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Just Another WordPress Designer/Developer - WordCamp Maine

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Some of the things I’ve learned in 14 years as an independent designer/developer about being in business and staying in business, including:
• Why most designers/developers don’t make it
• Identifying the appropriate market to pursue
• Pricing levels and strategies
• Differentiating yourself
• Business rules that can keep you in business

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Just Another WordPress Designer/Developer - WordCamp Maine

  1. 1. Just another WordPress designer or developer Surviving&Thriving as a Designer or Developer in a Saturated Labor Market
  2. 2. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 2 Ray Gulick principal/creativedirector/designer/developer/trashemptier Evolution Web Development, LLC Santa Fe, New Mexico www.evowebdev.com @evoweb #wcme14
  3. 3. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 3 Most independent designers&developers don’t make it.*† *more than 80% of independent designers and developers will take a full-time job within a year †most of what we’ll be talking about applies to freelancers (people who sell their time rather than a product)
  4. 4. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 4 Some things go without saying.* 1. You need solid skills. And people you can call on when you need additional expertise. 2. You need to care about your clients and do what’s in their best interests. 3. You need good business sense, and the business aspect has to appeal to you. 4. You need a self-disciplined work ethic. *I won’t be saying any more about these.
  5. 5. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 5 Why most independent designers and developers don’t make it.
  6. 6. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 6 1. They don’t figure out what they have to offer that’s unique or superior, and of value to their market.
  7. 7. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 7 2. They fail to recognize differences in markets and/or don’t figure out which market they should pursue.
  8. 8. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 8 3. If they do figure out what they have to offer and what market they want to pursue, they fail to communicate effectively with their market.
  9. 9. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 9 4. They undervalue their work, and don’t get paid adequately.
  10. 10. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 10 What kind of clients do you want?
  11. 11. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 11 Pricing Levels 1. Cheap: everybody likes cheap, right? 2. Going Rate: what most people in your market charge for a service. 3. Premium: above going rate, infers better quality or service
  12. 12. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 12 Sustainable Pricing “Sustainable pricing is a level of pricing that allows you to survive as an independent designer or developer working 120-200 hours per month.” * More simply stated, sustainable pricing allows you to stay in business. *totally made-up definition, but close to reality It’s OK...really!
  13. 13. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 13 You cannot afford to work at an unsustainable rate. • Money issues: you can’t pay your bills • Reputation as“cheap” prevents you from getting better clients • Money issues: you make desperate, bad decisions (business and personal) • Did I mention money issues?
  14. 14. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 14 Pricing Strategies 1. Cheapest: we’ll make it up in volume, or we’ll bump up our prices later 2. Flexible: let’s make a deal 3. Price List: published costs for services 4. Hourly Rate: multiply hours x $ 5. Quote/Formal Proposal: pricing based on a defined Scope of Work (SOW)
  15. 15. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 15 Your pricing strategy must match your market. Personal Bloggers Established Business Government Agency Price List or Proposal Quote/Formal Proposal Cheapest There is a prevailing successful strategy (and price level) for each market.
  16. 16. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 16 What is your special purpose?* Superior Coding/Programming Do you offer solutions that solve problems or simplify processes, or make your customers more efficient? Superior Design Do you offer creative, original visual design that enhances user experience? *what you offer that’s unique or superior, and of value to your market
  17. 17. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 17 Your special purpose? Marketing Expertise Do you offer experience and expertise with web-based marketing, and create websites that enhance online marketing efforts? Social Media Expertise Do you offer expertise in building/managing an online footprint with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, etc.?
  18. 18. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 18 Your special purpose? Content Expertise Do you offer web-focused content services, such as writing, photography, illustration, or video production? Industry Experience Do you have specific industry knowledge or experience that allows you to bring value to a vertical market?
  19. 19. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 19 Getting the word out (aka marketing) 1. Get your elevator pitch together. 2. Get serious about social media activity. 3. Mingle with your market (meetups, conferences, etc.). 4. Build relationships with clients and industry contacts. 5. Find a collaborator with complementary skills.
  20. 20. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 20 6. Pursue speaking opportunities where your market is present. 7. Do pro bono work for worthy cause (how is this different than working cheap?) 8. Get testimonials and use them. 9. Write case studies about happy clients (use on website; press releases; etc). 10. Ask for referrals from happy clients. More marketing...
  21. 21. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 21 Make some business rules that help keep you in business. It’s up to you to protect your business (and yourself) by defining how you do business. “Whatever the customer wants”is a dangerous and miserable way to be in business.
  22. 22. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 22 Only do business with businesses and professional organizations, and sometimes with non-profits, if they don’t expect me to be a non-profit. EvoRule #1
  23. 23. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 23 EvoRule #2 Don’t do maintenance or“fixes” for websites Evo hasn’t developed, unless it’s a short-term fix to allow a client to“get by”until Evo can implement their new website.
  24. 24. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 24 EvoRule #3 Always prepare a scope of work and estimate based on the scope; include expected payment schedule and timeline.
  25. 25. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 25 EvoRule #4 Following acceptance of Scope of Work and estimate, begin work on mockup. Approval of mockup allows build to start.
  26. 26. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 26 EvoRule #5 Get payment up-front of at least 25% (33% for sites under $3000), due immediately on receipt of the invoice.
  27. 27. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 27 EvoRule #6 If a website is completely designed and coded, awaiting only content for launch, Evo can bill the final invoice.
  28. 28. WordCamp Maine 2014 | Ray Gulick, Evo 28 Questions/Discussion?

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