we shared that and that was our first, you know, but it was actually a phone like that’s what you used it for was to make calls.

And you know.

So we like I came up with all of that.

So it was like a more of a gradual.

Uhm, thing and everything was just natural progression of things.

So you know folks a little bit older.

It was a little more difficult, folks.

A little bit younger.

They don’t have any concept of like not having a smartphone and all this technology in our pockets.

Have you ever seen the video of the the two teenage boys and their their family?

There’s like some contests in there videoing them, and they give them a Rotary phone.

Yeah, I saw that.

And if they can.

If they can make a phone call in like 60 seconds or what?

If it is, then they win whatever you know.

I don’t know what I don’t remember what it was for, but it’s hilarious to watch them like try and figure this out that they don’t know how to.

You know so anyway.

So yeah, I think I was born right on time.

Not that anybody asked, but.

Yeah, me me me too to some degree.

I mean, I was sharing a story with a friend of mine yesterday when I went to high school in Montreal.

I played sports after school and we often needed the phone.

To call home now, kids just whip out a phone out of the pocket.

I used to walk into the phys Ed office and look up my instructor and says I don’t want to walk down to the main.

Hall and use a payphone.

Can I use the phone on your desk?

You know things like that and we were all fine I think.

I think sometimes technology puts undue expectations on kids and an unfair expectation.

Say, you know I can share with the story I know of in this school recently and I won’t say where to protect the school.

But the kids got caught videotaping fights in the playground on.

Phones and posting on money and stuff.

And and this is a school that has a no device policy on school property.

So you know, it’s hard.

I think it’s harder for kids today to grow up than it was like in our generations.

To be honest with you.

So yeah, it’s a different world.

It really is.

Yeah, so I wouldn’t jump into something before we went there.

We were sharing with me this really cool announcement and I’m so happy for us so I’m gonna let you share it and tell us how it came about.

Ah, rice.

Well, as of the beginning of May 2020, I have been brought on as the Chief Marketing officer of Bertha AI.

That’s it.

Incredible, I’m super pumped about it.

The technology.

Is just it’s so exciting.

I’ve used lots of different.

Uhm, AI copywriters and things like that.

This one has the top of the line engine behind it.

It just got a new update today actually.

So by the time you guys are listening to this it’ll be old news but.

Uhm, the the team behind Bertha is really keeping everything as cutting edge as possible and up-to-the-minute.

Current with all the tech, but so I’m excited to be able to like bring that out into the world.

Help educate people on how to use it and how to get the most out of it and stuff.

So yeah, I’m super pumped and I get to.

Hang out with my pals Andrew Palmer and Vito pay leg.

Who were great guys.

So we have a.

We have a good time.

Two people, two people I really adore.

Actually in this space as well as you, so I mean.

I’m working, we’re going to be hanging out in Europe together as well at Wordcamp Europe, so that’ll be fun.

I did work.

Wish you were.

Come in.

Now I wish I was.

Too, but that’s another story for another.

So that’s awesome and I’m glad that’s worked out and and you know, of course you’ve just come out of the Adam Summit, which was a big undertaking.

You and I were on at the time of this record.

We were on this week in WordPress with Nathan Wrigley about a week ago or two weeks.

We were.

Yeah, we’re like BFF’s now rob.

You Nathan.

Yeah, it’s true.

They just join together all the time.

You, Nathan I and Michelle.

Actually yeah, yeah.

Yeah, it’s a yeah it’s a good time.

So I did.

It’s fun to get on and talk shop and talk about what’s going on in the world of WordPress.

Geek out with our fellow geeks, you know?

Instead of our clients and their customers for a change.

I know.

So I wish you really well with that new role and.

Thanks, I’m super pumped about it, yeah?

I’m sure, and, uh, let’s jump into your partner in an agency with focus WP, right?

And your partner, if I recall.

Not to Toot my wonderful city is from Toronto as well.

He is he is and I like.

I don’t know I’m confused about your stories of all these mean tricks you’re playing because.

The Canadian I know in Toronto is the nicest human ever.

Yes, Tom east.

He Tom yeah, Tom Jensen.

He is a lovely guy and he he’s the the Yin to my Yang so we make we make a great we make a great team focus WP for those of you listening who don’t know it’s a white label outsourcing company so we have six teams.

We have development, design, copywriting.

Video editing CEO and Valve.

So we have all these teams and basically it’s like you get an incident staff for your company so you don’t have to do any of the other stuff.

Any of the hiring, firing, training, whatever you can just sign up, send in a ticket and boom, it gets done.

O that’s the.

That’s the model Tom and I built this.

Because we both come from the agency space and are actually still in the agency space.

We both have our own agencies as well.

And this was something we.

Wished we had so we made it.

And but anyway, yeah, so he does.

He handles all the operations and I handle the marketing and the front of house stuff.

So I I’m the one out on the podcasts and the summits and giving talks and in the Facebook groups and all that stuff and which he would just blow his brains out.

And he handles all of the like automations.

The tech stuff and figuring out how to connect all the bits and pieces so that it all runs smoothly, which makes me want to blow my brains out so or.

Perfect, it’s a perfect match.

What is the one thing that agencies should outsource?

That they don’t.

They should have somebody mow their lawn because who has time for that?

No other thing.

Plus, it’s so hot here, no, I’m just kidding I have. I have a lot of thoughts on that and I there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. I actually teach a little method for doing this where you sort of make like a little matrix.

And you figure out because there’s there’s multiple factors, the things that you should outsource are the things to to make it as simple as possible.

The things that you hate doing, and you’re not very good at.

So for me, the Super easy answer to that question is finance.

I’m I’m not good with the books and I hate doing it, so that’s super clear.

Thing to outsource.

It gets a little more murky when it’s something for me like graphic design.

I love doing it, but I’m not very good.

So then you have some decisions to make, right?

So the idea is that you stay focused on your actual zone of genius, the stuff that you’re really good at, and that you enjoy doing.

Because we put a lot of our lives and ourselves into our business is like if you want to be miserable at work, you can go work for somebody else.

If you’re running your own show, don’t you want to be like, hey, do you want to get you and feel excited about what you have to do that day?

So you’re in charge of that.

That’s the great news about being an entrepreneur and a founder and a business owner.

You can you can choose what you do.

So you know if we can choose wisely then we can run our businesses more efficiently and effectively as well.

Yeah, I always joke in my business.

The two things I hate doing outside of some tax stuff is dumb.

Is the accounting like you?

I haven’t.

And then it’s the.

Legal crap, which I don’t want to go anywhere near.

Right, so you know.

And and the problem is a lot of agency owners, especially when they’re starting out and I and I see this even with clients so much they try to do too much.

They’re trying to run their business, whether it’s a store and maintain their website.

Do online I look at them and say but isn’t your time better spent doing something else than updating a website like?

Through it

And they look at me and say, but I’m saving money.

OK.

I said actually, you’re losing money.

What’s your time worth 2 X dollars an hour?

Well, if that was all taken care of for you, wouldn’t you be better off in half the time?

You know?

It’s a it’s a process for folks to to get their head around that.

And The funny thing is.

Is that we as agency owners as web developers or whatever you know particular area of the of the industry.

We teach that and preach that to our clients, but we are really bad at accepting it ourselves.

Oh yeah.

And I I have a little theory on, I mean.

I think it’s part of it is.

As entrepreneurs like the brain type.

That makes you an entrepreneur rather than just going and getting a job and work over somebody else.

The person.

You’re the person that wants to figure it out.

You can have a vision of something and you’re going to figure out how to get there, and that’s why if you’ve got.

If you’ve ever had, we’ve all had this.

Scenario where we’re.

We’ve delegated something and that it come bounces back to us, right?

And what do we do?

We figure it out.

Yeah, and and so the idea is like, well, OK, we gotta delegate to people who can figure stuff out for you, but like that’s just our brain type.

That’s that’s how we work, and so I think sometimes even like the business owners that we’re dealing with as clients.

You know, sometimes they have that same mentality and it is a big adjustment.

To switch that off, kind of or to like, understand that.

That you don’t actually have to do all the things.

It’s it’s true.

And one thing I learned long time ago ’cause I come out of a a big corporate environment in healthcare.

And in that environment I was running like multi $1,000,000 projects. I realized back then that what you need to do is build a team.

And you don’t have to do it all yourself.

You’ll pull your hair up and I can remember.

Going back to like 1999 and we’re dating ourselves the year of Y2K approaches.

And I ran Y2K projects and I have to tell you.

Even not doing it all back then I was working 70 hours a week because the government lines and all kinds of stuff right and?

I had I can’t work 70 hours a week, Rob.

I need too much sleep.

Yeah, I’m sure.

I I do a lot of sleep burden.

But those days that was an exceptional year because of government timelines, government funding.

The biggest joke was all you do is claim it was for a Y2K project and over to get approved by not.

Quite nothing like.

You know it was just unreal, but.

And then it was all Much Ado about nothing.

In the end.

Well, I think because we did all the work, not because it was all not to do about nothing.

If we hadn’t done the work, I don’t.

I think it.

I think it could have been into 2.

A lot of things right?

It could have been Much Ado about.

Something, yeah, it’s a darned if you do in a darned.

If you don’t.

Scenario kind of kind of deal so anyway, so he, you know.

OK.

I think he kind of.

Gotta, as an agency owner, you gotta kind of let go a little bit and say I don’t want to do this or I’m not good at it or I don’t have time to do it and that’s where something like focus WP comes into play.

Yeah for sure.

Please do it for me like I cannot go ahead.

Sorry, go ahead meaning up.

To then no problem the number one things I see agency owners not liking to do.

Is WordPress patching in security updates?

I hate to tell you.

And we were talking.

That’s actually our that was our bread and butter.

That’s how we started focus.

WP was doing maintenance care plans and stuff like that.

We just we keep the price just.

Rock bottom so that there’s plenty of room for our customers to.

Mark it up and still make recurring revenue and then we just systematize and automate as much as we can while still having.

Human beings you know, keeping an eye on things, but we did all that and then we.

We started to realize, like once once we had that relationship with the agencies that trust and we were already in their sights.

Anyway, you know we had access to everything people started.

Saying like well, could you build this out for me?

Or would you be able to do that?

Or do you guys know anybody who does these things and it just started to be like it was so obvious?

This that so many folks were looking for a trusted resource because there’s resources you know, like you go into any Facebook group and do a search and you will find multiple questions on you know.

Does anybody know a good VA?

Does anybody what copywriter are you using?

Who’s what are you getting for design?

You know, like all of the things.

And you you get into this position where the time involved in the research and hiring and training and you start to say like I could have just done it myself.

You know which is.

True, but also flawed reasoning.

It’s also difficult, you know.

I mean, it’s because then you just have to continue doing it yourself.

If you never make that step, so we kind of did a shortcut where you can sort of just.

You know, like I was always trying to come up with like a.

Slogan or a campaign or something where it was like just add water kind of a thing where it’s like an instant you have an instant team.

You just show up, but I couldn’t.

I couldn’t like a ROM and you know, like you just pour in the boiling water and you’ve got dinner.

You know, as like something like that, but I never could quite make that work.

If anybody has any ideas, hit me up, but but yeah, that’s basically the concept.

We handle all of those ugly bits and you just get to have people to give orders to.

And it’s funny because when you go to the groups and you start and I don’t care if it’s Facebook, if it’s the Twitter chats that go on every day, you’re not a big Twitter gal.

So I can say.

That I’m not.

I’m trying.

I’m trying again, yeah.

Well, I’ll help you, that’s.

OK.

I need to get you and Nathan Wrigley in the same room and then.

’cause he he hates it too.

Oh yeah, hates it too, yeah.

And then there’s LinkedIn and it’s funny because.

About we talk about trusted sources.

About eight months ago.

Let’s see, I spent about six months.

I had LinkedIn coming to me and say, would you call manage this new LinkedIn group, which is the WordPress product Community group?

That’s actually a A LinkedIn.

Sanction group and more chance around their 8800 members right now.

And it’s it’s unreal. Ever since I took on that group, the other Co managers Courtney Robertson. For those who don’t know, Courtney’s a developer advocate over at GoDaddy and a.

Good friend and.

What’s the what’s the group called Robert?

A WordPress product community.

Googling you right now.

I will, if you, uh, I will.

I’ll send you a link for after record, but the the key is.

Uhm, we’ve managed to keep it clean, but it’s interesting. Ever since I’ve taken on that group, I’ve had more PM’s come my way than ever before.

Because if they, if they figure you are a trusted source and who you work with is interesting.

I just joined.

When we talk about trust, it’s not about the product anymore.

It’s all about liking who you work with and trusting.

Them and why?

For sure.

And most people don’t realize you’re actually selling yourself, not the product anymore.

It’s very true.

Now you have to.

You have to back that.

Up, yeah with.

With the skills, but yeah, I mean especially in in a market like that, like not like WordPress.

You know it’s so vast and so huge, and developers.

For example, if you’re looking, you know, like for a code monkey, they’re really a dime a dozen, but.

You need something that’s a little bit more.

Than those dime a dozen.

Options you know so and how or how do.

You sort through them, really like.

You know if you ever have you ever put a put a post on Facebook about like hey I’m looking for.

Uh Dev for this project and then like your inbox explodes and you just want to cry because you don’t know how to get through, but.

You know what I mean?

It’s like.

So how do you?

I see.

How do you rank and how do you sort those so sometimes even if you’re not working?

With somebody that you have a relationship with, if you.

Can get that recommendation that.

Worth its weight in gold.

Yeah, and and frankly you know it’s all about I don’t even answer those type of posts.

When somebody says I need a security expert, I never throw my way in the hand and I’ll I’ll tell.

You why I don’t.

The number one is if they.

’cause you’re already independently wealthy and you don’t.

Need the work.

No, not true.

Oh you, you’re trying?

You’re really trying today.

That’s not true at all.

It’s if they’re asking and they’re not coming to me directly.

What’s the point of throwing my name in the hat?

’cause I truly believe marketing and who you work with is all based on long term relationships.

And I, you know, I’m awful.

I actually gear marketing very much to like somebody going on a date.

You don’t just jump into bed with the first person you saw.

And it doesn’t.

At least you’re not supposed to, Yep.

So why would I do that marketing?

I I I always draw that analogy.

Marketing and sharing services is like dating.

It takes time.

It does, and, uh, you know.

Meeting a random stranger is a lot different than.

Going on a date with somebody that your friend hooked you up with, you know, yeah.

That carries a lot more potential and a lot more confidence if you’re if.

You’re going on that.

A set.

And in our business, I think that’s really true.

You know more from a lot of people think.

I mean, you know if you spend time in the groups and you spend time on LinkedIn and you spend time on Twitter.

We all know.

Who the big players are in our industry?

We really do.

Most of us

Yeah, I mean, besides you and I besides you and I we.

We know them, you know, but

We we know who’s with what hosting companies and who I can.

Go to and.

I’ve got a long list of people depending on what the question is.

If I get stumped to all who I’ll go to friends.

Our colleagues and I’ll say, hey Jay, do you have a solution?

And I do that a lot because I profess.

I think I’m really good at what I do, but I don’t think I know everything and I’m the first to admit that.

So I think that’s a big deal.

Uhm, as we move on in the WordPress ecosystem, we’re kind of talking about the whole mess.

With full site editing with blocks with page builders.

It’s getting interesting.

OK.

Uh, do you think?

It is interesting.

Do you think Box is a dead issue?

Umm, you know, I’m not, I’m.

I’m not really on the Gootenberg train, but not because I’m anti.

I come.

I I don’t I sometimes I just don’t even talk about it because it’s such a hot.

Issue, it’s just like.

It’s like everybody wants to take sides on it or make your actions like it’s almost like political or something.

You know where.

It’s like.

Oh, you don’t.

You don’t support this well then you’re on that team or you do support it.

Then you’re on this team and I just I.

I’m not that.

I’m not that.

Kind of girl.

I don’t.

I feel like I can have a broad range of thoughts and feelings on on such matters, but I.

I use I’m a divvy girl.

I I’m on Divvy chat the podcast every week, and I’ve started with Debbie before.

Uhm, before Debbie was in existence, I ended up at elegantthemes ’cause I was looking for.

Uh, a template you know, like a theme company that had multiples.

Thank you.

Because this is, you know, this is a number of years ago and I I was doing contract work and freelance work and stuff.

They were just about to start my agency and come.

I was wasting way too much time.

Like I knew that I didn’t need to start from scratch.

So I would grab a theme or a template that was close and then I would modify it, but every single one was built different and it would take me so long to get up to speed with everything and figure out how it was built.

I was just so frustrated it wasn’t being profitable, so I found elegant themes and I.

I was like this is amazing ’cause they had, like you know 25 different themes and you could modify them and it was easy once you understood how they were.

So and then Devi came out and I.

Was like what?

This changes the game, you know, and it it really did.

I mean like I think WP Bakery was around before that, but really like those guys.

Like it it.

Changed the game, now it’s like when people say they.

Uhm, you know, build websites for a living.

You don’t even say like what language you know like that used to be.

A programming question like oh, you’re a developer.

What like now you say like oh what builder do you use?

You know it’s become this new like that’s where we’re at.

And so I started with Devi and I just as the other one started bubbling up to the surface and and being developed and things I I just made a conscious choice.

It’s like.

I’m such a shiny object victim that I was like.

You know what I can’t?

I can’t do that because the learning curve and the costs associated with buying.

Getting the licenses for everything.

Getting all the add on plugins, learning all the different things it I just made the decision.

I’m like I’m just going to do this one and.

That was with my agency now with focus WP.

Because of the nature of that industry we serve people with.

Any builder, and so I’ve learned, you know, through all of that I can tinker with all of them now, but but I still stand by that like I don’t, I don’t.

You know, preach that divvy is the end all be all.

I love it.

And I also hate it some days, you know.

But it’s like they all are like that.

Every single one of them Elementor Beaver builder, whatever.

They all have their pros and cons.

And I.

Think it’s similar with Gutenberg, only Gutenberg is in infancy.

Still like the blocks and the full set editing, it’s all just still in its.

Infancy, so it’s going to be great.

It’s going to be great, it’s good, but I also think like.

A lot of folks in the word press space are speaking about this as if it’s a brand new concept and it it just isn’t.

Like all of.

The builders are already doing all the things that Gutenberg is trying to do, and there’s you know you could.

You could talk for hours on.

The the concepts of what’s going to happen to the builders, or you know or is Gutenberg following or leading or you know what’s the blah blah, you know?

I mean, there’s so much that can be discussed and it’s all very polarizing.

People have very strong feelings about about all of that and I just.

All do that, do they?

I sort of have the same attitude that.

I’ve had since the beginning.

Like this is what I’m using.

Oh you’re using you’re using blocks, that’s cool, you know great.

Awesome, good for you like that’s a beautiful site you’ve built with it.

You know, like I don’t, it doesn’t.

I just don’t have the.

I don’t have the mental or emotional energy or the time to get involved in all of the.

Arguing and fussing about it.

It’s that it’s actually excruciating.

You know, it’s funny.

We talk about page builders.

And I actually started off with.

As a page builder, if you remember the old head.

I don’t remember that I don’t remember.

Waveforms, yeah it was.

It was a block based page builder.

It’s not around anymore and then from headway I kind of went three spots.

Beaver builder

Yep, and they an all-in-one theme for seam.

That’s the number one selling theme on themeforest of all time called devada.

Which has its own page builder built.

Into it, Yep. And my.

I never.

I’ve never gotten good at Aveda it that one frustrates me.

I’ve never learned it.

Enough to know it.

But but I’m I did not anti.

Yeah, my agency sights set on Nevada to last September just ’cause I was too lazy to move it to be Beaver builder elementor.

Like, why bother?

So would you would you?

Go with, then you moved it.

To box, so I went, I went.

With the box.

I went all in with Cadence seem and Kaden spots nice.

I moved it.

I moved it over September to November.

Because I did what I always say on this podcast, please don’t move the big site on a live site.

Bad idea.

Don’t listen to me.

I had I.

Had we are our own.

Worst customers, yes, that is true I had.

And two or three podcasts at the time going up a week.

So to keep a dev site in a prod site In Sync, I said no, I’m not doing this or do it in stages.

And for those curious how it was done in an earlier podcast, I sat down with the broker Polly Hack and Matias Ventura, who’s the lead Gutenberg lead and we actually.

Talked about it.

For this podcast, we did that conversation, and so it was an amazing learning experience.

There’s no better way to get your feet wet with something new.

Then try new approach.

Uhm, but at times it was frustrating.

Uhm, I have a lot of respect for the team over at stellar decade instinct.

Uhm shout out to Ben.

Do we developer and certainly my my good friend, Kathy’s aunt who does marketing over there. They’re amazing the the support out of there was great and.

And then the only other real add on I I I use is a a little thing called editor, plus buy extended file which gives you some cool widow styling options and that’s about it.

I’m basically running stock and.

It’s worked out really well.

I’m I’m building a woo Commerce site out in Gutenberg as we speak, so it’s a.

It’s an interesting approach, but that said, like you, I’m not in in the I hate page builder camp.

I’m in the use what works for you camp and that you can learn it.

Well, in the time that you’ve got in, use that.

Serve your clients well.

Build good sites, build sites that make them money that are accessible.

You know, like.

Do good things and like quit getting so worked up about what everybody else is.

Using and at the end of the day.

I don’t think clients even care anymore.

Not in the least, not really.

So that a website is WordPress based.

Unless you’re taking them on for security care plan, that’s different.

But to build the site I don’t think they care what the back end is.

I don’t think they care how it’s managed.

I don’t think they care where it is as long as it provides what the client needs.

So I think for sure the problem we’ve got in our industry and in our community, we sell WordPress.

The solution, and I don’t think that’s what you should be selling.

You should be selling.

The results as the solution.

Personally, Oh yeah, I don’t.

I don’t even mention more impressed when I’m.

Selling sites unless the client.

Savvy in that area or asks specifically, but I can’t honestly remember the last time they did.

Or if they need a security care plan.

Because that obviously impacts, but.

Yeah, for a build I don’t think the client cares and no matter how many times I say I hear from my clients.

Oh give me access to the dashboard, see.

So what I always do is I don’t give a.

Minimum in access.

And no ask for it and I just don’t care and and I don’t give a minimum in access and they’ll never log in to access dashboard.

I’ll get an e-mail saying.

I know it’s gonna cost me.

Could you do this please?

Right, because they’re not gonna do it.

It comes back to what we said.

If you’re not good at it or don’t.

Like doing it.

Don’t do it right.

So I I mean, I don’t, uh.

It depends.

I don’t lock my clients out of their site just because of.

The proverbial bus that might hit me one day, but you know, I make sure that they have all of their.

Access, but the and.

The clients I work with honestly like they don’t.

Want to do it?

They’re not dumb, they’re not interested and and I.

I go by thumb.

A sort of like.

Educational method of showing them that I’ll be like sure.

Here’s how you do it.

It’s so easy.

You just log in.

Here you go to there, you’d log click.

This do that blah blah blah.

Don’t forget to optimize your images 1st and yeah, if you just explain to them like all of the steps that are involved then a they realize like whoa there’s more to it.

Then I realized, and I probably just want you to do it, and also B.

They realize like wow, they’re good.

They know all this stuff so quickly, you know so.

Yeah, some of them are really amazing.

I’ve got a a political client.

And Marilyn is just wonderful.

She just.

Unless she gets really stuck, she’ll just.

Go and do.

It, and it’s like really and and if she’s not sure, I’ll get an e-mail soon.

ROM I’m kind of stuck.

Can you give me a couple extra steps or call me?

Yeah, I mean like if you’re trying, if you’re trying.

And that’s the.

To like.

Hold things hostage so that your clients will pay you to do stuff like you’re not gonna.

You might make money, but you’re not going to have great success.

That’s not going to be the kind of people that your clients are referring to.

All their friends and family, you know you’re you’re going to be limited in your ultimate success if you really.

Just try and help people and educate them and.

Let them you know if they want to go and do it fine.

If you you know, as long as they understand the risks, you know.

You break it.

You gotta pay me to fix it or you can pay me.

To do it in the.

1st place you know it doesn’t really matter to me like I don’t.

People seem to get, I don’t know.

It just seems like people get worked up about everything though doesn’t it?

I know.

And then you’ve always got that one client who breaks it and then says.

It’s your fault.

Been there, done.

Oh, that’s why we logging software on all our titles.

Well, logging software in contracts, right?

I I actually have a clause in all my contracts that says if the client breaks it, it’s billable at an hourly rate.

Yeah, I had a number of years ago.

Had a client go off to a conference.

They didn’t want to pay for the change, which it could have done.

They tried to do it themselves.

They installed a plugin that caused the server to take too many resources so bad that the host shut it down.

And then they screamed and set our sights down.

And I said, well, the logs show that you went and installed this, this, this and this so I could remove this.

No, you can’t.

I said OK.

So we’ll just leave it down team, get back from a conference and they were at a conference trying to pitch something.

To the government, of course.

And the website I just let it sit down.

I I sent him a quote an estimate and said to bring it online. Here’s cost. By the way, 50% upfront when you start that, we’ll start fixing it.

And the next thing I know, I got a letter from their paralegal saying.

You’re under violation of contract and.

This is the old.

Your lawyer is bigger than.

My own again.

Sent them back a letter signal.

Here’s the cause you violated.

Let’s deal with it and they don’t want.

So you can have that kind of.

Confidence when you don’t trust yourself to do your own contracts.

You outsource that, yeah?

That’s right, and then it’s so funny and and I don’t.

I don’t say don’t work with the client, but sometimes you get that client and you know this.

You’ve been doing this long enough that you don’t want to work with.

They’ve become a pain.

They look good.

And then something changed, and then you kind of look and say.

Maybe I shouldn’t renew this client, right?

And we’ve all done that, and I I don’t even my old strategy used to be.

I would take my pricing and if the client was a pain, I’d add four times to it.

You gotta be careful doing that, though, because sometimes they’ll say yes then.

I know that.

That’s right, it’s going.

So now I just say no, and they look at me and say what do you mean?

And I said no.

Can you explain it?

No, don’t want to.

I said no.

I said I’ll give you a couple options or where you can go.

Some people you can talk to.

But I’m not doing.

So the tears don’t leave them.

It takes it honestly takes a real like a maturity in business to get to that point though.

Yeah, it’s it’s, and even sometimes down the road.

You know we can get a little.

I don’t know.

The greed is the right word, but you know you can start to see the dollar signs.

Or you could.

Start to see the certain things and and you don’t trust your gut, but really, it’s it’s very difficult.

There’s so few people that can do it.

Early on.

Where they can say like, Nope, I see these flags no matter how many times.

You hear other people tell the story.

I just I feel like a lot of times those are just.

Those kind of lessons that are hard earned like you kind of have to learn those the hard way.

You have to walk that road and realize like Oh yeah boy, I never want to work with that kind of client again.

Yeah, I went to it recently, Adam.

Koinu is making.

$30,000 USA Day on his ecommerce site.

OK.

And where did he want to put the site on cheap hosting?

Because his previous web developer told him?

That all he needed was $15.00 a month. Web hosting.

And then he came to me and said my sites running so I said, yeah, of course you’re running. You’re running terrible hosting when you’ve got 200 Woo Commerce products 200.

Don’t you think kept making $30,000 a day?

You should, uh, do something about this, don’t you think a good investment to protect your business would be that all my new web guys could.

I’m not doing it.

His site and I wasn’t doing work for him at the time.

Went down the Friday at the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend last year.

He called his new web developer.

He basically gave him crap called me and left me probably 20 messages and my voicemail said I was handed down for the weekend.

Which it was.

Holiday weekend wasn’t here.

They called me Tuesday and said how long to take it up and I said.

First thing you gotta do is agree to move this to.

Premium hosting for WooCommerce.

Second thing you need to do is if it’s worth $30,000 a day to you.

You gotta think about what level support you need and how much support you want.

This particular client believe it or not, is on a service contract for the site that’s worth 50 grand a year.

And you say, yeah, so a lot of money.

Well, when you’re making $30,000 today, it’s not.

A lot of money.

Right, So what?

Sometimes people need to look at is what’s the site work to know?

What’s the service you’re providing worth to them?

And if it’s not there, what work costs?

Well, I mean pricing is such a fascinating subject.

Across you know any industry.

Because what what makes something have value?

Uhm, and so a lot of times we can.

I like this is such a random story, but I remember.

Looking for, I was going to buy a toothbrush.

This is like I don’t know 15 years ago.

Or something?

Like that and I’m looking at these toothbrushes and I’m like well.

The the this one looks good but it’s like.

$10 and these ones are are all only like $2.00 like I can’t like. Why would I do that?

You know whatever?

Anyway, like Fast forward a while later, I had had a conversation with my brother super randomly about toothbrushes and he was like Oh yeah, I replaced mine like every month and I’m like what and he goes well they’re only like 10 bucks.

I do too.

Right, but like.

The concept there is like I was like oh I’m not spending $10 because it was positioned right next to things that were a lot cheaper and then in his mind it’s only $10. That’s such a like.

That’s such a no brainer to just do that regularly, you know, and it was just like I don’t know like the value thing.

What makes something worth the price tag.

And so if they had somebody else say.

This is a good value to spend $15.00 a month on your hosting and then you’re trying to tell them to spend $300.00 a month like that’s just a complicated shift in their value perception and you know. So sometimes it’s just our job.

To help them make that that journey in understanding you know like to get from point A to point B in that value comprehension.

Of what it is and it could be because they were misinformed.

It could be because of price positioning.

It could be because of, you know.

GoDaddy commercials that they see on television or something like that, because that’s the only hosting company that ever.

They you know the for most people, that’s the only hosting company they’ve ever.

Heard of so? The only.

And and sometimes.

Ones that advertise to the you know, mass public so you know there’s all these different reasons.

So sometimes I think like it’s not that they don’t value their own business or they don’t care about their business, or they don’t think what we do is important.

It’s just that they haven’t been properly educated.

Yeah, and given the time to like adjust their.

Their value system to understand and come to terms with what something is is really worth.

And sometimes it’s the what I call the experience factor.

So if you’re not feeling it, you know when you go on vacation and you come home and you start showing all your friends, your vacation photos and they’ll look at you and say, ah, they’re nice.

You know it’s because they weren’t there and they’re not feeling what you felt or I like to tell the story.

I’m I’m a sports collectible guy.

Chunky and a number of years ago.

I went to a sport show in Toronto.

And the headline guest was Joe Theismann Hall of Fame quarterback, played for the Toronto Argos in the CFL, then went to the Washington then Redskins of the NFL.

And the Super ticket that you could spend 600.

And 50 bucks for.

Was to have Joe Theismann throw you a ball.

And not knowing they’d throw you the ball, then he took the body through your autograph to wall, took some pictures and you’re done.

And people say which of course.

Did you do it?

Because it was about the experience factor.

Yeah, well and and your value system, so that’s valuable to you that would be worthless to.

I can say I I actually.

And my values.

Me like I wouldn’t care.

Whereas why do people go to concerts and sporting events for example, and shows it’s the experience factor.

You can watch the sporting event on TV.

That’s right.

But it’s about being there, if that’s what you’re into, and that’s the same thing as a business owner.

It’s what you’re into.

It’s like what your experience factor is.

Yeah, you know, I I I with my agency, I was doing a lot of work with the craft brewery space.

And, uh.

I actually Speaking of like the value system and stuff.

I made a new rule.

That I would never again choose a niche that was.

Based on a hobby.

The owners of the breweries are very passionate about beer.

They love to brew beer and a lot of times not all, but a lot of breweries that you know, and they’re everywhere now they’re everywhere, everywhere.

But if you you know you meet the owner and whatever.

A lot of times it’s somebody who was brewing beer in their garage.

And their friends were like you should sell this and they end up starting a brewery and going down this road.

So that’s where they came from.

They came from a hobby to a business and I found that those.

Those business owners were much more difficult to convert on that value scale.

As far as like what should cost money or.

What should it?

So they had a they had because they were making their decisions from their gut or from their heart or however you want to refer to it, rather than like.

From a logical place you know, not from their brain.

So you could say like, Oh yeah, you need to market and blah blah blah.

You need to do this you need to.

You need to have a website.

Wait where people can find your whatever you know what’re all the things you’re telling them and they’re like.

I just, uh, and they wouldn’t even spend, you know, 50 bucks a month on a website.

Sort of like these cheap things because it’s not like they’re just they’re not there.

And they’re not passionate.

In the comprehension of the value of what it is they?

I mean they’re very passionate.

Actually, they’re passionate about their beer, but they.

It’s the perceived value of our services, and stuff was a much more difficult sell.

Than other industries where people go into it.

With more of a business like profit mindset.

Yep, Yep.

Which I was very educational and interesting to me, like it was fascinating when I I was deep in and I was like why am I struggling in this niche like why is this?

Why has it become hard?

You know, I started focusing on it because I just, you know, by chance had several of those clients already.

You know, just from word of mouth or this or that.

But then as I tried to really grow in the niche is when I realized like why do I feel like I’m working like pushing uphill this whole time and I like analyze it and that’s what I came to realize is like, oh, because they’re not grasping the value because they’re basing their decisions.

On emotion rather than on like the logical arguments that I’m presenting.

Yeah, and the problem is when you base all your decisions on emotion, it kills you.

I mean you know high end retail is a good example.

Like how many times does somebody go in?

There’s a store and I watch it all the time with friends and.

You know, especially female friends, and they walk out. And it’s like I just bought a $300.00 dress. Oh, you did did.

You why oh I liked it.

That’s a motion, right?

It’s like really.

So what practical you saw?

I might wear it to a.

Party this summer?

Oh, that’s nice.

I usually say don’t.

And what’s wrong with that Rob?

Give me the $300.

Since we get the dress.

Well, I mean that dress just wasn’t.

Your style, that’s all.

It would look terrible on you let’s.

Be honest, yeah that.

Dude, I don’t go that way.

Yeah, it’s true though you, you’re you’re so right before we kind of wrap up in and I know you’ve done a lot of marketing stuff.

What’s the number one thing you find that people have a tough time marketing in their business?

What it?

What’s the question?

What it?

What is the hardest thing for people to market or?

Yeah, or they don’t like doing in market.

Uhm, it depends on the person you know you’ve got a lot of folks who it’s very difficult for them.

To put themselves in the spotlight, you know there’s a lot of people who don’t like to be on camera.

They don’t want to be out there doing videos and lives and reels and all that, and so it’s difficult for them.

In that way, there’s a lot of folks that are insecure about their skill set and things.

That’s something that we help people with.

In fact, that’s one of the.

Uh, like light bulb moments, I get to share with people with focus ’cause you know I I also do a little thing where I I do a free proposal.

Pep talk.

Everybody gets one for free.

If anybody has a a proposal and you need somebody to look at it, you call me and I’ll, I’ll get on a call with you.

We’ll spend 20 minutes and I’ll go through your little proposal.

We proposal Pep talk say that five times.

And then the first one is free because after that you you’ll be waiting to pay me to do it because you realize you made more money the first time, but.

But but people will show, and I’ll say like, no, no, you should be charging this for it.

And they’re like I could never nobody would pay me to do to, you know, pay me that much to build them a website and I’m like, yeah.

Good ’cause this is with focused clients and I’m like, yeah, but you’re not building it.

These super talented developers are and they’re like Oh well, then yeah, it’s totally worth that.

You know, so people still have this insecurity.

These like impostor syndrome.

It just you know it.

Even with experienced folks, it resurfaces and comes back to Getcha when you least expect it.

So, so that’s another one like that sort of insecurity about things, but the other real issue is something that I’ve struggled with.

You probably have two.

It’s just that we’re so busy working in the business instead of on the business that we just don’t.

Half the time where we don’t make the time.

To do the things we need to.

Do to market yeah I and that’s, you know Frank.

One the reasons why you do this podcast.

It’s a marketing tool.

I I’d be lying.

I’d be lying if I didn’t.

The other reason is networking.

The third reason is people like you.

I get spend an hour.

With yeah, it’s fun.

It’s fun.

Hanging out and and and people don’t get that.

And they say well.

You spend the time and I said yeah, but it’s important to me and I always tell business owners the best time to market is when your business is flourishing and driving so that when you hit a low, you’re ready.

To go.

They don’t see that, especially retailers, and especially mom and pop retailers. Oh, we’re too busy right now. We don’t need to post pictures out there. We don’t need to do this. We now’s the time.

Right?

It’s just what happens when you hit your sole season.

And that’s a hard lesson type.

Just fill in the pipe.

It fill in the pipe and it’s hard, and then you do it.

So many freelancers do we chase job after job after job.

And that’s why.

Well, and there’s I mean, there’s.

Tons of folks in our industry to, like you know, it’s we need to drink our own.

Kool-aid, Yep, more.

Because we can teach this to other people, but when it comes to ourselves, you know we are absolutely our worst customers.

We’re we’re not.

You know we do the same thing like we’ll tell people like, oh you need to hire us to do this.

This and this, and then when it comes time for us to say like, oh maybe we should outsource some social media stuff and have some people posting on our website or blogging for us or whatever, so that because we’re so busy, you know.

And it’s like.

It’s just hard for.

Us to do it, I don’t know.

I know.

Steph, thanks for the amazing conversation today.

This has been fun.

I can’t believe the.

Time has flown.

It always fights with you.

Ah, so if somebody wants to find out about birthday today, I or your aunt.

To focus WP, where’s the best two places to go and how they get ahold D?

You can go to Bertha AI and my info is all in the about page and everything you can reach out there.

You could sign up to get 1000 words a month for free. There’s a free level that’s awesome so you can just figure it all out and both it works right within WordPress.

So you can just, you know, generate text and boom, it’s just already in the in the site, and then if you want to outsource some stuff.

Come hit me up at focusw-p.co and I also have on there. I don’t know if you’ve seen my my site.

I think you have, but I got like this. I got this kick when I was creating this brand that I put everything in 3D because they’re saying like focus and looks kind of blurred. So anyway, because the site is mostly in 3D.

I have

Yeah that’s fine. Thanks Stephanie.

Said yellow handwritten.

Yeah thanks so much for having me Rob.

Always a pleasure.

I’ll see you around.

Oh, you will?

We’ll talk soon.

Have a great day, bye.

 


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