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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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?

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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.

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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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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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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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Successful Strategic Partnerships-with-design-studiosRead Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)
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Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)

I’m a FIRM believer in working with specialists.

It’s why we focus on design and development, on killing it in building powerful, profitable, complete online platforms, custom WordPress sites, and the design of branding and marketing materials that support our clients’ broader business growth efforts.

No one wants to invest in a generalist who knows the basics about a lot, but not the important, critical details on the one thing they need. No one wants to be sold something by a person who doesn’t fully understand what they are selling. No one wants to invest thousands of dollars in a website that was built by a non-expert — someone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff day in and day out — especially with the rapid pace that technology shifts and changes.

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Follow Up To Build Better Stronger Relationships And Create New Business OpportunitiesRead Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities
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Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities

How did you do it? It’s a question I get asked at least once week from other designers, developers, freelancers, and business owners. They want to know how I got to where I am today, how I get the opportunities I do, and how we’ve been able to build such a strong brand.

In my article Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities for WP Elevation, I share the answer to those questions — and it isn’t a sexy answer.

You won’t get easy magic tricks, but you will learn how to prepare for new opportunities and how to use specific follow up tactics to build better, stronger relationships that create new opportunities.

Check It Out

2015 Prestige Conference Las VegasRead Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations
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Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations

This past weekend, Brian and I attended Prestige Conference Las Vegas, the second event of it’s kind, with the first being Prestige Conference Minneapolis in October 2014.

I feel like I said this about the first Prestige Conference, but seriously, this event was by far one of my favorites — and not just because so many of our friends were also there

Among the meetups, WordCamps, business conferences, and networking events, Prestige Conference has quite effectively carved out a solid position in the market. It serves business owners, agency owners, and freelancers alike, do business better — or at least think about their business with a fresh perspective.

With a mix of personal stories, lessons learned, business nitty-gritty, and actionable get it done steps, Prestige is quickly becoming the go to conference for those who are interested in upleveling themselves AND their businesses or careers.

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Freelance Designer Pricing StrugglesRead The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?
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The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?

Have you lowered your rates to ensure you landed a new client or kept your rates low over time to keep them? Have you ever done the work but billed for fewer hours than you spent on the project because you felt guilty, you didn’t want to (potentially) make your client mad, or you thought it “shouldn’t” have cost that much?

What about standing up for your design solutions? Have you ever held back and not shared your opinions or thoughts to avoid arguing with your client? Have you made revisions to a project that you knew would hurt it more than help it just to be “easy to work with” and make your client happy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to read my new article for the GoDaddy Garage: The freelance conundrum: Do you want to be a good friend or a great service provider? In this article, I share my own experiences, insecurities, and challenges with pricing my services and standing up for my design, as well as lessons learned — and hopefully some tips you can use too!

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UX KitsRead Three Examples of Customer Service Done Right
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Three Examples of Customer Service Done Right

I’m a salesperson’s nightmare. I hate overly-forward, overly-friendly salespeople. I despise being interrupted when shopping, I can’t stand a sales woman in a clothing store shadowing me or suggesting outfits for me based on an assumption she made when I walked in the door.

Needless to say, that when it comes to customer service, I’m a little (okay a lot) jaded as more often than not I am disappointed by companies with a lack of service, poor service, or poorly trained staff delivering a service.

But every once in a while there are companies who stand out from the sea of checkbox-ticking and clock-punching — companies who go the extra mile to show you they care and invest in their relationships with clients and customers.

These companies get it. They understand what it means to deliver great customer service. They understand that they can cultivate loyalty and create raving fans with small gestures that make big differences.

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“Users will tell you what they think they want. Users will tell you what they think you want to hear. Users will tell you what they think sounds good. Users will NOT tell you what you need to know. You have to watch them to discover that.”

Adam Judge
Join UsRead We’re Looking For An Experienced Front-End Developer
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We’re Looking For An Experienced Front-End Developer

Have you ever checked out our site, sent a link to a site we built, or read one of our blog posts and thought to yourself, “Man, I’d love to work with Bourn Creative.”

Do you also happen to be a front-end developer who loves design, or maybe a designer who discovered that they really love writing code — one who is tired of working alone and wants to grow in a supportive team environment?

We’re Hiring!

We’re looking for an experienced front-end developer to join our team — one with a sharp designer’s eye and a keen attention to detail.

More specifically, we’re looking for a front-end developer with experience with PSD to custom WordPress theme projects who is comfortable with agile, in-browser, responsive design to work alongside Brian.

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Weclome Clients With an Onboarding ProcessRead How To Implement A New Client Onboarding Process And Set Expectations
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How To Implement A New Client Onboarding Process And Set Expectations

Yesterday I spoke at the East Bay WordPress Meetup about onboarding new clients, setting clear expectations, and creating systems.

When I published a post announcing the talk, I received inquiries — through Twitter, Facebook, direct email, and our website contact form — asking if the session would be recorded or if I would be sharing the information.

Clearly this is a topic that many in our community are interested in!

As I shared during my session with Chris Lema in the 2014 WordCamp LA business track, we have spent countless hours creating, refining, testing, and tweaking our own multi-step processes for several different service offerings.

This talk, recapped in detail below, was an overview of the new client onboarding process we use for our custom WordPress web design projects, including:

  • What new client onboarding is and why it is critical to the success of the project
  • How to create added-value for clients before even getting started
  • What components are encompassed in a successful onboarding campaign
  • Why setting clear expectations early and often will improve your client relationships
  • What most service providers overlook when creating an onboarding process
  • How to create your own process and strategies for implementation

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Prestige ConferenceRead Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest
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Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest

Imagine a small, intimate setting where you’re surrounded only by like-minded people willing to invest in their careers, businesses, and success. Imagine all of those people working in the same space you are, but in different capacities and different ways, with different types of clients. Imagine being able to talk with them openly and honestly, to get real feedback and fresh perspectives, and to really have the opportunity to talk shop and learn.

Sounds amazing right?

This is exactly what I experienced at Prestige Conference. Prestige is a business & career development conference geared towards freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small shops operating in the digital marketplace.

I was thrilled to have been invited to speak alongside some ridiculously talented and accomplished business owners, and I knew the event would bring the value with Kiko Doran and Josh Broton at the helm. But what I didn’t expect was how different the event felt in comparison to a large WordCamp.

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"The question is not whether your will be successful, but whether you will matter. Are you going for votes or are you seeking to matter?"

Seth Godin
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“Success isn’t an event, it is a process. It isn’t a one time thing, it is a lifetime thing. It isn’t one beginning and one end, it is an endless adventure of beginnings.”

Aline Hanle
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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."

Henry Ford
Copyblogger Authority Intensive Speaker Seth GodinRead Copyblogger Delivers A Content Buffet At Authority Intensive 2014 (#Authority2014)
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Copyblogger Delivers A Content Buffet At Authority Intensive 2014 (#Authority2014)

Throughout Authority Intensive, I shared some of the wisdom being shared by speakers and Copyblogger staff on Twitter, and received quite a few requests (and a threat) from friends to share my notes and what I learned at the event.

When I sat down to write my event recap post, it became quite clear that this event would need more than one post to do it justice.

Yesterday I published the first post about the event, pointing out the brilliant strategy behind the meals and parties that kept all of the attendees together, creating more networking opportunities, more new conversations, more connections being made, and more business being done.

Today I’m sharing the wisdom (and there is a lot) served up from the panels and keynote speakers throughout the event and tomorrow I’ll be name dropping like crazy and introducing you to some of the awesome people I met and hung out with.

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Raving FansRead Authority Intensive 2014: Create Raving Fans Without Content (#Authority2014)
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Authority Intensive 2014: Create Raving Fans Without Content (#Authority2014)

I’ve been investing in attending professional events, conferences, seminars, and workshops since graduating from college and today attend at least 5 every year.

Now, I’m not talking about local networking events. I’m talking about plane rides, hotel stays, food budgets, and conferences tickets ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (just for the ticket).

Overall, most of the events I have attended have been professional produced with big budgets — and most are pretty great. But, sometimes the speakers aren’t as great as you would have hoped, sometimes there is barely any time for networking, and sometimes the food is lackluster at best. The latest event I attended was different — and in a good way.

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"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."

Woodrow Wilson
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"Power isn't control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn't someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own."

Beth Revis