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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, this is episode number 257 in titled WordPress business bootcamp series one episode one. It was published on Thursday. The 2nd of December, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And just one simple bit of housekeeping before we begin, hopefully you managed to snag some black Friday deals.
We have our black Friday page, and as you might expect, all of the deals have not yet expired. In fact, I think it's fair to say that most of them are still active. So you've got the page at wpbuilds dot com forward slash black. It's a searchable filterable list. We had over 250 WordPress specific deals on that page.
There's probably a few that have been removed because the date of expiry has gone past, but as I said, most of them are there. So if you are still of a mind to snag a black Friday deal, go to our page, you can search and filter to your heart's content. Click the yellow search filter button. That's WP Builds.com forward slash.
Okay. So this is something brand new for the first time ever. David and I are going to embark on a multi-sensory set of podcast episodes. We're calling it to the WordPress of business bootcamp. And today being the very first one, we are on episode one from series one, we've actually got about five or six series planned out each with multiple episodes, possibly five to eight episodes, something like that.
So you can imagine this is going to go on for weeks and weeks. And the simple idea is we're going to try and remove all of our knowledge. Not that there is a lots to remove, but we're going to go right back to the beginning to the day when we first decided, do you know what? I quite fancy building websites for a living.
I quite fancy earning some money for this. And that's what this is all about. We're going to go right back and unpick everything and try to figure out how we might run a web design business from the very big. So the very end. And so we've got to make a starting point and that's what today's show is all about.
Today's show is all about realistically defining our business model. How would we even get into deciding what processes we need in place? How do we do things like charging? How do we communicate with clients? How do we find new clients? We try to tackle some of those bits and pieces today. It's really all about things like agile versus waterfall and how we might skill ourselves in the things that it is that we need to learn.
Hopefully this series is going to be enjoyable. Hopefully you're going to be able to communicate with us about it in our Facebook group, because we would like your input as we go on. It's a big project and let us know what you think. I hope that you enjoy the podcast. Hello,
[00:03:11] David Waumsley: and welcome to the first episode of WP business bootcamp.
This is a new series where we learn everything we know about building WordPress websites and running a web design business from start to finish. So the premise to this series is that we have our first potential website client who we're calling miss a and all we know about her is that she is the lawyer in a large city.
We've been asked by a mutual friend who thought of us, and we have a few skills. We've made a few websites. We have no business of our own and process in place, but we want to start our business. She has no previous website, no branding or no copying, and really through a kind of cast of our WP Builds group and Googled and things that we've read.
It's up to Nathan and I's to individually decide what kind of. How are we going to take this person through a website from the beginning to the end, establishing our own business as well. So we are starting with the first service, which is season one before the build. And this is our first episode, which we're calling realistically defining our business.
[00:04:22] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, this is going to be a really interesting series. You've put a lot of work into this and a lot of thought has gone into the sort of structure of this. And I do love the idea of rewinding the clock now in, in our case, we've been through it. Anybody listening to this podcast has either been through it or is thinking about going through this.
And so this'll be a lot of introspection, a lot of rewinding the clock for us, but also probably just re-imagining how it might be these days. I imagine. Following. Traps and make some errors along the way as well. But it's just so interesting. The conversation that we had before this, we hit record just rewinding and telling each other what we did and the things that we made successful and the things which were absolute tragedies and all of that.
So I'm really looking forward to this series. This is probably going to consume weeks and weeks. Let's, let's hope there's some value here because that is the point, right? We are with this one, we are trying to come out with something at the end of each episode where you've got something to take away or at least something to think about may not be an actionable step or anything, but it might be okay.
That was an interesting thought experiment.
[00:05:36] David Waumsley: Yes, exactly. And I think we've been talking for five years now and really we've been just pulling in, on our own experiences, but it is time. Things have changed since we started. If we were started again, we just might do things differently. I know I would. And that's really where I'm at and I'm sure a lot of people are the same as those.
We were talking about how we really just wandered in. We didn't really set up a business. It wasn't a plan. In fact, I wanted to know, cause I didn't ask you cause I wanted to hear this for the first time. How did it happen for you? How did you end up? When did you know you had the business?
[00:06:10] Nathan Wrigley: This is such an interesting thing because honestly the myths of time have clouded this now.
And I don't really know. I had all sorts of jobs that I really wasn't that interested in. And I had a friend of mine who I still speak to quite regularly. In fact, I'm talking to him tonight. We, he was into technology and into computers and he, I believe probably my initial catalyst was, I think he created a basic website.
His wedding or something like that. And I remember catching sight of that and thinking what you did that thing that's on the internet. You did that. And I, I think in my mind, up until that point, I'd associated the internet, because this is going right back to the beginning of the internet, where it was basically images and text, mostly text with images that the most creative thing you could do would be to have a tiled background image that was as good as it got.
And remember seeing his wedding website and thinking, wow, So you put that together in your spare time. And then he explained to me how he did it. And I actually sat in his he worked from home at the time he's working for BT and he actually had a setup all at home and he showed me the process of opening up files.
And he ha he made himself like a, what he called an assets folder. And he dropped the images that he was going to use into this assets folder. And then he was typing out the markup HTML, and I remember nodding and going, oh yeah, that makes sense. And actually thinking to myself, I have no idea what he's doing and he would say things like, okay, so I've just put the image in the assets folder.
So now if I do.dot forward slash assets forward slash and what did we call that image? And then he would type it all out and then it would magically appear on the screen. And I thought I honestly don't know what he's doing, but it spurred. To go away. And I think I probably just sat in the, in my bedroom or, some part of the house and got the computer out over various evenings and thought I'm going to crack this and build myself something.
And I do not even know what the, the first thing that I did was, but it was probably just experimenting with just basic HTML. I'm sure you do. You did as well. And then getting to the point where I did two or three of those and thought this is interesting, showed some people and then a nother different friend of mine who wasn't even working with computers at the time.
So I don't even, I can't even remember what the connection was. He hooked me up with somebody that needed a website building and I just made it up from there. What about you?
[00:08:53] David Waumsley: Yeah. Do you remember the year that when you first started.
[00:08:59] Nathan Wrigley: Good grief. Let me think. I'm trying to piece together. When I did things like Finnish universe, I'm going to say it was about 2004.
[00:09:07] David Waumsley: Okay. So a couple of years on, I would have started 2006 and really, I had a, I was working for the government and there were times when we were frustrated with our jobs and my boss was very keen on. Building a new business and the internet scene, the place to go. So often conversations with him spurred me on.
And I ended up building my first website for him cause he was doing another job and it didn't last very long. It did well. It's what hooked me in. It was a mail site. Mostly I was doing it with Dreamweaver and then I was reading some books and then I did a lot of it manually and picked up HTML and it went live and surprisingly, it brought in some customers to illustrate straight away.
And I just, that was it. I was hooked because it's wow, I put something out here and it makes business happen. It was amazing. So there was that, but WordPress came a little bit later and really when it came to the first job, it wasn't, I'd already decided that this wasn't the job for me. I got quite interested in the idea of doing web design and listen to people like Bo Agworld and stuff like that.
And I thought, oh, what they do is similar to what I do. I don't know if I want to do that. They cause they worked for big government companies and stuff like that. I thought this doesn't sound like much fun. And I rolled it out and it was just by accident. A friend of mine ask some questions about WordPress, which I got into for my own personal reasons.
Building something for my staff team and building that an e-commerce site in the early days, she asked me a question then that led to what I would class as my first business job. Suddenly there was this, she was working for this Chinese company. They had a big site that needed doing, I had the skills to be able to rebuild their site, which was falling apart.
And it was a big job for me. And then from that point, I guess I was in business. I was a freelancer because that's what I've been doing since.
[00:10:57] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I had absolutely no expectations. That, this is what I would be doing. I wasn't doing those first few websites thinking this'll be what I want to spend my life doing.
I literally was, this is a bit of fun in an evening. I'm quite enjoying this. And then it became something later when I actually realized that people would pay me for it. But it's very important to stress. Certainly from my point of view, maybe you've got more of a, an angle on this, but I had absolutely no process.
I had absolutely no thought into how I would communicate with clients. What, how long it would take to complete things. What would an expectation from the client point of view? What would that look like? I just started talking to people as they came my way and just made up the pricing and, it was literally all invented by me and some of it was just dire and some of it I've probably stopped with her, but there was no process.
[00:11:55] David Waumsley: do you know, that's the really weird thing. Cause I almost a reverse of that because I started listening to the first, it was the first podcast on building websites, I think, which was Bo Agworld. And it started in 2006, but at the same time I started, so I was listening to this and I was hearing about the processes that they had to deliver these sites.
So I thought that was the way, and it was all lots of clever stuff, with the kind of planning where. You knew you had all this architecture, all of this mood board in that you would do to get the field of things that had an absolute process that they went through, which they would need, because, they couldn't do jobs that were less than 25 grand, because they were proper agency.
So I listened to this and when I tried to do a site for my brother, I sat them down at some kind of meeting and went through some of the things that we've got to do there. And it just looked completely baffled. So I went away. So let's just forget this ever happened and I'll just go make your site.
[00:12:52] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. I remember I did listen to that podcast. My mom. The way that I got into things was I was saying to you earlier, I've still got quite a lot of the books. I learned that I learned the skills of the trade, HTML and all of that kind of stuff. And later CSS, cause I started building things in tables.
And I, I read books, so I would buy those quick start guides and I would buy, I remember reading a few. Yeah, probably HTML for dummies and bought a few of the Wiley Bible books. And so my way of doing it was definitely through literature. I would read it or I actually remember being member trying to learn PHP.
Bye. W when I wasn't even near a computer, I remember trying to memorize how things would be done when I was on holiday. So I was literally sitting by a swimming pool, reading a PHP book, and then it only occurred to me when I got home. Actually there were, there was, I remembered almost nothing of this. So that kind of taught me, no, you need to be next to a computer when you're doing this.
You're not going to remember it in the same way that you did remember stuff for your degree, where you could just read it and read it again. And it would stick making the leap that, okay, I have to actually practice this in order to remember it. And then I moved on to, I guess at some point, YouTube videos started to come in and Facebook groups started to come in and I started to learn the technique in those ways.
But it's really interesting that both you and I arrived quite near the beginning of the web as a business. Obviously there were people that came before us, but the whole freelancer thing, I think by pure coincidence we're right at the beginning of freelancing as a web designer that just happened.
And most people I think, fell into it without process. And now there seems to be much more process, which we'll get into.
[00:14:43] David Waumsley: Yeah. And I get, did you do it kind of part-time did you have someone that is source of income? Yeah, I had
[00:14:49] Nathan Wrigley: a variety of other little jobs, which I didn't really enjoy. And that was another reason for for wanting to do this because it felt like something I enjoyed much more than anything that I was doing.
Again you were employed full-time and you were just doing it in your spare time. Same. Yeah. And
[00:15:06] David Waumsley: that, in some ways, I brought my learning into work by building a WordPress site that used at work. So I learned some of the skills and I guess it was paid by my employer for some of the learning that I was doing with that.
So there was that, but really when it came, it wouldn't have been possible for me to have even, it was an accident that I ended up with the business. Cause I decided it wasn't in my friend. And then I did this big job and it took up half the year. Rarely. So yeah, I guess I started from that point, but without the circumstances changed in my traveling and not having to earn so much would have been very difficult.
I wouldn't w I think it would be very difficult for anybody now to start. Saying that they're going to go straight in full-time with this still.
[00:15:49] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it's interesting as well, because there was no sort of academic route to learning this. You basically had to do it off your own bat and you would learn whatever it was that you were interested in.
At least I didn't feel that there was an academic route. I didn't know of anybody who was going onto courses learning about you know, building for the web. I'm sure that kind of stuff is all in place now, at an 18 year old university applicant, I'm sure could now apply to a multitude of courses where the outcome of that is some kind of qualification, which you can take to an employer saying, look, I am a certified this or a certified that and that just didn't exist.
And so in a way I feel that we cheated the system a bit with the.
[00:16:31] David Waumsley: Yeah, indeed. We did. So talking about our business models, also, when we start, lots has changed. We've got page builders now. So we're going to have a lot of people who perhaps don't feel in order to deliver a site to a client needs to have any coding skills at all.
That's a possibility for people where it wasn't for us, but in terms of business models, I think things have changed because I would say that there are effectively two basic design approaches out of there. W the one you pick is going to dictate probably how your business model will form to some extent.
So the first one is the traditional kind of agency model, where it's called the waterfall process, where you will have a start and an end and various steps to get to that end product, which is the site that you deliver to the client. So you scope the projects you put forward propositions, you maybe sign a contract and go through these stages.
And at the end you're finished job done. And then we've got contrary to that. But again, Actually, it goes back to 2001 agile, which is saying the old way doesn't work because it's based in print. And what we have on the web now is really web applications, which are in constant change all of the time. So the only way to deal with the processes iteratively you'll start perhaps with a minimal viable product, and you'll keep working with the client to keep iteratively, improving the performance of that.
So we've seen that now with the gov.uk site, which is the only one to win the prestigious design of the year award, the only website that's managed to do that, we see people like Google getting into it. They talk about their design, sprints and stuff. So we've got these two opposite models at the moment.
And I think actually it does influence how it's influenced me on how I've changed my business model. Cause I didn't know about that.
[00:18:32] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah I would just like to add in a third option here, which is the, I have no idea about anything and I'm just going to wing it, which is totally what I did at the beginning.
I really, I think those days are gone. I think if absolutely that door is shot, but there was a period at the beginning where literally I was making it up, there was no process. And I would just say, oh yeah, I can build you a site. It'll be 800 quid. And then we would just enter into some random discussion on a telephone and I would just deliver it to them.
There was no contracts, there was no scoping. That was just, I want something to do this. Can you build it? Yes. Here's some ideas off we go, but I don't believe that's the case anymore. Please don't follow that model.
[00:19:17] David Waumsley: But I think that effectively is the traditional model is just without, any organized steps in between.
It's still the idea that you say. Okay. I know what I'm going to deliver. There's a cost to what, in a way, you had an agreement with the person that they could imagine what you were going to deliver at the end, and you set a price on that. So effectively it still falls into the traditional agency. There are lots of different business models, I think out there, which could fall into either of these.
And I don't think that they're not mutually exclusive as well, because it may depend on the project. So I say having a view on it might help with your business model, but it, you might not be locked into it. So something like one day webs. So if we were going to our lawyer in the city who album at yet, and we're still working out a model, we could still decide that we want to do one day web.
So we're going to build it in eight. With a page builder and the client has to be available. Now you could argue that something like that model would be traditional agency in the sense that you know what you're going to deliver at the end, you're putting forward a proposition about what it's going to look like before you start it and as an end, but it could also be included as agile.
You could see that as it's a short sprint that you're doing together to deliver a minimal viable.
[00:20:38] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. So just to reiterate that, just because this is the bedrock of everything that we're going to be talking about, the way we're splitting our discussions, if you like with, so we've got this client, Mrs.
A, we don't know virtually anything about her, except that she needs a website and she is a lawyer were taking everything from that basis. And we're going to take it from the point of view of I'm going to be the protagonist for the kind of traditional agency model, where you scope things out, you offer a proposal, you get a contract, all of those kinds of things, the things that for want of a better word are easier to understand.
And you are going to be the proponent for doing this in an agile way. And maybe sometimes we'll overlap and agree and disagree, but that's where this whole series of many, many shows is going on. I think
[00:21:30] David Waumsley: so. Yeah. It's going to influence our decision on things. When we talk later about contracts, there's a, if you've already signed up to the agile approach, there are no contracts, but of course there needs to be contracts.
If you go with the traditional model, because there's a different method. And I think sometimes it might be worth for anybody. I wish I had understood that there were these two basic ideas about how you might go about the web. So I could frame what I was offering because what's happened is I've picked up my advice from the kind of known advisors out there, which we'll talk about now.
Shall we? People like there's agency Mavericks out there formerly used to be WP elevation. This, you gurus as people like Chris DOE. These. You well-known kind of internet celebrities who run courses and events and they teach people like us, who probably, but this is an argument. Get into the web because we're creative or we're just interested in the work and the money comes secondary how to sell their services.
But those people I've mentioned, they are all have one thing in common is that they are. They assume the traditional model, they assume that you're putting forward the proposition because usually that's the way they sell their courses to us is to say, we're going to show you how you can bid for a 20 or 30 K
[00:22:51] Nathan Wrigley: project.
Yeah. It has a, it has an easy sort of ring to it from a sales point of view. Doesn't it? If you think about it, The th those courses, and you mentioned a agency Mavericks, you grows, and Chris DOE who, I don't actually know what he does, but it's an easy commodity to package up as network. And we're going to get you to the point where you're earning 500 pounds per website.
Now we're going to get you to 10,000 or 25,000 or whatever. And that's a really easy thing to do. And in order to do that, they need to bond a lot with. Their idea of how to achieve that into small manageable steps. And it turns out that the traditional model where you scope things off for proposals, contracts, et cetera, that is easy to bundle up into small, manageable steps.
You can, okay. In week one, you're going to do these set of things. And then in week two, you're going to do these set of things. And so on right up until week 25, whatever it may be, where you'll finally hand it over. And at that point, we're going to get into the whole discussion of you know, care plans and all of these kinds of things.
So it's easy to see why that has become the mantra in our industry, because it's easy to understand and you can make tick lists from it. Your approach is much more wide open and everything's up for grabs. And so it's harder to commoditize that into a course, but I am curious to see how this goes.
[00:24:12] David Waumsley: You know, agile. I see it dates back to 2001, but what it was is I think a bunch of 17 developers, people who created the apps, mostly who put forward the manifesto, it's still on there. So if you typed into Google agile manifesto, you'll see it. And it's really a proposition. It doesn't give you a method at all.
It just gives you four values and 12 principles to work through. And that's basically, but it's quite a useful thing to, for anyone. I think who's thinking about starting up a business to look at that and see whether they resonate with you. Cause it probably, it has, as I've learnt it influenced how I go about things and it's helped me be a little bit more consistent.
I'm still not there, but it's helping me to be more consistent with what I'm putting forward to clients and what I'm talking to. So that's why I'm taking that point of view. I think also just on the, those advisers, who we've mentioned in a way they're solving a problem that comes out of the traditional model itself because.
What often happens is that you start, you don't get paid a lot. You charge low because you don't think you can charge much. And then you end up doing much more work through the process than you expected to do, or don't even get paid. And I think what these people do is learn the teacher to have the skills, to be able to propose future for higher amounts.
So you've got much more in, and they're generally focusing on value selling, not trading your time for dollars, but actually, showing the value you get with all these courses. But it's interesting. I think it comes. Courses really come out. The fact that people have gone down the traditional route in the first place, I think they've hit some problems.
[00:25:53] Nathan Wrigley: I think one of the, one of the first things that we're going to be dealing with. So again we're right back at the start we've got miss a, we've been tinkering with websites for a little period of time, is that you probably just want some sort of certainty. I'm going to make a go of this. I want this to be a job.
I want to get paid for this. And structure gives you something to aim at. It's less ephemeral. You've got jobs and tasks that you need to do on deadlines, and you've got documents that you need to send out and deliverables that you need to get back. And it just makes it easier to understand.
Now, I'm curious if we are entering the room and we. Ah, I'm a lawyer miss a and she's sitting there and this is literally our first interaction with her. What do you think about co do you go in thinking this I can offer agile or I can offer the, the traditional approach or we would anybody even offer both things?
[00:26:53] David Waumsley: I guess you could do you would argue th th the waterfall method, you could say this works best when they, when it's very, because the problem with waterfall is when you sign a contract for something to build something, you've all got to agree before you start what this thing is going to look like, and it goes wrong when it doesn't.
The agile thing says actually that's problematic as itself because you actually learn from doing, you actually learn from putting things out and getting feedback on how it's working. That's how it really works in the real world. So I think still a waterfall still is good because if you've got a very simple static site, which our lawyer may want, they may want the very basic site.
It still could be fine to say, okay, I can value price. This. I can say the value we're going to bring from this site is this. And you're going to sign a contract and we do this. That's the route you're going to take with it. But equally I could go in as I do now with my variation of the agile approach, because there isn't you know, certainly a philosophy is I would go in and I'm still going to do that with the.
You know, I take this approach to you. You won't know what you need because this person has another other website. You won't know what a website can do for your business. You might know what one looks like. This is what we find. I'm going to save you the most money. So we'll start with something simple and it'll cost you this small amount.
We'll get this site go in and then we'll keep adding to it as you need it, as it seems, there's more value. And as the project goes on, how's that sound? And that's how I would go at
[00:28:30] Nathan Wrigley: it. Yeah. I think that's interesting because I can imagine that some people will go for that. It's I think it's more about what the client expects as well.
So if it may very well be that miss a once total clarity she wants to know exactly what it looked like on the day it's handed over on what date it will be finished and how much it's going to cost her. It may be that's the mechanism that she could cope with. And actually, do you know what being a lawyer I expect, she's probably going to want a contract where everything is stipulated and she can come and get you if you haven't fulfilled everything.
But agile approach, th even the way you described that sounds really. Sounds really great to me. I would like that approach because I would like to think that, I can, I can change as it's moving forward as if I don't like something I can swap and say, actually, do you know what?
This is not what I was expecting. And so I think there's definitely merits on both sides, but the client ultimately will probably, quickly tell you, I don't know, Sign a contract or no, I'm not happy with this approach of yours w without contracts, the non waterfall, the agile method.
Yeah. It doesn't feel right to me because I want clarity and I want to know that you're going to deliver things. And I want to be certain of when those things are all going to happen and what it will look like and so on. So I think probably has, have to be led by what the client says, but then again, I'm not really going to be walking into a room thinking, okay, I've got two options, I've got the agile approach and I've got the waterfall approach, which one shall I try and explain both of those, because I don't think you can build a business solidly around one or the other.
I think you have to become a bit of a specialist in one or the
[00:30:18] David Waumsley: other. I think you're right. You have to pay, I think philosophically you will pick one approach and that will define your business even though. Not do that so effectively as I'm going to see Mrs. They are not fully going agile. It's too much for someone to say, this is all very good.
And you work with sprints with me to get to where you want. That's difficult. What I would probably do is, would be something that sounds a little bit like the traditional model, where I'd be saying, okay, I tell you that I can build a site like this and I'll show them some, this will take me 16 hours. It will cost this amount of money.
That's what I can do. But what we know is that it's only when you start doing that, you'll realize what you really want. And so you can, my guess is that you might need to buy a second or a third sprint of work. So that's how I would go. I'd go with effectively something that sounds exactly the same as your traditional model, in the sense that I'll give her a very low figure for a basic.
[00:31:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. D do you think that the, do you think that this, these two different models, waterfall, agile, do you think we're at the point where clients even know that these are separate models? Is there any that, have you ever approached a client who says yes. Agile approach. Fantastic. Let's go with that.
I don't think so. I think there just wants to be led by you. And so whichever way you open up the discussion is going to be the way it goes. They might just like the fact that it's more iterative and you could just call it that couldn't you, we're going to iterate your website as we go. And they don't need to know the language and you know, the acronyms and all.
[00:31:56] David Waumsley: they don't. And I think also, but why it might be a business model thing for me, I would go the agile way because it's been an easier way to get the thing that keeps me going, which is my hosting and care money. It's easier to introduce that with this. So the clients I'm unlikely to get on the whole. I won't be having big budgets.
So if I try and charge, if I try and value price, I may lose them for many people. That's not a problem. They're going to mix in different circles and be able to get the clients who will pay what they need to do for me. I found that I need to take. As it comes. So I'm going for the agile model, because it allows me to introduce the idea that we've got a long-term relationship here.
This is something where I just take on a few clients and I want to look after them as they need it. I want to save you money from the beginning. So we'll do very little. If you need more, you'll do it, but you'll need to come on my host. And this is something. Look after your site in the longterm, I start with that sort of.
I think where often when you're trying to do the traditional model, the focus is on the deliverable, the website. And then at some point through that process, you have to introduce later the idea that it might need your maintenance and your hosting.
[00:33:07] Nathan Wrigley: It feels like you're getting yourself into a longer term relationship, as well, as in the sense that, you may take less money up front because you're only doing a couple of sprints, the value of which might not be the figure that you'd ultimately hope for, but you're hoping that a year down the road.
The third sprint comes in and then another year of the full sprint. And so you've just spread the website over time. So where I've been used to the whole process of building something, handing it over, sometimes getting a care plan sometimes not, and then waiting. And then a period of time goes by some moment in time where they just think actually, usually it's design-related that no longer looks like the websites that I'm seeing.
The client comes back and says that my website no longer looks modern. It doesn't look suitable. It's not fit for purpose. All the fonts look janky and old and the colors are wrong and it just doesn't look like all the other good websites. And I think we've had a few of those moments in the past 20 years where the clients have been more or less forced to do that.
I'm thinking of things like. When CSS came along or when CMS is came along like WordPress, so that they could actually manage their own content without having to communicate with you. And then other things like more recently things like core web vitals or the, worrying about performance and of course, responsive designs, that's been the model, build it and the over, wait a bit, wait till the technology means that it's out of date, then build it again, right from scratch.
Whereas yours is more, let's just look at it every year and just fiddle with it a bit and make it different each time less of the rebuild, more of the.
[00:34:50] David Waumsley: Yeah, completely right. About the longterm thing. And that's why in this case, I'm going to be picking agile as my model, which is what I've moved towards, because one of the things there is that it allows you to not have to so awkwardly edge in the idea of the hosted and Kev and for a business where I'm going to get more budget clients.
That's the thing that's going to keep me in business because really the web designers themselves, because I can't value price them because they don't have the budget. I can earn over the long-term. One of the things though, I think, it sounds like I'm just making an argument. It's like how a versus episode where I make an argument for agile, there are pros and cons.
It's not. Known and not as organized, you have to find your own route, but one of the kind of nice things is that you might be in line for all there. Once you've established that idea that you're working with them, presumably saying, you're trying to save the money and you're going to be responsive to their business needs in the longterm.
You set up this established relationship where you're likely to get all the work that comes your way. Whereas when you're selling a N deliverable on a contract, you're contracted for that deliverable and the next time they want to check. They might pick someone
[00:36:10] Nathan Wrigley: else. Yeah. Like we said, a minute or two ago, I do think you've just got to pick one haven't you and feel what's right for you.
Maybe if you are trying your hand at building websites for the first time you could try one and try the other. But if that feels like a, that might take years to resolve, in my case, I just settled on it. Cause they didn't know any better the waterfall approach, but it may be that you want to try agile, try waterfall and see which works best.
But like I say, it's quite a lot of, it's quite a lot of time that you'd need to, you'd have to go through multiple cycles with multiple clients to make that work. And we're not there yet in this.
[00:36:46] David Waumsley: Yeah, I guess that's why I'm so excited about the agile, because I didn't know it existed and you don't hear it in the circles that we run in.
Most of the assumption, most of the advice is that you're using the standard traditional model. So this is an alternative and it doesn't, it does nothing more than make you think about what we are delivering to a client with this service at this business that we're going to set up. Is it rarely something like print where you say that we know what the final product looks like, and it can go out and that's our job done, or is it really actually always a long-term commitment and in effect, we know it really is.
It's just whether we want our business to be long-term with one client or whether we just want to get those individual jobs. And I think you know in yourself, which feels right to you.
[00:37:33] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. I no longer in need of either of these as it turns out. So I probably won't be experimental experimenting with the agile approach, but I will be really curious as this goes on, the series goes on because series probably will stretch over many months.
It'd be interesting to see how you actually deploy this. And if it is actually something that you're happy with in, in a, in a month, two months, a year,
[00:37:57] David Waumsley: Yeah. And we'll see, I mean, all of this is I guess, I we're relearning. So in effect, I'm doing a lot of learning on the stuff cause I am shaping the business that I'm actually in.
It is interesting though, because we were just talking a little bit about known advisors out there and the courses that they're out there, Beau Agworld who I mentioned before, he's one of the person who has switched from the waterfall method to embrace in this agile, as best as a counselor. He talks about that.
So there's still some good stuff there to find, but there are some other people out there as well, who are practical freelancers people like Aaron Flynn You've interviewed. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, she does some stuff anyway, so we're getting to the end of this, cause this has been quite a long one.
So we need to just go over maybe some of the questions, some of the things that we need to consider when picking our business model and probably the first one of that is are we ultimately built in this business as one that can grow and run without us and can potentially be sold? Are we running a business or are we effectively being a freelancer?
[00:39:10] Nathan Wrigley: My I honestly, when I was beginning that wasn't even a question. There was just no hint that I was building this to, to become anything other than just some extra pocket money. So at this point I probably wouldn't be worrying about those things, but you're right. I, I. I have some colleagues wouldn't really describe them as friends.
Cause I don't know them all that well, but I know people in my local area who very much took the approach to this. This is a business it's something that I need to grow. I need to employ extra people over time. I need to expand it. I need to get bigger clients. And in one case that comes to mind, I won't mention any names.
They've been incredibly successful at that. They've got multiple employees over some great office space in a big city now, whereas they started out locally. Th the intention there was to always do that. And I don't know if the person who runs it is going to sell it, or if they're in it for the long run.
But boy, if that their intention was to sell it, I would imagine that now it's worth a great deal of money. Yeah. What is the point? Are you just doing this for personal satisfaction, just to meet with new clients, to put some food on the table, or is there an intention to grow it, it would be really important at the very beginning to set those up because you would need to document things and have the business in a sellable format so that whoever comes looking and wants to take it over, knows exactly how everything works.
[00:40:37] David Waumsley: Exactly. And I'm in, again, back to the traditional model, it might help you. That's one, that's very easy to document because it's not really, the agile is customer centric. So you go where they go. Basically, it's not one that you can easily document in. In fact, it's one of their principles that you don't, but if you're setting up a business model to grow, then you need processes and you would document them in a way that someone else could do the job without you.
And that might be the way that you would set up your business. And I think it's easier for people these days to be able to do that. For us, we had to start with codes, so we already had to love the word. Do you know what I mean? It's so much easier now to build a website and say, I can build a website and effectively you could go to ThemeForest and buy one of these multi-purpose sites and doing one day a great build for somebody or run it as a business like that without having any love for the code or that much knowledge on it.
And. Probably it could be a good business because the people who you're likely to attract as long as you can market well to them, they also, most of our clients don't know exactly what they want. Anyway. They just know that when a
[00:41:43] Nathan Wrigley: website, I feel like the documentation side of the waterfall thing is just simply easier because there's a thing to do at every turn.
Or at least there could be maybe some of it, you wouldn't figure it out, but every process has a tick box next to it is followed by something else. There may be things running concurrently, often it's finished this, move on to this and then move on to this. And you might, Tick things off or move things on Kanban boards or whatever.
But that whole process of documenting things is certainly easier. I would say with waterfall. Whereas the one that you're describing, we talked earlier before we hit record. And one of the words that came out with that job was trust. It feels like you need to have more trust of each other that relationship would have to build up over time.
I feel like it's quite hard to trust an institution immediately, whereas it is easy. It's easier to, let's not use the word trust, but something like that you can understand the process of waterfall and documentation and contracts because you don't really need to have that trust because you're backing it up with documents that you can then rely on to prove that certain things should have been done.
[00:42:55] David Waumsley: Yeah, exactly. And it's fair. I think, one of the most difficult thing about agile, that there are some different frameworks to deal with working with that model in teams, something I know nothing about very complex stuff, come back as a method and scrum as a method. I don't need to know that. All I need to know is that it's my type of relationship with a client.
I can go that kind of route and it is a low risk thing, perhaps maybe the most, the best business out there could be for the lawyer would be the kind of one day build a type thing where you, if the, if our lawyer doesn't know what she needs, doesn't abalone, Brandon, you start a fresh with them.
You could, probably charge quite well for a kind of one or two day build that you're making on an existing platform. And that could be your model going forward forever. Yeah.
[00:43:53] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:43:55] David Waumsley: But, yeah, so, I'm going to, if I'm going my agile approach, I'm going to have the most difficult thing.
Cause I'm going to have to start, but I do have the one advantage I can say to them, look, we're going to start with an early sprint. So it's low risk. You're not going to pay me a lot of money. I'm just going to we're going to start with this first thing. Minimal viable product. Yeah.
[00:44:14] Nathan Wrigley: Do you know what I feel that you're gonna, you're going to be able to get clients through the door much more readily on that basis because you aren't really, you're not really signing up for the whole thing or you're just signing up for almost like a, it's almost like a trial, you've, you've come to you.
We're going to do the first sprint. It'll take a couple of days. It'll cost X number of dollars or pounds or whatever it is. And honestly, at the end of it, if we don't like it, we're just going to sever our relationship and we'll move on so that the money down. Almost feels like the, just a deposit. It's just a trial period.
If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out may. Maybe that's going to make it easier for you to hook people in at the very beginning, because there's less risk.
[00:44:55] David Waumsley: That's one of the advantages of that model is that you, you have to, the idea of the sprint in is now I'm not following this in my experiences of trying to do this already.
I'm not really following the spirit of it, but the idea is that with these sprints, the client's very much involved. So you're going to have that early time with them to establish that trust. And they're going to know if they like you and whether they're going to carry on, if not, they've not lost much money.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's easier. So there are some advantages, whereas the kind of waterfall traditional method would largely be done in sections. So once they've agreed and they've contracted and that's a bigger risk for them, usually the amount that they're agreeing to and the contracts that they've got to sign, which has got to make them sober up a little bit about what they're agreeing to really from that point on you, generally, they're only.
To sign off certain milestones. Yeah. There's not that kind of relationship necessarily. It's not always the case. Of course, there isn't one thing, but generally it's set up that way.
[00:45:58] Nathan Wrigley: Isn't it? Oh, this is really interesting. Cause it was really opening my eyes to what, how this might have played out in my past, if I'd known about agile and because one of the biggest impediments to getting new workers is just to get them over the line of the big number at the end of the contract, that you've got to do that.
They know that's a big number. And so having it broken, like literally there is only one small number at the beginning and we'll just take it from that. If things work out, is this really.
[00:46:29] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and anyway, so we've got to decide if we want a business that we're growing that convened without us, or whether we do it mostly out of love.
And we like being self-employed and the freedoms that come with, we're not intended to grow. We wanted to keep it small, which is, I think everybody knows is actually you and I. Yeah. That's
[00:46:47] Nathan Wrigley: how it's definitely under.
[00:46:49] David Waumsley: Yeah. Can we that the vote, the models that we should mention, like the ways or SAS model.
[00:46:58] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Website as a service. I like to say WordPress as a service, but yeah, same.
[00:47:02] David Waumsley: It sounds better than sounds like going to the tool is key to know I'm going for a while. So it was that a week,
but yeah, you know, we're not going to set that up to be our lawyer, but it is a potential route for anybody. You set up something where they build their,
[00:47:19] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. I feel with this one is that you need and you, you, you definitely wouldn't be exploring, whereas on the first build, would you, because you'd need to, you need to know that kind of stuff exists.
But if you're listening to this podcast and you're still looking for your first website, client do know is a model. You can build out a website and template it and have people sign up and offer it as a, was a platform a bit like Squarespace and Wix, and there are plugins to help you.
[00:47:47] David Waumsley: Yep. You could do it. Most of the page builders now have some templates that could be ready to go. Perhaps there's some loyal ones out there and you go here you are. Here's your site. Just go and fill it in with
[00:47:56] Nathan Wrigley: deal details. Yep. Totally doable. Totally viable. Probably. You're going to need more churn on that because of not churn, more clients going through your books each month, because I expect the fees will be less if it's clearly, obviously templated and what have you, but people are making money out of it and making a living.
So why not? You? Yep. And
[00:48:16] David Waumsley: also with our business model, are we niche at all? Are we going to go to miss and say lawyers won't get away with it, but you know, lawyers is exactly what our business is all about.
[00:48:29] Nathan Wrigley: Who's being successful at niching.
[00:48:36] David Waumsley: I was mentioned in T I don't know, actually, no, I was talking about, there is somebody who's come in on a site that I manage and they've come from a lawyer company. And that was looking at this it looks like they probably doing quite good business and there are some other ones I know of who Tradespeople only they do websites for that.
So maybe they do. Yeah, I guess we all niche don't we, we talked about this before, in some ways on another, we do, we may niche by location. We may niche by what skills we have available to us
[00:49:08] Nathan Wrigley: in some ways that's a really good point. I think by niching there, I was literally meaning the kind of industry that you prefer to start to seek.
So whether it's lawyers or plumbers or schools or whatever it might be, I tried that just a handful of times. And I found it very frustrating because it was, I was messaging. I hoped I was messaging to the right audience, but it also meant that I wasn't messaging to anybody else. So I abandoned that quite quickly when it just didn't work out for me.
And coincidentally it was lawyers, oddly. I tried a few local lawyers and it just didn't pan out and I was better off just being Jack of all trades master of. So niching, not at all, but why not? If you can make a niche and increasingly, the pandemic that we've been through, the it's more global now than it's ever been.
You're communicating with people over zoom and your clients can be anywhere in the world. It doesn't really.
[00:50:03] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think it's an important consideration with the nation too, to think of your model, whether you're going to do that. And whether you going to communicate that there are obviously the downsides of it.
You're stuck with the thing that you pick. And then if you pick a niche, that's the wrong one, or as happens, there are other companies that. Deal with your niche better. Like my old colleagues niche used to be for kind of hotels and guest houses and stuff like that. And then things like hotels.com appeared and ride.
She no longer had the niche. But yeah. Anyway, sorry, that's it. On that and yeah. So let's talk about the, perhaps the last section we'll talk about here is just, we're going to have a meeting with miss a or at least, even if it's just a telephone conversation and we don't have our website for our business yet, do we need to define what it is that we're selling in terms of our services?
How we're distinguishing ourselves, how are we selling it to
[00:51:03] Nathan Wrigley: her? Meaning how we would position ourselves against any opposition who walks through the door either before or after? Yeah, I think it's important to do that. Mark. So we've got a great long list here. Shall I just read out the list because it's, it's worth doing it.
So for example, are you going to be selling yourself as the purveyor of a site that people would die for? In other words, it looks beautiful. Is that your pitch? We're going to make something beautiful. Are you going to be talking about the quality of the code? I've heard that lots of times.
Are you nowadays going to be talking more about performance? Maybe that's something that people that sort of front of mind for a lot of people, are you going to be promising that your website will, the website that you build will enable. Getting new leads, perhaps something that they can control themselves.
I always used to pick that up, actually. I think that's personally, that's quite a good one. Are you talking about an all in one marketing package? Are you talking about the fact that you can do this quickly? So a day, two days, whatever it might be, are you talking about the fact that you're going to be able to save them some money?
Are you, are you cheaper than the people around? Are you offering things like ongoing training and then finally, and the reason I've left this to last is because I think this is the one that meant the most to me was long-term trusted relationship. In other words, you're going to be dealing with me directly.
Not not some sort of organization where you have to go through a phone system, press three for the such and such department, press one. No, you found out and you get me and over time, you and I will grow and you'll learn what I can do and I'll learn what you need. And I'll, we'll just have a much better relationship.
That one is the one that stopped.
[00:52:53] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think it's important to go through these things. Hey Dick, because, eventually you would probably need to set up some website for your new business model and you need that value proposition. What you might not eat it for this meeting because you will be there.
And largely that will be down to the relationship you have with them or whether it feels right. But yeah, I still think you need to know for me, it's the same as well. Is that the long trusted relationship? It's just me and I am who I am it works both ways. If I don't like them, I'm not going to do the job.
And if they don't like me, I hope they wouldn't hire me. Yeah.
[00:53:30] Nathan Wrigley: I've just found that to be really effective, not just from a sales point of view, it just works for me as well. And I've never had a client where I say to them directly, face-to-face say, it's just me. You'll be dealing with me. It's me at the end of the phone.
It's me doing the actual designing. Farm out the actual design, because I'm no good at that, still it'll be me that you're talking to, not the designer probably. And I've never had anybody saying no, that's weird. No, I wanna, I don't want it to be just you because the scope of my projects has never been vast.
Now that would be complete madness. If you are building gov.uk is there's no way that's going to be appropriate, but for the projects that I'm looking to do or where I was looking to do that was completely in FA fitted perfectly. It was lovely sentenced to be able to offer. It's just me.
And, but obviously, if miss EY works for a giant law company and she is the person on point who has been charged with building the website, you're probably best keeping your mouth shut about the fact that it's just, you.
[00:54:41] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. We don't know Missy, cause we know that she's new and she's setting up a phone company, but we don't know if she's going to have, a lot of employees that are coming in this is a big job or whether it's just her with our own private service.
So we w but we probably still need to define our model. We might lose Missy, you or I might, but yeah, for me, it's the same. It's the me, it's the, my big thing is putting them in control. Allowing them to spend money as they need to. That's the thing that agile appeals to me as a term, you could still offer the same if he wasn't using that model, but it would be about the fact that they're in control.
So it's a site that they can also change for themselves. Cause we're using the page builder. It's the fact that we'll build what is needed as we go along and you'll only spend what you need to with low risk. And it's just me and it's our relationship. That would be my selling point. It's really,
[00:55:37] Nathan Wrigley: there were 10 bullet points there, so I won't mention them again, but there were 10 things that I mentioned and two of them, I pulled out as the ones that I liked, which was the long-term relationship and the fact that they can control it themselves.
And they are the exact same two that you even ended up with. That's fascinating. Yeah, we're probably similar in that sense, but maybe that's just not know, maybe you're all about performance in your, you want to go for that as your badge of honor. I would say it's probably best not to try and be all 10.
That would be probably mixed messaging, but yeah. Yeah. Interesting.
[00:56:13] David Waumsley: Yeah, it is. I think we can probably wrap this one up. Can I do a little plug for something which isn't now at the moment, but we'll will be at the time, which we'll talk a little bit about the agile approach, which is a blog that I'm setting up, which will be part of the YouTube videos I do.
And I'll be linking back to this series a lot because it there's an overlap, but I'm talking about agile and traditional models within that. It's going to be called kiss. this.design will be the website, but I'll put a link to a relevant article if that's okay. So that's
[00:56:43] Nathan Wrigley: K I S S D E S I G N... No, K I S S T H I S dot D E S I G N.
[00:56:52] David Waumsley: Yes. It's four keep it simple, stupid. It's the acronym for that audit the kiss. So next episode, we're going to talk a little bit about how we're going to charge Ms. Say how we're going to go about that process with our own respective
[00:57:07] Nathan Wrigley: models. Yeah, so this was very much the opening volume, wasn't it?
The very beginnings. What, how are we positioning ourselves? What are the, what's the kind of things that we're going to offer? How are we going to offer it? And and I guess the next thing, like you say is getting onto the money and how you might deal with that and wrangle that and you know, how are you going to position yourself and what you're going to charge and all of that.
Yeah. That'll be next in a couple of weeks. Yeah. Look forward to it. Okay. Thanks, David. That was a great start to our new long series.
[00:57:36] David Waumsley: Yeah, I enjoyed that.
[00:57:38] Nathan Wrigley: Okay there you go. What an awful lot. We managed to pack into that. So this is our new series, the WordPress business bootcamp. That was the very first show.
And hopefully you've got an idea of what the ground rules are, what it is that we're trying to achieve. We're right back at the very beginning, it's almost as if I'm rewinding the clock 20 years. In my case, something like that. How do we set up a business? How do we even make web design something that we can use to create a living?
If you've got any thoughts on this, I would really appreciate you making a comment either over in the Facebook group, which is WP bills.com forward slash Facebook, or find the post you'll find the post out to number 257 on the WP Builds website. Okay. That's all we've got for now. I hope that you make use of the black Friday deals, WP Builds.com forward slash black.
If you're still minded to do that, but we'll see you in a couple of weeks. I'll see you next week for an interview, but we'll be back for more of this stuff. This David Walmsley and I booked camp in a couple of weeks, I'm going to fade in some cheesy music and say, bye-bye for now.