Episode 400: My Peeps

Show Summary

In this podcast, Rob Cairns does a roundtable with his Peeps – Todd Jones, Davinder Sing Kanith, Ryan Waterbury, and out-from-retirement Paul Lacey.

Show Notes

Hey everybody. Rob Cairns here. This is a really special episode with some special people. This is episode 400 of the SDM show. So it’s been a bit of a journey. And today I thought we have a little private slack mastermind, and I thought I’d grab the guys and that mastermind. Up for the show. We’ll just have a a general chat about WordPress and marketing. Let’s start to my right, Mr. Todd Jones. Hey, Todd, how are you this morning?

Ohh, exciting week so I guess I’m doing alright so far.

And and we also have my regular monthly co-host, Mr. Ryan Waterbury. How are you, Ryan?

Hey, the dogs are sleeping. I’m happy.


All the way from India? I’ve got Mr. Davider Singh Kanith, how are you? Long time.

Ohh yes, I’m doing good and I did get your Christmas greeting card, so I forgot to mention that although.


You know my my pleasure. And I had to drag out of podcast retirement, the one the only WP builds traitor Mr. Paul Lacy. Hey Paul.

Hey, dude, congratulations on 400 episodes. That’s insane. Yeah.


Yeah, it it’s it’s been, you know, it’s funny. When I started this 3 1/2 years ago, I did a couple interviews and I said I’ll I’ll do one, I’ll do 2, I’ll do three. I’ll get to 15. And and I’ll. I’ll pack it in. And now we’re kind of. I’m going on 400 and like the Sky’s the limit. It’s been absolutely insane, so thank you for that Paul. Much appreciated.

You do about two or three a. Week something like that.

Generally 2 week, with some exceptions. The weeks wine and I do. I usually do a third one and at the time of this record this week I’m doing well, they’re not 5. Because I’m going into security leaks. So we’re gonna talk about, we’ll press security and general security, but generally two or three a week, yeah.

So 2.5 a. Week on average, get in 3 1/2 years gets you to 400 episodes. That’s amazing. Well done Sir.

Thank you very much. I thought we’d jump into some more prissy stuff because we’re all WordPress people on this call and the biggest quorum I have is. People in the WordPress ecosystem sells them so short from a financial point of view. Anybody want to take that and jump it?

Ohh man can can I tell you that when people say raise your rates you’ll be happier. They are. They aren’t lying at all. Once it took me a long time and a lot of entrepreneurs when they first start. You’re scared of losing clients but if you’re. Struggling because you’re not billing enough and you have too. Much work on the plate. You’re stressed out anyway, and that leads to burnout. And what I found was raising my pricing not only brought me in better customers, but gave me a little more Peace of Mind. I was working on less projects at a time with the same amount of money and putting out better quality work. And I, you know, I think in the WordPress. Because a lot of people for a long time said as ohh I can just go buy a theme and you know, set up a site. You know the famous 5 minute install or a long time and that. WordPress hasn’t been that way for a long time. For years, probably 10 years and a lot of people don’t realize that it actually takes some skill and talent to put together a site appropriately.

Just not. Yeah. I mean, it’s not just installing WordPress, right? I started a a document last week because I actually want and I I think I actually shared this in the.

That’s true.

Slack for him. But if I didn’t, I need to. But what you need in a website, right? One of the things you need in a website and that list grew very long, very quickly. And the thing about someone who and I, I don’t think I’ll get hissed at by you guys on this call. But if you’re using a. Yeah. Wow, platform and do it yourself. And you’re doing it yourself, which you know, the fact that we can do that now is especially for a brand new business owner that can spin up a site, you know, get going with a deal. But the problem is you don’t have that skill of years of doing websites and knowing that, hey, maybe I need a privacy policy. Maybe I need to have. You know, you know I need to find a way to connect my Google business profile to my website. Those types of things that take skill with experience that you don’t have and you don’t know about when you try to launch a website on one of the do-it-yourself platforms.

Yeah, I would agree with that. The vendor, Paul, either you want to add anything to that, yeah.

Yeah, absolutely. As you grow older in terms of acquiring knowledge and expertise, you should raise your rates because there’s always someone who will do it for cheaper. So don’t worry about those clients. They will still find someone because as you move up, you will find clients who will take less of your brain juice and that’s very important.

Yeah, well, yeah, it just feels like it’s a exercise in increasing the amount of bandwidth that you have as well, just as a general human. So every you know, every day, every year, it feels this business owner. There’s always pressures on you to race to the bottom, do more things, etcetera. So. Raising your raise raise, raising your rates or, you know, purging clients or changing bad habits. It’s just a a good thing to not do just once a year, but just to be every day just to be like. Mindful of hey, I’m not charging enough or I’m doing too much admin over here or I’m getting too obsessed with AI doing something like this. Just just I think just keep it. Keeping it real is part of raising your race. Raising your rates is part of keeping it real. I think as a business owner so totally agree with that. I’m not very good at raising my rates. But I’m mindful of the the bigger picture of all the bandwidth that we have and trying to improve our lives every day.

Yeah. It’s funny when you mention you guys mentioned that I I went into December and I raised my rate 25% across the board and I had people say to me, are you crazy? Are you under your mind and then you know, I only lost four clients out of 400 security sites. I lost 4. And the four I lost and three of them I wanted gone anyway, so I raised my rates to achieve getting rid of. People that I wanted to get rid of that I knew the minute I raised the. Rates they would. Bark and by the way, two of the ones that got rid of paid absorbent prices to get to websites moved off my platform, which was even better, so you know.


The timing of the question in my inbox this morning was an e-mail from. Erin Flynn. And we all know Aaron, she’s a talented designer from the the Colorado area and she was all about raising rates and I believe I didn’t really look at the thing closely, but she. Does have a. Lot of resources on how to phrase that if you’re one of those persons who struggles on, what do I say to my client? Tap into Aaron’s resources. For that kind of thing. So she she’s built a bunch of templates that you can use. So chase her down. She’s a she’s a real nice lady.

Yeah, Paul gave me my next segue. Paul made the mistake of mentioning the words AI and it’s almost impossible to have a web web discussion or podcast or a marketing conversation. As Ryan and I know, we have many of them and Todd about talking about AI. So I’m gonna start with Paul. How do you think AI is changing our business, Paul?

It’s really difficult to to know because we’re probably in one of those times, like in the I don’t know when it was the 50s or whatever where people were imagining the future. We have rocket packs and all that sort of stuff at the moment it feels like we are we we none of us, almost nobody can imagine what the future is with.


AI so we just imagine a version of it with the with with kind of a step change in one of the things that we. And so when I see all the predictions at the moment, whether it’s websites that can be made with AI and prompts and stuff like that, it makes me think that that website that you create with a prompt is for a human at the same time that that becomes relevant. A human probably doesn’t look at a website as much anyway and just asks some kind of. I don’t want to say, you know, the Amazon. The thing that begins with a got one right next to me and and just asks for a prompt in response. So the actual creation of a graphical website doesn’t matter because all websites in the future might just be JSON files or something that just have a structure of data and photos. So it’s it’s a bit like you. Know. Imagining imagining the wheel was never invented but but a horse and a horse was, you know, and a plane and some kind of glider was, and that you would imagine that you’d have this kind of how do we launch the the flying thing into the air and you would strap wings to the horse and then the horse would run down the runway and. And and take off sort of thing like Pegasi. Person because you just can’t imagine the other changes that are happening within the environment. We can then. So yeah, in the short term, we can sort of see ohh look at this. You can press this button and and a WordPress website exists. It’s like we’re sort of press you know AI and ourself out of out of. Relevancy in a way. So on that whole front, you know, it’s like an anxiety, a lot of people have. I just sort. Of. Tend to think. As as that goes in that direction, I can’t control it. I’m not an AI bot myself, so I can’t join the AI bots and become one. The only thing I can do as a business owner is be more and more human, so just just. Like what did what what? What are? Relationships. Can I? I genuinely create these relationships and maintain relationships? Can I AI really understand the nuanced human things? Maybe it can, but the only direction I can go is to. You know, go from it’s become less franchised and just become more unique as possible as I can, you know and more into UX and less into. Automation, if any of that makes sense. But. That’s the only thing I can.


Think to do. It’s almost like, yeah, it’s pushing us to go back, to be more relationship oriented.


And and I never would have thought, you know, just listen to what Paul said. And I agree with what he said. You know, the way you differentiate yourself as a business and the. In the future of AI is to be more human, to be more relationship on it. Well, I think we can all agree that in the last I don’t know, several decades that has actually gone by the wayside as technology has been rapid and we have graphed on the technology and it’s all your differentiation about was about adopting the newest. Technology. Now your differentiation is going to be more about being relational and human. And so it’s going to be interesting to see and obviously I’m not just in the WordPress community, but I’m also in the content community and AI has a, you know, there’s so many different, you know, people are usually on one side or the other. I I got an e-mail from Julia McCoy today who’s now at. She’s a content. Creator content marketer been around for a while. She’s now at content at scale and she’s going. She was kind of explaining why she went from being anti AI to being to embracing AI. I think we’re going to have to embrace it. To what extent that’s going to be up to each individual, you know, how are you going to embrace it? What are you? Going to do with it, it’s like anything else that’s coming. You got to figure out how you play into it and. I can see a lot of needs of things I don’t do very well. Don’t like doing that? Hey, I can help me with so. You know in that that regard, I’m happy to embrace it, but there’s still a long way to go it and it won’t replace the humanness of who we are. I think, like Paul mentioned.

Ryan, your defender.

That’s kind of touch touch on something interesting that I talked about in my newsletter and that the. Differentiating yourself and AI it makes it easy to crank out a bunch of really common, easy articles for content. You know that Ted talked about being part of the content writing community, and I have part of that with SEO work that I do and that. My clients that I do SC over half of them don’t. Want. Blogs written for them anymore. They have opted to do it themselves and after a while they found out that those blogs aren’t getting traffic. So we’re using AI in a little bit different manner. They’re still running the articles. But I have to come back and edit them and do the same optimization that I was doing. Or takes that human touch, and even just this past couple of weeks, I’ve brought on a couple of new web care clients who were with large, large hosting companies, that they were just the number and what they really wanted was that, that personal connection, that relationship with somebody that. That they can call and so I. I think that, yeah, Todd was absolutely correct in the in the fact that it’s gonna personalize and those of us that can use AI as a tool to fill in the gaps for our skill set, for the things that we aren’t good at or don’t want to do and allow us to focus on building better customer relationships. Those are the agencies I think that are gonna thrive and survive as we go forward.

Yeah, really good points, Ryan. The vendor, do you have two cents on this one?

Yeah. You know, The funny thing is like if. You compare AI. Buzz in January 2024 to compare to January 2023, like last year, everything was like AI. Everyone with existing product was adding AI to next to it just because it suddenly became better, it suddenly became more intelligent, which wasn’t the case. And people are realizing it.

Makes you.

Because it’s, it’s just like a more fancied up thing, because AI has existed ever since Google was there. Obviously, Google gives US1 sentence answers. AI just makes that one sentence into a threaded answer, you know, carries the conversation further. Yes, it’s a better format, but. AI can never replace us because again, AI feeds on data that we create, right? And algorithms we run so well. It’s a wishful thinking. And if you compare AI with, you know, the practical applications in terms of WordPress ecosystem, yes, there are now AI tools that will, you know, build up a site but. If you compare the size that I spew, is it good enough for? Or, you know, people who are looking for custom website or people who look for, you know, agencies to build their website. Not really. It’s more like a DIY, you know, self hosted if you compare it with like Wix and Squarespace like those kind of things have already have been there. It’s just we are just wrapping up with the AI paper and you’re not trying to sell it. Yes, AI has. Improve few things. But still long way to go, AI won’t replace a lot of things, including writing content, and in fact AI will increase the importance of human written content more. Just wait for like one or two years more.

Yeah, I I agree with that. I think it’s just a tool and it’s all how you use the tool like it’s not the end all ends. I mean people said that when page builders came out right, they said, oh, we’re going to page builders and we’ve heard this before. So it’s kind of a tool and it’s just how.

No, Rob, go. Ahead, just going to say, here’s one more thing to start into what davender.


Says. That there’s this thing in like cycling and also in guitars and stuff like that looks like a thing called a BSO, and it’s a bicycle shaped object which is basically like if you go to the Walmart or something.


And find the cheapest price. Typical cyclists would call it a bicycle shaped object because it looks and feels like a bicycle, but you ride it up a steep hill and you’re going to really struggle and the same with AI based websites. They are very, very convincing website shaped objects to me. And they are missing all the nuances of the multiple. Theory and and profession professions that go into a website. So. You know, all of us, WordPress people, we don’t, we’re not as deep into user experience designers, UX designers and UX designers are all based on, let’s see what humans do with this thing and then we will make some decisions and then we’ll. Test. Those things and. All of that goes out the window content first approach kind of goes out the window and I I know some people. If they watch this would be like, oh, you just don’t know you talking about you’re just so far behind you, Luddite or whatever. But I I just think that the. That we should all strive for being artisans at everything that we do rather than automate ours. Trying to cut corners cause all I’m seeing so far is, like Devinder said, people are getting sick of it, just even mentioning it like AI, our police don’t talk about this. You know, I don’t. I can’t. You know, you can the amount of people are probably just blocked the phrase AI. Twitter now just because they just can’t see another thread or hot take or away. On. It. So yeah, you know, just maybe maybe I’m just resisting. I’m really. I’m really polite to the AI bots that I talk to you just in case they take over one day. When terminating comes, I want them to be kind of like, oh, he was all right. He was said. He said please and thank you at least. So give him. The quick death.

Yeah, I I get that. And you know, it’s funny we we talk about things being different and I think one of the things that helps us is. What we read, and so I’m going to jump into what your favorite marketing business book is and let’s start with the vendor because I know he probably doesn’t read much these days, but you know.

Obviously I don’t read books, but in case you want to increase your knowledge about things that are there in the world, there’s a channel called Business Insider on YouTube. Just go there, search it, it has awesome videos. There’s one Business Insider and there’s another called Vice BICE, which obviously is little news related, but it really gives you the perspective in a more neutral way of the world East.

West. Yeah. Not S. Yeah. Thank you, Ryan. Have you read anything recently that’s worth?

I business wise, honestly. A lot of folks don’t do it for me. That reminds me of college, but.


The you know the quick daily one that I can tolerate is TLDR that one, it’s about every other day I find something meaningful that they they picked up and linked to an article so I can stay up to date on just the minimum amount of what I need while not being too distracted by it.


Shiny new objects.

Ohh, we know that from Mr. Racy. Have you read anything interesting? Lately.

You know in the last couple of years, the thing I’ve been trying to do is just just for a while, just think for myself and I’m not trying to be smart in saying that. But I was reading so much, listening to so much podcasts, getting involved in podcast or, you know, all different things. And I at some point when I ejected myself from.


That life it was largely because I could not even hear my own voice anymore in my own head. So I I’ve not really read much or listen to much. I’ve just tried to. Go use my own instincts for a while and that’s seems to work quite well. The one thing I do enjoy is I I have enjoyed Jim Galliano’s blog post and Jim Giuliano’s podcast, which is on hiatus at the moment now, so I’ve found him to.


Have that similar concept of what personal brand needs personal branding meaning. You know doesn’t mean create a call. Image of yourself. It’s more kind of like recognizing that the best restaurant in town is the one that was passed down from someones father and has been there and it’s the Italian pizza pizza place that that everybody talks about. And if you go to that town, you’ve got to go to so and so’s pizza place, you know, it’s just that again that personal, that personal touch. So.


I’ve just been trying to get back in touch with my own personal thoughts on everything from business to world culture. It doesn’t really matter what. So I just realized that I’ve lost my own thoughts on it for quite a while, so sorry, no book book recommendations. I bought plenty of books and then they just went straight on the shelf.

  1. Tired you. You’re a bit of a reader sometimes. Really recommend.

Yeah. So you know, if you wanted, if you. Wanted books or? Or articles or what? I mean that’s, you know.

Yeah, books are article.


You know there there is, there is a saturation of content and Paul makes a great point. I mean we can like, read, read and read and and forget our own. Our own thoughts really. And but. But you know me I I really are interested in storytelling. So you know I obviously stories that stick by Kendra. That was a big influence on me a couple of years ago. I’m reading one now by. Karen M Ember, forget her last name is she wrote the perfect story. I’m toward the end of that. I I have a hard time like read. I don’t read as fast as you do, Rob. I don’t know. Maybe perhaps I’m. I’m think about what I’m reading and I could get sidetracked or whatever. That is a book I needed to. Finished and I. Just got another book from a copywriter. About persuasion story. Telling and I’ll be going through that. So and then it filters into like what I think about content marketing, content writing, content strategy, all this stuff is coming together into my big old head and I’m trying to decipher that and a lot of times I will when I have an idea. That I’m vetting? It’ll go into my e-mail newsletter, story arc, and so I’ll vet it that way. A lot of times and some some things are percolating right now. So we’ll see what happens. But that’s kind of those are those are the books I guess.

Yep, yeah.

Right now.

And I would say, you know, I was thinking about this. If you look at my bedside table, there’s eight books sitting on it right now, and the piles growing by the day, by the way. So I’m I’m an avid reader. The book I always recommend that marketers should read this a book called the Inside Advantage was written in 2009 by Robert Bloom. It’s a big red cover and it talks about what we talked about, the AI conversation, making yourself different than standing out, and why you shouldn’t fight everything on price. It’s a it’s a really interesting read it. Was written over 10 years ago and it’s still like one of the most relevant books today. So that’s kind of mine. Let’s jump into something a little fun. If you could have dinner with anybody. Past future present presence. Who would it be and why, right?

Ohh wow, that’s. That’s an interesting one. The first one that comes to mind is probably Delmar Smith, Bird Dog royalty, famous dog trainer Brittany Spaniel, breeder and field trailer. It’s one of my hobbies and something I. Yeah, yeah. Help out with. The other people I named my agencies, you know after dogs because I have a, you know, passion for. Dogs and dog rescuing you know, it’s not not all about work, so that’s that’s that’s that’s my dinner guest of choice.

Yeah, Todd, who would you like to go out for dinner with?

You may want to take. A guess what? What kind of person? I would want to have. A dinner with the present would be Steve the the present guy would be Steve Borden, AKA Sting. The wrestler not sting the singer.

Probably right.

Although there is a picture floating around the Internet with sting, the wrestler and sting the singer together, so that’s that’s a pretty cool picture because he’s been my favorite wrestler for probably 30 years and and as a person as well. And then past would be Dusty Rhodes, the American dream who did pass away. And I think 13. Taking. One of the most charismatic individuals to grace the squared circle. As a professional wrestler and and and you know he would not fit the current WWE mantra of how you should look. He was a son of a plumber. He looked like a plumber but he he was beloved back then and those those guys especially dusty, one of the best at.


His promo skills, I I say there’s two. The baby face, he’s the he was the best babyface promo. He he has the best called hard times. You can look it up on YouTube. Very good. And then of course, most people remember Ric Flair and no doubt Rick is the probably the best villain promo guy that’s out there. And they were contemporaries, and probably made each other the rivals that they are. So probably dusty instinct.

The vendor.

Well, I would like to have dinner with the vendor at 20 years of age and tell her. Tell him that. Ohh, you were good but you. Could have been. Better. So that’s my and if anyone else I think I would like to have dinner with one cat that I had during my childhood for 16 years and.


You you won’t understand till you have a pet that what kind of discussion you can have with the pet. So. So I know it sounds a little funny, but I guess I’m like that Paul.

You know, I like I like your answer, defender. I think I was sitting here thinking don’t ask me first, Rob, because my instant reaction in my mind is nobody. I just want to stay at home, order a take away, play video games. But but thinking about it, it would be just a group of. Close friends. Just.


I would this this probably certain you know, famous people out there who would love to kind of be an invisible person, you know, or fly on the wall sort of thing. I can’t think of who those would be, but the the yourself of at age 20, the vendor was a really cool, cool idea. I would love to do that and I would love to kind of maybe even just. Have. Me every five years and maybe even my kids in the future and then add to that, like you said, friends or animals who are no longer with us, you know, back for just one more. You know, one more time together sort of thing that.


Be that would be awesome. So you know I’m, I’m pretty introverted, especially nowadays. And so the the idea of being being forced into a a dinner dinner with with somebody, you know, who’s got a massive brain would just be a bit too much for me. I think I would. I just want to tone it down massively or get some insight like Defender set into your own self at various points in your life to sort of see oh, I see what I see, why where I came from now that all makes. And yeah, so. So yeah, maybe maybe the last one. I’ll say a therapist, that would be a good one. Yeah. Sit down for a for an hour of a therapist over lunch or something.


That’ll. Be I can make that happen as well. I think so. Yeah, maybe we’ll.

You know you’re giving me another segue, but that’s that’s another story. But you know, it’s funny you you both the vendor and Paul kind of touch on that and I always people say to me who do you want to have dinner with and.


For me, it’s one person’s my late father. It’s been like this year, 16 years. And you know, I miss him. I’d love to sit and have a chat and the other little bit of a famous guys guy named Mckendrick, and he was a Hall of Fame goaltender. I’ve actually had dinner with him before. I’d like to have dinner. Again, is 1/2 and goaltender. Player he was president of Toronto Maple Police. He’s a lot. He’s 70 in his 70s, still teaching law and and a politician. He’s done it all and the man was very challenge driven and an author A at least a six or seven time author so. I give to have that career and and just sit down. And chat. So Paul, you gave me a segue and I was debating whether it was gonna go here or not. But the therapist coming is gonna put it there so you can blame yourself on this one. The We all work in this work at home. State. And one of the things in our space and we’ve seen it time and time again, it happened to post that us last week, it’s happened all over is people in our space don’t take care of their mental health. They really don’t. They don’t do a good job of it or they don’t have the support. Do you have any feeling on?

That Paul? Yeah, I mean. I think I’ve. I’ve probably ejected myself every time I’ve felt that I’ve got too close to something really bad. You know, if I’m talking about myself but talking about other people, you know, I think you can’t help how things affect you. Sometimes they just they just do and and you are. You know, you as a person. Kind of a sum of the whole life that’s happened before you and all your experiences and and then then you add that to the way you see the world is largely based. On. How your brain works, I mean, I can say for sure for myself, since I since I’ve started to. Become, you know, put a lot of more, more quiet and create a lot more mental bandwidth over the last couple of years since I kind of left left like the podcast in in WordPress space like that and it was just as in the the kind of speaking out loud sort of space and get involved in all that stuff all the time. And also I have to close in my.


And you know agency I I realized over the last couple of years how ridiculously amount I was masking my own personality and to to be, to be bluntly honest, I feel more and more every day, more and more autistic. These days. I I think it’s just as I. Kind of understand the kind of complex and weird way that my brain reacts to the. Things. The message I’m I guess I’m saying is that the? More that you’re. Aware. Of how your own mind works, the more you can just look at the world and just see as a a bunch of things that are flying towards you and then you can just decide how you want to deal with those. Now you can’t deal with things that are just. Yeah, I know. What you know there’s let’s say depression. There is, like, situational depression as such. And then there is, I forget it’s called. But the one that you can’t do anything about, it’s literally like a disease as such, right. So.


I think we’re intact. There’s just so much BS flying at you all the time and so much kind of reason to think about anxiety and stuff like that. There’s a lot of anxiety type things getting thrown at you. Anything that you can find in there that you can just disregard or just filter out, I would just say do that. I mean we don’t need to worry if. You know, Matt Mullenweg has had COVID or too many whiskers, and it’s kind of hard to go. It’s. The we we don’t need to, you know, get upset if if it seems that like a bunch of influencers are getting very binary about how WordPress should or shouldn’t be used, you know, just just this is just talking specifically about WordPress. You can filter that stuff out and you know, as they say, go in and touch some grass, as as people sometimes say, say. You know, getting in touch with who you are I think is super important. That can take a long, long time and but it’s a super interesting thing because you you might find that you’re a very strange, weird person in good ways, you know, and more, more creative than you thought as well. So I know it’s difficult. One, it’s difficult one really.

It is.

As much as possible, take care of your own mind, because it’s the only really conscious, literally thing that you’ve got. So do what you can.

I agree, Ryan.

It’s kind of interesting that you segued in with, you know mentioning post at us, one of the the first word camps that I attended, Corey Miller and his wife and few other people, I think Jennifer Barn was on the panel was the opening panel, was talking about mental health.


And how it’s not addressed and this, I think was in 2017. So it it was still rose. We knew to talk about mental health for, you know, us as individuals that work alone as solopreneurs and the challenges that come with that. You know, we don’t have a regular 9. To five and. You know, I find myself working all the time. If somebody doesn’t tell me to stop. And that’s not helpful. So that you know that’s one of the challenges that that they brought light on that you really don’t think about it at the time. Uh. You know, am I doing what’s right and healthy and I think we don’t give ourselves enough time to unwind, relax, disconnect and what I’ve started doing, especially on Sundays. And I just saw another great habit forming. Tip is set an out of office reminder for your weekends. So if your clients e-mail you over. The weekend they get it out out of office reminder, and they are reminded that you have personal space and for me that I rarely checking anything online on Sundays trying to disconnect as much as possible has really helped me start my week so much better. Fresher sitting down and looking at the screen is a little bit. Different. But yeah, it, you know, taking care of yourself. It can be as simple as walking away for five to 10 minutes and taking a. Yeah. So there’s all sorts of ways to look at, you know, staying mentally healthy. But yeah, the one that that really shocked me and hit me was, you know, working all the time and that that’s not healthy. I really didn’t think about it until. I started getting burned out.


I’m sure.

And and you. Because you’re kind of working in a vacuum, so that’s why I’ve appreciated our slack group to be able to talk with with you guys and bounce ideas off because we, you know, we do work in a vacuum. Often times on things. So to have people to connect with I think is important too.


And you’re really good at. That like I know you hadn’t talked to me most of last week before recording, and I know you reached out Friday afternoon and like things like that matter. So thank you for that, Devinder.

I think the golden rule is don’t be part of drama or don’t even react to a drama thing, be it WordPress or outside, because that will just drain you. If you really want to create drama, create drama with your work, create drama with your friends who you can trust, and they will tell you whether you’re wrong or right. And again, it depends on persons you know, own behavior and. Traits because I personally am very introvert, kind of a person. I really don’t really open up with people, especially new people. It’s kind of. Difficult for me, but things are little changing now like I’ve started attending word camps and you when you interact with other people, you. Realize others are. Also like you like most. Actually most word can word presses are kind of introvert. If you see majority of them are because we are sit on in front of screens, we don’t interact with people, maybe just with cats and dogs. So yeah, you know. It’s been a it’s been a very healthy addition to my overall, you know, working stuff, being going to work camps you know and not just attending work camps outside, but attending word camp outside has started building connections here locally. So I know more word presses who are local and we some. Meet here and there and we bump into each other and suddenly realize that ohh someone who uses WordPress makes WordPress plug-in lives next to my house, right? So you can always. You know, meet up and you know, it’s all about talking helps. You know, depression can happen to anyone, to any level. So only thing that can you know.


If you enjoy your work, and if you talk to people, fortunately I live in a country in a place where you never. Are short of people talking to you, so I always have someone to talk to, which is kind of blessing. Obviously some may find it like in other, you know, parts of the world it may consider as like intrusion of privacy or something like that. But there’s no such concept here. So maybe that helps, I don’t know. But I love talking to people. Even though I’m an introvert nature, but yeah, I think now I’ve changed. Like as you grow older. You know you are settled in your family things because once you know in early years when you get married, you tend to lose touch with your friends. The real friends from school days, college days because they all are in the same phase of, you know, getting married and getting settled in some country and some jobs and all that. But now you are, you know, rewinding that wheel and. Finding you know more friends or maybe the old friends and all that. Yeah. Have friends and real friends are. Those who will tell you your mistakes more than your laurels. So yeah. No, I will tell Todd’s mistakes when he does mistakes with his copy ideas and all that.

Todd. He’s funny and and that brings us to Todd Todd.

So I I’m really glad that people talk about mental health and those kind of things. I felt like a few years ago, maybe it was becoming popular to talk about it a little bit. And so for that reason, I didn’t feel like I needed to add any more to the discussion. Occasionally I’ll chime in. Whatever late 90s, there was pretty big stigma. Still with mental health. And that’s when I slipped into. Major depressive disorder, which is what I was diagnosed with and it was very situational, but it didn’t, you know, erase the fact that I was really majorly depressed and I had therapy and I had medicine and all. That kind of stuff. It’s it is need to be. It does need to be talked about. It needs to be, you know, not, you know, destigmatize. And I’m not sure. Exactly what you do to destigmatize something other than to share. You know that that share it more often to share it. People have it. Whatever. There’s three things that really work for me. And I think everything everybody mentioned here as well. And you know. Actually talking to somebody having so I talked to in America. Can be bad about that versus some of our friends in other countries like India. Where you know other countries are more. Community have committed to I can’t say what I’m saying. They communicate more often. I guess they’re more willing to communicate than we are and we’re very isolated here. But there’s three things I think that help me as well. When I say, enjoy your hobbies. Right. If you just eliminate them, we. We all know that. Ryan is involved in rescue, especially British Spaniards, and he has his beloved bud. We all know that he enjoys his hobby. He also likes cycling. So, you know, enjoy your hobby. One of the things I appreciate it, we have a lot of people WordPress who take good pictures and Hero Press shares a lot of those pictures. Michelle Fourchette is one who does a lot of picture taking. I really enjoy looking at nature and stuff through her eyes. So that is that is, you know enjoy your. Enjoy your hobbies. And I would say add to that as well. Exercise always helps, but #2 fur therapy now you don’t have to have a beloved pet like right now you know Paul talked about visiting with a pet that he had when he was a kid so forth. But like we have a cat cafe in Conway, AR. Believe it or not, I can go down there at any time, pay a little fee and go in and pet the cats and talk to them and so forth. Most people who have a dog and they walk come out in public are more than happy to let you pet. The dog usually just ask hey, is it OK? And they’re like, yeah, yeah, sure. And most dogs are very gregarious. So you can pet a dog. And I find that very therapeutic. Right. Pets. Animals can be very just reaffirming, really. And then the last thing. I’m say that. This is for me, music and a lot of it goes back to the days that. I was a kid as well. You know, there’s there’s a lot of nostalgia tied up. I noticed that. In the last week or two, Debbie Gibson was celebrating, I think 25 or 30 years of one of her hits and you know, that was when I was a teenager. So there’s very, there’s a lot of nostalgia there and I follow some. People. On social media that I listen to as a kid and they’re still around and they’re still doing stuff and. Actually, Susanna hoffs. She’s actually very entertaining and funny on social media, with some of the stuff she does. But so you know, music and learning live music, listening to stuff. That’s why we have the jukebox in the slack group and everybody shares. You know, Ryan is sharing music, the vendor, he shares these grand, these grand scores from these big movies.


From Bollywood and they’re fantastic and you know, hey, Paul, one of my favorite bands from my My kid as a kid is bad company. Who’s right out of the UK and those guys really rocked the. So, you know, enjoy your music, enjoy your hobbies and get some fur therapy. Those kind of work for me.

You know they is. It’s a hard one. I mean, I know I’ve gone through personal and business challenges over the years. I I’ll freely admit. I talked to a counselor on a regular basis because it helps keep the head where it needs to. Be I’ll read. I’ll listen to Doctor John Delaney has an amazing mental health podcast on the Ramsey Network and and then just find some people that you can talk to and trust. I mean, that’s that’s the big thing. Kind of moving on with the last question because it’s kind of fun. We’re going to start with Mr. Devinder, if you had a chance to go anywhere in the world on vacation for two weeks, where and why?

Because I was, I was already on vacation for a month and. New.

I know you were. So I have to start with. You and pick on. You today.

Honestly speaking, I don’t like traveling. I like my sweet home, my sweet community where I want to stay. So I went there because there were other people in my house who wanted to go. There. So you know you get drunk.

You’d rather stay?


But yeah, but that’s the reality. You know, I’m not like, even for going for word camps, like, I went to word camp Asia last year, it was just I wanted to test it. Like, how does it work? And it was amazing experience. And I’m going this year again as even asked me, like, are you going to work camp Europe? And I said no, I can only travel that much in a year. So yeah, so if I have to go, probably I would love to go to US and meet all of you two people at this site and then you get to meet this guy and Canada will see will jump the border. From US so.



Yeah, I I’m not like a big traveler. In fact, I I love staying close to home. So. So. So, you know, I’ve been to the pyramids, and I’ve. I’ve been to, you know, Florida and some of the places I did really love roads or rhodos in just the Greek island that was.

Another one.


Wonderful. Yeah, but to be quite honest, the place in the UK. Way in fact, the whole world that I’ve ever been that gave me that gives me the loveliest feeling is this place called Port Marion, which is in Wales, and it is a a town. I’ve got a picture of it right in front of me. It’s actually on my wall. It’s I bought a picture just so I can look at it every day. And it’s like a town that was designed by this guy. Years and years ago, who put this little village that looks like something out of Vienna or something? In the middle of an estuary in Wales and it’s a design project and I get so inspired when I go there and it’s just so beautiful. It’s also the set where the I think it’s the 1960s TV show. The prisoner was filmed and this place is just magical and so unique.


And whenever I’m in the area of Wales at all, I do make a pilgrimage to there and I’ll I’ll go by myself or I’ll take my son or I’ll go with the the whole family. Doesn’t doesn’t really matter. I just. I feel like I have to go there every so often just to remember how. Again, it’s that whole thing about I’m just looking at the picture of it at. The moment. The the level of artisan. And passion that went into this place is just next level. And so yeah, that’s that’s it for me, Sir. I mean, if I could bring Disneyland just to. If it was 10 miles away, I’d go, but I can’t be bothered to get on a plane and go there now.

Yeah, I. It. Yeah, I get it, Mr. Jones. Todd.

You know, not too long ago I had a dream I was actually visiting Paul in the UK. That’s interesting. Probably nothing like it would be in real life, but but for me, I think you know of all the places in the world, there’s a lot of places in the. States I would. Like to go. And I would like to go to Toronto. I would go see the vendor in India. I really would. I think India would be an awesome place to see the vendor in the area where he lives. So that that would be probably topping. List.

Yeah, Ryan, last but not least.

You know, I also like to stay home in so many projects and hobbies. I have a race car in the garage that I need to finish. You know, for a good portion of my. Life I’ve been fortunate enough to live, you know, within a couple of hours with some fun race tracks. And so yeah, to have two weeks to.


Do a little bit of travel and hit some of the the best Rd. tracks in America. That would be one of my ideal two weeks off and when you say 2 weeks to be able to completely shut my mind off from work.

No, no, I I agree with you. You know it’s it’s funny because. As my my bucket was to still Hong Kong, I’ve always wanted to do Hong Kong. It’s a country, a place I’ve never been. But you guys know me pretty well and every time I like Ryan, familiarity matters. And where do I go? Niagara Falls ON, like, quite regularly. And it’s an hour and a half away. It’s wine country.


The beauty of wonder, the wonders of the world, so I’m I’m very much a familiarity guys so I get.

That can I add 1 to my holiday list. You can’t, it’s.

Sure. Of course she’s.

Impossible, but I would. I’d be so fascinated. It’s a little bit like the. Who would you go to lunch with type thing? I’d be so fascinated to. Be able to go see. And if you heard of that place go Bethley Tepe. It’s like this. This kind of temple type town that they found. It’s like 12 1/2 thousand years old. And it it’s got, you know, this, the the technology that’s gone into making this place is shouldn’t have been there for another 10,000 years or say. I would love to just go and see what the heck was going on around then, you know, did the Lantis did Atlantis exist and what was? What were people doing? What technology has been lost to?


You know, if there was kind of cataclysms and all that, so you can probably see and figure out the books I read now and the TV shows and the podcast I’m listening to. But I would just would be fascinated to go and see.


What? What the world looked like that far away that long ago? I probably won’t be invisible. So nobody murdered me immediately as some kind of. Alien or something? But you know, I would just love to see this stuff that we just has been lost in time and I think, yeah, who knows? That’d be cool. Can that be done? Can I do that with AI? Can does AI do that for us?

I don’t think so.


Not interested.



Yeah, it’s funny, but as we kind of wrap this up and thanks for joining me, I’m going to go around, do a quick round table and do final thoughts. Thought any final thoughts today? Maybe you’re thinking about working on wanna share. Ohh.

I have some thoughts I’ve been thinking about and they’ll they’ll go in the e-mail newsletter Wednesday at which actually is my birthday. So anyway, now I’m thinking about it, but one thing I’ve been thinking about a little bit is the decline of organic reach and social media and what to do about that. I still believe in. I still believe in content distribution. I’m I’m a fan of that, you know, follow Ross Simmons from Foundation Inc and I think that still is a is a valuable way to do things. But obviously social media has changed a lot. Simply posting the link and maybe a couple words. Few words about the article just doesn’t do the trick anymore, so we’re all trying to figure out how to navigate social media organic reach and it’s decline.

No, I get that Mister Ryan Waterbury. Any final thoughts? From you today.

Uh, nothing too crazy, just that I I enjoy our little group and some things, you know, as I have evolved with my agency, you know, in 2020 and a couple of contractors and acted like, you know, a full agency. And getting back to the the solo slot and figuring out how to grow, it’s been really it’s been fun talking to all of you and figuring things out. Paul had some really nice comments about, you know, the evolution that he’s taken back into the solo seat. And you know, you guys really. You know, I just want to say I appreciate you to be able to, you know, bounce ideas off of that. I think that’s. Important for everyone that’s in the the solar seat to find your find your group. So those are that’s just kind of my finishing thoughts.

So true. D What are your final thoughts for today? You’re never at a loss for anything.

Well, firstly really thankful to all of you for being in the slag group because you people invest time and like me and you know, because sharing ideas with you, I know I’ll get the real answer, not the fabricated 1. So that’s that’s one thing. And regarding this year, yes, I’m very excited about 2024. Because I’m trying to go back to my roots because I started as a Blogger like 20 years back and now I really want to get into again into content creation. But again, now I’m a little more mature in terms of I know which type of content works where. So having those, you know, experience pillars around the content, that’s what my goal is. For 2024, do things that I enjoy. I’ve been doing that like I only did two client websites in 2023, which was kind of surprising but surprising if I used to, you know, share with someone but not for me because I really want to shift and do things. Yeah, I enjoy. That’s that’s where, you know, the all the strings get attached. You do things, you enjoy, your mental health is good. You actually do better. And you perform better not just in terms of productivity, but also the money factor. That’s also very important in what we do. So yeah, excited for 2020. Four. Let’s see, we’ll. Recap and look back in 2025 again.

Yeah. Paul, one of your.

Yeah, just well appreciate you all guys. And I love being a solo pruner like Ryan was saying. I love that. You know, I don’t, I don’t mean that I didn’t love having a team and having those people around me and everything, but I just love the. The freedom and I feel like it’s healthy for not everybody, but for a lot of people it’s a healthy way to navigate a very, you know, changing world all the time. And as somebody who is more or less, you know kind of. Muted themself on social media and Facebook groups and Twitter and all that sort of stuff, I’ve just found such a lovely balance of in life, of having small communities like just just us. And you know, I have probably outside of tech, I’ve probably got like 5 actual friends. And then I’ve got my family. So just I just love these. Little small units that are very, very supportive and very, very authentic and very, very loving. And so if I was going to give any final thoughts to anybody in 2024 who’s stressed out. Or. Or worried about the year ahead is like the vendor, I think. I think you said the vendor stay away from drama. So remember, you’re just one human. You can only put, you can only affect the drama that comes to you in in the scale that that one human can do and find small author. Sick voices groups, friends who are genuinely supportive of you, and you can genuinely support back. That would be my mantra for 2024 and make hay while the sun shines and avoid the drama.

Thank you, Paul.

And I kind of want to wrap it up by saying, first of all, thank you to each one of you. The Sock group is a big deal. It makes a big difference. You know, it’s, it’s funny. I kind of reflect back on 400 episodes, and the people I’ve met, the people I’ve become friends with, the people I’ve touched, the people I’ve shared ideas with, the business that’s come out of, it’s been a really, really interesting journey. And anybody who hasn’t tried. Podcasting, both Paul and I and I’m in Ryan comes on monthly with me and Todd dabbled a little bit. Even the vendors dabbled. You should try it and see if it’s a medium that kind of works for you. It’s not for everybody, I’ll say. UM and then I find would like the vendor. I’m starting to write a little more. So when I started podcasting I. Took podcasting insert, podcasting, remove bogging. I did that quite freely, and now I’m starting to write a couple paragraphs. Short tips here and there. More than that, and I think our problem is we all stopped blogging and started throwing our thoughts on social media on acts Twitter. On Facebook and frankly, if I had my way, I’d spend no time on Facebook, but that’s another story. So. I’ve kind of pivoted that way. I just want to wrap this up by saying thanks very much and thanks to everybody who’s enjoyed the show. It’s been a journey and much appreciated and have a great day everybody. And that’s 400 in the books. So thanks so much.

Congratulations. Well done, man.

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