143 – Only doing what you’re good at

In this episode:

Discussion – Only doing what you’re good at

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So we all build websites… we do don’t we? Perhaps we don’t perhaps we’re just involved with WordPress as a marketing expert, or a graphic designer. WordPress is useful to a whole slew of different job types which is great, but can also be a burden.

What I mean by that is that there are so many hats that you can wear in the WordPress space, so many jobs that are needed to get a website up, running and maintained, that it can be hard to keep up. No, I’m going to amend that last sentence, it’s impossible to keep up. I’ll wager a tiny amount of money that there is nobody out there who is great at ALL of the following jobs:

  • Branding expert
  • Communicator – project manager / sales / marketing
  • Copywriter
  • UX or UI specialist
  • SEO specialist
  • Digital Marketing Expert (funnels, A/B testing and analysing)
  • Photographer / Graphic Artist
  • Backend (PHP) developer
  • Frontend (HTML/CSS) developer
  • Javascript developer

Mmm… you see what I mean? But this is the range of skills that it would be desirable to have to be really great WordPress website freelancer.

Of course, I’m being unrealistic! There is no way that you can do all of those things at the same time, but I’m sure that at some point in your website building journey you’ve had a go at almost all of them? You have, haven’t you? You’ve felt the pressure to say yes to projects that you knew contained elements of work that you were not comfortable with. You agreed to do a little photography on the side, because, well… how hard can it be? That little bit of Javascript to get that div to reveal when that button is clicked… how hard could that be?

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Why do we do this? Why do we take on work that we are not comfortable doing?

  • Maybe we want to make sure that the rarified work comes to us and so promising to do all-the-things ensures that the entire budget is ours to keep
  • Perhaps we don’t want to look like that person who does not know how to do something, when it appears that all the people around us can do all-the-things
  • What about the fact that it’s good to learn new skills and this project would be just the way to do that
  • 100 other reasons that I’m sure that you can come up with

There are so many times when I’ve fallen into the trap of taking on work that I could not do at the time that I accepted it. Sometimes this was fine and at other times it was a complete disaster. I’ve had more sleepless nights relating to my inability to be able to execute on promises than I care to remember.

A possible solution might be to surround yourself with a bunch of talented people. People who are really expert at a small range of things, you could farm out the work to them as and when it comes your way and hope that they will reciprocate in turn.

In some kind of idealistic world you would find these people, you would get on with them, they would share equally with you as you with them and your work would never dry up. ALL of this being true, I think that the following would happen:

  • You would collectively produce better work
  • There would be less combined stress
  • You would have to work less hours
  • Your clients would be happier
  • You would get more work because of the quality of your portfolio

You might have spotted that this plan has a name, it’s an agency. Any agency owners (or freelance collectives) will be able to tell you the the five bullet points above are almost certainly not going to be achieved, in fact you’d be doing great to have three of them going at the same time!

Still we’ve got to try right?

Maybe not, maybe it’s okay to try to do all-the-things. Know you limits and only do work that you can do, or you know that is not going to keep you awake too many nights learning. In fact learning is one of the best parts of this work. New things all the time, nothing stands still!

David talks about the Dunning-Kruger Effect – the psychological term referring to people who simply don’t know that they’re not that good at something and just assume that they are.

Perhaps we should all just get a healthy does of that and bluff our way through our next WordPress website project. Far more fun, and who needs sleep anyway?

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Now welcome your host David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there and welcome to the WP builds podcast. This is episode number 143 and titled only doing what you're good at. It was published on Thursday the 29th of August, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co..uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I will be joined a little bit later by David Waumsley because we will be doing our discussion all about doing what you're good at or I don't know if you notice but we sort of cycle through often. We do I guess one week and interview if you like and then David and I have a discussion the following weekend and so it goes just a few things before we begin. If we could encourage you to go over to the WP Builds.com website where you'll find information about everything that we do. We've got a menu at the top and the first link I'd like to suggest that you look at is the subscribe link.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:11 If you click on subscribe, you'll be able to get onto our newsletter. We've got two of them want to alert you about the podcasts and the news that we put out every Monday and one all about deals. If we find a WordPress deal, we'll let you know about it right away. You can subscribe on your favorite podcast player there and join our Facebook group of 2,200 word pressers and we've also got links to our youtube channel where we post everything as well. The next one I'd like to mention is WP builds.com forward slash deals over there you'll find, well it's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week there's a whole ton of WordPress deals, coupon codes for percentages off, all sorts of different things. Absolutely loads of them. It's growing and growing, so go check that out if you're in the market for a particular plugin or possibly theme, and also WP builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like to advertise on WP builds a little bit like the page builder framework have done.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:06 Do you use a page builder to create your websites or the page builder framework is a mobile responsive and lightning fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder, elemental breezy, and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. Go to WP dash page builder framework.com today and we do thank the page builder framework for supporting the WP builds podcast. Okay, let's get stuck into today's episode. It's all about only doing what you're good at. I think we've all been there before. We've, we know that as WordPress freelancers, we've got hundreds of different hats that we can wear. We could be a branding experts, a copywriter, a UX person. SEO is important. Getting the right photographs, being able to use PHP and all the other languages that we might need. How do we manage it all?

Nathan Wrigley: 03:00 What's the best way for coping with this? Are we the kind of person that always says yes to projects? Even though that we know that half of the things that we need to be able to do would be better done by somebody else? Or are we good at farming this workout? Do we like learning new things or do we keep ourselves awake at night worrying about the things that we've taken on? Not Suggesting we've got the answers, but it's a nice chat with David and I. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it.

David Waumsley: 03:24 Today's discussion, we're calling only doing what you're good at. Nathan, you started this one. This is something you wanted to talk about, so do you want to explain what the title means? Really that I suppose it comes from the point of view that the job that we do is not really one job where if as a freelance at anywhere, we're trying to do a multitude of tasks even though you may not write them all down and think about them.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:51 We've written a list out, which will and no doubt come to in a few minutes, but the, it's quite long. You know, there's quite a lot of things involved in being a freelancer and even if you're working in an agency, I'm sure that from time to time you'll be asked to do something which isn't necessarily what's written on the a, the job description and um, and it's born out of the frustration over many years of realizing that there are a whole bunch of things that are, that are not my area of expertise should we say things that I'm really not that great at. And yet I often find it difficult whether from an economic point of view, you know, because I want to ensure that, um, the bank balance is sufficiently large at the end of the month to pay all the bills. I kind of take a lot of these jobs on, even though I know that probably the, the end result would be achieved more quickly and probably a whole lot better if I was to farm it out to somebody.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:47 So really it's a having a discussion about recognizing that we're all limited in our capabilities and I'm trying to work out how we cope with that in our business and whether or not we should be doing everything because that's, that's better for the bank balance or whether we should be farming things out and growing a network of people around us who we can, who we can trust to do those things and having the confidence to say, okay, please would you handle this? And I'll give you all the responsibility for it.

David Waumsley: 05:15 Yeah. You know, I'd love to do that. I think circumstances kind of just really set that I have to be this generalist, but I'd love to be able to do more of that. But let's say, should we have a look at the, the list that we, we came up with of all the kind of skills or disciplines plus, I'm sure this list is fairly complex. Not Complicated, comprehensive. That's the word I'm after. But I'm sure equally by the time we finished it, you'll be thinking to yourself, the listeners that uh, well you missed this out and you miss that out. But yeah, go for it. Well, what are some of the things and then we could circle back and talk about some of them in more depth or maybe the beginning perhaps of a project you might need some of branding experts.

David Waumsley: 05:58 Someone who can take someone through the process of you know, what, um, people want to, um, what vision you want to present to people. So that's probably its own skill in itself, which we often do. Um, I've got to skip one that you just added Nathan, cause I think this is a key one. But the next one was, um, copywriters. We sometimes get involved in doing that. UX and UI specialists that I guess that two separate things. Rarely a SEO digital marketing. So funnels a ab test in analyzing there's the graphic artists or photographers, there's the backend that developers, PHP, that kind of thing. Front end html, CSS developers, Java script developers. That's where all this went except for you added one on, which I think is a key one, which is uh, we called communicated didn't we? Somebody who's able to, maybe that's still person. We need to be a sales person.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:54 Yeah. Salesperson for want of a better word. Yeah. And communicate to the, yeah, the ability it comes down to the, the reason I didn't write sales person I think probably was because it could be anything, you know, it could be standing in a room with somebody and just literally shooting the breeze and a sort of confident way. But the ability to communicate your ideas effectively, to talk and to come across as somebody who's, um, confident and capable and also kind of likable all at the same time. Cause I think, I think all of those things are important. And if you were to look at that list of, let's say there was probably about 12 things you rattled off there, every single one of those could be a job description. You know, you could be an SEO specialist and wear that badge and that's all you do every day. A photographer. That could be all that you do every day. Graphic designer again, same thing from and developer, backend developer, um, copywriter. You know, we, we've all heard, oh I know a friend, she's a copywriter. Oh I've got, I've got a colleague who's an SEO specialist. I'll put you in touch with them. And yet as a freelancer to some extent we try to wear all of these hats. And is that true of you? Do you as a generalist, do you try to do most of these if somebody comes to you for a website or d or are there areas where you've clearly figured out now this is, this is well beyond my capability level, I'm going to hand it over to somebody else.

David Waumsley: 08:17 Well truthfully, I mean I guess I am doing all of these roles to a different degree. It, you know, a standard all the way through because like just kind of rest with me, I've really very rarely pass anything off that can I just add in actually that communicated when you think about it, there's another three roles that come under that because we got the project manager, we've got the sales and we've got the marketing and we have to do all of those as well, don't we?

Nathan Wrigley: 08:43 I'm going to add those in. In that case, project manager sales and what was the last one or I've just forgotten already. Marketing. Marketing. Yeah, you're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right. All of those things need to be put under the banner of communicator. So it's enormous. And in my case, I think the, the reason that, well we'll come onto the, the sort of the problems that this creates later, but the reason that I think freelancers get caught in the trap, and I want to make it very clear, I get caught in this trap. I'm not sort of trying to claim that this is me looking from afar claiming that I've, I've kicked the habits, not, not at all. This is me all the time. I am, I get caught in the trap of B Mon not necessarily claiming that I can do all these things, but saying, Oh yes, we, I can do that for you simply because of the, the fact that I just, it comes down to the bank balance. You know, I just want to be able to, if I get a project and I quote for it on the whole, I want to be able to think, okay, that's great.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:48 I've quoted for that and I can rely on that amount of money going into my, um, to my business account, uh, upon completion of it. Um, which is absolutely crackers, you know, that makes absolutely no sense because obviously I could be looking for additional work if I handed on large portions of that project. But also I think this, there's something about, certainly when I started out doing this job, the inability to say no, I had this kind of thought that let's say that five people were pitching for a particular website. I had a thought that, well, they must be able to do all these things. They must be able to do all these things because I'm kind of striving to do them all so they can probably do them all and they can, not only that, they can probably do them better than me. So, you know, it seems like a point of weakness.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:36 If I say, well, we'll, we'll get an SEO company to do the SEO, we'll get a, um, I don't know, uh, a front end developer to do this part of it. And I don't know why I thought that it seems crackers, but that's how it went.

David Waumsley: 10:50 Yeah. Well you, I think you're better than me for this, cause you've always said that you will pass on, uh, sort of graphic work to someone else to do. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:00 Yeah. That, that is the one thing that I, and that was born out, I think of a good circumstance more than anything else in that I had and have, um, a few people around me who I know very well on a personal level, who, who happen to do these jobs incredibly well. So I was able to approach them at the beginning and I had an instant rapport and I could, you know, literally go around for a cup of tea and talk through the project and so on. So that was, that was fabulous. Um, so I wonder if there's some aspect of that in it. You know, if I'd have had to have gone out and burned through three or four different graphic designers until I family finally found the right one, maybe that would have, maybe I would still be trying to do that as well. But it is an area where I think there's a slight difference in that, you know, if you code something badly in html, but it looks the same on the site, nobody's going to know. I mean, you all know, and somebody who is critically taking the site apart, we'll know, you know, good grief. There's 24 nested dibs when they could have done it with one. Um, nobody's gonna no, not really. But graphic design, everybody knows straightaway and it's the same as photography. Everybody knows straight. Wow, you really can't take photographs. Wow, that looks awful. Um, so maybe there's something in there as well. I felt immediately that that might, and I know this to be true still the case, my graphic design skills are akin to that of a cushion I would say.

David Waumsley: 12:36 But do you not get some joy out of doing this? And then I think there's, this has got to be a big definer well, maybe actually I'm going to ask you another question. How do you know what you're good at?

Nathan Wrigley: 12:46 Oh yeah, that's a good point. I don't know. I suppose you make comparisons, don't you look at what other people are doing and you think, yeah, I've, I've done that, I can do that. Um, and yes, you're right, there is a lot of pleasure in doing, I like writing texts, you know, so the copyright a bit. I like doing, I to some extent enjoy doing kind of SEO work. I don't, I don't claim to be an expert at it and no doubt, you know, if you really, really, really need to get to the top of Google, I'm not the person to do that for you necessarily. You know, somebody who's got a very large budget and is able to invest in those things, probably uh, would be better off getting an SEO expert or getting me to get them an SEO expert. But yeah, you're right. I do, I do enjoy most of these tasks. I suppose that's part of it as well.

David Waumsley: 13:31 Yeah. And I think the thing is that you probably are going to be a good judge of whether you're good or bad at something. We were talking about this earlier, it wasn't where it was mentioned in the dunning Kruger effect, this term used in psychology and it's where people who are not particularly good at things don't also have the skills to know that they're not good at them. So you know, I've seen it plenty of times I was talking about, you know, the fact that you can see singers who just cannot pitch a note, but they will believe they are good singers, but they just literally do not know they're not good.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:06 Yes. That's fascinating. I mean really fascinating. I was telling you a story about, I won't, I certainly won't be mentioning any names, but a situation in which I witnessed something. This is going back a few years in, I'm not going to tell you where even just so there's no hint of like guesswork where I watched somebody talking through the website that they built for somebody and it was absolutely obvious they didn't have a clue what they were doing and yet they positioned themselves as an expert. You know, they were in the room to be the experts and they were 100% relying on every member of that room being completely ignorant about any form of web development. And I happen to be in the room as it happens. I kept my mouth tightly shot until they left and then explained to the the people, good grief, you know this, let me just put a different complexion on a lot of this stuff. But it was interesting to be in the presence of somebody who, whether or not they have this dunning Kruger effect as you describe it, or they were just an amazing, in inverted commas, going back to what we mentioned a moment ago, an amazing communicator. I don't know, but that wasn't even the excuse of, well, they're just representing the company. They're not claiming to be that. No, they were absolutely claiming to be everything that they were knowledgeable about everything. So it was, it was, it was remarkable seeing that and they totally got away with it, which is, I always found really interesting. Whereas I would have been, um, I would've had skin crawls just thinking about having to, you know, pretend to be like that.

David Waumsley: 15:50 Yeah. You know, this is the thing, isn't it? I find that clients, you know, if I feel like I've done a really good job on what, who'd be sure if the clients know the difference between a good and a bad job on many things, the ones that you mentioned are not so obvious that the visuals they probably be will get. But then again, there's certain, you know, style and aesthetic that people liked certain preferences. But at the end of the day, it sounds like you're just describing a very good salesperson and perhaps there's one thing that we can't easily get rid of ourselves as a business.

Nathan Wrigley: 16:24 Yeah. I mean that much is clear. He was an amazing sales person. I think that's, that's where I'm, that's where I kind of thought is his role should have ended. You know, I think if he'd have made it clear that he was here to, to be the sales person and, and that he would, um, you know, upon asking their questions, answering their questions, he would, you know, write them all down and go and find out from his team. But he didn't do it that way. He claimed to have the answers to everything. And, and what came out of his mouth was just factually wrong, you know, certifiably nonsense. Um, and I thought that was interesting. But what was also interesting was the fact that he got away with it. He was able to persuade them. And if I hadn't had been in the room, I actually don't know what happened with that project. I have no idea if they listened to me or anything of that nature. But if I had been in the room, they would've, they would have very much felt that, um, that this guy was capable of doing these things. And I don't, I don't even know how he got the project to where it was at that point. Presume, I'm guessing he left the office and then made a lot of telephone calls and got people to do things for him because clearly his role is as marketer, but he was pretending to be a developer, a PHP guy, a graphic designer as SEO, everything all in one.

David Waumsley: 17:38 Yeah. And one these days. I mean, you can jump on so many forums and get help from various different people, you know, so you kinda, you can bluff it. Um, but you know, I mean, I don't want to venture into politics, but it does seem to me that we're living in an era where it's, it's much more like that in a way. You know, it's, um, you know, we've got world leaders who generally we don't necessarily think that the most competent people in the world, but somehow they get voted for because, um, they carry the message. We like, we know their sort of weaknesses if you like, but they seem to talk to us. And I think maybe that's the thing about the communicator, the main may well not by the fact that they're that knowledgeable about what they do, but they just buy into their conviction to it.

Nathan Wrigley: 18:27 Yeah. We were constantly talking about confidence, aren't you? You know, you have confidence in yourself, believe in yourself and all of this, you know, it's, it's quite a, quite a normal thing in the western world I think to kind of, Oh, you know, just, you'll figure it out later. Just be, be brave, be, be ballsy, just go for it and so on and so forth. But um, that's one of the, that those are the moments in my career where I've, I've had the most stress where I've kind of, and I think, I think it can all be summed up in one word, honestly. And I think the word is pride. I was too kind of proud too, you know, sitting in a client meeting and somebody said, okay, we want this time. And honestly, I can't think of any example off the top of my head right now, but, um, we would like this to happen. And I know because I can feel it inside. I'm, what I'm actually thinking is, Oh man, how am I going to do that? And then on the outside pride, I don't know why I sort of say, yeah, I can do that. I can do that. And then having to go away and, and figure it out because I've claimed that it was with something that I was comfortable to do. And luckily in just about all cases figured it out, but the stress that those moments create a horrible, you know, they are the proper late night. It's not working. You know, you, you wake up, your wife, in my case, my wife wakes up the next morning and I've clearly not had any sleep. And you know, did you figure it out? No, I still haven't figured out. Oh No, this is horrible. Those are have been moments that I could have avoided simply by saying, yeah, um, I don't know how to do that, but I'll, uh, I'll, I'll find, I'll find somebody that can and I'll get right back to you and we'll, we'll tell you how we're going to go about doing that.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:14 And, and I've learnt those lessons the hard way and in my case, rather than that propelling me to find a whole bunch of people around me who could make up a great team, what I've done instead. Um, I think probably the same is true for you is that I've, I've sort of shrunk back from that a little bit and just limited the scope of what I want to take on so that the tasks that I do are more within my comfort zone. And if they're not in my comfort zone, they're not miles out of it. I just, I know that with a bit of study I can figure it out.

David Waumsley: 20:49 Yeah, absolutely. And I've done the same as you. One of the first jobs that I took on because I didn't, I wasn't aware of something that they had mentioned earlier. I said, yeah, I can do all of what's needed. But there was just one sort of detail which are not thought about. And that was it. It was, you know, over a week of sleepless nights trying to work out how I was going to get round this one. And I, you know, just didn't, it didn't even occur to me to just sort of hold my hands up at the time and just say, you know, this is beyond my ability.

Nathan Wrigley: 21:16 So, um, but maturation thing, do you think that's a, you know, as you get older you unclearly that's nonsense. Some people at the age of five, we'll figure that stuff out. But in my case, I think it was a mixture of maturity and also, um, the, the, the capability for me to actually admit to not only myself, but to other people that I don't know how to do these 12 different tasks that we've listed out, but I can find a person that can, and nobody thinks that's weird.

David Waumsley: 21:50 Yeah, I know. I think it, I don't think it's maturity. Well maybe if confidence comes with maturity because you know, the, the period I'm talking about is not that many years ago and I'm, you know, getting on a bit. So, you know, it shouldn't be maturity. I think it's literally the fact that, and what's happened since then is that I've grown in confidence and so now I feel happier to say I can't do this because I feel like I've got, you know, I've done enough jobs or behind me to know that I'm, I am fairly okay at what I do. And I think that the made a big difference.

Nathan Wrigley: 22:24 Yeah. Yeah. Thinking about it as well, maybe that's the point. Maybe the maturity isn't some sort of internal mechanism dealing with my own pride. Maybe it's that I've just done enough jobs to know where my strengths are. And although I've never written out this list before of jobs, I some sort of on some sort of anecdotal level, I know, which are my areas of expertise. And so I've, I've now figured out what I can get away with and which, and also I've become better at kind of guiding the conversation I think a little bit, you know, in meetings, kind of working out ways of letting the, the client go off in random tangents, which is ultimately going to go down blind alleys and steering the conversation to what I know, um, is, is likely to be the best outcome just because I've tried so many things and failed and had clients that made me do things and I agreed to it and it was really obvious that it was a complete waste of time and nobody should have done it in the first place. And I've probably become better at that.

David Waumsley: 23:23 Yes, absolutely. You know, it's just reminded me of some project that I, I mentioned before to you that I've gotten the bond sort of detail of that is that, um, it's coming to me from somebody else and they want certain things to happen, but they're not absolutely clear on what it is, but they've got an idea and can I do it? Uh, but what's happened, I've read some of the emails and they, they refer to me as the developer. So I've really, and I now have the confidence to say, you refer to me as developer. I really am not in the true sense what I can do for you. And that just explained the process really. I've got tools out there that help me to bluff it as a developer and I know how to manipulate them enough. But if it needs more than, you know, we can get somebody in and I can do that for you.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:13 Do you actually say it in quite so an affirmative way? Do you, do you use the word bluff? You know, I'm bluffing it or do you,

Speaker 3: 24:22 yeah, I think I, I write things a bit more carefully than that, but I'm just, you know, what I'm saying is I use tools and the know how to use them and it allows us at a great saving to them to do more because we're really just using stuff that's common to most websites to be able to achieve a set goal. But if you want something very, very custom that you hadn't sought it out yet, I don't have those kind of, uh, language skills to be able to write this thing from scratch. But I know people who will, you know, yeah. Just set it up in the first place to know that their budgets are going to dip when they don't know exactly what they want. Something to do. Just make them aware that there's a, there's a budget consideration.

Nathan Wrigley: 25:02 Yeah. You only have to go into kind of Facebook groups and online forums to realize that this problem is being, this problem is being reflected thousands of times a day because, you know, people asking questions, I've got this client that wants to do this and can anybody help me? And you know, you're relying on the community. So clearly we're not, it's not me and you in this alone where it, we're all in this together. We, there's obviously people taking on stuff that they are as yet unfamiliar with how to achieve the end goal. I'm not, again, not trying to, to put, to put myself on a pedestal at all because what I'm about to say, I absolutely have not implemented, but I was thinking about this whole topic of the, the, the things that I shouldn't be taking on and whether or not that's copywriting or SEO, it doesn't really matter.

Nathan Wrigley: 25:50 You know, we're all gonna be different. You will have a different set of things that you don't probably, that somebody else could do better than you. And a fraction of the time, my thoughts turned to how this might improve the work that I have to do and my available time. And, and I came up with a list of five bullet points. So if, if work was no problem, if I constantly had a supply of work coming through the door and I could forget about the bank banners list, let's just say that at the beginning. The, I think being able to, um, sickened out or debt out, all of the things that you're not very good at to other people would potentially lead to the following five outcomes. Number one, the, the, the, the work would be better. The SEO work, the graphic design work would be ever better standard because you've got somebody at the end of the day who is better at jobs that would potentially lead to a less stressful life for me or you depending on the way that you're thinking about this because you would have farmed it out and you don't have to do those things which you secretly know you're not very good at.

Nathan Wrigley: 26:57 And that would be nice. It would mean less work because somebody who is a graphic designer can do in five minutes what it would take me an hour and six Google tutorials to figure out how to do. Um, the knock on of that would be that the clients would be happier because things have come in on time, on budget and the quality is really good. And finally more work for you because you've delivered something better that everybody's happy, you're less stressed. So it's like this virtuous cycle. And yet I don't, I still take on all the things that I know that somebody else would be better. And I, I puzzle. Why is that?

David Waumsley: 27:44 Yeah, perhaps you enjoy a lot of it. I mean there is, I must admit, I, I, I kind of like most of these different areas to learn more about it. And for a long time I thought, cause when you talk about this, when you're giving this workout to different people, then effectively your, you're removing that work from yourself. So you could concentrate, say on your marketing for your business to get more work in. But then then effectively you've set yourself up in a manager role, haven't you? You stop learning so much and hand it out. You, you turned into a proper agency.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:22 Mm. Well I think that's probably what it is, is, you know, in my case what I've just described is an agency but with a bunch of freelancers kind of loosely shackled to each other as opposed to sitting in an office. It's kind of, I dunno what that model's called, but it's a bunch of freelance kind of made an agreement that upon receiving some work, okay, I'll give you the graphics, I'll give you the photography and I'll always give you the quid pro quo. If we keep that up, we'll all be happy forevermore. I just haven't, haven't made those connections as largely because I've done what I've done, which is tried to do it myself. You know, probably probably been a bit hard on myself because you know, at the end of the day I managed to get these things finished and have a whole bunch of happy clients. So that's all right.

Speaker 3: 29:05 Yeah, I mean I would guess a whole bunch of agents is out there are some kind of configuration of that. They're not permanent staff that were employed by the agency, but they are a bunch of freelancers who, you know, you trust to do work. There's a friend of ours, we won't mention him in case he doesn't like it, but uh, you know, he's been doing a lot more of that. He's been, you know, hiring various developers over the time. And other people to do the maintaining of sites and is also recently been using a service to get his graphic work done. So he is removed himself slowly from a lot of the processes and it does at the moment for him appear to be really improving the work. Yeah,

Nathan Wrigley: 29:47 yeah. Very intelligent. You know, it's a good way of doing it. I think another factor here is, first of all, I, I do want to emphasize the economic factor. I think that's important to, to, to really emphasize is that I think the pressure to do this stuff largely, not only does it come from the enjoyment of those jobs because there is that without a doubt, but it's, it's, let's be honest, there's a lot of economics in it. You know, I, I first start, I can't afford and when I say I in this, I'm talking about you. Anybody, not actually me in this case, you know, I haven't got the time to, to go and find these people because I, I might have to burn through three or four of them and I might have to drive to a different location and meet them. And come to some informal arrangement, you know, I don't know anybody who's an SEO expert, how do I even begin to find them?

Nathan Wrigley: 30:35 That kind of thing. But also the reality of just paying the bills, you know, you've gone to at the end of the month meet a certain amount to sustain your life and, and keeping all that work on the, your own, um, onto your own per view means that you've got the money. And if you give it to somebody else that does by definition mean that you need to churn more work because you've got to, you know, instead of one piece of work, if you're farming out four fifths of it, you've got to find five projects where before you could find one.

David Waumsley: 31:08 Yes, yes, that's the problem. And particularly if you think, you know, the, your reach, the number of clients that you could get it is kind of limited. Um, then definitely you can't really do that so much. Yeah. And I think, yeah, go on. Yeah. Well, no, I just think that's the thing. You know, if you get rid of all of that work and leave you to do more of the marketing to get more clients, but you don't really believe that you can kind of expand or don't want to expand beyond the area that you cover, then you're really only shooting yourself in the foot aren't you, yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 31:39 The other, the other thing I suppose is that I'm thinking about like the future, the, the, the roles of only doing what you're good at. Who knows what that list will encompass in 10 years time, you know, what tasks could we add to that list? So, you know, um, will SEO have changed? We'll, there'll be some other branch, will there be a, I don't know, a branch of SEO where it's voice activated. Um, search only, you know, will there be a whole different area, you know, like go back 10 years, nobody knew what a funnel was. It didn't really exist yet. Now there are people doing that and no doubt, you know, programming languages will come along. Methods of development will change or the expectations of clients will have changed in the industry will morph. And how much of that do you need to keep abreast of? How much learning do you keep? Do you need to keep doing and being good at because it's that that can be a bit of a grind as well and doing the things that you are accustomed to and you know you're good at, uh, can be, can be quite enjoyable because you're familiar with it.

David Waumsley: 32:44 Yeah. Hey, this one. Solution, well, what the solution I found, I guess to, um, particularly the skills I'm most fearful of are, are the kind of more developer ones when somebody wants something to happen on the website that I'm not skilled to do, but really it hasn't been the budget that's done that now I've become much better now at being able to say, look, you know, this is what I do. I use the, this is why I could do kind of all of it if you like, because I've got these tools and if you need to go beyond that, the budget's there. And I, I've noticed that just changes client behavior, being able to have that conversation. So, but you know, when it was a different setup for me when you had to say, how much am I going to charge you to do this project, there's a different expectation now it's, it's, you know, the, they're going to save money by not wanting something or the least they're going to reevaluate what's a priority to them. So what's what's happening for me is that there's less of a need to go and get those people with backend skills or javascript skills.

Nathan Wrigley: 33:49 MMM. I, I suppose that the point about all of this is that none of those skills are out. Well actually, maybe there's a conversation to be had here. It feels to me like given enough time, um, and enough scope in my life to actually sit down, I could probably become pretty good at any one of those. You know, I couldn't probably become really, you know, a half decent SEO person if I had the time. Or Dare I say it, you know, quite good with graphic design or something. You know, I don't see those things as beyond my reach, but um, time is the factor. You know, learning new skills is difficult and learning them to be, become an absolute legend to become one of the, you know, the leading ones in your area or country or whatever is difficult. I think.

David Waumsley: 34:36 Yeah, I think that's the thing. I mean I'm, I feel like I'm fairly comfortable in most of these areas in terms of what a, um, deliver or the expectation I set now because you know, the maturity that we've kind of gained all the time. We'd been doing it so I feel quite comfortable with doing, and I'm never going to be brilliant at any of these, but there were certain things, there's some things where I don't want to hand them over because in fact I had this with a client who wants to kind of rebuild a site and it was done by my colleague and they want a new look with it and they were talking to somebody else about helping them with doing their logos. I just thought it was a really awkward conversation because I was going to have to do their website then I didn't want them. I only wanted them to have a branding expert would come in, who would ask them all the questions that needed to be asked, if you like, of their brand. And that's one of the difficulties I find. I'm getting protective over certain stuff because I don't think, you know, somebody makes a logo if they go buy one off Fiverr. Right. It's not going to kind of work.

Nathan Wrigley: 35:43 So, um, speaking of that, it kind of leads me on I suppose to, to talk about whether your, your ability or lack of, and my ability or lack of to, to enjoy the process of managing other people, you know, do you, do you feel, well, just to take my example, I'm in many aspects of my life. I think I'm fairly laissez faire, but with, um, with work, I've, I'm really, I don't think I would be a particularly good manager. Um, and before we started recording this, I tried to allow out my thoughts on it. And the, the way I sort of see it is when, when I do my own work, I am the, I'm the buck stops with me. Um, you know, if something doesn't get done and I've said that I'm going to do it, I, I have to wear that and I have to take on that stress.

Nathan Wrigley: 36:32 But I've got it. The, the thing that I think would make me a terrible manager is I would feel the same level of stress, but I'd have farmed that workout to other people. So let's say that I was in a team and I manage 10 people on a graphic design project or a, sorry, a WordPress website project. And I'd farmed, you know, on under me, I had a graphic designer and an SEO expert and all of those kinds of things are, you think I would still feel that the buck stopped with me even though I was farming out to two employees the same work. I would still feel, oh, they haven't done it right? Oh No, I'm going to get so told off. You. Do you know Tommy?

David Waumsley: 37:17 Yeah, absolutely. Your name on the door. Uh, and I, well, yeah, I mean I've got a different perspective cause I was so long as a manager, but of course it's not my money. So, uh, but I become aware that if I needed to go down that route again and employ people that I would have to, you know, take on what I've learned from being a managers that, you know, they're not going to do stuff as conscientiously as you might do it than not, you know, they're employed, they haven't got the same enthusiasm for it or that there's not the same incentives there. So you're kind of have to live with that and you would have to cost that to clients to be able to do that as well and allow for it. But then, you know, the other side of it is that, you know, if you're going to make people work for you well and enjoy their work, so they do work well, you have to give them that autonomy. You have to give them trust. And, and that's the difficult thing. And I think that's why, you know, if you try and work as a group or set up an agency without any of that experience, that's the mistake you're gonna make it. Yeah. I think for any business isn't it? It grows out. You know, you expect this person you're going to pay money to and your, you slightly begrudge it cause it's money you could have for yourself. Yeah. Yeah. That they go to have the same incentives. Who's you? And that's the mistake.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:39 It's also I think quite important to make the right, you know, especially if you're involved in hiring people, it's important that you don't, you don't hire people who end up taking the, all of the stuff that you are good at leaving yourself with something to do. Um, otherwise you'll just potentially end up just as a manager, you know, if your enjoyment is react to development and you know, you see that your agency's growing and okay, what do we need are more react developers and then suddenly turn around and, Oh, I've got nothing to do now cause I've, okay well he's doing it or she's doing it. Um, yeah, it's just a different skill and one that I've never really got into I think. I think as I said earlier, a bit of pride, bit of fear not wanting to, to, to have that responsibility for other people and so on and so forth. But yeah, pretty interesting stuff.

David Waumsley: 39:32 Oh, list though. If we looked at it, we could shop some of these things out, couldn't we? Very easily. And I think all this, I think, should we just go back over it because I was just thinking, you know, javascript is somebody who were quite certainly clever. No problem. I can say I know quite a few people who would take that job on willingly. For me, I'm sure you know, experts at javascript. Yep. Good tick. Yup. Front end. I think I'm okay with that myself. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 39:57 Say that unless there is some startling development in the next few years, I will be happy doing the html and CSS.

David Waumsley: 40:05 Yeah. A back end. If it doesn't come into the plugin yet, it's off to somebody else. Okay. Yeah, I take a bit of that, but yeah, not increasingly not. Yeah, exactly. If it's something that you can do, is this sharable a kind of short code work or something that you can do or just some snippets around the hour? I would, I would dabble, but that's it. Fairplay Yep. Yep. For, uh, for the, uh, photographs easy. Uh, absolutely 100% of the time. Um, yeah. Yeah. Graphic artists. Well, interesting. You know, I think, oh, this is hard. I'm sure

Nathan Wrigley: 40:41 I'm more likely to, to try to do that myself now than I would have done five years ago. Largely because I just think the arrange of the, the tools that are available and the templates that are available, which we've talked about on a different podcast, mean that maybe, maybe this isn't, um, maybe this isn't something that is out of everybody's reach. You know, there's a lot of, a lot of things that can be done with available tool. So yeah, 50, 50 on that one.

David Waumsley: 41:09 Yeah, I would say the same. I mean there's, there's some joy in trying to improve my skills in that area. But also I'd be quite happy if I think it was stuck to pass that onto a service if there was the budget for it and digital marketing

Nathan Wrigley: 41:23 this feels to me like one that I can grasp because it's kind of formulaic. You know, you, you make the flow chart and so on. But I don't um, have, I have not had a great steal of needs to add to, to become really good at this. So where I to land a client tomorrow who had high expectations of a very complicated funnel, I think this would be one for me to handover.

David Waumsley: 41:49 Ah, ready? Interesting. Cause you know what, I mean we would be talking about the fact that maybe this is the way that we all need to go a little bit, you know, because it might be easier to build websites. So I think I would be diving in even if it was costing me more than they were paying me. Yes. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 42:04 Interesting. You see now you're bringing back my, my pride thing and now I'm thinking, oh, all right, Dave can do it. Oh well I should be doing it. Oh No. Yeah,

David Waumsley: 42:13 I think, oh bluff, that one. And I would spend the hours that needed to work to work it out cause I think it might just be some, yeah,

Nathan Wrigley: 42:20 yeah, yeah. SEO. Now that's an interesting one. It is. And it's also something that on a personal level I find a little bit on. Interesting. So just from that point of view only, I'd probably say on hand that over to somebody, because I, I'm not that bothered in looking at spreadsheets over long periods of time and working out how we're creeping up. It just, I don't know. I like the visual stuff more. I think,

David Waumsley: 42:46 uh, yeah. Actually probably SEO needs to be broken down into a lot of stuff actually, because there's this, there's a part of me that just thinks we'll have all charlatans out there. So I'm going to do it myself. Yes, I might as well be as Charlotte and with them, but, but there is another angle which I wouldn't want to touch at all, which is say if you want somebody to manage the a Google ad campaign or something, it's like please take that away from me. Yeah,

Nathan Wrigley: 43:10 yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. I've dabbled with that before and found it incredibly frustrating. So, yeah, absolutely.

David Waumsley: 43:17 Oh, this one, this one's impossible, isn't it? UX and UI cause then it just bound up with the other stuff. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:24 So I think that, um, I think that training counts a lot here, you know, and, and it's kind of an ephemeral thing. Um, I did a webinar recently with peach and airy and it's pretty, pretty clear from the get go that she was spotting things that my radar didn't even notice. And, and whilst I'm sure that if I spent the time looking at it, I could probably get up to some, you know, half decent version of Piccia the, um, the fact that she's, she's already done all that research and went to, you know, um, college and, and has a great deal of experience thinking about it. So don't know. Yeah, probably, probably good to hand that one over as well. Crikey, I'm talking myself out of a job here.

David Waumsley: 44:09 Well, you know, that's interesting as well because in a way, although scary thing to do, that would be a great, very good service to build, to hand over to somebody else that you offered to the client, but they'd be looking over your work to see what could be improved, wouldn't they or whether you've already been done. They would be plenty to say.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:28 Yeah, I'll be writing. I like writing, although I don't write on behalf of other people. Um, and I simply don't have the time. This is actually one that I would, I would like to do just because I enjoy it. I really do. I genuinely liked writing, but I wouldn't want to do it. You know, if somebody said, okay, we need 40 blog posts about peanuts, that's not the kind of writing that I'd be interested in as something a bit more interesting. You know, in my case, I really liked writing about WordPress cause it interests me. So if it was bog standard stuff, no. Um, but if it was like slightly more interesting research based. Oh yeah. Quite like quite like that. Ah, well actually yeah,

David Waumsley: 45:11 we've just given us self's, another gel pair, haven't we? Which is a content marketer as somebody who creates the content needed, although that could go into SEO. But yeah, I love to do what I like. Um, I quite like the idea of coming up with things like a value proposition for a client. I'd love to do that kind of stuff, you know? See if I can sum up what they were about. Yeah, exactly.

Nathan Wrigley: 45:29 Yeah, me too. There's a lot of thought and interest and uh, artistry in there. It's nice. Yeah. Communicator. Oh, don't know. I'm not too bad. I'm communicating verbally, but I'm, I'm, I don't think I'm the, like I said before, I would, I would be hopeless as a project manager. I'm not very good at sales and marketing speed, you know, I'm just don't find myself capable in those areas. I don't know why.

David Waumsley: 45:56 Yeah. I think, I think the general communicates your role. I'm happy with that. I wanted to be me that talks to the clients and I think I'm, I'm think I'm okay, but I really do. You know, it would be, I would do myself such a favor I guess if I handed over sales and marketing to somebody to do it cause I'm just so useless. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm okay

Nathan Wrigley: 46:16 branding expert. Well I think that's a bit more, that's a bit, you are a UX feel again, graphic design again, isn't it? Um, there are definitely people better than me. I enjoy doing that stuff. I really do enjoy doing that stuff. Try to make things look nice, you know, achieve a coherence. But, um, again, there are people who are better than me. Could. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 46:39 Oh, also I think there people that probably should have been in before they came to you, you know, sort of company probably should have had its brand and that what it's about defined before they come to us. So we should receive that brief. Yeah, that's a good point. So essentially, um, this podcast was entitled only doing what you're good at. What we've decided is that we're mostly good at nothing and so what we should do is

Nathan Wrigley: 47:07 a farm all the workout to somebody else, but that then requires us to be a manager. And in my case at least anyway, I'm no good at that. So I should retire.

David Waumsley: 47:18 Well, I'd just come to the conclusion that we should just continue doing a little bit of all of these things cause we're better at that than being a manager. Yeah. So we're right back where we started. Um, all the stresses and strains.

Nathan Wrigley: 47:30 Yeah. Any body got the perfect answer to this conundrum. Please, please let us know because David and I don't have a clue, it would seem, but it's been nice, nice chatting it through and getting all that stuff off our chest. I'm sure that some people somewhere can identify with it all. Nice one.

Nathan Wrigley: 47:46 That was a nice chat. Well, I hope you enjoyed that. Always a pleasure to chat to David through these things. Join us next week because next week will very likely have an interview because we swapped interview and then chat with David interview and then chat with David and so on, so join us for that, but also just bear in mind that every Monday we produced two pieces of content. Early in the morning I produce a WordPress weekly news. I sum up the WordPress news in audio form, but also at 2:00 PM UK time in the Facebook group on our youtube channel, we put out a live episode with me and a few special guests from the WordPress community and unless I'm on holiday or something that should be coming out. I'm on on a Monday at 2:00 PM UK time. The WP builds podcast was brought to you today by WP and UP one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and UP supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training, and counseling. Please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP at.org forward slash. Gif. Right. Okay. That really is all I've got for you this week. I'm in a fade in some cheesy music and say bye bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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