If you’re working on starting a business – be it a side-income, freelance, agency, or whatever – and you want to build it on top of WordPress, one of the considerations that you have to make is how to actually attain clients.
To be clear, this is not a post on client acquisition, marketing, or anything like that. That’s not the type of stuff I discuss here (nor is it my forte). If you’re really interested in that, check out my friend Curtis McHale’s blog.
Instead, this is more about how you help others find you if you’re not entering the product space.
When working with WordPress, it seems like we’re faced with a dilemma:
- Do I enter into the product space?
- Do I enter into the custom development space?
For what it’s worth, I think it’s a false dilemma because you could enter both. Regardless, I think that the majority of us would say that entering into the product space would help generate more business because it would help us generate a reputation more quickly than if we got into the custom development space.
Think about the number of theme and plugin shops that you’re aware of. Or perhaps think about the number of hosting companies that exist solely for WordPress.
Now try to name the same number of custom development shops.
It’s a little harder, isn’t it? But this doesn’t mean one is any more effective or any better than the other. They are fundamentally two different types of businesses. That is, one is in the product business and one is in the service business.
Each of them have their own pros and cons (none of which I’m going to go into in this post), but just because we tend to be aware of product companies more than service companies does not mean that that’s the reason to go into that business.
Building products and providing services or custom solutions are two completely different beasts. I don’t think anyone would argue that. As such, each one requires a completely different methodology for bringing awareness to themselves.
And though I’ve worked in the product space a little bit (read: a minuscule amount), there are a few things that I’ve found as it relates to blogging that I think can help bring awareness to you and/or your brand.
- On Blogging. This is something that most people will likely suggest – and with good reason: It works. But it takes a lot of time. Not only does it take time to come up with content for posts, but it takes time for the blog to gain traction. It’s easy to set out with intentions of doing great things, but it’s also easy to to achieve burn out. Rather than putting some elaborate plan, just opt to write a few times a week.
- Your Wins. I’m not saying that you should brag, but write about some of the success you’ve had. You can always frame it in the context of a story such that you were presented with a challenge that you overcame. There’s a clear line between talking about the things you’ve done and simply being arrogant. Be the former.
- Your Losses. I’ve failed, you’ve failed, and we’ll continue to fail. It sucks. There’s nothing glamorous about it and it’s something we’d rather hide than anything else (at least I think that’s the case). But it’s also the nature of being alive. That doesn’t mean something worth sharing doesn’t come out of it. If nothing else, you can prevent others from experiencing the same problems that you did if you just walk them through what you did, why it was wrong, and how you’d do it differently.
- Your Learnings. Most of the blogs that I read and the people who I follow don’t know everything about everything. Few know a lot of about something. Many know a lot about a little. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m trying to hard to get really good at doing deep dives on a few topics in order to make myself as valuable as possible in the fields to which I’m most interested. Do the same thing with your blog: Write about what you’re learning. If someone else already knows it, cool – maybe they’ll chime in; if not, no big deal. Someone else may not know it, so they can learn from you.
There’s more to this and I’ll likely do a follow up post, but I’ve had a few people ask me questions about this particular topic so rather than responding to each person individually, I thought it might make sense to draft it all up into a single post to which I can refer them.
So if it helps, awesome; if not, please do carry on (or feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, as well).