227 – Building websites in a day with your team

Interview with Nathan Wrigley and Candy Phelps

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I’ve often thought about building my WordPress websites on the one day model, it’s got so much going for it.

I’ve heard stories of quite a few people who are managing this very effectively. However, it’s always been something that I’ve associated with a single freelancer. I’d always assumed that the margins were pretty tight, and therefore most likely to work with one person.

Well, Candy Phelps is on the podcast today to tell me (and you) otherwise!

She’s built a business creating websites in a day with a team, and, as you might have guessed, it’s all about the process. If you get the process right from the start, you can make this work, as you’ll have all your ducks in a row, so that there’s no time wasted and every member of your team know what to do and when to do it. It’s pretty interesting to see how this all hangs together.

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We began by speaking about what made her go for this model of working. As opposed to the usual agency model, where you try to get as much money as possible for individual website builds, one might assume that this is more of a low fee model. Candy does not think so. She says that you can get good money for doing one day websites, if you do it right.

We talk about what doing it ‘right’ means and what steps she has in her process is. In fact, we spent a long time talking about the process, which is really where the value in this episode lies.

We cover:

  • how to capture leads and how those leads are vetted, to make sure that they’re suitable for her business
  • what she does before the day to make sure that the website build is ready to start on the day
  • we talk quite a lot about the builds day itself; what they do on the day, what tools they use
  • which kinds of people work best for this type of service; she has an interesting psychological analysis about that
  • finally we talk about the certification process that she offers to people, like you and me, who are hoping to build client websites on a one day model

It’s a fascinating conversation about a model of building websites that you might like to try with your team. If you have any thoughts, please drop them in the comments below, or head over to the WP Builds Facebook Group and search for episode #227 and leave a comment there.

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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: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello. Hi there. And welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 227 entitled building websites in a day with your team. It was published on Thursday, the 29th of April, 2021. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a few bits and pieces just before we begin very soon. The page builder summit 2.0 will be launching it's happening between may the 10th and may the 14th in the year 2021.
I'd love it. If you bookmark that and made some time available so that you could attend, you could find everything about it. At page builder, summit.com, once more that's page builder, summit.com. You'll be able to get your free tickets to attend on any of them. It was five days. We've got a great list of speakers and sure that there'll be something for you, even if you're not using a particular page builder, you might be able to find something to do with a page builder that you've not come across before.
Possibly a page builder that you thought about using, or perhaps just some new tip or technique from an expert who uses a particular page builder. Find it all out. As I say, page builder, summit.com, go there register. Get your free ticket. We'd love to see you. The next thing to mention is if you're interested in WP Builds content head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe.
And over there, you'll be able to sign up to our newsletters, join our Facebook group and subscribe to our R S feed so that you can listen to us each and every week. Another thing to mention would be WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to have your product or service put in front of a WordPress specific audience, or you can do that with WP Builds, just like AB split test have done.
Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or BeaverBuilder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out at AB split test.
Dot com okey-dokey what are we talking about today? I'm speaking with candy Phillips today, all about building websites in a day. I'm sure that you've come across this model before the idea of doing everything starting early in the morning. And by the end of the day you finished. Has got a really interesting approach to this and that is, she does it with a team.
And so she's got a whole process worked out for how to get her team, doing everything at the right time, asking the right questions and making sure that it's finished before the day is out. There's a whole bunch of stuff in here. It's really interesting what that process looks like, what she needs to get before the day begins.
What kind of thing? She assigns the different people in her teams and how they manage their time and make sure that it all coincides at the end of the day. It's really interesting. If you've come across one day websites before and you've thought about doing it by yourself, then that's one thing. But if you've got a team or you would like to create a team to do something like this, then candy is certainly the person to listen to.
I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there and welcome to the WP. Your builds podcast. One small. Today we have an interview episode and I'm joined all the way across the pond from Montana in the United States. Candy Phelps. Hello, candy.
Candy Phelps: [00:03:46] Great. Thanks Nathan, for having me. I'm excited to be here. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:49] it's really nice to have you on I was going to ask you how we met, but I think I might just introduce that little bit myself if that's okay.
Because candy reached out to me or it might've been Unchained because of the page builder summit that we did late in 2020, and she did a talk on the page builder summit, which was deeply interesting. So we thought we'd have her on the podcast to discuss some of the different aspects of the business model that she's working.
So just before we start, would you like to tell us a little bit about your background, how you've ended up coming on a WordPress specific podcast, what your business is involved with and so on. It's like an elevator pitch very quickly at the beginning.
Candy Phelps: [00:04:29] Sure. Yeah. So I'm candy Phelps.
I'm the founder of busy. We're a creative agency. I'm actually located in Wisconsin in the U S. And I am from Montana though, which is why we were talking about Montana earlier. So I've been running a business creative agency doing design and branding and web WordPress for about 12 years now.
And we started a model a couple of years ago called the one day website. And we've extrapolated that across all of our services now. Which is what we'll talk about today. But yeah, I was I'm a fan of the pod and also I loved the summit. You all put on the page builder summit. I just loved that.
It was so specific to so many of the things and the tools that we're all using every day. And I got a lot out of it, so I really appreciated that and getting to be a participant and a sponsor. But yeah that's a little, a bit about me. I freelanced. For the first few years of in business. And then we've grown over the years, mostly using subcontractors, but we do have a few employees.
And actually this year I took on a business partner, which is a whole, that could be a whole other episode about taking on a business partner when you're already 11 years in. But. So yeah we're in growth mode and it's exciting and I'm excited to share some of the things I've learned the hard way over the years.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:47] Okay. Oh thank you. So yeah, as candy mentioned, we're gonna concentrate on the business model that she's she's become a bit of an expert in, and this is the idea of putting on a one day website and I've got a series of questions. We've had a little bit of a chat before the recording began, so you know what's coming, but the first one really is it's talking about the kind of reason why you decided to go for the one day model, because it seems to be a bit of a mantra in the industry, especially around agencies that what you need to be doing is up-scaling you need to be.
Making your business such that it's appealing to large agencies who can pay you the big figures. So constantly we're hearing things like $10,000 website, $20,000 website, this kind of thing. And obviously that stands in stark contradiction to what you're doing, I'm guessing. So why have you gone for the, this one day model as opposed to going for the much bigger, longer, more drawn out website builds?
Candy Phelps: [00:06:50] Sure. Yes. So we started with doing like straight custom WordPress themes many years ago, partly because I just didn't know what I didn't know about being able to get a page builder or certain tools. So we were building really custom websites about seven years ago and getting some pretty big ticket clients, probably 15,000.
What was the most expensive website we built and 10,000 was pretty common for us. But the problem with doing those huge projects was that they were lasting forever. So even if it was, only about a hundred hours of work, we would be working on projects for six months, nine months a year because the clients were so busy, they just were never getting back to us with the things that we needed to do their project.
So we always had to have several projects running at any given time, and it just felt so inefficient to me because if we didn't hear from a client for three, three weeks, by the time they got back to us, we would have to reread a bunch of email threads. We couldn't remember where we were at in the project.
And it just felt like such a silly process. This is silly project management that, it didn't actually take us six months to build a website. It took us, 50 hours or 75 hours or however many hours to build a website. But it was really the clients that were slowing us down and this stopping and starting, and this silly inefficiency of the way that our industry works with project management, mostly being done by email or, base camp or a sauna or one of those tools.
So it was really this problem I was trying to solve with just why is this so inefficient and how can we make it better? And I have a background in journalism, so I used to work at newspapers actually. So we would be producing a newspaper from scratch pretty much every day. And this idea of you'd get a bunch of experts in the room.
You have writers, you have reporters, you have editors, you have, designers and you can make an entire newspaper in a day. So to me, this kind of like deadline environment and the idea of collaboration in real time Just meet a lot of sense. Like it, it made a lot of sense to get people in the same room, working on a project together and cutting out all of the emailing basically, which also is just my least favorite part of the job.
Like emailing project management. I just don't like it. So I was like, I do love working with clients. I do love working with my team. How can we get rid of the emailing? So we did some experimenting and yeah, we found that working in real time with our clients and with our team solved pretty much every one of the problems that we were facing with, making the client focus their entire day on, on their website and also helping them and letting them work with us so that they get a lot of feedback during the process, instead of, spending eight or 10 hours working on a mock-up and then showing it to them and then they don't like it.
And then you have to start over or you get all these like crazy rounds of revisions. Working with them in real time, just it solves so many problems and all, a lot of the communication problems, a lot of a lot of the tech technical problems that clients sometimes have, like not being able to attach things to email or not being able to upload something to a Dropbox, we can help them through those when we are working in real time on zoom or in person before COVID.
So yeah, it was really just solving a problem in my life and in our client's life where if it takes us six or nine months to launch their website, it's like really a disservice to them and their business because they could have had that website up and running and making them money.
But instead, we'd have clients who pretty much changed their whole business model in the time that we kicked off their project to the nine months later when we finally got it launched. So it. Really to me, it was just about fixing a broken process. And, it's been a lot of work trying to refine our one day website to get it to work as well as it does now.
There's plenty of things that we learned the hard way in that as well, but we think it's the best way to work. Now. We really just don't want to ever go back to doing the other way in terms of the pricing and like those big ticket clients, one day website may have a branding issue because it sounds cheap, but it's not cheap.
We actually, we have done $10,000, one day websites where it's essentially we call them one day pluses, but we'll do a one-day website with a client. And then if they need e-commerce or an online course or some other kind of thing, we basically just do more one day sprints. Added on to that.
So we'll still do the full one day with the client and then usually get everything we need from them in one day. And then the next day, or it can be the next week. It doesn't have to be consecutive days. We'll add the e-commerce, we'll do the testing, whatever else we need to do. So we've really built the model around the first day, getting everything we need from the client, getting the design, done, getting the content, written, all of that stuff.
And then any other like tricky functionality or just, adding a bunch more pages to the site we can do on our own time without the client slowing us down and without the risk of, having to redo a bunch of stuff. So we've really built the model, not to be like a low cost, down and dirty, cranked it out a bunch of junky websites, but actually just like a.
A real-time collaborative experience for a client that where we have, four or five people working on their site and we can get 50 or 60 hours of work done in pretty much a day. And then we, we need to do a little bit before and after. But it doesn't have to be a low cost model, and you can still make good money on projects, but. But just take less, don't spread those out over months and months.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:42] Yeah. Yeah. It's absolutely fascinating. I really hadn't ever thought of the comparison to be drawn between a newspaper, which starts blank at the end of each day. That one's gone.
We've got a blank paper to fill out. And then of course, yes, it's an enormous undertaking, but yeah, that's a really fascinating comparison. Now I'm interested to drill down into the actual process because I think that's probably where the majority of the interest will lie for the listeners today.
So let's take it all apart. How to begin with, how do you vet. The people that are going to be joining you on this one day. How do you how do you find these leads and how do you make decisions about whether a lead or B lead or C lead is somebody that's going to be suitable for your process before we get into actually what you do.
Do you have any sort of like red flags that, that, that are offered up that make you think actually, do you know what our model here, which is a bit different, won't be suitable for you? And these are the reasons internally why?
Candy Phelps: [00:13:46] Yeah, sure. So the, we say no to many projects because they don't quite fit into what we're doing.
And that's a big thing that people are afraid to do. A lot of agencies or freelancers are like I have to say yes to everything because I don't know when the next lead is going to come along. That was a. Seeing that I used to be a client hoarder and I would literally do any project for anyone.
That was how I built my business. It got really unwieldy very quickly. Cause I was like having to learn all these different things all the time. And every project was like a unique snowflake. So we'd spend, I'd spend eight hours just writing a proposal for a client because I'd have to do so much research and so much, checking out tools ahead of time to make sure they were going to work.
So part of it is an intentional, yes we actually don't want to work with everybody. We're trying to focus in on the types of clients and the types of projects that we do best at and say no to learning on the job and say no to things that are just outside of our wheelhouse. And it actually, the first year we did that, we said no to so many leads and it was really scary and our revenue went a little bit down, but our profits went way up.
So that was where it was like we cut out so much of the unknown of, scoping a project that you've never done before. Or these really huge projects. Like even if you scope a $20,000 website, the possibility of being $5,000 under bid is very real. The bigger the project, the higher chance it is, it can go wrong.
The longer it takes, the more that can go wrong and the more the scope can creep. So for us, that was a big thing is actually just being willing to say no to certain projects. And so first of all we cannot work with very large organizations. So we focus on startups and small businesses.
And if somebody has like a big nonprofit that has like a board that needs to approve everything and they have a whole marketing team and like an executive director and like three other people who need to weigh in on it. It does not work right as part of the decision-making that happens in real time.
That's what takes a lot of time on those big clients is not the actual project work, but the decision-making and getting people to consensus. So we pretty much weed out anybody who has more than four decision-makers involved. And if we aren't necessarily always saying no to those people, we will sometimes try to like, get them into we'll do like a one day.
A week kind of thing, where it's okay, we're going to just bill you by the day until this project is done and we'll do a sprint, three or four sprints to get them to where they need to go. So we've developed just like a day rate billing model to deal with some of those clients.
But we really like working with startups and small businesses better. Anyway, we love working with people who are really passionate about what they're doing. But even then not every small business owner is a good fit. So what I think our sales page, we get most of our leads from search engine optimization.
Most of our leads come in, already sold on the idea. Like they read our sales page, they watch our video and they're like, this is exactly what I want to do. Like they, they self-select. And I think a lot of people, self unselect when they see that It's, by the end of the day, we'll have the website and it scares them.
They're like really analytical people or people who like to take their time, making decisions low commitment people. That's probably the thing that we've found the most. We actually have a brand archetype quiz on our website and we have our clients go through this and I have a theory. I haven't run the data, but the Explorer is an archetype that is all about like adventure and travel.
And I have a theory that they're also low commitment people as a general personality trait. And I think that we don't want to work with explorers in the one-day website because they like too many things. They have too many ideas and they fear committing to something. I'm not positive on that, but I'm pretty sure that those type of folks might not be a good fit.
But where the people who are a good fit are people who are confident decision makers. People who like are action oriented and love to see results though. And there's so many people out there that just don't have the patience to wait five months or six months for a website or even three weeks. Like they want it done now.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:22] Yeah. You mentioned your landing page, which which is interesting. Just digging into that a little bit. What are the messages that you're drilling home on that page to, as you described, self vet so that people who you are presumably wouldn't be a good fit, but for work between the pair of you what are the messages you're trying to inculcate in them so that they know, yes, this is for me or no, this is not.
Candy Phelps: [00:18:48] I think we talk a lot about like high energy collaboration. That's a term that I think some people are either super attracted to, or very repelled by where, it's like you're going to be interacting with people all day. It's very intense. So we try to talk about that and like collaboration is something that not everyone likes to do.
A lot of people like working on their own, and then presenting something to somebody else. So we try to make sure that people understand that it's high energy, it's collaborative. And then, especially in the sales meeting, we talk about what happens after the day? Like how many revisions do you get or that kind of thing.
And that is. It's a tricky conversation because there is some fear around it because most companies, most agencies are not building websites this way. There's this sense that you could just have as many revisions as you want, or you can be like, keep working on the project as long as you need to get it.
Perfect. And we just reject that idea of the longer you work on the project, the more perfect it is or that the website will ever be perfect. We still, we just believe so firmly. The website is an evolution and like you launch something, but it's not done. And so it could always be made better. And so it's better for the customer to launch something and then start improving it, adding content making it better and better.
Instead of waiting nine months to launch a site that you think is perfect, but actually it's already outdated by the time you've launched it. So those are the kinds of conversations we try to have during sales calls. We straight up, I think, I don't know if it's still on our site, but we had an FAQ, that said is the website one day website for me. And it says if you like to take your time making decisions and you're really analytical, this might not be for you,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:34] yeah. Yeah. I think it's really a valuable thing to invest time thinking about that messaging because you can get rid of the tire-kickers with the right page before they even get in touch with you.
So that's, yeah, that's really interesting, especially this sort of psychological angle okay. Let's talk about the, let's imagine that I'm somebody who has looked at that page and I feel that I'm a really good fit for this. How do we. How do we I'll rephrase that. Let's go through the process that you've got.
What are the first steps that I would be taking to communicate to you that I want to come on board? And how does it work from your end in the run-up to the day let's exclude the actual day, just now, what are you doing in the background to make sure that everything is in place so that day can run as smoothly as possible.
Candy Phelps: [00:21:25] Sure. So most people contact us through our website form. That's pretty standard for us because so much of our, so many of our leads come from SEO. So usually we'll get a contact form or a one-day website form that somebody fills out. Occasionally people will call. And the next step for us, we have a pretty slick client onboarding process that I've been working really hard on automating a lot of it.
So we were using Zapier for a ton of different things. But basically our sales person who is my new business partner she usually has a call with people. I wouldn't recommend ever letting somebody just sign up for something like this without talking to them about the process, because people have a lot of inaccurate expectations, both positive and good and negative about what it's going to be like.
So having a conversation with people, no matter how much copy we put on the website or videos we've had on there, like people still don't ever read any of it. So we want to make sure that they understand what they're getting into, what they're getting and what they're not getting. And then, like I said, a lot of people have already, self-selected like we get so, so much strong language from clients saying I, this is exactly what I want.
I want to work with you. Not like how much is it cost and is this the right company to work with? It's they've already, they're so excited about the idea of working with a team that they're already like really on board, but once we have a conversation to vet them and for them to vet us and to make sure it's a good fit obviously that's where we would nail down, like what kind of pages or functionality that they would need on the website.
And assuming that it's a good fit and they don't need anything like crazy that either couldn't be done in a one day process or that isn't if they don't sound like a good fit, if they have 10 people who need to weigh in on every decision, we'll send them a proposal. And then, and so that, we actually started out with a fixed price that we were saying, everyone who website is this, that it's a fixed price.
So it was like truly a product, but we found that was a little bit too tight. Like we had to loosen that up cause we couldn't find enough people who needed that exact thing. So now we still do a quote for them. Our prices are generally between 3070 500, I would say. Yeah. And we have done more expensive ones if they need e-commerce or something like that.
But our average price is probably 4,000 for a site. Okay. Right now anyway. And so when we send them a proposal, they sign it, we get a half deposit, 50% deposit to reserve the date we found out before, like the very first one we didn't require a deposit and somebody canceled the night before, that, that kind of thing.
So we definitely require a deposit just because of, yeah. So important that they actually show up cause we have a whole team, all ready for them. And then really, this is the part that some people think, Oh, then you make your client go do a whole bunch of homework. That's actually the opposite of what we do.
We try to make the client's life super easy and that they only need to send a few things ahead of time. They only need to do very little because we think that the client's experience is important, that it feels easy and fun for them and not like a gigantic list of things to do, because that's really what the traditional process feels like to them.
It's like a huge burden of homework that they don't really have time for. And they don't feel skilled at doing. So really all we get from them ahead of time or like their web hosting credentials. And if they have an existing site, we'll get in the back of that as well. And then we do ahead of time, the work we do is we install what we call our base installation.
So we have just like a WordPress child theme of a ton of plugins that we always use already configured. So we put that up on a demo on their hosting and that's the only work we do ahead of time. We may do some research if they need some kind of like special functionality, but really it's get our base installation up there.
And really the bulk of the work is done the day of, because we I won't get into that. But and that, it's a matter of just, getting them on the calendar sending them a few reminders ahead of time. I find that, yeah. We send reminders to both our team and them to make sure that everyone's like prepared and has everything they need.
But really that's about all we do ahead of time.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:49] That's fascinating. Okay. So yeah, one of the first questions I was going to ask is from that if you're working on their hosting, that's quite interesting to me. I would probably be doing that on my hosting because I'd be the slightly paranoid paranoid web developer thinking.
At the end of the day, what's to stop them from just clearing off with with the website that you've both built together and not paying the remaining 50, 50%. So that's interesting that you do it on their website. Yeah. That's fascinating. Do you actually do it on the live.
Domain or is it like a staging domain
Candy Phelps: [00:26:21] do a demo. If they have an existing site, we'll leave this site up until we're done. We'll just do a demo. So for one, there is no way any of our clients are like savvy enough to pull that off, like their live site down and put a demo up. If they were, they would not be hiring us in the first place.
And also, something that is amazing is that your one day website, clients will never stiff you. They will never not pay their bill because they love you. By the end of the day, they're like obsessed with you and you are obsessed with them and you spend all this time together and they're super proud of what they built.
It's a totally different experience than when you're just emailing back and forth with a web developer for three weeks or five months. It's a different relationship altogether. And the trust is very deep. And so I don't have any of. The collection problems that I used to. People, when we were working in person, people would be like crying by the end of the day.
And they'd be like let me write you a check, before I forget, like they want to make sure we're paid and it really actually allows you to we, the same product that a client might not be super happy with. They will be super happy with because the process itself is so much better for them and so much more enjoyable.
And because they see the humans behind the project instead of just. The end result. So it actually solves a lot of customer satisfaction, a lot of trust issues that we might've had before. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:48] Yeah. I think that's the real interesting point of this podcast. Recording is just that little nugget there.
That you can, cause we've all been there where we've had clients and yeah, it really has descended into email. And, you're just not getting any rapport built up. You just got this email thread and they send something over and it's miscommunicated. So you have to go back to them and say, look, I meant letter box and you've sent me something that's landscape.
Can I have it in portrait instead? Or, you've just got confusion going on left-hand center. And so things get out of hand frustrations build up. And I just think that's a really interesting component of this and not one that I've really experienced. I've talked to my clients a lot, but never had that kind of a, that, that rapport on the day of building it.
And so that neatly segues into the actual day itself. Okay. I've paid my 50%. I have given you my hosting details. You've gone in presumably a day or two before and put this WordPress installed and the collection of plugins. That you're going to use. How do we actually carry out the day? What do I, as the client have to do on that day?
How much of it is done by you guiding me? How much of it is you telling me what to do? What are we doing? Are we on zoom or something like that? How does it, how does that date go?
Candy Phelps: [00:29:05] Sure. So the, we have been doing all of our one day websites on zoom this year before we were actually pretty adamant about working in person with clients, which is just a personal preference of mine.
I'm an extreme extrovert. So I love this. Like real-time collaboration in person. COVID has actually thrown a pretty big loop for us because it forced us online. And in some ways it's a blessing because it was just more my personal preference to work in person. But obviously there's only so many clients that are willing and able to drive to Madison, Wisconsin.
We're opening ourselves up a lot more with the online, but even more because of COVID our clients are tech savvy enough to do a teleconference now, whereas before we did a, a number of remote one days, and some of them went really badly because people just didn't, we spent 45 minutes in the morning just getting them onto the zoom, so now everyone's super tech savvy and can get on zoom.
They're more likely to be able to upload files and things without that being a catastrophe. In some ways COVID has actually helped our business in that respect. So everybody's on zoom. We right now, even our team is on zoom. So we usually have a writer, a creative director of web developer and a designer.
That's our core team. We may have fewer or more people depending on the actual project, but that's like a pretty standard set up for us. And the client gets on their zoom and they, we tell them to bring any photos or videos that they might have. We don't have in-house photography or video, and that's something that I would love to develop in the future.
So that's one thing that a lot of times we will refer a local photographer and somebody will get photos taken ahead of time. But oftentimes we'll just use stock photos or stock video, or we'll create graphics for them if they don't have a lot of assets like that. But so they come with their photos in their logos.
A lot of times they, we send them a big list of things to prepare for, but if they don't have any of that, it's totally okay. Like we don't make them fill out a bunch of forms ahead of time or do much. It's just make sure you have access to your accounts, and then we can help you get the photos from your Facebook or get the logo from, your.
Files somewhere. Again, it's really about making it easy for the clients and not giving them a big list of jargon that they don't understand. So we spend probably an hour in the morning doing a kickoff meeting where we just get some basic logistics, nailed down. What pages are we building? What assets do we already have?
Who's doing what then the writer and the creative director take over on a discovery interview. And from this interview, we actually write the copy for the website. So we typically do like a, we'll say up to five pages, we'll write that day. And oftentimes the sites will end up being about 10 pages, but some of those pages are either like service pages where we're really copying over a lot of the stuff from the old site or, contact pages or forms or things like that.
That don't need a ton of copywriting. But we like to include up to five pages of copywriting so that the copy is. Good so that the client doesn't have to write it. And so that it's optimized for search engines and, like somebody with a marketing eye is able to actually write the copy, but the beauty of the discovery interview and the one day is that you're really collaborating with the client to write it.
Like you're interviewing them. Then you write something, then you review it together. So it's really a nice process where you get, I think the best copy. When it's coming from both the marketers and from the clients.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:44] Yeah. I'm curious about the fact that you've got, so let's say again, put, positioning me as the client.
There's literally me. So there's one person on my end telling you everything that I want for my company. And there's four of you on the other side, how do you manage the order in which that goes? So obviously you've got your kickoff meeting, which makes perfect sense. You're getting an idea.
And then under the, writer's literally drop off the zoom and go off and do some writing and then come back. And in the meantime of the designers trying to get, I dunno choices of colors and branding options and all of these kinds of things, I'm just interested in how you build this.
What are the blocks that go in place? Because obviously time is ticking now, and we've got to, we've got to make sure that as mid day approaches something significant as is on the way.
Candy Phelps: [00:33:28] Yeah, exactly. And if anyone's interested, you can go to one day works. Dot com slash agenda. And you can download our exact Excel spreadsheet where we say who's doing what at what time now?
It's it's generally we have to go with the flow. That's part of being on our side, like our free freelancers that we work with and our team have to be, a certain type of person who likes this high energy collaboration and can like bend and flex where needed depending on the client or the project.
But yeah, the, when the writer and the creative director are interviewing the client, that's when the developer is busy, installing plugins, doing integrations, getting into accounts they'll do some stuff for SEO. Like we always include a Google my business page and like a Bing local page. They'll go filling out, setting up accounts, doing kind of backend stuff.
And the designer is actually doing a mock up of the home page. That's part of the stuff in the kickoff document. We'll get whatever brand assets they might have, whether that's like logos and colors, any kind of photos or that kind of thing. And then, so they're busy in the backend doing some mock-up design, looking at other websites of industry peers, or competitors getting ideas.
And they're working on a mockup. We usually use illustrator instead of Photoshop for that. But really just depends on which designers in the room that day. And then by mid day. So the interview usually less an hour and a half probably when the writer is done, then yes, they drop off the zoom and actually go to writing the designers.
Usually at that point, ready for some kind of feedback, like whether it's fully done, it's usually not fully done by then, but they're ready to get, have some questions answered. And then in the meantime we're all working away. The client has. A couple of branding exercises that we like them to do, including that brand archetype quiz that I mentioned.
And we also have a core values. It's not a quiz. It's like an exercise that we have people go through. So they identify their main five core values. Okay. This information is super helpful for the writer as they write the copy and it's also just really helpful for the client to go through those exercises if they never have before.
So we have some things to keep the client busy while we're all working
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:46] away. I'm just really interested because the only way that I've seen this business being run before is with an individual. And that has been my constant quandary is how on earth do you keep? How do you keep doing things?
When, they're telling you that, th some information that you need to pass, but at the same time, you're trying to build the homepage. And, you've got some ideas about how the logo might go and so on. So I'm really fascinated by this notion of you've got exercises for them to do at predefined times.
And you've got time allocated with flexibility built in to, to have certain people doing things in the order, which has proven to work best for your businesses. Yeah. It's absolutely fascinating. Yeah.
Candy Phelps: [00:36:28] Yeah. Yeah. It's all about the process for us. It's we, we've been developing this process for years.
I've been working on it for probably five years. And we've iterated and iterated until what we think is the best, the best setup now. So we haven't actually done any dramatic changes to the process probably in the last year or so. And it works well. Like we, we know what, what kind of things could go wrong and we try to plan for those.
Really the big thing that we've found that could go wrong is if a client has like zero branding, if they don't have a logo or if they don't have any kind of brand assets, that can get, it could spiral into spending an hour picking colors, even if they say, Oh, you can just write my business name in a type and call that my logo like that.
That is probably the one, one time where we're like, if something's going to go wrong, that's it. So now we just are better at vetting that ahead of time. And I will literally send people to 99 designs if they don't have a logo and be like, Go buy a hundred dollar logo. If you like, we want you to have something coming in.
If you can't afford to hire us for a one-day branding, which is, we always will pitch that. But if you can't get a full branding, just at least have a logo with some colors picked out ahead of time. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:41] yeah. Something which which can be swapped out at a later date. Yeah. That's really interesting. I did think that before we started this call that we would end up obsessing about the process.
And so it's proven to be, cause I think that's probably the bit that the audience can hook into. Okay. So we've got some idea where it mid day, I'm going to pause for a minute on the day itself at that point and ask what the suite of tools are, the stack of tools that you've come to use over time.
And that could be any tool. Obviously there's probably a real interest in the WordPress tools that you're using, but also any kind of SAS apps that you might be using to chart and gather content or whatever. So yeah. Any tools that stand out as worthy that people may not be familiar with or just haven't tried before.
Candy Phelps: [00:38:23] Yeah. So yeah we're building almost all of our websites on WordPress. We have a lot of plugins that we love. I'm a huge fan of gravity forms. So I always like to plug that because we, you can just do so many amazing things with gravity forums that other companies are like selling these big, fancy integrations on these $20,000 websites.
And it's it's a gravity forms. Add-on so yeah, we can add your contact form into your CRM easily because it's a gravity forms. Add-on so I am not an affiliate of gravity forums. I'm just a fan girl. But I do think that saves us time and allows us to do more powerful things because gravity forms is so awesome.
But Zapier is really we are totally using Zapier to just streamline our client onboarding. That kind of stuff just drives me crazy. Like I don't like making copies of files and whatever. So we, and then Panda docs, Oh my God, we just started using this. And this tool is. Amazing. If you don't have a proposal writing software, definitely check out PandaDoc's it's not cheap, but it allows you to have, you can have templates obviously, but then you can have these fields that you put in.
You can be custom where it's like the company's business name, then it'll fill it out all through the whole proposal, the company's business name then because we're using Panda docs and all of these fields are dynamic. We can use Zapier to pull all of these different fields, to create a quick book invoice for them to you know, w they make a client folder and copy a whole bunch of documents into our Google drive for us.
When we, it creates a new base camp project for us based on, client name and what kind of project it is. So we've been using Zapier for the last several years, but now we're like hitting it hard with. Basically automating every part of our client onboarding process. We use base camp for a project management, like mostly because it's cheap.
And I really liked the sort of list format of base camp two, which is what we're using. But really any, any project management software, the key is, our certification. We just have one humongous spreadsheet that is like tabs and tabs of checklists, of everything that needs to get done in the day or the day after.
If it's there's certain go live, things that need to happen. And that, to me, it doesn't matter what software you use for project management, but it is absolutely essential that you have that process because obviously when you're doing a website in the day, it's more likely that something will get forgotten.
So that's where you can't just go off your memory. You have to have like really strict checklist and make your team. Make sure they're actually going through all of them and keeping notes on anything that is important. So yeah. Base camp, Panda docs Zapier, WordPress. Do you use
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:08] a, I use a wedded, maybe it's changed over time, but do you use some sort of page builder to speed up the actual builder or have you got a custom theme that you're using?
Candy Phelps: [00:41:19] Yeah, so we use the theme called enfold. I don't know anyone else who uses it, but I it's supposedly it's the most popular theme, forest theme of all time or something. I'm not exactly sure, but we've been using it for years and it has its own built-in page builder. It's not a front end builder. It's a backend, but I it's a beautiful theme and a beautiful page builder and very easy for clients to use.
So that was like probably we've probably been using it for five years. I think I've spent over like $2,000 on that one theme by now, but it's yeah it's lovely and clients love it and very easy to use, but any page builder would work. Yeah. Obviously we're not creating custom WordPress themes.
Starting from scratch during a day, but the page builders, especially things like divvy or Ella mentor, I think oxygen was one. I was, I heard about during the page builder summit. I'm curious to look at, but using a child theme that you can basically customize any way you want, it's not going to look like you're using the same template on every site because you can do five different kinds of headers and navigation styles.
And then you can obviously have any kind of like background images and graphics and any kind of column layout that you want. I just don't think it serves the client to start from scratch, like doing custom theme, unless the website itself is the business. If somebody is like making a business that is like some kind of directory, then maybe they need a custom site, but mostly small businesses and startups, like it's not worth the cost to start from scratch.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:42:53] They just want something straightforward and whichever page builder or tool or theme you're familiar with. And, if you can ensure that over the course of the next several years, you're going to be able to maintain it and you're happy with the reliability of it, then Bravo, go for it.
One other thing that I'm curious about is back to the zoom again, and perhaps the day is carrying on now we're beyond mid day. Am I actually watching you build it? In other words, can I request that I'm literally seeing what you're doing and actually, could you move that to the left a bit?
Can you go up a bit down a bit, make that button red or is it more, refresh the page every 20 minutes and see where we're at?
Candy Phelps: [00:43:30] It's more like that when we were in person, there was a lot more like literally standing beside the developer or, the designer, those types of things, but there are definitely parts of the day that are for feedback where that is what we're doing.
When we look at the up, the designer is sharing their screen in, and then there's the move that this place, can you change the color of that blue? So that is very much like hands-on real time changes. And then toward the end of the day, when we're building the site, it's more like.
Refresh the page now, but then there's a part where we go through page by page. And if there's easy changes to do, we'll do them live while the client is watching. If it's like, Oh, someone's got to write some code. They're not necessarily watching that, but they totally could we could easily switch themes.
I have a fantasy about having a huge jumbotron in our office where we basically just switched screens from like the design, what the designers working on and what the writers working on just to show little glimpses of things. But yeah, we usually the client is busy doing something else.
So they, they aren't necessarily having a bunch of time, but we do also do trainings. So that's where they like get to get into WordPress and, use the layout builders. Content edit things and practice using WordPress. Okay. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:48] I'm interested in more now we're closing the day down a bit, it's coming towards, let's say it's five o'clock.
How do you manage all of that? In other words, is there, do you put a specific time limits on it? Are you open to, carrying on for an extra hour or so if it's, if the project for reasons unknown, just stretched out for a little bit longer, do you put a buffer in for the next 24 hours so that you're not doing one web site day build and then the very next day doing another one?
How do you manage the, sort of the tying off of each project?
Candy Phelps: [00:45:19] Yes. So we usually say, and this is a matter of setting expectations with the client, during the kickoff meeting and in the sales call of what exactly we are going to get done that day and what isn't going to get done. So we always reserve the next day.
For, we call it quality assurance and polishing. So a lot of times there'll be like mobile friendly issues where we need to like, change some type size or something on the phone version. Testing, we always want to be sure that, we've tested all the contact forums. We've looked at it in a bunch of different devices and browsers and all of that.
And then we always tell the client, if they have any quote, minor revisions the next day, they are welcome to go home, sleep on it, look at it with fresh eyes the next day. And then we usually have the training either that day or we'll have a call with them just to get their revision. So to save them some emailing again.
So yeah, we, we never do two back to back one day websites. We always want the next day to be. Like finishing things and then going live if the site is on a demo or we're switching hosts or something there'll be a couple hours that need to be devoted to doing that kind of thing. So yeah we never we'll do back to back.
What we will do is another service before a one-day website or after a while it usually before. So like we will do a one day branding the day before, and then we'll do a one-day website the next day. And then we would still reserve that third day to get everything compiled and everything.
So yeah we like to give ourselves a buffer. And we always know things are going to spill a little bit. It's just a matter of we want to make sure the client doesn't come back the next day and try to change all the colors on the website or, something like, Oh, I didn't like the, the layout we decided to do for every internal page, that kind of thing we really limit.
But we do quite a, there's probably still five or six hours of work. We do the next day that the client doesn't need to be involved with, but we like to make sure we're dotting all our I's and crossing our T's. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:19] Now obviously having been through this multiple times, and you described the process in great detail.
So it's pretty clear you've given this a great degree of thought you, you mentioned in the sort of notes that we exchanged at the beginning, that you've got some sort of certification process that is married into this. Do you want to talk about that? Who's this for, is this for people like me that could upscale on how to offer this for my business?
Or is this for your clients to certify them in using the things that they should have learnt during that day?
Candy Phelps: [00:47:48] Yes. So actually we have, so our main agency is busy, and we have spun off a different business called one day works that we are. Training other freelancers and creative agencies in our one day process.
So the certification is for agencies who want to sell one day websites to their clients. And then we are also developing, which are not quite ready yet, but we're developing certifications for each role of our one day website. So if someone wants to be a freelancer for us, that they've gone through our training to be a writer, a developer or a designer, and basically we're building our team of freelancers to be able to call on mostly right now.
A hundred percent, all of our clients are all of our freelancers. We work with and contractors are local who live near us, but we are, as we grow, we want to be able to have people in different time zones and different skillsets and different experiences. So there will be certifications for each individual role for people to basically be hired by us.
To, to help us build one day websites. And then the agency certification is if somebody wants to actually license our brand and actually sell one day websites to their clients. So we've actually trademarked one day as like a trademarkable phrase. And that's part of the deal that if an agency licensed that they can legally sell one day websites or one day brandings.
We're also building out all of these certifications for one day branding one day search engine optimization. Like we have a whole suite of services and we think that our model is so awesome that other people are going to want to learn how we do it in great detail. That's why we built it. We were just getting so many questions from people who wanted to know exactly what we were doing.
And honestly, like part of it is just, I know what it's like teaching yourself as a freelancer and it is. Everyone is learning on the job and having to learn the hard way. And it doesn't, there's just no WordPress school, right? Like we didn't, we can't go back to school to learn how to build websites for clients.
You can get your website certificate or your HTML certificate or whatever else it is, but it's not actually practical information for people who need to know how to work with clients and need like best practices. So that's why we built it. It's just to make sure that freelances who work for us are going to have the best practices and the training and the knowledge that we need to make sure that they're doing a good job for our clients and that the sites we're building are really high quality.
And then also to just expand this way that we've been working and let other people. Share the model, in a franchise type situation, but not exactly that. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:33] Yeah. That's really interesting. It's such a, it is genuinely a really unique model that you've got. There's just so many different components that, that you've highlighted today that I hadn't pieced together in the jigsaw.
I'm more or less certain that there's going to be people listening to this who are just having aha moments along the way, ah, yeah. Having a team building out the documents in advance and sending them through a sort of a pathway of things to do on the day and so on.
Yeah. It's really interesting. What a pleasure sadly time is of the essence. And so I'm going to ask just before we finish, if you want to mention a Twitter handle where you can be found an email address or a URL that we haven't mentioned so far, anything that you like at all to to allow people to get in touch with you.
Candy Phelps: [00:51:16] Yeah. So our agency site is busy, creative.com. You can check out kind of some of the other services that we're offering and see some of the work that we've done, if you're interested. And then our website for agencies and freelancers is one day work's dot com. It's the number one day works.com. That's where we're offering certifications.
We actually have some of the physical tools we've developed and you can check out some of the digital tools that we've developed. And if you want to sign up for our email newsletter we also have a coupon code that is WP Builds. If it'll give you 15% off any of our certification or one day website courses, if you want to check any of those out we don't have a certification running at this very moment, but by the time this airs, we might.
So depending on the timing of that. Yeah. And then, yeah, we're on Twitter. Instagram at get busy. We have all the social medias we're on YouTube. Pinterest Facebook, when you name it
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:15] Busy, by the way is spelled differently. Isn't it's B I, we say Zed, B I w Zed Y not B U S Y. So busy as BI doubles at Y twice.
Just in case you were, yeah. You ended up looking for that candy. What a pleasure, what an interesting subject. And hopefully there'll be people who have gained something from it. I certainly have. Thanks for coming on the podcast today.
Candy Phelps: [00:52:38] Yeah. Thank you so much, Nathan. It's been a pleasure and have a great
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:41] day.
You too. Bye-bye. I hope that you enjoyed that. There really was a lot in that episode. I've often thought about starting a one day website business, and I never quite managed to get it together. I certainly don't have a team, but if you are lucky enough to have a team and you're interested in this approach and you think to yourself actually there's money in them there Hills, I don't have to go for the giant website, builds each time and chase those down.
Perhaps I could go for more of smaller projects and manage my team around that. There was a lot in this episode for you to think about as always, if you've got any comments or thoughts, please head over to the WP Builds websites, search for episode two, two seven, and you can put a comment down in the comments section at the bottom of the post.
Also, if you fancy joining our Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook. You'll be able to find the post in there and make a comment as well. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else?
Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elemental or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out and get a free [email protected] just before you go, I'm going to throw one last cheeky plugin for the page builder summit, www.page builders, summit.com.
As you might expect head over there. If you're interested in hearing about all sorts of different page builders and what they can do that could be Devi BeaverBuilder element or oxygen. And of course, loads of talks about what Guttenberg is doing, then go over there and get your free registration. It's all happening.
May the 10th to may the 14th page builder, summit.com. Okay. We will be back on Monday. WP Builds.com forward slash live for the live this week in WordPress show with Paul Lacey and some notable WordPress guests. We'll be publishing that on Tuesday as well. And we'll be back next Thursday when David Walmsley and I will be going through the eight as head of WordPress.
I'll fade in some awful cheesy music, 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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