Making a living with WordPress in 2009

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Slides from a presentation given at WordCamp Toronto in May 2009. Subject is "Making a living with WordPress in 2009".

The intended audience is designers and developers working with, or interested in working with WordPress.

The tips and advice come from our 5 years experience in doing things the hard way ;)

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Making a living with WordPress in 2009

  1. Making a living with WordPress in 2009 Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) Lucia Mancuso (@lulula) The Blog Studio (@theblogstudio) design & development for the social web Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  2. #WCT09 #WPbucks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  3. Introductions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  4. Lucia Mancuso Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  5. Peter Flaschner Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  6. The Blog Studio Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  7. Founded in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  8. Observed an opportunity to reach a global market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  9. Grew from just me to 5 full time people in 6 months with no funding, no debt (but also no profit) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  10. Worked in-house (literally) for about a year. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  11. Went virtual for a couple of years Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  12. Moved into our current office a year ago Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  13. Clients include Turner Broadcasting Unicef The US political right + over 100 more Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  14. Positioned ourselves as a high end shop and concentrated our expertise on project management and service. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  15. Specialize WordPress and Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  16. Team • project manager • creative director • senior developer • front-end developer • regular freelance designers • regular freelance developers • p/t book-keeper/finance guy • p/t PR Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  17. Market History Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  18. Couple of things to consider: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  19. 1. Growth of supply side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  20. 2004 there were about 10 companies IN THE WORLD doing business oriented blog design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  21. SXSW 06 “How to make money with your blog design skills” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  22. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  23. 2. Growth of demand side Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  24. Growth of blogosphere Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  25. 2M blogs in April 2004 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  26. State of the Blogosphere / 2008 Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  27. 3. Growth of our capabilities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  28. Increased sophistication of blog CMSs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  29. + Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  30. Move towards standards-based websites (away from flash) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  31. = Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  32. Blog designers were really well positioned to do general web design Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  33. In other words: bigger projects & more opportunities Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  34. 4. Introduction of viable “off the shelf” site solutions Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  35. Good looking, well designed and put together, easy to customize via back- end Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  36. 5. Fall 2008 market crash Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  37. Clients looking to cut costs Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  38. So: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  39. What does the market look like now? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  40. Shaky AND Promising Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  41. While $$ is tight, smart companies are investing on online Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  42. Clients KNOW they need to be in this space Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  43. Clients are less willing to take risks Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  44. There are lots of ways for clients to get a site Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  45. Off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  46. Premium off the shelf Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  47. Semi custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  48. Full custom Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  49. Local designer/ developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  50. “Off-shore” Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  51. Job board (elance) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  52. Given all of the above, how can we blog designers make a living? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  53. We’re going to take a look at 10 strategies: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  54. 1. Full service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  55. • Strategy • project management • IA • training • UI design • documentation • development • maintenance • CMS integration Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  56. Pro: Can land larger projects Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  57. Pro: Work on fewer projects at a time Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  58. Pro: Can exercise passion for social media, marketing, communications, design, development, etc etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  59. Pro: Can charge a premium for single point of contact Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  60. Con: Overhead Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  61. Con: Requires dedicated project management Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  62. Con: Risk that a single large client doesn’t pay Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  63. Con: Give up some flexibility Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  64. 2. Develop premium themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  65. Pro: Work once, get paid while you sleep Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  66. Pro: No clients! Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  67. Pro: Did I say get paid while you sleep? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  68. Con: Support Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  69. Con: Legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  70. Con: Prices are coming WAYYYYY down. Competition is global Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  71. 3. Develop premium plugins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  72. There’s a lot of room in the marketplace for supported plugins . Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  73. Pro: the whole getting paid while you sleep thing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  74. Con: support & legality Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  75. Con: upgrades and updates Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  76. 4. Streamline your operations Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  77. Create base themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  78. Organize your code library. Snippets are your friend. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  79. Pro: efficiency & margins Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  80. Con: takes time to actually organize Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  81. 5. Specialize in customizing existing themes Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  82. Pro: MASSIVE market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  83. Pro: Incredibly easy to get work Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  84. Con: clients don’t want to pay very much Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  85. Con: Client expectations remain very high, despite low cost Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  86. 6. Do quick and dirty design/development (high volume) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  87. Pro: lots of work out there Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  88. Pro AND Con: very low touch/low service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  89. Pro AND Con: Very form-based client communication Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  90. Con: Low satisfaction client/supplier relationship Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  91. Con: Client expectations need to be aggressively managed. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  92. 7. Offer specialized service Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  93. Just developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  94. Just designer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  95. Just plugin developer Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  96. Just project manager Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  97. Just sales Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  98. Pro: specialists can usually charge a premium Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  99. Con: you’d better like what you do Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  100. Con: really dependent on your partners Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  101. 8. Go super niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  102. Just build sites for basket weaving tulip farmers Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  103. Consider if you can reach your super- niche Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  104. Trade journals, trade sites, conferences, etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  105. Pro: captive market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  106. Pro: reuse hard-won knowledge Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  107. Pro: reuse strategy/ components/etc Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  108. Con: limited niche size Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  109. Con: sensitive to competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  110. 9. Offer additional services Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  111. Hosting Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  112. Email marketing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  113. Social Media strategy Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  114. Training Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  115. Server maintenance Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  116. SEO Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  117. Pro: can generate ongoing revenue Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  118. Con: You have to know what you’re doing Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  119. 10. Explore other platforms (less competition) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  120. Expression Engine Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  121. Joomla Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  122. Drupal Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  123. Yadda yadda yadda Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  124. Pro: less competition Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  125. Con: learning curve Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  126. Our hard won advice Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  127. Think beta Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  128. Trust your instinct Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  129. Learn which projects to avoid Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  130. Good, Cheap, Quick: pick two Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  131. Charge for your time (all of it) Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  132. Get your link on the footer of the sites you launch. Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  133. Consider your qualifications, your time, your safety-net, and most importantly, what are you passionate about? Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  134. Be willing to work your ass off Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  135. In conclusion Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  136. There’s a place for everyone in the market Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  137. Figure out what you’re passionate about and do it Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  138. Consider your client’s needs, and be respectful of their time and money Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  139. Let’s raise the caliber for everyone Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  140. Thanks! Peter Flaschner (@flashlight) Lucia Mancuso (@lulula) The Blog Studio (@theblogstudio) www.theblogstudio.com Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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