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Learn from my mistakes, don't make them: The Business of WordPress - talk given at WordCamp Europe 2013
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Learn from my mistakes, don't make them: The Business of WordPress - talk given at WordCamp Europe 2013


In this talk, I discuss the issues I've faced and mistakes I've made throughout my seven years of running a WordPress-focused agency. This talk was given at WordCamp Europe 2013.

In this talk, I discuss the issues I've faced and mistakes I've made throughout my seven years of running a WordPress-focused agency. This talk was given at WordCamp Europe 2013.

Published in Business , Technology
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  • A bit about me and illuminea – how I got started in business and WP
  • A few pics of Jerusalem, including my baby at the last WordCamp J
  • With all due respect to WP, the whole running after projects that start and end is time consuming, and means you don’t know what’s happening next month. We realized after a few years of doing that, that it was too stressful.So we came up with additional and ongoing services to offer your clients. Maintenance, hosting, support, reporting.
  • Recurring: SEO, hosting, maintenance
  • Ask audience for some things that make the ideal client
  • Sharing updated contacts with teamTracking leads and opportunitiesRunning reports on what type of projects you are signing most, revenue, etc.Syncing with targeted mailing lists in order to
  • Stay in touch with past clients. Because the nature of our businesses are once-off, the end of a project can easily mean the end of the relationship! Start today to start gathering data.
  • Hiring
  • You may not think you’ll ever reach the stage where you want to spend money, but you will (God willing). And it sneaks up on you.Hiring is one of the riskiest things you will do.So start collecting talent today. Meet someone good? Write their details down and store them for the day you need to grow your team.
  • Freelancers are uber-important. They are your elasticity.Cloud servers - they’re all about increasing your resources when you need them, shrinking when you don’t. That’s where amazing freelancers can help you out.Keep a good database of freelancers you can turn to when you need a few more hours of someone’s time, temporarily, but don’t need to hire. If you can create an ongoing relationship with freelancers, it’s win-win. They know they can expect work from you, and you have somewhere to turn when in need.


  • 1. Learn from my mistakes! The Business of WordPress Miriam Schwab WordCamp Europe 2013 (Yay!) WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 2. 5 7 3 100 Continents with clients Years in the WP biz WordCamps organized WP sites built WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 3. Here’s my gang
  • 4. 1. Diversify your services WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 5. Us, looking for new projects. WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 6. Projects vs. Recurring 45000 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 Recurring 15000 Project 10000 5000 0 WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 7. The Zen of Recurring Revenue WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 8. Breakdown of services today Courses/consulting 10% Digital Mktg. 10% WP Hosting/Maintenance 10% WordPress sites 70%
  • 9. Goal breakdown of services Courses/consulting 10% Digital Mktg. 20% WP Hosting/Maintenance 30% WordPress sites 40%
  • 10. 2. Much ado about clients & chemistry WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 11. Who is your ideal client? Budget Industry Timeline Referral Mentsch? WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 12. Same conditions… Client 1 Client 2 Industry Tech Tech Project Manager X X Type of project Theme + custom design Theme + custom design Designer Theirs Theirs Developer Y Y WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 13. Results: Client 1 WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 14. Results: Client 2 “Grumble, grumble, yo u provide bad service, we don’t like you. Grrrrrrr.” WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 15. Conclusion: we can only do our best. (So go have a cuppa.) WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 16. 3. CRM. Now. WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 17. Global Workforce: 3.4 billion (IDC)
  • 18. Using CRM: 15 million (SugarCRM)
  • 19. CRM Penetration: 0.5% (ReadWriteWeb)
  • 20. Forrester CRM Study Q3 2012 44% Using CRM 56% No CRM
  • 21. Why so serious WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 22. Why so serious CRM? WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 23. CRM Options WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 24. Zoho CRM WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 25. 4. Be prepared for growth WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 26. Hiring What you are looking for • Experience • Portfolio • Personality • References • Test them! What they are looking for • Compensation • Respect • Opportunity to learn • Flexibility • Passion WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 27. Collect Freelance Talent WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 28. You might be fired. WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 29. 5. Finding your price. WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 30. Open Source means it’s free, so why do you cost so much?
  • 31. I read that WP is easy, so can’t you just add this feature?
  • 32. You will always cost more, and less, than others
  • 33. x = number of billable hours per month = 60% of available work hours y = overall overhead per month (salary, taxes, rent, office expenses) z = profit goals a = hourly rate (y + z) / x = a WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 34. Differentiate yourself • • • • • Service Skills Holistic Give Social media • • • • Teach Organize Publish Wow them WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 35. 6. Do not live by data alone WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 36. WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 37. Miriam Schwab Learn more about illuminea at THANKS! WordCamp Europe 2013
  • 38. Credits Photos • Church of All Nations – Wikipedia • Western Wall – Wikipedia • Armenian Quarter – Jaime.Silva, Flickr • Southpark image – Southpark downloads • Running guys in black and white – New Old Stock • Sunset – Unsplash • The Aussie Troops – Flickr Links • IDC report on CRM • SugarCRM data on usage • ReadWrite web on CRM WordCamp Europe 2013