Interviews, whether they are in written Q&A form, via teleseminar, radio show, or podcast, or in video, are always fun — especially when it’s done with a good friend.
Carrie Dils is not only a great friend, and genuinely nice person, she’s a talented developer and the host of the OfficeHours.fm podcast. Brian and I have both been guests on separate episodes of the podcast in the past, but now you get us both on one episode.
- Episode 04 With Jennifer Bourn and Diane Kinney
- Episode 09 With Brian Bourn and Adam Clark
- Episode 77 With Brian and Jennifer Bourn
While in past episode’s we’ve talked about business growth, marketing, sales, and development, this one was a bit of everything with a side of personal family life. We do talk about business and development workflows — and we also talk about juggling business and family and spending pretty much ALL of our time together, and bicker a bit ;)
Carrie kicks off this episode of OfficeHours.fm with commentary and questions about our schedule, vacations, and work/life balance.
Brian and I share some of the ways we manage our schedule to make sure we get the time needed to focus on work and client projects as well as time to focus on quality family time. We talk about our schedule today in comparison to what it was like when we first started Bourn Creative, and why we sometimes still work 50-60 hour weeks, or 6 week sprints.
You can also get a glimpse of our master wall calendar that’s 3.5×4.5 feet that maps out everything for work and family. It’s the key to not only making the juggling act run smoothly, but the key to making a commitment to be at an event or to take a vacation and sticking to it.
This Bourn Creative celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary. A lot has changed in terms of time management over the years. In this episode, we also dive into:
- How we went from not feeling able to take any vacation at all to now taking 7+ weeks of vacation each year
- What had to change in our business and life to make vacation possible
- How Brian getting gallbladder cancer affected the way we approach our life, our family, and our business
CaboPress = Business + Cabo
This episode (which was recorded in advance) actually aired while we were at CaboPress with Carrie, masterminding with other WordPress-focused business owners in the gorgeous infinity edge pools overlooking the ocean, enjoying adult beverages, and great conversation.
It’s been a great 10 years and we are very happy where we are, but like any business owner we are always looking to the future, to what’s next. We have a great system. We love our clients who allow us to do what we do best and enjoy a wonderful life. At the same time, we’re interested in where do we go in 5 years or 10 years. What does that look like?
As a business owner so much time is spent working IN your business, especially when you’re in client services. You’re constantly working on everyone else’s projects. There is a lot to be said for getting away from day-to-day tasks and away from the distractions to work ON your business in a totally different environment with people who bring a totally different perspective.
CaboPress provided us an opportunity to talk about, strategize for, and work on our business and our vision for the future, while learning from other successful business owners. It also allowed us to deepen relationships with other agency owners and potential partners, and because the kids came with us, spend some quality family time playing in the pools too.
Carrie also asked about Prestige Conference and the workshop I delivered. If you’ve not heard about this event, you’re missing out.
Prestige Conference combines all the best parts of WordCamp business tracks into one event. There is no code, no developer talk, no technical stuff. Every session is about business challenges, lessons learned, and interviews. It’s about people sharing their journey and their stories of how they overcame obstacles and got to where they are today. It’s a conference about how to do business better — whether you’re a freelancer, agency owner, or employee looking to move up in their career.
My workshop, called Clarity Breeds Opportunity, kicked off the second day of Prestige Conference with two hours of hands-on exercises. The idea came from a conversation I had with Kiko and Josh (Prestige Conf organizers) about people investing in conferences but not taking action on what they learned. We then came up with the plan to offer a workshop to give attendees the space to take action, implement ideas, and work ON their business, getting things done before before even leaving the event.
The workshop provided several exercises focused on branding and messaging, to help attendees gain clarity around their brand, the reputation they want to build in the market, what they do best, who is a perfect client, how they are different, and what they need to communicate on their website, marketing materials, and sales conversation to close more sales.
In this episode we talk more about the workshop, the feedback and success of it, and more. If you’re interested, you can purchase videos from Prestige conference and take the workshop virtually. You can also get on their mailing list, as I’ll be doing another new workshop at the next event.
WordCamps & Pressnomics
I don’t think we can talk about events and not talk about WordCamps — and clearly Carrie felt the same way! We talk about why Brian went to WordCamps without me for a year and a half, what WordCamp was my first, what we love about WordCamps, and why we continue to invest time and money into attending WordCamps, and now organizing WordCamp Sacramento.
We also talk a bit about Pressnomics, which is another WordPress business event we attended where we got to hang out with Carrie and talk shop. I can’t stress enough how valuable attending live events is for building and strengthening relationships and forging new ones. But at the same time, it’s also important to understand that industry conferences where you network with peers produce very different results than conferences your clients may go to — Hint: you need to go to both.
Let’s Talk About Code
Talking about development conferences and upping your skills was the perfect segeway to talking about our development workflow.
This is where Brian and Carrie nerd out and I jump in for some banter and friendly bickering — you get some husband-wife infotainment here, plus Brian walks listeners through our workflow from initial wireframing, to design, to development.
Brian shares our approach to:
- Using the Genesis Framework for custom WordPress theme development
- Keeping the functions file lean
- File structure and organization of custom templating
- The order in which he builds templates for a WordPress site and where we have design checkpoints
- What he uses for local Development
- Documentation of code and what is included in the documentation
- What’s on our list of items to implement in our development workflow
- How start each new custom Genesis theme project
- The best way to learn how to write code quickly and speed up development
- Updating and adding new features to live client sites
We also talk about ongoing maintenance plans, retainer work, and ongoing client relationships. We talk with Carrie about what works best for us and our clients, how we structure some of our agreements and ongoing billing, and what types of clients are the best fit for us.
Advice For those just getting started
As we come to the end of the episode, the conversation turns to advice for those new to the industry.
While we both had a lot to say about this topic, much of it can be boiled down to this:
Brian answered first, stating that you just have to be willing to do the work and put in the time. The only way mastery comes, is by doing something over and over and over again so it becomes repetitive and second nature.
Sometimes when you’re growing a business it means you have to work outside Monday through Friday 8 to 5. Maybe it means you have to work at night or on the weekends to be prepared for when that opportunity comes. No successful business owner will tel you that they only worked a 35 hour workweek in their first five years of business — that’s just not how it works.
Then I followed up with a simple statement: Stop undervaluing your talents. The majority of you drastically undervalue your own expertise because whatever you are choosing to do, you are probably choosing because it comes naturally to you or easier to you. You undervalue it because it’s not hard for you and it probably never has been. You charge less than what you should be charging because you don’t think it’s worth a lot of money because it wasn’t hard.
What you for get is that other people don’t have your talent or skills. They can’t do what you can do, and even if they tried it would be very, very hard. They value what you bring to the table because they don’t have the same skills — and they are willing to pay you for it. In fact, they are often willing to pay you more than you are asking.
Listen To The OfficeHours.fm Episode
While I tried to cover the highlights in this recap post, I highly recommend that you carve out an hour or so of your time to listen to the entire episode. You’ll enjoy some friendly and maybe not-so friendly banter back and forth between Brian and I, you’ll get a glimpse into our life together, and you’ll hopefully learn some new things you can apply in your business.