WordCamps are always educational. You hear about time-saving plugins, you see beautiful themes, and you learn about the latest SEO techniques. WordCamp US was no exception.
I plan to write up some of my favorite SEO techniques from WordCamp US but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the non-technical talks. Knowing the best plugin to promote your latest blog post is great. But if you can’t work up the courage to write your first post then what good is the plugin?
In October I was in the very privileged position to write the “How I Left My Job” post. And it felt really good.
I talked about the smart decisions I made before leaving my job. I forecasted financials, set up client work, and padded my savings account. It felt good talking about all of my smart decisions.
And I wish I could share another smart decision. But I actually did something really dumb. And I thought if I’m documenting my experience that I shouldn’t just share the good parts. I should share my mistakes too.
There are a few different WooCommerce Facebook groups and all of them have great discussions. Earlier today there was a question about selling videos with WooCommerce:
If I have video files in a cloud storage independent from my WordPress site can I link those videos and sell them as digital, downloadable products? I don’t want to store videos in my WordPress site.
The short answer is yes – WooCommerce can sell downloadable videos (or any sort of downloadable product).
Most e-commerce platforms let you create orders manually. That way even if you’re at a conference or a potential customer calls you you can capture those orders.
While many systems let you create orders manually they don’t always let you charge a credit card which kind of defeats the purpose. But even if your e-commerce platform doesn’t let you process credit cards if you use Stripe you’re in luck. They make processing credit cards really easy.
There I was – minding my own business buying some stock photos to make my blog posts a bit prettier. And as I went to the checkout I noticed that there was a question:
Do you have a coupon code?
Well, I didn’t but the fact that they asked the question means that they exist. So I did what any person does when they see an opportunity to save a little money. I went to google and I typed in:
Shutterstock coupon code
Hoping to find a site that would give me a discount. And I did actually in the very first search result.
Two years ago I wrote a post about how hard it was to setup a membership website with WooCommerce. It took twenty two steps and it required two plugins.
At the time we thought it best to integrate with an existing solution that already had some users. Sounds smart but it forces users to go through the extra steps to make the integration work. And as someone who has to setup his own site & his own accounts I hate when someone drags me through extra steps.
End users don’t care what powers their technology. They just want to solve their problem. Which is why we set out to build an entirely new system.
In 2011 I joined a small ad agency and moved from a team of 4 developers to a team of 1 developer. Just me.
If you’ve ever worked on a small team or by yourself you know how challenging it can be to learn & improve. You’ll be able to get by just fine but you know there are smarter and faster ways of doing things. And every day you feel farther and farther behind.
It only took a couple months of this before I forced something to change. I started a WordPress meetup group. And in one of the very first meetings someone talked about backing up your site.
I started backing up my sites the very next week. And then you’ll never guess what happened. A week later we got hacked. Hardcore. Viagra images all over the “site”. Not good.
And thanks to my backup I had it cleaned up in less than an hour.
Small Continuous Improvements
I’ve always loved learning but this experience made me realize the importance of continuous learning. That you might not know what you need to know. And there’s value in learning every single day.
Last week I had the pleasure to attend the Digital Commerce Summit. It’s in my home town of Denver and it was filled with my Internet heroes. People like Chris Lema , Brian Clark, Brian Gardner, Joanna Penn, Rand Fishkin, & Joanna Weibe.
Automattic is a great company with an amazing vision and purpose. And two months ago I left.
There wasn’t any crazy drama (although that would make this post more interesting). I simply wasn’t working on things that excited me. And eventually I to got into a “good enough” slump and that left me drained. I missed that feeling you get after a solid day of work and you want to tell everyone the amazing things you’re working on.
Work is such a big part of our lives and our identities and I didn’t want that part to be unfulfilled.
I’m mostly writing this for myself but if you’re thinking about leaving your job I hope it can provide guidance.
Over the weekend we slid into quarter 4 and that’s the end of the first quarter working for myself.
I wish I could say I’ve already mastered cashflow, selling projects, and creating products but I’ve only just begun. I think I’m doing a good job so far but I realize that I don’t know what I don’t know and that scares me.
I’ve always had side projects but there’s a huge difference between a side project that brings in fun money and a project that has to pay your mortgage. I need to build up client work and work on my own projects to bring in recurring revenue.
So I’ve decided to hold my self accountable. Not by putting something on my to-do list. But by posting it publicly right here.