Making a living with
                        WordPress in 2009
                            Peter Flaschner (@flashlight)
 ...
#WCT09
                        #WPbucks


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Introductions



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Lucia Mancuso



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Peter Flaschner



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Blog Studio



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Founded in April
                             2004


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Observed an
                   opportunity to reach
                     a global market


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Grew from just me to
                 5 full time people in
                  6 months with no
                funding, no...
Worked in-house
                    (literally) for about a
                              year.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Went virtual for a
                        couple of years


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Moved into our
                        current office a year
                                ago


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Clients include
                  Turner Broadcasting
                         Unicef
                  The US political r...
Positioned ourselves
                  as a high end shop
                and concentrated our
                 expertise ...
Specialize WordPress
                   and Expression
                        Engine


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Team
                    • project manager
                    • creative director
                    • senior developer
...
Market History



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Couple of things to
                            consider:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
1. Growth of supply
                               side


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
2004 there were
                  about 10 companies
                     IN THE WORLD
                      doing busines...
SXSW 06
                          “How to make
                         money with your
                        blog desig...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
2. Growth of demand
                        side


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Growth of
                        blogosphere


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
2M blogs in April 2004

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
State of the Blogosphere / 2008



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
3. Growth of our
                           capabilities


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Increased
                sophistication of blog
                        CMSs


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
+
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Move towards
                     standards-based
                    websites (away from
                           flash...
=
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Blog designers were
                 really well positioned
                  to do general web
                         d...
In other words:
                         bigger projects
                                &
                        more op...
4. Introduction of
                   viable “off the shelf”
                        site solutions


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Good looking, well
                         designed and put
                         together, easy to
                  ...
5. Fall 2008 market
                                crash


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Clients looking to cut
                          costs


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So:



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
What does the
                        market look like
                            now?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Shaky AND
                         Promising


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
While $$ is tight,
                  smart companies are
                   investing on online


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Clients KNOW they
                         need to be in this
                               space


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Clients are less
                        willing to take risks


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
There are lots of
                        ways for clients to
                           get a site


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Off the shelf



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Premium off the shelf



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Semi custom



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Full custom



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Local designer/
                          developer


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
“Off-shore”



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Job board (elance)



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Given all of the
                   above, how can we
                  blog designers make
                        a livi...
We’re going to take
                           a look at 10
                            strategies:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
1. Full service



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
• Strategy          • project
                                          management
                    • IA
              ...
Pro:
                        Can land larger
                           projects


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro:
                         Work on fewer
                        projects at a time


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro:
                Can exercise passion
                  for social media,
                     marketing,
            ...
Pro:
                           Can charge a
                        premium for single
                         point of ...
Con:
                        Overhead


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con:
                   Requires dedicated
                  project management


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con:
                          Risk that a single
                        large client doesn’t
                           ...
Con:
                        Give up some
                          flexibility


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
2. Develop premium
                         themes


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro:
                   Work once, get paid
                    while you sleep


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro:
                        No clients!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro:
                        Did I say get paid
                        while you sleep?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con:
                        Support


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con:
                        Legality


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con:
                 Prices are coming
                  WAYYYYY down.
                Competition is global

Tuesday, Ma...
3. Develop premium
                         plugins


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
There’s a lot of room
                   in the marketplace
                      for supported
                         p...
Pro: the whole
                        getting paid while
                         you sleep thing


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: support &
                           legality


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: upgrades and
                             updates


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
4. Streamline your
                            operations


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Create base themes



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Organize your code
                        library. Snippets are
                             your friend.


Tuesday, May ...
Pro: efficiency &
                            margins


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: takes time to
                         actually organize


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
5. Specialize in
                    customizing existing
                          themes


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: MASSIVE market



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: Incredibly easy
                            to get work


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: clients don’t
                        want to pay very
                              much


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: Client
                    expectations remain
                     very high, despite
                          low ...
6. Do quick and dirty
                  design/development
                      (high volume)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: lots of work out
                            there


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro AND Con: very
                low touch/low service


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro AND Con: Very
                         form-based client
                          communication


Tuesday, May 12, 20...
Con: Low satisfaction
                   client/supplier
                     relationship


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: Client
                 expectations need to
                   be aggressively
                      managed.

Tuesd...
7. Offer specialized
                              service


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just developer



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just designer



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just plugin
                        developer


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just project manager



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just sales



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: specialists can
                         usually charge a
                             premium


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: you’d better
                        like what you do


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: really
                        dependent on your
                            partners


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
8. Go super niche



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Just build sites for
                   basket weaving tulip
                         farmers


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Consider if you can
                         reach your super-
                               niche


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Trade journals, trade
                    sites, conferences,
                             etc


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: captive market



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: reuse hard-won
                         knowledge


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: reuse strategy/
                         components/etc


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: limited niche
                               size


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: sensitive to
                          competition


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
9. Offer additional
                             services


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hosting



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Email marketing



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Social Media strategy



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Training



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Server maintenance



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
SEO



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: can generate
                        ongoing revenue


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: You have to
                        know what you’re
                             doing


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
10. Explore other
                         platforms (less
                          competition)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Expression Engine



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Joomla



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Drupal



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Yadda yadda yadda



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Pro: less competition



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Con: learning curve



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Our hard won advice



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Think beta



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Trust your instinct



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Learn which projects
                         to avoid


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Good, Cheap, Quick:
                      pick two


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Charge for your time
                       (all of it)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Get your link on the
                         footer of the sites
                            you launch.


Tuesday, May 1...
Consider your
                   qualifications, your
                 time, your safety-net,
                        and ...
Be willing to work
                           your ass off


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In conclusion



Tuesday, May 12, 2009
There’s a place for
                         everyone in the
                             market


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Figure out what
                        you’re passionate
                         about and do it


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Consider your client’s
                   needs, and be
                 respectful of their
                  time and mo...
Let’s raise the caliber
                       for everyone


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