147 – What does it mean to fail?

Discussion – What does it mean to fail?

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When we recorded this we had the pithy title of “failing in business or whatever”, and as you can see I decided to change that. I have no explanation, other than that I think this is a better title!

This conversation started because of a change in the working situation of David. Until recently he had most of his work provided for him, but recently that’s all stopped and so the work has dried up a little. David is now having to think about way of attracting clients and marketing himself.

This is quite a major change when you think about it. It’s rather like starting a new job, and it brings up the possibility that failure is an option. A year from now, David could be in a position in which it’s not worked out. No new clients turned up and he’s having to rethink what he does for a living.

This reality could go in a number of ways. “The sky could be falling in and all is a disaster”, or “This is fine and it’s all going to be okay”.

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I suppose that we need to clarify what failing is…!

Well this is a hard one to pin down because it’s completely subjective. Perhaps it’s important to you to have substantial wealth and so failure would mean that you don’t have enough to support the lifestyle that you aspire to. Other people might have more modest expectations and just having enough to pay the bills and keep things ticking over – putting other things in front of work and earning.

David sees success as freedom and I seem to see it as happiness, and so I suppose that not having either of those is ‘failure’.

Are we the architects of our own failure? What I mean by that is if things don’t work out is it our fault, is the state of the economy to blame or some other factor? David makes the point that in this line of work, where many of us are freelancers you need to self-motivated to get the business off the ground and so, you’re in a great position to begin with. You likely have the temerity to stay in the game for long enough to succeed.

Do you plan for periods of failure? Do you have a war chest of cash in the bank in case you hit a spell where the work just dried up? It’s quite miserable putting money away for a time when you have less, but it can be a great idea and can allow to fail every once in a while and not get to stressed about it.

Broadly, we cover the following:

  • Clarifying what we mean
  • Don’t most businesses ignore the obvious until it’s too late anyway?
  • Then there is trying too hard
  • I think we picked a high risk business
  • Tightening our belts
  • Let’s end with some positives

It’s an interesting discussion and as always, you’ll learn almost nothing! 😉

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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 147 entitled, what does it mean to fail? It was published on Thursday the 26th of September, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and work.co. Dot UK, a smaller web development agency based in the north of England and I'll be joined a little bit later by David Waumsley from David Waumsley.com because we have fortnightly discussion episodes. That's David and I chatting through a subject. That's what you've got today and then the alternate weeks we have a an interview episode, or at least we try to stick to that. So we're going to be talking about what does it mean to fail, but I'll, I'll come to that a little bit later before we begin, just a few bits of housekeeping. If you wouldn't mind having over two WP Builds.com and looking at the links at the top. The first link is the subscribe link, and if you click on that, please join any of the methods that we use to keep in touch with our community.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:23 Be Most grateful. The first couple at the top are a set of email lists that you can subscribe to. One gives you updates about this, the podcast and the news that we release on a Monday. The other one gives you updates to WordPress deals as soon as we hear about them, and then there's links to things like apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify and so on. So you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player. And then we've got a very thriving Facebook group, two point 2000 members, all very friendly and there's things like our youtube channel and Twitter feed and so on and so forth. So please go into that. Don't do WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe or what about this one? WP Builds dot com forward slash deals. I keep saying it's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week there's a whole ton of WordPress plugins and themes with coupon codes just for our community, so if you're in the market for something this week, go and check that out.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:16 And also WP Builds dot com forward slash advertise if you would like to put your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience. A bit like these guys have done, the WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by the page builder framework. Do you use a page builder to create your websites or the page builder framework as 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 is the perfect fit for you. We are agency go to WP dash page builder framework.com today. It was also sponsored by WP feedback, our client communications eating up all of your time. If so, checkout dog WP feedback, a visual feedback tool for WordPress that is specifically designed to get you and your clients onto the same page. Check it out at wpfeedback.co and Cloudways.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:14 Cloudways is a managed cloud based hosting platform for WordPress. Unlike others, you get to choose the server from top cloud providers like Google cloud, Amazon and digital ocean. There are no restrictions on the number of websites per server. Try Cloudways using the promo code WP Builds and get $20 free hosting credit and we thank all of our sponsors for their support of the WP Builds podcast. It enables us to put it on each and every week just so that you know, we put this out on a Thursday, but we also do two things every Monday we put out our weekly WordPress news where I sum up the news in about 20 or 30 minutes. It comes out very early in the morning so you could listen to it on your Monday morning commute and get all the WordPress news from the previous week. And then at 2:00 PM in the Facebook group and various other places, we put out a live video where myself and a few special guests talk about the word person use for that week.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:11 And it's very lighthearted and jolly good fun. So join us for that. And if you go to WP Builds.com forward slash live, you'll be able to find out more. Right. What about today's episode, David and I talking about what does it mean to fail or this is an interesting subject, isn't it? Because first of all, what does it, what does it really literally mean to fail? We have to sort of set the ground rules a little bit. So David and I do exactly that. We talk about what our versions of failure are. Um, we also talk about, you know, is this a financial thing? Is it something to do with, you know, the work that your boss is providing you? Is it more in your control than that? It's just a fabulous discussion. I'm talking about a subject that we very rarely get into. It's quite introspective. There's quite a few tales from our past about things which went wrong and also things which went right and at the end of the day it kind of comes down I think to, to happiness and freedom and those kinds of things. So it's a lovely, lovely conversational episode and I hope you enjoy it.

David Waumsley: 05:13 This discussion where calling failing in business and Nathan and we're going to add whatever, cause we've talked about this and we were kind of quite chilled about it, aren't we now? Yeah. We've had quite a long chat about this and failing in business or whatever. So it could be a, in any walk of life and uh, yeah, it's going to be broad and probably a little bit cursory. We don't really touch on anything too deeply, but the way this conversation started, we were thinking about the topic of how you kind of might cope if things aren't working out so well or if that discussion is ever had, those kinds of things. Um, we've never touched a topic like this before. We've never touched a topic where I think it could have quite such an emotional, especially if

Nathan Wrigley: 05:58 you've been through this before. So I suppose caveat emptor, we are just talking off the cuff and, uh, you know, describing our thoughts and we're not, we're not, um, we're not claiming to be great successes in any way. Yeah. And then, you know, it's quite a good one for me in a way because if, if I, this is the closest I've come, I would think this year to failing at doing web design and I've got less customers this year, there's a good chance that I'll end up spending more than I actually earned this year. So. So, you know, I caught quite like the topic, but I'm quite buoyant about the whole thing. What's the, maybe give us a bit of context to that. Why, why is this particular year been a troublesome, difficult one? Uh, well, we'll, I've been going for sort of five years with, um, the help of a colleague who's been sending most of the work to me.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:48 So now the changes that I've got to go after the clients and uh, um, and getting working, but you know, I'm not really put, I haven't prepared for this. I haven't done my own marketing the way I should do. So there's less work coming in. So you had a pipeline where the money, sorry, with a work rather would be kind of fed toward you and you didn't have to go looking for it in any way. And suddenly that that fire hose dropped off the radar and suddenly you're, you're left having to figure out a new wealth, the same business but a new strategy for acquiring new business. Yeah, exactly. So, you know, it makes you rethink things when things change like that because I, I've not prepared if you like to do the correct marketing to get new people in that I am now. But in that kind of period, I've, fortunately I kind of knew it was happening and was quite happy to say, okay, we're not going to earn much while I get this sorted out.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:47 But otherwise, and it still could be the case, you know, one year down the line I could say I'm just not doing this any longer. I failed. So just kind of relevant, just concentrating on that for a minute. What, I mean you don't have to go into too much detail about exposed, but what kinds of things have you put in place in order to, to try and change your business around so that you are now in charge of getting new customers? What kinds of things have you been busy with over the last period? Yeah, well the really been thinking again who we're going for and also about how I'm going to approach get new business in. So we're doing a combination of inbound and outbound marketing and we should actually, we should have a conversation about this cause I think it'd be quite interesting. So maybe I'll stay clear that, but largely it's just about coming up with some new ideas about how to get clients in, which is, you know, that's a favorite topic, isn't it? Yeah. We must do it at some point. Yeah. I mean it's one that just about every podcast needs in the WordPress space and needs to have had done at some point. Um, so you've,

David Waumsley: 08:56 you've had this period where you've recognized that, you know, the work has dried up and so on. Do you, are you the kind of person that, does it bother you, you know, thinking about this whole, my goodness, you know, the, the sky is falling in panic, panic, the world is ending, or are you able to cope with that because of your situation and the way you've, you've got your, um, I don't know, savings perhaps, or the way you've got your, um, off online life sorted and the relationships you've got around you and where you're living and all those things.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:26 Yeah, absolutely. It's all of those things. And, um, I think I'm not typical of most people because of the fact that I've kind of wandered into this and we did at least have enough in terms of saving to know that we'll be okay with the travel that we do and the lower cost of living to be able to manage for some time. So there's always that kind of buffer. And I do, you know, I don't think I would've been happy to have gone into doing client websites as, as kind of my main income. If I didn't have that, I think I would be panicking. So I'm sure there were plenty of people in the worst situation you are because the money's running out. They've got more responsibilities than I have. So I don't want to sound Glib, you know, when I'm talking about this. But yeah, I, I'm not worried about, I'm quite buoyant because of the industry where in, because I think there's so many opportunities available for us, but I'm not worried about that sort of temporary loss in income. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 10:25 Do you, do you worry about, you know, there's a whole raft of things that you could worry about, you know, you can worry about the bank balance, you could worry about the fact that you haven't had any new clients. You could worry about all sorts, you know, the impact on your family and those kinds of things. Do, do any of them stick with you? Are you a worry or are you able to sort of have a lot of perspective? You said there that you were quite positive and so on. So it sounds, sounds to me like maybe you're a little bit of worry, but nothing insurmountable.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:52 Yeah, I think that's good. And I think a little bit where he gets you, you know, focused and doing some works but too much and then you, you kind of lose the plot a bit. And I, I think I'm happy where I am with that. It's interesting, we've talked about this before and it's worth going over what we were talking about when we're talking about failing because it's different for all of us, isn't it? Because for me, I don't see failure because, um, I, I don't fear that I'm not gonna have enough money to be able to get by. So that's, but I probably will never have enough money to achieve all the dreams I could have. So I'm a happy, yeah, I'm happy with that. And also, you know, it's not that the other side of failing, you know, the whole feeling like perhaps you're getting buy in, you're making enough, but it's not worth it or you're not interested in the business. That's another kind of failure. And I don't feel that either. Yeah,

David Waumsley: 11:50 okay. I suppose failure is a, is a different to different people. You know, if you have aspirations to buy a private jet and you don't achieve that, maybe, maybe you see that as failure. Um, whereas for other people it might be a little bit more hand to mouth. You know, the, the failure comes from the fact that you, this, this month you've had to tighten your belt, um, so tight that maybe, you know, food isn't being put on the table and the way that it once was and you've had to accommodate or, or move to somewhere different or change the, change your life in some way. It's different. I mean, I've, I think, I don't know where this came from and I know this to be true for you as well. I've never really had a great desire to have an enormous amount of wealth. I've never been pushed by it.

David Waumsley: 12:35 Even as a kid. I remember friends of mine, you know, that I grew up with from a very early age saying about what they wanted when they were older. And very often it was, well, I just want to be rich. And so they would select a job which would do that. And in, in many cases, a lot of them have done it and don't know what their level of, of, um, happiness is, what, how I would ever judge that. But, you know, they've done it and it was something they wanted to strive for. Whereas for me it was, it was a little bit different. I've always, always had an impression that for me, the mark of a good life is a happy life. And whilst there's no doubt that happiness hasn't always followed me around, um, I would say that on balance, I've, I've remained fairly happy most of the time. Um, and so I think failure for me would be not necessarily all about the money because I, you know, it's, I don't have, don't have lots of money sloshing about nothing like that. But failure for me would be the inability to be happy. And, and in that sense I think I've managed to, I've managed to be, um, happy most of my life, so I'm pleased about that.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:43 Yeah, that's exactly the same for me. And it's really, it comes down to freedom being one of the feeling that I'm doing something that's worthwhile and feeling that I have the freedom to choose what I do that's worthwhile. And I think that's the key thing. And the rest is just the money to sort of make sure that that's always the case. So, and it's always that way round with me and I, it's interesting in our industry because when you listen to kind of, most of the conversations I talk about it, or even courses that are teaching people how to sort of succeed in web design business, they are focused around, you know, monetary figures. And so many people are asking how much they should be charging for website job as well. Um, and I just think, yeah,

David Waumsley: 14:34 well I was just going to say that, I don't know what are the metric you could hang that on. Really. It's difficult isn't it? Isn't it? You know, it'd be hard to put a web design course out and um, and claim that at the end of the course you'll, you'll just be happier. Um, it'll be an extraordinary claim. Whereas, you know, if you follow these, you'll be, you'll be richer than that. That kind of seems to jibe. Um, it's more provable and false. Straightforward.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:00 Yes, exactly. Well, I don't know why I think, you know, happiness is something that you can easy sell on freedom as well. Yeah, I think that's it. I think, you know, a book that influenced me was the four hour work week. Um, but I, I think most of the stuff that was in that already started to think about anyway, but his concept of the new rich, which is there's the fact that people now can move where they like, so the income can be lowered as is in my case. Um, that puts a whole new perspective on it. But he also, you know, when talking about money, he, he thinks it's a kind of illusion. You know, the idea that we want to be earning six or seven figures in a year is kind of a nonsense to him because the proper balance comes when you set those against the demands on you and your costs. And I think you know that yes, I'm in, I mean Vietnam as we're recording this, so I'm easily going to do seven figures, uh, go on. Tell us how does that quite, what's what, what does that even mean? As long as they pay me in the Vietnamese Dong and, uh, w what's the sort of current exchange rate for our Dong as opposed to a dollar? I think a, it's for one pound. It's 30. Yeah. 30 K. Wow. Yeah. So there's lots of

David Waumsley: 16:19 Zeros on the bank notes. Exactly. Yeah. Um, so what about failure? Have you, have you ever had periods in your life where you've kind of really stared this in the face? You know, I know that you said more recently that, you know, if you look at the, the, the amount of work flowing through your business, that's definitely taken a hit because of the restructuring that's gone on. Have you ever had periods where you've kind of thrown in the towel or got close to throwing the towel where things just like this is not working out?

Nathan Wrigley: 16:49 No, not really. But, um, maybe there were moments like this all the time, a little bit. When you start to do web design for clients and um, you sometimes don't, you think, I'm sure you do, that they, what you do is not really understood by the people you do it for. And there are moments where you think, well, there might be better things to be doing in life.

David Waumsley: 17:10 Yeah, that's an interesting point. So that the happiness that comes out of, um, the enjoyment that you do, I have to say I really do enjoy doing what I do. And I wandered into it largely because I was hobbying, you know, just having a nice time playing around with it and the technology and I still haven't lost that. I'm still quite quite addicted to the computer. Um, you know, given, given the choice, you know, if there was an empty room with only a computer in it and a television, um, I would probably migrate over to the computer and stop posturing about on the Internet than I would watching telly or anything like that. So I was still, I still am really into it. And so on that level, it makes me happy still.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:50 Yeah. Do you think many people read it? Because I think so many of us are the same. They've kind of developed out of hobbies and they've grown and increased our income or, or they've gone down at certain points, but it isn't always the sense in our kind of community that was always just something more we can do with the skills that we have. They just go, they go beyond that. They send to digital marketing and, and you know, it's a world of opportunities.

David Waumsley: 18:19 Yeah. And it's also provably the case. You know, there are some people who were fabulously fabulously, um, what's the word? Well, for want of a better word, let's use the word wealthy. They've, they've managed in the, in the online space to generate a lot of money and we're constantly being sold this, aren't we? Yeah. So I think the opportunities without question are there. The, but I'm, I'm sure that most of our listeners can identify with this is they're few and far between. It's not like the world is bending over backwards to throw massive contracts in your direction or to give you an abundance of work. It's difficult. There's a lot of, you know, a lot of times when you're staring is staring at the screen thinking where's the next piece of work coming from? And if those, those sentences get offered too many weeks in a row, then you know, failure, the business failure, the inability to pay your bills suddenly starts to rear its ugly head. And the stress and the strain that comes with that starts to emerge.

Nathan Wrigley: 19:15 Yeah, I'm not sure if we're like traditional businesses. I mean most of them do the same things. You know, the, the seeds are their destruction or already there from the beginning. And we were just talking, I was telling you about an old program. I don't think it's only in on the BBC and longer called hotel inspectors, where some hotel expert would come round and look at a failing business, stay in the place, and then give them a list of what they could do to improve it. And of course it's TV. So she already hyped up and these will be dreadful hotels where they just haven't got a clue. The places will be dirty, the service will be poor. And they were Kinda turn these round. There'll be lots of arguments of course. And I think that's the case with many businesses. We, we'd come complacent, you know, they just got used to it. They're just going through the day today, you know, so in these hotels, they wouldn't see that there as dirty as a new guests would see it because they've just got used to it over 20, 30 years of doing the same. And I think, but I don't think we get this to you, uh, that kind of failure because just because of the nature of what we have to learn all the time. Does it attract anybody who can be complacent?

David Waumsley: 20:24 Well, that's a good point. I mean, especially when you're starting out, it's this constant, well, let's say battle for want of a better word, of trying to find new work. And then for me at least, at some point a, a balance or sort of equilibrium was, was reached whereby, um, I couldn't, there was very little point in constantly going out and seeking new work and, you know, some of some of my week would be, um, servicing the work that I'd already got, if you know what I mean, and running care plans and things like that. But, um,W if you're beginning in this kind of work, I think a lot of the, a lot of the fear is of that failure to get new work and, and so there's expectations of, I don't know, staying up late, learning new skills, trying to be the best that you can be.

David Waumsley: 21:08 And we've touched on these things in so many episodes in the past, but, um, if you can, if you can stay in the game for long enough, then, um, then you can succeed. But, um, in terms of kind of planning what businesses do to avoid this, I suppose the only thing that I've ever really done is to try and keep a track of trying to keep some money in the bank so that, you know, what do they call it? Rainy Day or something, having some money for a rainy day so that I can weather those moments. And at the beginning that's really hard because it's hand to mouth. Um, but the more I did the, the more that, that, that war chest, if you like, built up. But I've definitely had to dip into it from time to time. And I know that a lot of people in the Facebook groups that we frequent and maybe even some real friends in the real world have skirted into their finances and you know, got, got really got really worried about, um, next month being able to pay the bills and so on. And I, I, I don't know what you can do to stop that happening. I mean, people talk about hustle, don't they just go out and, you know, knock on doors and postings through businesses, doors. Um, I don't really have a solid answer for that other than making sure that the work you do is really good and you, you make people happy and get good referrals and try to try to keep your business buying in that way.

Nathan Wrigley: 22:31 Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we, we have a, a shared friend who would consider that they kind of failed. They decided to pack in half to give a dip, everything. But, um, they had the same problem ready. They were going from quite a well paid job and they, they had a very short period of time to make it generate a certain amount of income. And they just decided, I'll just go back to my job because it's just so much easier because they had such, such a time frame to do that, that it was not, you know, possible. And I think that that's, that's very different from how I came into it. I came into it not expecting much.

David Waumsley: 23:10 Well that's a really interesting point and I suppose that that speaks to the sort of cutting your cloth mentality. You know, if you're starting out, suppose you have to do a little bit of research and sometimes I feel that the figures that are mentioned, especially for freelancing, you know, if you're working as a javascript developer or something and you're in house and you're working for a large agency, then I guess those numbers stack up. You ought to be expected to, uh, earn x within a year. But if you're a freelancer, I think it's a really different, a different ball game. And I think you've got to, what's the word, the, I just use cut your cloth. That's it. You have to put your cloth and realize that, you know, there'll be times when there's probably too much work and there'll be times when there's less work.

David Waumsley: 23:53 And about, it's all about kind of managing that, managing your client expectations, maybe putting some work off and being honest about that and saying, look, I'm too busy right now but I will come back to you in a month because my roster is empty. Then. So managing the amount that you can try at the same time but also, you know, squirreling some money away so that in the periods, whether there is a downturn or you haven't managed to secure some new work, but you feel that some is just around the corner, that you've got some left in the bank.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:21 Yeah. Have you had a panic? I think you had a small panic.

David Waumsley: 24:25 Yeah, we have panics. But um, peculiarly it wasn't actually to do with my business. It was just sort of to do with the sort of family finances and the fact that, um, other members of the family, their, their work was going to dry up. And, um, and then just through a bizarre set of coincidences that didn't happen, but it, it felt like it was going to happen. And I can't remember the length of time, but it felt, let me cast my mind back. Maybe it was a month or more where the sky did feel like it was falling in a bit and I was kind of doubling down. And at that point I was in kind of a crisis management, you know, trying to work out, okay, what can I do? What extra things can I do? Can I kind of work more hours in the day?

David Waumsley: 25:10 Is there a, is there some, um, cash that I'm leaving on the table? Can I reach out to those other people? I, so I started to formulate all these things that I could begin doing. And in my case, as luck would have it, that problem just evaporated through. No. Um, through no endeavor of my own, it just disappeared because the work came back for, um, for somebody in my family and, and it was all okay. Yeah. But it wasn't a nice feeling. It was a, it was a very unpleasant feeling because the wool had been completely taken out. It really wasn't. The announcement was utterly unexpected and suddenly a lot of our, um, a lot of our finances were, were up called into question. And I wouldn't like to go through that too many times again. Um, but it speaks to what you said earlier about, you know, everything will be all right. Well I don't, I don't like to claim that that's always the case. Of course it's not. And I'm sure there's many, many people listening to this who can, yeah, you can absolutely attest to the fact that that statement is nonsense and it isn't always all right. And sometimes you, you know, you do hit rock bottom, but in my case, um, it proved to be okay in the end.

Nathan Wrigley: 26:20 Yeah. I think, you know, everyone's got different philosophies on this and in some ways that the, it'll be okay as a protection because I think one thing that can kind of kill your business is trying too hard. So, you know, if you, if you're really desperate for the work and you have to try and convince people to come with you, that people look under, smell the fear on.

David Waumsley: 26:40 Oh yeah. I've, I've, I've, um, had moments where I have, especially earlier on when I've submitted proposals and I've, I've caught myself writing the kind of desperate email that goes with the proposal. You know, too many expressions. If there's anything I can do for you, um, you know, of course I'm here all the time. Um, you know, and even sort of bordering into, you know, although this, although this quote might seem expensive, think about the value that you're getting, blah, blah, blah. And then thinking, oh dear, you know, yeah. Sounds a bit of of desperation. They said. Yeah, but also not just that, trying too hard, literally burning the midnight oil, doing too much work. Um, sometimes because I've made mistakes and I have to fix them sometimes because I just want to learn a new skill. Um, I'm sure we can all identify with working too hard because we, um, because we haven't got enough enough going through, but I suppose it's about working smarter, not harder, isn't it? You know, finding, finding the thing that you're good at, finding the area of your business where the profit really lies and on honing in on that.

Nathan Wrigley: 27:51 Yeah. I mean, it, to me it would be hell on earth if I really felt that was the money pressure on because I just, you know, they're just easier ways I think, than doing what we do to make a living, you know? So I think one of the sort of traditional way of where businesses go onto and that's just not managing their finances well. You know, they just have a cashflow issue, which can sink them overnight that then not even aware of.

David Waumsley: 28:19 Oh yeah. I literally have no experience of this just because it's always been freelance, you know? So it's just me. So I have got to, I've got to service the, the financial needs of my family and I can directly impact that. You know, I can, we can modify the kind of food that we get or the type of holiday that we aspire to or the amount of trips that we take out. We can do that. And that directly affects what, what the income needs to be. But you know, if you had a, had a business and you had to honor salaries at a certain rate, that that would be, yeah, that would keep me awake at night I think.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:54 Yeah, absolutely. I think I saw somebody made a comment once and I just thought, wow, that they live in such a different world to me, but because I think they were essentially a freelance and maybe they employ people to do jobs, but they, they said they just hadn't been keep them, obviously did a lot more, had a lot more clients than I would ever have. And they, they said they just weren't chasing people up. They were owed so much money. It was, they were kind of owed more money than I was earning. So, you know, and you just think, well yeah, you could, I suppose even as a freelancer it is possible to just delve into the work so hard. Yeah, it

David Waumsley: 29:28 is the most boring thing on earth. I think though, for me personally, at least anyway, looking at the money, I got very disinterested in um, anything apart from the most casual glance, my bank account, you know, I don't, I don't kind of do, do a great deal, but one of the things that's changed this slightly for me is this new sort of advent of um, online banks. When I say online, I mean app based banks. I don't know if they're the same in all parts of the world, but in the UK we've got this new sway of banks and it presents things in all sorts of ingenious ways on the phone. So I don't have to have to really log in, my fingerprint does that and so on and so forth. And that's got me interested in it a bit more. And they have these ways that you can sort of squirrel away a little bit of money over here.

David Waumsley: 30:14 And so I've started being a bit more careful about thinking, okay, next year I'm probably gonna need this much in tax rather than just, um, rather than just save a little bit when he, you know, panic stations, it's coming to the end of the financial year. Okay. I really need a big block of cash to pay to the tax man now. Um, because of the capabilities in the app, I'm sort of okay, a hundred quid here, a hundred quid there and, and it's just wonderful. So I'm sort of getting into all that all of a sudden. But cashflow I think is horrible. Um, I've got friends, nothing to do with the Internet who have come dangerously close to going out of business, you know, real bricks and mortar businesses and they are absolutely in the black by any stretch, but the people are just not paying their invoices on time. And so they've nearly had to foreclose because other people couldn't honor their commitments and will. I've been very lucky with my clients in that regard. Most of them pay very, very quickly.

Nathan Wrigley: 31:19 Yeah. I S I suddenly know if that, and it seemed my family, those issues as well. So yeah. Do you think then we are a high risk business? I mean, I was in catering, in my youth, um, and uh, that was a high risk food and drink is, was at that time at least one of the highest risk businesses about one in four businesses succeeded. So you think you're

David Waumsley: 31:43 trendy or you're not trendy, aren't you? If you're a restaurant, you suddenly you're the, you're the talk of the town and then, oh no, we don't go there anymore. I think. Yeah. No, I don't think so. I think it's, um, one thing I, one thing I think about it is the older I get, the more it feels like, um, the future is the children's future, if you know what I mean. Of course, that's obvious anyway. But, um, I think the latest developments, I, I can't keep up with that kind of stuff. So I do feel that, you know, if, if, uh, when I was a child, there was no such thing as a, a, a course that you could go on at university to learn an aspect of the internet. There was basically some fairly rudimentary computer science courses and I was not interested in computer science.

David Waumsley: 32:29 I did not want to do that. But now you can go and get a degree in all sorts of aspects of the online world and in an in, in three short years because you've been able to concentrate on it and you're taught by some experts, you've probably eclipse the likes of me and your knowledge. And so I suppose that I feel is, is, is the risk is that it's evolved so quickly that you can get out of touch and, and obviously, you know, um, children, I shouldn't use the word children here. Young adults or young people probably, um, are able to do things that I can't do because I've got commitments, things like mortgages and, uh, children to think about. So I probably have to charge more. Uh, so yeah, I think that's where my anxiety in that area lies. I don't think it's particularly high risk, but I think there are, there are risks and, and the, the next generation present them to the older generation.

Nathan Wrigley: 33:27 Yeah, exactly. I mean the, I mean this is one of the dangers of a specialism isn't it? And the, if you've got a specialism, say you were Adobe flash programmer, that's what your business was based around, you know, overnight your business can just go. Yeah. Yeah. And we don't have that because we keep fairly generalist. So, you know, in addition to being an able to build a website, we have some other skills.

David Waumsley: 33:52 Yeah. Although that being said, you and I do, you know, being, being generous, but there are a lot of people who do very specific things, you know, they might grow, grow their expertise on a, on a particular thing which suddenly loses favor. And, and there's a lot of people who simply have to, you know, retrain all the time. And, um, I'm in a constant, very mild state of training. Whereas, you know, I think there's a lot of people who have to really throw the bath baby out with the bath water when, when something changes, especially when they suddenly lose their job and there is no job for, I don't know, a react developer within a hundred miles. So I'm gonna have to learn something else to get a job working for this particular agency. Cause that's all that's being advertised at the moment actually react to as a bad example because there's probably loads of jobs.

David Waumsley: 34:41 There's, I mean one other thing you can do of course, if you're not getting the business in and it looks like it's failing, the other option is to just kinda tighten your belt. Is that in your life? Is that an option at all? Because yeah, without a doubt we can always tighten our belt. You know, there's, there's all sorts of things that we could stop doing, you know, going out, buying certain things, stopping, you know, you can adapt to the way that you shop at the supermarket and so on. We, I've definitely had to do this from time to time, you know, without a question. Had to do this. Um, I'll come onto a broader point in a moment about, you're more of a philosophical point, but first of all I'll reflect that question back at you. What about you have you had to do that? But yeah, I think that's

Nathan Wrigley: 35:28 exactly what I'm doing. What I do now is because of tightening of my belt, I ran a, when I was employed and probably while I was earning the most, I run up the most debts and everything. Yeah, I knew. And it was that realization when the debts was getting a bit too much thought. It may be reanalyze how I kind of live my life and what was important to me and what I could lose that didn't actually make me happy and it was a ton of wasted money. And then when I got married to somebody is even better at that kind of stuff. Really evaluating what needs to be bought or not, you know, it's made all the difference to me and it's still incredible today how much we can kind of reduce our costs down. I feel it's like something that people don't look into without losing the quality of life. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 36:19 Yeah. Um, well, obviously you've made a decision to kind of like leave the, um, this part of the world and you spend a lot of your time in India and Thailand and Vietnam and so on. And I do, I do sometimes look around and wonder what, what, what my aspirations are. You know. So as an example, we, um, we have a, I don't, as I've said before, many times I don't really watch television, but we have a television. But by any standard, our television is a, a pretty meager affair. You know, it's several years old. It's, the screen is not all that great. There's a few scratches on it and you know, you just walk in and you wouldn't sort of go, oh, nice tele you, you probably wouldn't even notice it. And then the other day I went to a local shop, which is called in the U K we have the shop called, um, curries and Curry's sell all manner of electrical things.

David Waumsley: 37:13 But they have, they have this battery of Teles against this wall. And I was staring at them. And I don't know if you've seen that, the latest generation of Teles, they're enormous. I mean they are like six feet wide. And so make the mistake of taking my kids in there and my kids were like, well, ah, look at that. Look what we really want this and, and it really, it suddenly dawned on me, I don't want any of that. I just not interested in my, my tell is perfectly adequate. I'm all right where my tele and, and my kids are gonna have to be all right with it. And you know, when they're older, if they can stretch to that, they can do it. So I do, I do agree with you. I think there's so many things that we get caught up in and that this is not meant to be sound preachy in any way.

David Waumsley: 37:57 This is just me espousing what hive decided, um, that I've cut my cloth and I'm not too worried about those material things. Not, not, not a lot. So long as the car goes forwards and backwards. I don't really care what it looks like so long as the, the tele displays a picture don't really care what size and shape or what model it is. And you know, you'd, if you met me in the real world, you'd realize that I don't really have too much of a care for what I wear or the way I look particularly. Um, so yes, I think we've, we've come to expect an awful lot in, in our part of the world and I think it would be apropos for me at least two a to sometimes stare at that and evaluate what do I really need to make me happy? Because I said, as I said before, I think, um, my success is a, is a measure of my happiness.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:50 Yeah, absolutely. I do think, you know, I mean it was fairly interesting even before we moved out, we saved a lot more money just because as an example, you know, my wife would just think, well we would buy all this sort of Veg from the supermarket we can go to and she would just find places where there would be the price that she would expect. So kind of the Green grocers so that we're better, you know, there was some ethnic shops we went to get certain types of Vegan that we wouldn't try. We actually, you know, things actually will improved even though we were kind of reducing our budget down and we needed to save some money to build, to go travel in. So, but you know, that that philosophy still stuck with us. And it's even interesting even in Vietnam where that, you know, the cost of living is much cheaper if you're from the west. And that we met up with somebody who, who, um, lives here most of the time and we took them to the place that we found his restaurant and he was really bowled over by how inexpensive and good it was. You know, we have a knack now once you get into that habit of finding yeah. And then you can reduce your costs down. You know,

David Waumsley: 39:54 it's interesting this, this, that, this topic, when we started, it felt like the pendulum was swinging very much in the sort of negative, you know, all sorts of catastrophic situations we were describing and so on. And it feels like I'm with the pendulum is beginning to swing towards the positive because certainly from my point of view, I do enjoy the conversation of cutting your cloth and not trying to expect too much out of life. And you know, from an environmental point of view, I'm sure that everybody can appreciate that the, the model which we have in this part of the world where I live, if, if everybody across the globe was to consume the, the resources that people in my country do. Well good grief. We wouldn't, you know, we'd be really struggling. Um, so the pendulum swinging, so in order to push the pendulum firmly and the positive direction, let's, um, let's concentrate for the last few minutes on just positive stuff. Only nice things.

Nathan Wrigley: 40:48 Yeah, let's do that. So I think, yeah, we jotted a few of these down, didn't we? And, um, the first one is, and I think this is now become my philosophy in life. I think it's just being older, but you know, now I realize that we just will, whatever happens, we'll survive. Death is very unlikely. No one's gonna die as a result of our businesses failing. Cause even if we are on state benefits, the worst thing that we can imagine happening, we can still use our time as web people really effectively. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 41:18 Yeah. Interesting. Um, should we go from one to the other? I'll, I'll do one that I, um, I like one of the positives I think about, um, the, the work that we do is there's no boss. I like that. I like, um, I like the fact that I get up and, uh, do my work in a dressing gown. And wear nothing on my feet and so on and so forth. I do like that. And my success or failure is a measure of my own resourcefulness. I like that.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:48 Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:49 Should I go for it? It's a cliche. This one I'm afraid, but you know, we kind of have to fail a bit then we also will never have any real successes. Well, I'm going to tell myself that. Yeah, that sounds like a good thing. I think that's true. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 42:02 You can't, you can't judge. Um, you can't judge whether you like something unless you've had something that you don't like. That's true. Yeah. If you haven't, well, even if you've never experienced success, you probably won't feel it's in the same, sorry. If you've never experienced the, the lack of success or failure, you probably won't feel the success in quite the same way that if you've been through adversity, maybe. Maybe that's a good way of describing.

Nathan Wrigley: 42:28 Yeah. I mean it's just w the way to get success in it. I mean if you're failing to get business in because it's something to do with the way that you communicate with the clients, you know, it's great feedback for future success because you, you know, it's only if you persist in doing the same thing. Yeah. That it's, yeah. No, you're not going to get any further.

David Waumsley: 42:46 Yeah. Another thing which kind of ties into that is a positive out of a negative is that the, the, if you spy failure, whatever that means on the horizon, it will often lead you to do something new and to strive harder and to achieve new things and go in and unexpected direction. And I think that can be good. Um, you know, you might, you might end up trying something you would never have done if you'd been coasting and end up finding out that, oh, I really enjoyed doing that. I mean, you may not, you might discover that all the things that you, that you, that you try are a horrible, but nevertheless, it does push you into new directions. I think that can be good.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:26 Yeah. And I think it's still just, I guess I've mentioned this one really, we're just not bound into one thing at all. While we want each one type of client one approach, we can just take our essential skills and we can, as I see lots of people do, they will set up a, an entirely separate business to reach a different niche or client.

David Waumsley: 43:48 Yeah. Yeah. Um, again, a very mundane thing about this kind of work is one of the things that I really like about it is, um, that you can pick your own hours. So I don't know what time it is, where you are, but we started these calls, uh, just at seven o'clock this morning, my time. And it just so happened that I was awake. So off we go. Very good. Yeah. Yeah. And uh, and we'll be, we'll be finished them long before, you know, long before the, the working day is as, as ended and I can move on and do different things.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:19 So yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:21 So I'm thinking we probably can't fail in our business. Ready? Can we, cause even if we have to go back to a job, which some people have to do, you can still keep this business running as a sideline and come to it another time.

Nathan Wrigley: 44:32 Yeah, that's true. Yeah. I mean definitely some people are going to fail at this business and I, I hope that, you know, if you enjoy this business and you are having a nice time doing it and it's something you've set your heart on, I hope that that's not you. But um, it's been nice chatting around the subject, what it means to us, what makes us happy, what we, what we believe to be ultimately the good reasons to be in this business. And uh, yeah, very nice chat indeed. Should we end it there? I think so. Well there you go. I do hope you enjoy that. I very much enjoy chatting to David about these kind of open ended subjects and uh, in this case talking about failure. It's something new for both of us to talk about. And so it was very enlightening and I hope you, I hope you got something out of it.

Nathan Wrigley: 45:20 The WP Builds podcast is 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 and training as well as counseling. Please help enable WP and UP by visiting WP and UP.org forward slash. Give. Okay. I hope that you'll come back next Thursday and join us for another podcast episode. Perhaps if you can't make that, you could join us on Monday when we'll be reading out the WordPress news for the previous week and also on Monday, having our live version in the Facebook group, and you can find that at WP Builds .com forward slash live. We'd love to have year-round. We'd love to see you in the Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash. Facebook. That's all. Of course, I'm going to feed 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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