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.
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.
I'm super proud to announce my first major product after leaving Automattic. I've worked with Lynda.com to put out an advanced course all about WooCommerce. It's called WordPress: Customizing WooCommerce Themes.
Just over one year ago I released the WooCommerce Cookbook and I heard from lots of store owners about how much they liked it. And after hearing the feedback I decided to create something a bit less technical and more abstract. Something that would help people understand the fundamentals of e-commerce. Several months later I'm proud to say that I published WordPress eCommerce on Lynda.com.
The course covers everything you need to think about before you build an e-commerce site for yourself or for a client:
- Understanding Your Market
- Marketing Your Site
- Selling Products
- Shipping & Orders & Taxes
- Securing Your Site
- Using WordPress for eCommerce
- Testing & Optimization
This is a video course so all of the lessons include me showing example sites and visual aids. It's over an hour long so there's plenty for you to digest before you make your first e-commerce site. Chapters 3 & 4 go into lots of detail about the types of products you can sell and the best way to do it. Ex. How can I sell a monthly subscription box? And which way is best?
Here's a sample video:
Why I Created This Course
I created this course is because e-commerce is no longer limited by technology. You aren't spending your time figuring out technical problems. The technology is relatively straight forward and as a store owner or a developer building a store for a client you have to figure out marketing & positioning problems to make sure that your product solves a need and that people can find it.
Only once you know that people really want to buy your product and you can get them to your site do you worry about the technical problems.
For those people who just want to know all about the different WordPress platforms I cover WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, iThemes Exchange, & WP eCommerce.
I also cover third party platforms that can integrate in your WordPress site such as Gumroad, Clickbank, and Shopify.
If you're a store owner this course will make you ask questions about your product market fit and what you need to do to sell as many widgets as possible.
If you're a developer you will learn all of the same lessons which you can pass along to your clients and make them successful. Building a $10,000 site is great but it's even better if you can build the right site for $10,000 and get more work next year after your client's product makes a killing. 🙂
If this sounds good sign up for a free 10 day trial of Lynda.com and get access to this course and many others – or if you're already a member just watch. 🙂
If you're detail oriented you might notice that this course actually came out last summer! I held off on the announcement of this post because it came out right around the time of the WooThemes acquisition and I was quite busy with all of that. Not a good excuse I know but better late than never right?