Building a WordPress Business WordPress

The Value of Time – How to Charge What You’re Worth

Last night I posed a question to my followers on several social media networks. It went something like this:

If I were to pay you to stand still and alone and do nothing for an hour, how much would you charge?

The responses varied from $40 to $800 but the majority landed at or around the $100 mark.

The purpose of the question was to find out what people think their personal time is worth when there are no other factors involved such as enjoyment, value, communication, relaxation, or learning. My theory, bolstered by this completely unscientific study, is that people value their time greatly but are willing to undercut themselves in the extreme when it comes to work. This is especially true for freelancers.

What should I charge per hour?

One of the first and most difficult questions facing a freelancer is how much to charge per hour. In most cases new freelancers come from previous employment in companies and the only gauge they have for hourly pay is their salary. Because of this and their general devaluation of the worth of their own time they tend to set the bar much too low and charge hourly rates that are unsustainable and irresponsible.

To guide you away from this pitfall and spark a discussion about what fair pay is for freelancers in web design and development and in particular WordPress let me present a model for calculating your hourly rate. Keep in mind this is not the only one and there are many people who have published content about this (check out the excellent course Running a Design Business: Pricing and Estimating at and Curtis McHale’s aptly titled book Don’t Be an Idiot for starters).

For the purpose of this article I define a ‘freelancer’ as a person working in web design and or development focussing on WordPress and/or Open Source with several years experience and education in the field. She runs her own business out of her home or a rented office space and is responsible for all business related activities including invoicing, contracts, accounting, hardware and software costs, and general office overhead.

Step 1: Set a base rate for your time

The process starts with finding a base rate for your time. This is where the question I asked above comes in: How much is your personal time worth to you in cash? If you could sell it to someone in hourly units, what would you charge? It is important that you set this rate based on your personal time (spending time with family, reading a book, watching your favourite show, doing your hobby) because if you think of it as work you will automatically devalue your time. More on that later.

Based on my unscientific query it appears the people in my social media circles value their time at approximately $100/hour. That seems to be a reasonable estimate.

Step 2: Set a value to your expertise

Next  you need to set a monetary value to your expertise. This can be done by asking a question:

Compared to a novice with zero experience, how much more is your hour worth?

This returns a dollar value. How exactly you reach that figure is up to you. Some say you should charge $5 per year of experience, some say you should charge $10 per year of school, some say you should charge on a scale from $0 (novice) to $100 or even $1000 (the best of the best). For the purposes of this article we can say you charge $5 per year of experience so with 4 years experience your expertise is worth an additional $20.

Step 3: Set a value to your speed and effectiveness

The more skilled you are, the faster you’ll work compared to your competition. This also means the more skilled you are, the fewer hours will be logged and the project will be completed quicker. Both of these elements need to be factored in to your hourly rate.

Start by asking a question:

Compared to your closest competition, how much faster do you work?

This returns a percentage. If you are 20% more efficient you’ll work 20% faster meaning you’ll log 20% fewer hours and will wrap up 20% sooner. This should at minimum be evened out and in most cases be charged as a premium (you work faster and that is more valuable). I think the premium on more effective work should be at least 20% giving us the following formula:

Your speed (%) x 1.2 (20%) = Speed Value (%)

So if you work 20% faster you’ll charge an additional 24%.

Step 4: Set a discount

The last step is optional and should be applied with great care: If you are just starting out as a freelancer or want to break into a new market you can opt to set a discount to your fees. This is tricky territory and needs to be done in a systematic way to avoid problems down the road.

The discount you set for yourself is governed by several factors including how much you can afford to cut your own rates, whether discounting your rates will devalue your services in the eyes of the customer, and whether discounting your services will undercut the competition and devalue the market as a whole.

This last point is important and you can see the real life implications of wholesale discounting in many creative fields including photography services and WordPress consulting: New actors have been using price as a competitive factor for too long and have driven the overall price down to the point that the general public have a false impression of the true cost involved in these services.

If you feel you need to set a discount for your hourly rate, you also need to set a firm plan for how to phase the discount out over time. Otherwise your discounted rate ends up being your permanent hourly rate.

A real life example

Let’s put this into practice with a real life example: Maiken (not her real name) is a seasoned designer and developer with 4 years experience building custom WordPress sites in an agency. Now she is breaking out on her own and needs to set an hourly rate for herself.

She starts out by setting her own base rate at $120 (she really likes to spend time outdoors and this takes more time than just watching TV or reading a book so she values her time higher than the norm). She has 4 years of experience and decides that’s worth an extra $20/hour. Because she is an extremely efficient coder she estimates her speed to be about 35% higher than her peers for a total Speed Value of 42%.

Putting it all together Maiken’s hourly rate calculation looks like this:

(120 + 20) x 1.42 = $198.8/hour

Justification for charging what you’re worth

At this point I’m pretty sure you’re thinking “$198.8 per hour? You’ve lost your mind Morten!” If you ask around you’ll find very few freelance web designers and developers who charge an hourly rate in this range, especially in the WordPress field. In fact you’ll find very few who charge an hourly rate over the $100 mark. That is alarming and indicative of a disconnect between what the work is worth and what the people who do the work think it’s worth. What’s needed here is a generous serving of perspective:

Freelancing is a business

Freelancers often think that because they are freelancers they should charge less than a full scale business. This is just plain wrong. A freelancer has the same expenses that a business does, just on a smaller scale. The fallacy happens because you don’t consider many of your expenses real expenses: If you work for a business you just do your job. If you work as a freelancer you do your job and you also do invoicing and accounting, procurement, licensing, legal contracts, HR management, maintenance, and cover overhead. You may outsource some of this to a 3rd party, be it an online service like Harvest for invoicing or Redbooth for project management, or by hiring a real accountant for your year-end taxes, but most of these costs are invisible to you – especially if you work from your home office.

To get a clear picture of what running your freelance business actually costs per month you need to do the math:

  • Hardware (computers, peripherals, bags, etc)
  • Software including licenses
  • Office expenses (printer ink, paper, notebooks, pens, etc)
  • 3rd party expenses (taxes, legal, medical, dental)
  • Office overhead (power, heat, maintenance)
  • Office rental (what would it cost you to rent an equivalent office in an office building?)

You’ll find that these costs easily run over $1200/month and usually a lot more. So if you are charging $20/hour you need to bill a minimum of 60 hours per month just to break even. That may not sound like much but ask any freelancer and they’ll tell you getting 60 hours of billable hours in a month is a real challenge.

And this doesn’t include all the other elements of your job like advertising, chasing leads, website maintenance, client pitches, meetings, project management, the list is endless. In a typical company all these things are handled by people. As a freelancer you do all these jobs and they all eat away at your available billable hours.

Freelancing and salary work are two different animals

When I meet people who charge $20, $40, or $60/hour for freelance work I always ask them how they came to that number. The answer is usually “that’s what I would get paid in a real job”. Based on what I just told  you it should be pretty obvious why this is just plain wrong. While you might get paid $25/hour in your “real job”, the company probably charges the client upwards of $250/hour for the work you do. That money is divvied up into business expenses, salaries for other employees in peripheral jobs, and profit for the owners. As a freelancer you need to do the same thing.

You are not a salary worker: You are a business owner. So charge what you’re worth.

People will pay what you’re worth

“But Morten, if I charge over $100/hour I won’t get any business!” you say. That simply is not true. You might not get the business of people looking to have a $600 website built, but you will get the business of people who actually know what a website costs. Charging more will more often than not increase your business and your success. And it also means you can take on larger and more time consuming projects and not have to worry about always landing new contracts. Charging more allows you to go after bigger fish. And think about it: Call a plumber to your house and she’ll charge you at least $150/hour plus travel time and materials. Why do you think your ability to build that plumber a website is any less valuable?

Let the games begin

The issue of charging what your worth is a hotly contested one and my approach is an extreme one. There are as many opinions on this as there are business owners and all those opinions can and should be heard. So I invite you to join the conversation in the comments below or in your own blog. If you do write an article of your own, let me know and I’ll link to it right here.

To wrap up I’ll give the final word to Grant Landram who responded to my query on Twitter last night with this observation:

Building a WordPress Business

Finding Client Zero

Let me tell you a secret: People talk!

Oh, that wasn’t a secret? Well, when it comes to people starting their own businesses I often wonder if it is. You see, even in our internet integrated digitally connected modern society the age old principle of word of mouth is still the key to success, especially for a new or growing business. And it all starts with finding Client Zero.

The Power of the Referral

When you are looking to get some professional help, whether it be for a renovation, a kink in your back, or a new new computer, what is the first thing you do? You ask your friends for recommendations. Why? Lacking personal experience you trust the experiences of your friends and let their advice guide you. This phenomenon is amplified when it comes to business. When a business owner is looking for a service she is likely to reach out to others in her own field for advice. And the advice she gets is usually acted on. The referral is worth its proverbial weight in gold.

The obvious question then is “how do you get people to refer you in the first place?” The answer is to carve a niche, find your Client Zero, deliver a premium product, and have a plan.

Carve a niche

Rather than casting a broad net to capture any and every potential client that gets within your reach, carve a niche and specialize in one or two specific industries. That way you can learn their language and needs and be able to provide customized services other consultants won’t be aware of. With some effort you can become the go-to person for this type of work, and once you are trusted in a professional circle, one project will usually lead to the next through referrals.

In picking a niche market to pursue it is important to do your research: Find industries that on average have poor or outdated websites or industries that have yet to realize the potential of the web. Some examples include professional services and specialty retail. Chances are some of these industries will already be served by web companies in your area while others are largely ignored. Hone in on the ones where you have little competition but many potential clients.

Finally, make sure you pursue an industry with a solid revenue stream. While it is fun to work with creative businesses, many of these earn little money and they often have outlandish expectations and demands. The last thing you want is to be in a constant battle for reasonable budgets while at the same time striking down requests for “upgrades” or the latest cool feature your client saw on a website somewhere. Industries that have a more solid revenue stream may appear to be less interesting but present their own unique challenges and have bigger budgets to work with. They are also more used to working with outside contractors and will have a more reasonable approach to project management and budgeting.

To put it bluntly, when you are starting out you shouldn’t pursue slim fish.

Finding Client Zero

When you’ve found a niche market to work in you need to establish a name within that industry. This is where finding Client Zero becomes important. You need to land a client that will give you an inroad into the industry. Here’s how:

  • Look for a client with a project where you can showcase your talents. Your time is best spent working on a larger and more challenging project that can serve as a showcase for future clients. By seeking out a client with the right type of project rather than letting the clients come to you and picking projects with a quick turn-around for an easy buck you are building a solid foundation for future referrals.
  • Educate yourself about your client. Before meeting with the client, educate yourself about her business and her business needs. The client is not just hiring you for your ability to build a website: She is hiring you as a consultant and is looking to you for advice on how the website can help her business. Coming to the meeting with ideas that go beyond simply building a pamphlet or directory website will show the client you are invested in her and her success.
  • Learn the language. Every industry has its own unique language. Learning this language, whether it be acronyms, terms, or even a way of talking, will allow you to communicate more clearly with your client and also make her feel you are part of the team rather than an outside entity. Learning the language of your client means listening to not only what she has to say but how she says it. Take note of words, acronyms, and phrases used, learn and understand them, and incorporate them into your own language when communicating.
  • Deliver solutions. When pitching potential clients or delivering a proposal, be exhaustive and deliver solutions. First spell out the scope of the project and the requests from the client and explain in detail how you will meet and deal with each. Then look at the project from your own perspective and in relation to your client’s competitors and propose additional features and approaches that can help differentiate your client. Adding your own take on the project and suggesting additional features shows the client you are invested in the success of her business and providing not just the ability to build a website but also your expertise.

Deliver a Premium Product

This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: Always deliver a premium product. A good rule of thumb that ensures you leave a lasting impression is to go above and beyond and work on a +10 principle: Deliver what was expected plus 10% extra. That way you’ll always leave your client impressed and pretty much guarantee a referral.

Have a plan

Most importantly, have a plan. When you specialize in a field you will inevitably get locked into a cycle of repetition. New clients will want the same thing your last client got and it’s hard to think outside a box you’ve built yourself.

The second you feel you are becoming a robot producing the same website over and over you have to make a choice: Do you want to go be a product delivery service or a creative service. Both are laudable, both have their pros and cons, and both can become your life’s work or your biggest regret. The problem is you usually won’t realize you’ve gotten to the fork in the road until you are long past it and headed full speed down the path of product delivery. If your plan was to be a creative you need to have plans laid out in advance on how to phase yourself out of the tried and true and move on to more creative work.

Here’s a few tips to keep your mind fresh and ensure you don’t build the walls of your box too high:

  • Work on personal projects.  The Personal Project is the staple of the creative industry. Every major player, from James White to Jessica Hiche and beyond, honed their skills on personal projects and in many cases these personal projects ended up informing their careers and taking them down new and surprising paths.
  • Build your portfolio. Document the work you do, both professional and personal. The web is a fickle beast that tends to eat or spirit away your creations. Keeping videos, screen grabs, and other documentation of the work you’ve done will allow you to showcase your skills even after the actual product is replaced by a newer model.
  • Scope out new avenues. Always be on the lookout for the next exit. New things happen on the web every day and new paths open up all the time. Being aware of what’s happening and taking a turn off the beaten path when you see your chance can lead to great things.

What’s your strategy? What’s your story?

Every business owner has her own strategy when it comes to landing clients and building a list of referrals. What’s yours? Do you specialize in a niche market or work on everything? Are you picking your projects or are your clients picking you? And do you have a plan for your next step? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!

Building a WordPress Business

Become a WordPress Expert by Playing Doctor

A lot of people ask me where to start if they want to become a WordPress expert or want to build a career around web design and development. My answer is they need to play doctor. If you know anyone who has gone to medical school this makes sense. If not you probably think I’m crazy. So let me explain:

The Virtue of the Generalist

All medical doctors are generalists that have one or several specialist focus areas. When you go to medical school, you don’t start off saying “I want to be a thoracic surgeon” and jump right into the OR. You start with the basics learning how the body works and getting a baseline education that matches up with your fellow students. Once you pass this introductory level you move on the next level where you are rotated through each of the major specialty fields and get to try your hands at the many different things a doctor can do. And it is only after that level is passed you get to choose your specialty.

Why is it like this? Because having doctors with specialized knowledge but lacking a general understanding of the human body and medical science would be insane. To be a good specialist doctor you first need to be a good Generalist. The same goes for web designers and developers.

In the last few years much has been said about the virtue of the generalist. Many argue that modern industry, and in particular the tech and web industries, are putting too much focus on the specialist. This can be seen as the counterpoint to the current movement of celebrities and rich folk are touting the importance of everyone learning how to code (though opposition is brewing), job listings stats showing excellence in specific code languages (in particular Java) can pave a path to six figure salaries, and the web overflowing with code focused groups, showcases, and conferences. The argument claims we have forgotten that the generalists are the ones that can move between roles, learn new skills as needed, and compliment the specialists when and where it’s needed. I agree and I would take that one step further and argue that the generalist is and should be the center point around which the specialists form a circle. The generalist is the proverbial glue that keeps the project together.

Everything is Connected

From the outside looking in it may appear as if the web industry consists of a series of hermetically sealed compartments, each containing a specialty. You have design, front end development, server development, interactive development, platform, information architecture, user experience, content curation, quality assurance, project management, the list goes on. In general each of these fields are presented as stand-alone units. The reality is the opposite. Each of these, and many other, specialties join together to form a whole. Or at least they do in an ideal world. To properly complete a web site or mobile app or online service you need to call on each of these specialties, often at the same time. IA, UX, platform, front- and back-end development, and content curation should happen simultaneously and in a joint effort. And the other components – quality assurance, project management, and so on – are there to keep the project on track and within budgets and timelines. Everything is connected.

The problem is that unlike the doctor who starts off as a generalist and then chooses a specialty, many people who work on the web  start off as specialists and then keep honing in on that specialty without getting a firm foundation of generalized knowledge. This is especially true in Open Source and the WordPress community. And it’s a big problem.

The Tower of Babel

The key issue is that a specialist is a specialist: She has an intricate understanding of everything within her field, but a severely limited understanding of anything outside of it. And because of this narrow hyper-focused field of vision she is by definition not able to see the whole picture. So while a specialist may be an excellent coder or designer or information architect, she will not be able to complete a project from start to finish, and more alarmingly she will have serious difficulties working with specialists from other fields.

In becoming a specialist at anything you acquire the language and world view of a specialist. And in talking about your field you use language and baseline assumptions that don’t correspond to those of your audience. Put two specialists together and they might as well speak two entirely different languages. While their words might be the same, the meaning of those words will be too far apart for comprehension. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Left to their own devices specialists will invariably create solutions that work based on their own parameters rather than ones that work for the project as a whole. Square peg, meet round hole.

Become an Expert by Playing Doctor

To become a true expert at anything you have to understand the fundamental principles of your chosen topic. For doctors that means the human body and medical sciences. For anyone working on the web that means the fundamentals of IA, UX, platform, design, development (front- and back-end), content curation, quality assurance, and so on. It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a specialist designer or the best PHP coder on the market, whether you want to revolutionize the science of information architecture or thrive to make sense of impossibly complex webs of content. To truly deliver those specialized skills and be able to work and be valued in the field you need to have a foundational understanding of the core principles, skills, and language of each of the branches that join to make it up. You need to start off as a generalist and then choose a specialty.

Every Journey Begins with a Single Step etc.

For anyone starting out this probably seems an insurmountable task. It is so much easier to pick a specialty and focus in on it than it is to look at the bigger picture and immerse yourself in all its complexity. My advice to you is akin to that old and overused proverb about journeys and single steps: Start small and work your way forward. Learning does not have a beginning nor and end. It’s a life long pursuit with value in itself. Any doctor will tell you they never finish learning. Neither should we.

So where do you start? With the basics. Learn the principles of markup (HTML and CSS), the basics of design and color theory, and spend some time understanding the connections between information architecture, user experience, and content curation. Once you understand these principles, move on to more advanced topics: Server-based languages like PHP, interactive languages like Java and JavaScript. To kickstart the process it can be useful to base your learning process around an existing famework like WordPress, but this is not the only path that leads to success. The reality is by becoming a true web generalist you’ll realize WordPress is just an interface that connects you to a database and that database to your visitors. Once you come to that realization you’re on the path become a web expert that happens to use WordPress rather than “just” a WordPress expert. From there many paths will open up and you’ll be free to pursue any specialty you want. And more likely than not you’ll find that the specialty you thought you wanted may not be what you actually end up pursuing.

Building a WordPress Business

WordPress is not easy – and that’s OK

If you pick a random WordPress user and ask her why she uses WordPress there is a good chance her answer will be “because it’s easy” followed by something about how you can get up and running in 5 minutes and “everyone can do it”. I encounter this sentiment all the time and you’ll even find me saying these exact same things, but I’m realizing this idea – that WordPress is easy – is becoming an issue because it is an ill defined statement: What WordPress experts mean when they say “WordPress is easy” does not correspond to what new and prospective users understand when they hear it.

We need to change the way we present WordPress to the people. WordPress is not easy. But learning WordPress is.

To illustrate my point let me give you three examples of conversations I’ve had around WordPress in the last several months and then I’ll go through what problems they unearth, and what we as a community can do about them.

“I spent the last 4 months building my website and it’s still not ready”

On New Year’s Eve I found myself at a party with a prospective political candidate. He was lamenting the challenges of recruiting new party members, the hours spent campaigning, the usual stuff.  Then he went on to talk about his web strategy and voiced his frustration: “I spent the last 4 months building my website and it’s still not ready”.

I hear statements like this all the time – from small business owners and event organizers and community groups and non-profits and pretty much any person or business with a small budget and big dreams. They want a website, they’ve been told it is easy to build one, and they’ve invested a substantial volume of time trying to make it perfect. But the end result is dismal and they know it. Now they feel either lied to or like failures or often both.

“Let me tell you why I hate WordPress”

In December I took a stroll with my developer accomplice Mark and we drifted onto the topic most people default to when talking to me: WordPress – and in particular the topic of why he hates it. I can’t quote him word for word so let me instead summarize his argument as I remember it:

“What WordPress does is make people think they know what they are doing when they don’t. It’s too easy to create something and the power you feel from being able to do things you don’t really understand convinces you you actually know what you’re doing. So you get people with the ability to do things on the web that have no idea if what they are doing is right or wrong. And they start doing very dangerous things. They set up insecure sites. They write terrible code. They get hacked. And then to top it off they start selling their services!”

“We paid a WordPress developer $200 to build us a new theme and we’re having some issues”

During one of my client consultations in 2013 I was presented with what I can honestly say is the worst WordPress theme I have ever seen. A quick look told me the person who built it had only a fleeting understanding of XHTML (yep, XHTML) and CSS, was firmly stuck in the coding practices of the early 2000s, and had zero understanding of WordPress. Bewildered I asked where they got this theme from and they told me they paid a “WordPress developer” $200 and that they were “having some issues”. When I asked them why they would hire someone who only charged $200 for this kind of work I got the deadpan response “Well, WordPress is free and it’s so easy anyone can do it so why should it cost more?”

WordPress is not easy

What the three examples above and many others like them show is that we have a communication problem when it comes to WordPress. Statements like “WordPress is easy” have created three common misconceptions, or myths if you will, about WordPress:

  1. Some* people think WordPress enables them to build a professional grade website with little to no effort.
  2. Some* people believe their ability to publish content with WordPress makes them web developers.
  3. Some* people conclude that based on 1 and 2 (and because WordPress itself is free), WordPress services should be free or cheap.

*I say “some” here though in reality these are commonly held beliefs.

Anyone working with WordPress on a professional level will have encountered each of these myths and knows they are not true: (1) While you can build a professional website with WordPress, doing so requires a lot of work. (2) Being able to publish content using WordPress makes you a web publisher or content manager. A web developer or designer has the ability to build the application that makes that publishing possible. (3) While WordPress is free and open source, the time and skill spent on building content for WordPress has a monetary value in much the same way air is free but being able to fly in the air has a monetary value.

Now that these myths have been dispelled, let’s look at how we can change the way we talk about WordPress so we can avoid these misconceptions moving forward.

WordPress is relatively easy.

At the beginning of this article I said that I often use the statement “WordPress is easy” myself. That may seem like a bit of a contradiction after what you’ve just read. It’s not. And here’s why: WordPress is easy relative to the alternatives. And when I tell people WordPress is easy I always point this out. If you set out to publish a website or blog that you control it is my opinion that WordPress provides the quickest, most secure, and yes, easiest solution. That does not mean WordPress does not require effort. It just means in comparison to the alternatives WordPress will spare your keyboard from frequent forehead impacts.

The reason for the myths above is the understanding of the word “easy” as “no effort”. This is a cultural phenomenon that has its roots in commercials and it is causing major headaches for the DIY culture WordPress is a part of. When you see a commercial promoting something as “easy”, what they are actually saying is “just click here and magic happens!” This is rarely if ever true, but it’s a nice an comfortable illusion we have trained ourselves to believe. The unfortunate pitfall of WordPress is that it really is easy to set up and start using so the illusion is carried into the application itself.

I would argue that WordPress’ ease of use is it’s most dangerous feature. If people were realistic and accepted that just because they had an easy time setting it up doesn’t mean they are immediately experts we wouldn’t have a problem. But in reality people do make that leap of judgement – from the ability to set it up to perceiving themselves as experts – and that’s not good for them or for anyone else.

WordPress is easy to learn

What is great about WordPress, and one of the main reasons I use it and am such a vocal proponent for this CMS, is that WordPress is easy to learn. WordPress makes sense to people in a way few other online publishing applications does. That’s what set it apart when it launched more than 10 years ago, that’s what made it rise to the popularity and power it has today, and that’s why most existing and new CMSes are emulating the WordPress user experience.

WordPress is a great platform to start your journey in web publishing, web design, and web development, because it takes away the basic hurdles that used to stand in your way. You are not starting from scratch. You get going right away, and you can experiment and tinker and learn at your own pace and on your own terms. With WordPress the learning process is less daunting and thanks to its semantic templating language and strict adherence to web standards you don’t need to be a coding genius to understand how it works under the hood.

I teach front end web development at and Emily Carr University of Art and Design and I use WordPress as the baseline for all my courses because in my view it provides the best platform and starting point for anyone wanting to work on or with web technologies.

WordPress is easy once you know it

My last point has two sides to it: On the upside, WordPress is easy once you know it because of all the things listed above and because of its logical and user driven development structure. Once you know and understand WordPress and its overall philosophy, new features and updates make intuitive sense. When new elements are added to WordPress they usually fall into the same overall approach as previous ones and thus fall naturally into your process. And because WordPress is open source the people who develop the application are the people who use it so new features are generally things the community want and need.

On the downside, WordPress is easy to use once you know it and it can be difficult to remember that a) when you began using WordPress it was much simpler than it is today, and b) you think it’s easy because you already know how to use it.

When I began using WordPress many years ago it was a simple blogging application with few options. And I grew with the application. Today WordPress is a complex CMS and new users are often overwhelmed by this complexity. We who have been using WordPress for a long time need to remember that just because we know how it works and think it’s intuitive doesn’t mean it actually is intuitive. Our tacit knowledge can easily cloud our judgement and make us confuse our own acquired understanding for intuitive understanding. And when that happens we become poor teachers and even worse developers.

WordPress is not easy. But it can be once you learn it. And when you do, help new users onto the same path.

Building a WordPress Business

I’ve been working with web development for the last 10 years and I’ve acquired a lot of hard learned lessons and well hidden tips and tricks along the way. As this new year begins I’ve decided it’s time to pay it forward. This article is the first of a series that will cover different topics and insights about building and running a WordPress business. The series will not be a how-to step-by-step guide but rather a series of stand-alone articles and possibly videos discussing common achievements and challenges that face a burgeoning WordPress business owner. I would love your input and requests on this matter so if you are looking for information on a particular topic hit me up in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer your request. And as always you can follow my ever growing series of courses on where I will push out a whole slew of new WordPress and web design / development related courses.