Bourn Creative Sacramento WordCampRead WordCamp Sacramento Sells Out, Bourn Creative Sponsors
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WordCamp Sacramento Sells Out, Bourn Creative Sponsors

The website content had been updated, the ticket registration form had been created and tested successfully, reminders were posted to Twitter and Facebook, a blog post was published, an email was sent to the email list, and the clock was counting down. Brian’s stomach was in knots. I almost felt sick. In just a couple minutes, we were going to flip the switch on the WordCamp Sacramento 2015 website and put tickets for sale.

The clock hit 10:00 am, we updated the page with 150 tickets available for purchase, and quickly published tickets now on sale announcements that went out via social media, email, and the meetup list. Then we held our breaths.

I knew tickets would sell, but still we were sitting there, looking anxiously at our computer screens, freaking out, and hoping please, oh please. I hope people buy tickets and it isn’t just crickets. I was sweating. — I’m not kidding.

Then it started happening. In the first two minutes six tickets were purchased! I was happy, thrilled, elated. Five minutes later, I was giddy. My stomach was doing flip-flops and Brian and I were high-fiving in my office, as 63 tickets were already gone. Watching the tickets fly off the virtual shelf was exciting — I couldn’t look away and neither could Brian. Adrenaline was pumping through our systems and with each ticket sale it pumped faster.

We knew at that point, nothing else would get done until the tickets were gone.

In only 30 minutes, 80 tickets were gone. They were getting snatched up like free WordPress t-shirts at WordCamp! By 11:30 am only 11 tickets of 150 were left. Then finally at 12:20 the last ticket was purchased and I could finally relax!

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WordCamp SacramentoRead WordCamp Is Coming To Sacramento
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WordCamp Is Coming To Sacramento

I am so excited to share that WordCamp is finally coming to Sacramento, California’s beautiful capitol city! WordCamp Sacramento 2015 will be happening on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at The Art Institute of California — Sacramento.

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress, the free and open source personal publishing software that powers over 75 million sites on the web. They are attended by a wide range of people, including designers, developers, business owners, bloggers, consultants, and anyone who uses WordPress in any way — from newbies to the advanced.

Brian and I have attended many WordCamps, multiple years in a row, including WordCamp Chicago, WordCamp Phoenix, WordCamp San Francisco, WordCamp Seattle, WordCamp Orange County, WordCamp San Diego, WordCamp Las Vegas, WordCamp Reno, and WordCamp Los Angeles.

Finally, We’re Having WordCamp Sacramento 2015

The Sacramento WordPress Community has been working to host a WordCamp in the state Capitol for quite a while, and as co-organizers of the Sacramento WordPress Meetup Group, Brian and I have been champions for the event and are thrilled to be part of an awesome team of organizers who are volunteering time, resources, and energy to make WordCamp Sacramento happen.

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How to get more referralsRead How Freelancers Can Get More Clients Through Referrals
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How Freelancers Can Get More Clients Through Referrals

If you’ve ever spent any time with me at a business event, WordCamp, mastermind retreat, or other event, you know I love to talk shop. I’m also pretty much an open book, always down to talk strategy, branding, messaging, design, client attraction, blogging, and more. Most of the time, if we have time, I’ll also get into your messaging too and help you get some clarity — I just can’t help it!

So when iThemes reached out to do a short interview on landing my first client, getting my best clients, and what I know now that I wish I knew when I was first starting out, I was thrilled!

The first, best, wish your knew series has been pretty popular, so iThemes reached out again (I just love them) with questions about about how freelancers can get more client through referrals.

If you’re a freelancer who is interested in getting more referrals, you should check out this article with advice and wisdom on earning more referrals from not only me, but from Carrie Dils, Curtis McHale, Aaron Campbell, Brad Williams, Jared Atchison, and Bill Erickson.

In the article, we answer questions like:

  • So how can freelancers generate referrals and form solid relationships with clients?
  • Are there any shortcuts to earning more referrals?
  • How do you build long-lasting relationships with clients?
  • What are some of the ways you get referrals?
  • How do I ask for a referral?

Check It Out

How to get clients as a freelancerRead First, Best, Wish You Knew Interview With iThemes
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First, Best, Wish You Knew Interview With iThemes

Recently I was interviewed for the first, best, and wish you knew series running on the iThemes blog. Now you may be thinking, “iThemes? Didn’t you do something with them before?”

Yes! Earlier this year iThemes invited me to lead a webinar training for graphic designers, web designers, and developers titled How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients. And yes, it’s still available to watch and you don’t even have to opt-in to watch!

But back to today’s business, my first, best, and wish you knew interview. In this interview post, I answer the questions:

  • How did you find your first client?
  • How did you find your best client?
  • What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started

If you’re looking for clients, or wondering how others get their best clients, check out my interview and then click through the rest of the posts in the series.

Check It Out

Tactics To Close Sales Easier And FasterRead 10 Ways Close A Sale Faster And Easier Without Being Too Salesy
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10 Ways Close A Sale Faster And Easier Without Being Too Salesy

Sales. Ick. Blech. Ugh. There is very little that the average designer, developer, freelancer, or business owner likes about sales, except the very end result of gaining a new client or customer.

With that in mind, my latest article for WP Elevation gives you 10 different ways you can shorten the sales cycle and get prospects to say yes to hiring you, buying from you, and/or learning from you easier and faster — and how they could work in your business.

The idea behind the following 10 tips is to sell less and yet still close new sales.

  1. Identify The Decision Maker
  2. Create Unique Packages
  3. Build Trust With Testimonials
  4. Showcase Case Studies
  5. Get Prospects To Agree With You Throughout The Sales Process
  6. Offer Fast Action Rewards
  7. Add Value With Bonuses
  8. Provide Flexible Payment Options
  9. Leverage Urgency and Scarcity
  10. Ask For The Sale

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Brian Bourn Interview On WP Elevation with Troy DeanRead Brian Bourn Gives The Behind The Scenes Skinny In WP Elevation Podcast Interview
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Brian Bourn Gives The Behind The Scenes Skinny In WP Elevation Podcast Interview

This past week, I joined for an interview on the WP Elevation Podcast. In the episode, I share what it’s been like to work as part of a husband-wife team, why personal brands are so vital to your success, and where I see Bourn Creative going in the future. I also talk about how we got clear on our ideal client, what I spend my average day doing, how we create content regularly for the blog and our marketing, business growth, ongoing support and maintenance, and more.

Hear all the details in the full interview, or check out some of the highlights and brief overview below.

Listen Now

How Bourn Creative Got Started

Troy kicks off the interview with discussion around how Bourn Creative got started:

Bourn Creative was founded in July 2005 as a pure design company, offering brand design, email marketing design, and print graphic design services. We quickly added web design services, began using a private label content management system, Light CMS, then discovered WordPress in 2008 at version 2.7. We loved the functionality it brought to our projects, but we stuck around for the community and it has been a mainstay of ours ever since.

Originally the business was started out of necessity. We had a 2 year old, Jennifer was pregnant, and we had daycare issues. Starting her own business solved those problems. At the time we did whatever it took to get up and running, get income coming in, and take care of our family as best we could.

From day one, I had always managed the financial end of the business, then a few years in, I began teaching myself to write code and eventually joined the business full time to lead development.

Over the years, our client profile has evolved and shifted, and today we work with small to medium-sized businesses in what we like to call the “not-quite-enterprise” space, providing a complete suite of design and development services, specializing in custom WordPress publishing solutions.

This year we celebrated our 10-year business anniversary and with each year has come greater clarity and focus about what work we want to be doing and what clients we want to be serving.

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Tips To Boost CreativityRead Sometimes Creativity Doesn’t Come Naturally
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Sometimes Creativity Doesn’t Come Naturally

My last few articles for WP Elevation have covered contracts, follow up, and new client on boarding. My latest article is a bit of a departure from the normal business advice and tips for designers, developers, and consultants working in the WordPress space — it’s all about creativity, or rather the lack thereof.

Creative People Aren’t Always Creative

I follow a lot of designers and developers on the web; they tweet some amazing links and share great resources and quick doses of inspiration through their work and the work of others.

It’s easy to see all of the great work others are doing and sometimes get frustrated — especially when you’re stuck, when you’ve hit a creative roadblock, or when you feel uninspired. I know because I’ve been there on more than one occasion.

Sometimes Creativity Doesn’t Come Naturally. Even the most creative of us have days where the flow doesn’t quite flow, the groove can’t quite find its rhythm, and frustration comes as a white screen or blank sheet of sketch paper sits mockingly in front of us.

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Jennifer Bourn Discusses Process For Onboarding New ClientsRead Bay Area Consultants Network (BACN) Talks Onboarding and Expectation Setting With Jennifer Bourn
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Bay Area Consultants Network (BACN) Talks Onboarding and Expectation Setting With Jennifer Bourn

On Friday, July 24, 2015 I will be speaking at the Bay Area Consultants Network in San Rafael, California about onboarding new clients and setting expectations.

The Bay Area Consultants Network, also known as BACN, was founded in 2002 to provide consultants opportunities to learn, grow, and build quality professional relationships. They became a 501(c)6 in 2013, and currently meet at The Club at McInnis Park Golf Center where they meet for breakfast and of course, serve bacon.

Check them out on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Onboarding New Clients and Setting Expectations

You closed the sale and received the signed contract — but now what? Learn how an effective onboarding process educates, sets expectations, reduces support, and saves valuable time—time that now can be spent on things that really matter.

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Brand Workshop Prestige ConferenceRead Hands-On Branding Workshop To Make Sales and Marketing Easier
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Hands-On Branding Workshop To Make Sales and Marketing Easier

Prestige Conference is less than a month away and I simply can’t wait. I spoke at the last Prestige Conference in Minneapolis, attended the one in Las Vegas, and am seriously looking forward to the next one August 1-2, 2015 — and not just because I’m speaking.

Have you seen the speaker lineup? Prestige gives you unprecedented access to their speakers, and with so much experience and expertise in one place, you can get all your business questions answered and get on your way to making leaps onward and upward. Speakers include:

  • Tony Perez, CEO & Co-founder of Sucuri
  • Vasken Hauri, VP of Engineering, 10up
  • Jason Cohen, Founder, WP Engine
  • Lisa Sabin-Wilson, Chief Operating Officer and Co-owner of WebDevStudios
  • Nancy Lyons, Owner & CEO, Clockwork Active Media
  • Shane Pearlman, Partner at Modern Tribe
  • Dre Armeda, VP of Operations, WebDevStudios & Co-host of DradCast
  • Lea Newman, Owner, BALANCE Wellness Coaching and Author of You Healthier Now

Plus, I’m not doing a normal presentation — I’m leading a hands-on branding workshop called Clarity Breeds Opportunity: Brand Communication Tactics To Boost Referrals, Attract Clients, and Expand Possibilities. The workshop is a longer format session to allow attendees to complete exercises on the spot, so they leave the event already having made progress to improve their business and brand. How cool is that?!

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WordPress Web Design ProposalRead 6 Web Design Proposal Clauses You’ll Be Glad You Added
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6 Web Design Proposal Clauses You’ll Be Glad You Added

Recently I wrote about why you and your clients need a contract, and what should go in a web design contract for the GoDaddy Garage. The topic has generated quite a bit of discussion, so for my latest WP Elevation article, I decided to continue the conversation and share with you 6 contract clauses that will save your tush — these are those ones you’re so happy you have if things ever get sticky.

About Those Contracts

  • Never have I run into a designer who was thrilled to invest hours upon hours into a client project only to not get paid.
  • Never have I run into a client who was happy about paying for work and not getting what they expected.
  • Never have I run into a service provider or client who looks forward to and enjoys the tough conversations about contract enforcement.

Rock solid, crystal clear contracts aren’t just good for you, they are also good for your clients.

The best contracts support and protect you both equally and communicate your level of professionalism. These contracts are based on real experiences and less-than-stellar scenarios that become hands-on learning opportunities.

Unfortunately, that means the newer you are to the industry, the least likely you are to be protected.

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Web Design Quote and Design EstimateRead Crafting High-Converting Client Contracts For Web Work
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Crafting High-Converting Client Contracts For Web Work

In my last article for the GoDaddy Garage, I shared the benefits of using a firm, fair and friendly contract for every project with every client. I also reviewed how a contract helps (and protects) both you and your clients — and why the longer you are in business, the longer your contracts get.

While that is really important information, you might be wondering what should be included in a client contract — or what your current agreement may be missing. My newest Garage article — Crafting High-Converting Client Contracts For Web Work — should give you a solid foundation to see where your contract can be improved.

If you’re on the client-side of things, you may be looking at a contract from a potential service provider, wondering if it is any good, or if they really are the best choice. This post should help you evaluate a contract for a potential service provider, and ensure you are asking the right questions.

When I first began freelancing, my contracts were one single page. Today they range from six pages to 20+ pages, depending on the project. The larger your project budgets get, the more important your contracts will become. While writing your own contracts with clear, plain language works, there may come a time where you’ll need to retain a lawyer to review your contract and make suggestions.

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Sacramento web designRead What’s the Deal With Sacramento Web Design?
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What’s the Deal With Sacramento Web Design?

It’s hard to believe… the time has simply flown by.

This July, Bourn Creative will have been offering online business consulting, brand design, brand strategy, graphic design, website strategy, and web design in Sacramento for ten years; delivering custom WordPress web design and platform development to businesses around the world for six years; and co-organizing the Sacramento WordPress Meetup group for two-and-a-half years.

  • We weathered those tough years, during the economic downturn — when businesses everywhere (not just in Sacramento) were tightening their belts, cutting expenses, and pulling back on their design, marketing, and print budgets.
  • We weathered the bright and shiny boom of social media and free marketing — and the years of businesses believing that they shouldn’t have to invest in paid marketing or print marketing because social media and online promotions is free.
  • We weathered all the articles and claims that print design was dead and all marketing would be online. We saw businesses switch gears to focus online, and now we’re seeing them all come back to print marketing, using a balance of the two mediums together.
  • We even weathered the two years where venture capitalists and business strategists were proclaiming design was dead and that finished and launched was better than good — and we’re thrilled to have seen that awful phase come full circle back to valuing design and designers. Now many VCs preach the merits of great design and its impact on the success of a brand.

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Brand Identity Brand StrategyRead Transform Your Business Presence Into an Extraordinary Brand
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Transform Your Business Presence Into an Extraordinary Brand

Do your marketing efforts feel exhausting? If you feel like you’re always chasing new clients instead of them chasing you, it’s time to make a change. You may be a business with a presence — a name, a logo, a place — and you may have secured your social media profiles and pages or thrown up a quick website, but that doesn’t set you apart from the crowd.

It’s time to transition from mundane to extraordinary and become a memorable, magnetic force in the marketplace.

Are you ready to generate a lucrative income stream of ideal, high-paying, ready-to-get-started clients and new opportunities?

If so, join me for a FREE webinar — yes, it’s completely free — I’m giving with Prestige Conference on May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am Pacific. I promise you’ll learn at least one new thing you can put to use in your business right away.

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Web Design Estimate and Client ContractRead Why Designers AND Clients Need Client Agreements, Proposals, Estimates, Contracts
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Why Designers AND Clients Need Client Agreements, Proposals, Estimates, Contracts

Recently I was at WordCamp San Diego, where I spoke about Pricing The Unknown And Dealing With Uncertainty In Web Design — naturally in several discussions client contracts came up. Multiple designers and developers mentioned they don’t have a formal agreement and rely on verbal agreements. Many of these same service providers also admit they are being run ragged by their clients and struggle to maintain profitability on projects.

This inspired my latest article for the GoDaddy Garage is ready for you! It’s titled: Why Designers Need Client Agreements, Proposals, Estimates, or Contracts.

Contracts protect you, your bottom line, your time, and your sanity — and they do the same for your clients. Yes, designers and developers often joke that bad clients make great contracts. But we often forget that many clients have bad experiences, too. For them, it only takes one bad designer or one bad developer to make them skeptical of every other designer and developer.

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Genesis Framework Recommended DeveloperRead Using The Genesis Framework On Your WordPress Site
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Using The Genesis Framework On Your WordPress Site

Recently, I joined the WP Watercooler crew along with my fellow Genesis recommended developers for a discussion about using the StudioPress Genesis Framework for your WordPress website — and of course we all shared why we use the framework and what we like about it.

While the episode is heavy in back and forth banter, we do cover some key things that you should know if you’re considering using the Genesis Framework as the foundation for your WordPress website.

What is the Genesis Framework?

I jumped in and shared that calling it a framework is really a misnomer. Genesis is just a parent theme. It’s no different than using the 2015 WordPress theme and building a child theme on it. The Genesis Framework is a toolbox for building child themes that gives you a consistent output of HTML markup and a standardized style sheet to work from.

I also pointed out that while calling it framework is great for StudioPress’s marketing efforts, it does cause confusion and misunderstandings in the larger WordPress community about how it works.

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Mobile-Friendly Websites and Responsive Web Design in SacramentoRead Mobilegeddon Is Here! But Should You Even Care?
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Mobilegeddon Is Here! But Should You Even Care?

In November Google started warning website owners about the importance of sites being mobile-friendly. We saw this example in mobile search results with the label “mobile-friendly” added to search engines results page listings.

Then in February they made it official, stating that as of April 21, 2015 (TODAY), a new algorithm change will go into effect, meaning that whether a site is mobile-friendly or not will affect on your mobile search rankings.

Back in March I wrote a post on our blog — Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly) — that details the announcements, shows you examples and screenshots, and provides more details about responsive design and mobile-friendly site design.

Mobilegeddon is fear-mongering at its worst.

Marketers and less experienced web designers and developers have been putting the fear of Google into website owners over the last 4-6 weeks, with scary warnings and threats… and some serious misinformation. What makes my stomach turn though, is those who are cheering for the change solely because it’s a way to scare/persuade past clients to hire them again to redesign their site and rework the code.

Let’s look at the reality of this algorithm change and what it means for you.

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WordPress Security VulnerabilityRead Security Vulnerability Uncovered And A WordPress Security Update
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Security Vulnerability Uncovered And A WordPress Security Update

A coordinated plugin update occurred Monday morning between many popular WordPress plugins to address a common security vulnerability that allows for XSS cross-site scripting attacks.

Post Status published a great article explaining the security vulnerability, and Yoast published a post explaining the backstory.

The exact number of plugins affected is unknown, but a number of the most popular WordPress plugins are affected, and millions of websites are vulnerable due to this issue. Jetpack and Yoast’s WordPress SEO alone are active on well over a million websites.

Sucuri has identified a minimum of fifteen plugins affected, but they have only looked into the top 300-400 and others that were notable.

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Facebook Page PluginRead Facebook Like Box Deprecated, New Page Plugin Recommended
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Facebook Like Box Deprecated, New Page Plugin Recommended

If you have the Facebook Like Box on your website, pay attention:

With the release of Graph API v2.3., the Like Box, a version of the Like Button for Facebook Pages that embeds a feed of content from a Page into a website, is being deprecated and will stop working on June 23, 2015.

Facebook is recommending that you switch to the new Page Plugin instead. The Page Plugin lets you easily embed and promote any Facebook Page on your website. Just like on Facebook, your visitors can like and share the Page without having to leave your site.

While the standard configuration of the Page Plugin includes only the header and a cover photo, which is ideal for promoting your Page in a small space, such as the top of a sidebar, you can customize it.

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How To Plan A Blog PostRead How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes
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How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes

Every website owner loves the idea of a blog. They love hearing about how adding a blog to your website is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase traffic, improve search engine rankings, build a big email list, gain expert positioning, and attract new clients.

They love the impact it can have on their social media content strategy and they love that blogging for business is free — it doesn’t add another monthly bill. But blogging isn’t really free — it takes time, energy, focus, and commitment.

As a result, end though website owners love the idea of blogging for business, they are not using their blogs! Often nothing new has been published since the site originally went live, or it’s been three, six, or even twelve months since any new content has been added. Yikes!

In my latest article for CoSchedule, How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes So You Can Write It Better And Faster, I address the biggest hurdle business blogs face — creating content and planning posts.

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Shift Mindset From Can't to Can For Better Client ExperiencesRead Shift The Client Conversation From Can’t To Can
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Shift The Client Conversation From Can’t To Can

As a freelancer or an agency, client relationships are the most valuable asset we have. Clients are the backbone of every successful services company and happy clients result in more referrals, more sales, and more business.

Clients come to us because they need help. They need direction, guidance, advice, consulting, strategy, and design and development work. They need an expert in an area they know very little about, and they need to trust the designer or developer they hire to deliver a quality product and quality experience.

But that isn’t always the case. In my latest article for The GoDaddy Garage, Shifting the client conversation from can’t to can, I write about the negative implications of using the word can’t in conversations with clients, and how ti can sabotage the experience your clients have working with you.

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“Whether your brand is you or the brand you’re working for, you may be copied, but can never be duplicated. It’s your brand advantage.”

Tanya Lee
Create Content That Attracts Clients And Grows BusinessRead How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients
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How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients

I recently partnered with iThemes Training to deliver a FREE webinar training for graphic designers, web designers, and developers — and you don’t even have to opt-in to watch it!

There is a plethora of information available about how to build a successful web design business, how to write code, and everything from how to choose typefaces and color palettes, to how to design a logo or website. There is also an abundance of information about the effectiveness and power of content marketing, but there is a shocking lack of information about how designers and developers can create content that will help grow their business AND attract clients.

Are you a designer or developer who:

  • Struggles to consistently create content that resonates with your audience
  • Experiences frustration with rocky client projects or client confusion
  • Is drowning in administrative or project management tasks
  • Doesn’t have time to add yet another task to your to-do list for the week

If you answered yes, this webinar is for you. In it, I walk you through a simple content creation process you can use to grow your business, automate your processes, and attract more clients — and we’ll talk about repurposing content to save you time and effort.

Watch it for FREE with NO OPT-IN needed right now!

Watch The Webinar

Pricing The Unknown In Web DesignRead Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)
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Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)

On March 28-29, Brian and I attended Word Camp San Diego 2015, held at the Hall of Champions in gorgeous Balboa Park. With about 250 attendees, the two-day event drew people from across the US and beyond, and featured: a speaker/sponsor dinner on Friday night, learning sessions, lunch, and an after-party on Saturday, learning sessions on Sunday, and loads of snacks and drinks all day. Plus, there was a lot of swag, including t-shirts, beach balls, frisbees, and water bottles.

Saturday was broken down into four tracks — Beginner, Admin (site owner), Designer, and Developer — each with seven sessions and one panel. Brian spoke in the Design Track, delivering a talk titled Child Themes and The Genesis Framework.

Sunday featured two hands-on, progressive bootcamps — one on theme development and one on plugin development — as well as two business tracks, with one focused on services and one focused on products. I spoke in the Service Business Track, delivering a talk titled Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty.

Below is a complete recap of my Word Camp San Diego presentation, including all of my slides and some extra thoughts on the topic.

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