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!

Check It Out

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
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"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."

Mark Twain
Today's Innovative Woman RetreatRead Where do you get your business advice?
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Where do you get your business advice?

I am a firm believer that no one knows everything about building and growing a business — at least I know I don’t! In fact, most business owners and entrepreneurs (like me) start businesses not because they know how to run a business, but because they are exceptional at what they do and seize an opportunity.

In my experience, learning about business and how to run one effectively comes along the way. A few years into my business, I received a great piece of advice: Know the path you want to take and surround yourself with people who are farther down the path. In other words:

  • Find the people who have achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them.
  • Find out what they did wrong and what they did right; what worked and what didn’t work; what they wish they had done differently.
  • Find a mentor or mastermind group who can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction when you need it.

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Same Strategy Different ResultsRead Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result
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Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result

I see it happen over and over: A coach or expert sells “how they did it” or their process for achieving results. A business owner wanting to achieve the same results hires them to learn how they did it. The business owner learns tactics, uses the same tools, and applies the same strategy… yet they don’t achieve the same results. In many cases, they don’t even come close to achieving the same success. Why is that? Why can you do everything exactly the same and not enjoy the same success?

There is one major difference that wasn’t accounted for.

You are not them! The person, the expert, the history, the experience, the story, the brand, the positioning, the relationships — the person at the center of everything is different. So while you can use the same tools and the same strategy, and you can achieve the same results, you can’t just copy a cookie cutter formula. You must adjust your approach and customize it to fit you, your brand, and your business.

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Take a VacationRead How to take a real vacation (tech-free), even if you own a business
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How to take a real vacation (tech-free), even if you own a business

Entrepreneurs and business owners are the hardest working, most dedicated and committed people I know. With a vision in mind, and a goal ahead, they do whatever it takes to achieve success, often sacrificing their own personal well being along the way and never taking a break or a vacation to recharge, refuel, re-energize, reinvigorate.

I used to be that business owner. In the first few years of my business, I worked 14-16+ hours a day, at least 6 days a week, and I NEVER took a vacation — because I didn’t think I could.

Eventually I began to take vacations, but the weeks leading up to the vacations, and the week after returning were so awful, that I often wondered if it was worth it. Plus I often pulled multiple all-nighters to finish everything before leaving, so I was exhausted and cranky the first few days of the trips! And, if I am really going to be honest, my vacations weren’t really vacations, as I took my computer with me to check email and work if I needed to (which I always did).

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Making Decisions For The Future Of BusinessRead Making Decisions Based On Where You’ve Been vs. Where You Want To Go
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Making Decisions Based On Where You’ve Been vs. Where You Want To Go

The ability to make decisions in business is critical to your success — as long as you’re using the right frame of reference, and frame of mind for your decision-making. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume that you are not a business owner satisfied with the status quo, but an entrepreneur striving to improve, evolve, and grow.

The Wrong Decision-Making Mindset

There is a popular phrase often tossed around by business coaches: “What you focus on expands.” With that belief in mind, one surefire way to stay where you are and stunt your business growth is to focus on the past — what has happened before, what was true before, what worked before — and let it hold you back.

Focusing on where you’ve been will result is staying where you are. The same is true for your decision-making mindset. To move your business forward, continue to grow, and achieve your goals, it is imperative that you stop making decisions based on where you have been.

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Sutters Fort Living History DayRead Take Your Business Into Your Own Hands
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Take Your Business Into Your Own Hands

After a three week staycation, we got back to back to business as usual in January, back to the trenches, and back to being crazy busy with new projects — But we’re never too busy to keep learning! If you want to be a leader, you must continually improve your skills and take your future into your own hands with action.

Above is a photo I snapped of the kids on the Sutter’s Fort cannon crew! Natalie is in fourth grade this year and since she is learning all about California history and the California Indians, I took the kids to the California State Indian Museum — and lucky for us it was also a special historical re-enactment day at Sutter’s Fort. The kids loved it, they learned new things (like what a thunder mug is), laughed a lot, and Natalie brought back some great information and souvenirs to share in class.

The schools no longer have the budget to take students on fields trips like they did when I was a kid, so now it’s up to the parents to provide the hands-on learning experiences that come only with experiencing history first hand. We have to be proactive and take education into our own hands and take action.

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Lego Winter VillageRead Letting Go: Clients and Customers Always Have Final Control
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Letting Go: Clients and Customers Always Have Final Control

Check out my Lego Winter Village! It took hours, upon hours to build and it’s the only Christmas related decor that we haven’t put away. I just don’t want to break it down yet!

This Christmas, we trimmed the tree, decked the halls, hung the stockings on the mantle … and built the winter village. Think this was done by my kids? Think again. The winter village is all mine. As soon as I was done, I photographed it and called the kids in to check out my hard work. The layout was carefully planned, each scene was set, each mini figure was placed, and then …

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Point of DifferentiationRead Capitalize on Your Uniqueness
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Capitalize on Your Uniqueness

In the book,Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares a story about Henry Ford charging a company a large sum of money (for the times) to solve a problem the company had been struggling to untangle. Ford completed the task quickly, received his payment, and then proceeded — immediately — to share his solution. Seeing how fast Ford had worked, the folks who hired him became angry. They felt hoodwinked.

But, Mr. Ford replied, “Whether it took me five minutes or five months, you got the result you were looking for when you hired me. You didn’t hire me for how long it would take. You hired me for the expertise and value I bring to the table and those qualities have taken me my entire life to accumulate.”

In other words, Ford’s unique level of expertise and experience — expertise and experience that the business owners did not have — is what gave his work its value.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to have enough confidence in our goods and services that we can ask for the price they are worth. And we need to know that our customers are comfortable with the value they receive from us. Setting a fair price for both parties will require reflecting on what goes into your goods and services in the first place.

So, what are your knowledge, experience, expertise, and the products and services built from them, really worth?

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