The Future of WordPress As A Business & Listener Validation WPCP: 102June 17, 2016 September 30, 2019 /
Nothing beats unsolicited validation when you’re not sure about that feeling in your gut.
There’s something inside of you that has become more of a push than a nudge, you know without a doubt that this is what you want to be doing… you’re just not sure how to get there.
Then you take that leap.
You put something out there… a message, a post, a product (a podcast) and people reach out to you telling you they feel the same way!
That’s what happened for me with my last solo episode which was milestone episode 100. I had been thinking about what I wanted to do for that episode for a while. Part of me thought do a big party, live stream, celebrate… whatever. But it’s not where I’m at right now and it felt like that would be forcing something or doing something because I thought that’s what I should be doing for the 100th episode.
I don’t want to repeat everything I said in that post or episode, but the message that seemed to resonate with SO many people was when I shared that I was getting out of client services. I have to clarify also that I do have a couple clients I’m still working with and will continue to work with (in case they’re reading or listening) but that’s only because they’re lovely people and I enjoy working with them.
Other than that?
Here’s the truth:
I have yet to meet a freelancer who doesn’t eventually want out of the client work.
And… that makes sense!
Not simply because there is a frustration level involved in working with clients (because we all know that could be a podcast in and of itself. That would also drain the life out of me and as much as my ego wants to rant, who needs more negativity, right?)… but because as human beings we’re hard-wired for more.
Gone are the days of doing one thing for 30 years (and my guess is that even for the people who did that there was a level of boredom that sank in. They just didn’t think they had other options).I have yet to meet a freelancer who doesn't eventually want out of the client work.
We have SO many more options today.
And maybe that’s part of the problem?
Seeing other people going for what they want… doing business the way they want to do business… you question why the hell you’re not there as well, right?
And I’m not talking about the side they share on social media (as someone who has actively participated in all of that I have to say I am really grateful to be on the other side. I still use social media but I don’t get why people feel the need to broadcast every little thing they do. The armchair psychologist in me says there’s going to be a bit of a crash for these people. What happens when the ‘lights go down’ so to speak. But I guess that’s for another podcast as well).
I received a handful of emails and comments about what I shared in episode 100.
Which completely validated that I’m on the right path and headed in the right direction.
Even if I’ve got a nervous pit in my stomach on a daily basis.
I know this is something I’ve got to do.Seeing other people going for what they want... doing business the way they want to do business... you question why the hell you're not there as well, right?
The Future of WordPress As A Business
Let me get my crystal ball.
Can you picture that?
I’ve got my Madame Kim…. errr… Madame Chick turbin on, big chunky rings on my fingers and I’m gazing into a crystal ball. I rub my hands over the ball and give you a “hmm… very interesting”…
O.K., I don’t know where the bucket that came from, but I had to run with it.
First, let’s look at what I’m talking about when I refer to WordPress As A Business.
These are the business types I’m referring to:
- WordPress websites
- WordPress maintenance / hosting
- WordPress training / teaching / documentation (general)
- WordPress specialty (think focusing on a specific aspect of WP, ex: Woocommerce, marketing, speed, security, content, etc.).
- WordPress theme & plugin development
First, let’s look at WordPress websites.
Obviously I’m probably not the most objective person right now when it comes to this space, but trust me that this is really coming from an observational perspective as opposed to a personal view.
Things are changing.I know a lot of developers are anti-visual editors and builders, but the truth is that the customer isn't.
The tools and options for building a WordPress site are growing by leaps and bounds. I know a lot of developers are anti-visual editors and builders, but the truth is that the customer isn’t. If you’re creating WordPress websites for large companies (maybe you’re an agency), it’s not cost-effective for them to build it and manage it themselves, so you’re probably not going to be impacted much.
For people who build websites for individual business owners or very small businesses… I believe the landscape is changing.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have clients or websites to build, but it’s up to you to manage how cost-effective that is. Is it really worth it to build something from scratch or custom code so much when there are great tools and plugins that will get you there in half the time. I think this is what differentiates the developer/freelancer from the entrepreneur. Your profit should come into factor FIRST.
WordPress Maintenance / Hosting
As you can probably tell by all the managed WordPress hosting options available, this also isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
As far as maintenance goes… I never offered maintenance packages. Since I didn’t really get into business to build websites in the first place the last thing I wanted to do was be tech support for people.
Yes, there are easy ways to do this… automation you can set up, etc. I just didn’t want to do it.
I think this is still viable if:
a) you like doing this type of work (it can be tedious/monotonous work)
b) it’s profitable
WordPress Training / Teaching / Documentation (general)
While I think there is always room for people to bring their own spin to things… unless you are super passionate about this I would recommend partnering with other people who are already doing this really, really well and set up some type of referral system. There are SO many great tutorials and resources available today… why re-invent the wheel? (unless you can really put a unique spin on things).
I get it that you have your own secret sauce… we all do. If you can bring your uniqueness to this space you can also bring it to something more original or customized. My suggestion here would be to set up some kick-ass resource pages (which I am in the process of doing) where you can send people for what it is you don’t provide. Be the trusted resource and partner to your audience, even if it means sending them somewhere else.
This has always been one of my favorite opportunities within WordPress.
Because there will always be new things that grab you.
Find that thing you love (if you look at the history of my site you can see where I did this with Genesis and then more recently the Thrive set of plugins I absolutely adore) and share it.
Create valuable content, share your enthusiasm and monetize it.
Your content can be free (with affiliate links) and you can then create more in-depth training around it.
As an example: I have a course on building your Thrive Opt-in Funnel. I’ve created this because this seems to be a roadblock for a lot of people.
I did the same things with Genesis when I created my WordPress Genesis for Beginners e-book, which I then upgraded to a complete course with videos and bonuses. Think about all the different opportunities within WordPress where you can do this (specific plugins, themes, methods around SEO, content, selling, growing subscribers, measuring data… it’s pretty wide open).
What I would do with this first is get some validation.
Start with a post /great content and share the bejeezus out of it. Make sure you put it in front of as many people as possible to see if it resonates (before you go creating courses). If you don’t have something you’re super passionate about (and this is something you should probably do either way), then reverse engineer this.
Use keyword research, Google trends, check WP Facebook groups, hashtags… find out what people are talking about (and need or want) and go from there.
WordPress Theme & Plugin Development
Since I don’t have any experience creating and selling themes… take this with a grain of salt.
Because this is simply coming from conversations I’ve had and a simple opinion on the matter.
There are SO many themes available today I think you have to find your own niche within this space (restaurant themes, app themes, etc.). Personally I don’t spend a lot of time looking for themes anymore (since I have a team), but I do spend time looking at themes for design inspiration.
I’d be curious to know your thoughts on the theme landscape…
As for plugins… I think that space is changing as well (for the better). A lot of companies who develop WordPress plugins are looking at the amount of work required to create, sell and most importantly, support their plugins.
The prices are going up (which I think they should) and the new standard is at least an annual renewal for the license (at a lesser price than the original price).
So… there you have it.
My predictions for the future of WordPress as a business and my follow up thoughts to getting out of service work.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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