Today I finished my WP Elevation Blueprint course and Davinder Singh Kainth asked me if I wanted to share some of my experiences. I am glad to be able to and hope it is of any value for you all.
Thanks David for asking me to write this review
Over the years my business has changed a lot. From 1993 until the so-called financial crisis my business was mainly build around consulting in print workflows. Besides consulting I developed prepress workflow management solutions in FileMaker Pro and was a frequently asked speaker/moderator at various national and international seminars/conferences. With my technical background I have always kept a close relation with ‘digital developments’ in the publishing playing field and WordPress already came along in its beginning days after my friend Ronald Borghardt asked me to have a look at it. Since then a lot has changed. WordPress was for me (before the crisis) just my preferred tool to make my own website. After the crisis it became both a publishing tool for a couple of on-line publications I run and simultaneously my ‘development toolbox’ to sell online marketing solutions.
Refocus myself in a competing new business
As a ‘workflow technician’ in print, I had to change my market focus to become ‘someone’ in online. Would I be the technical developer, would I be the consultant I was, would I be the online marketeer? Among others, I did not know, but was able (sort of) to earn my money. And yes because of my network I was able to shift around in many other markets. But no clear goal, no clear focus on how and what. I was just doing something.
About two months ago I decided to make the WPE journey. After hearing so many good references (especially from Dirkje Evers), I stepped into the WP Elevation Blueprint course. At the same time also René Spijker (who I know for some decades) stepped in and we agreed to be each other’s accountability partners. That was a great way to work.
We all know that business models change rapidly in the online marketing playing field. Also technology around WordPress becomes more and more professional to really make higher end CMS solutions, moving a bit away from ‘just’ posts and pages. No, that does not mean that WPE is just aimed at the higher end of the market. For any market you learn a stable method starting from your fist contact with a possible client until you finish the project and take care of that customer with maintenance plan and within that model the possible recurring revenues and referrals.
Not, it is not that expensive. Even if you are selling ‘one-day-ready-websites’ for 650 dollars (yes that model is there and people make money with it). If you would be able to lift up your price just 225 dollars, you would have earned your money back after 7 or 8 projects. On the WPE Facebook group I have seen so many wonderful approved proposals, where the money invested (not costs) by the potential customer did not play the major role anymore in the process of getting the job. You learn to be more professional in your communication with the customer. That makes a huge difference. No, not the lists of plug-ins you use, but explaining the process steps, the individual workflows, the planned conversions with the customer during all these steps, starting right away after your first contact.
That professional approach makes the difference. And within WPE you learn to make that flow your own. So not so now and the, but always, every minute of the day, in every e-mail you send, in every reply you give. Be clear in the ‘what and how’ you start working together and learn how and when to say ‘no’.
A better consultant
You won’t become a better developer, your skill set is still yours to do and that determines where you can play which role(s) in which market(s). But within that position WPE helps you to get a better consultant. And that was the biggest surprise to me. I had always been a great consultant in the printing industry. After the crisis I told myself that consulting was finished. I could not make my living anymore and had to find something else. Now I know I made the wrong image of consulting. Consulting was not gone, the market in which I was doing it, was gone (at least for me). After WPE I rediscovered that consulting is still there, but done in a different way and paid in a different way. For me the most valuable experience in WPE was regaining the trust in myself as being a great consultant again. Yes in a different market place, with different products and services. I like to thank the whole WPE team and everyone one in the forum and facebook group, and sharing knowledge and experiences which go ‘way above’ technology.