WordPress Business Workflow: Feb 2014 meetup
Our February 2014 meetup topic was WordPress Business Workflow. Four people gave short presentations, then we had an open discussion.
If I missed anything, please leave a comment, and I’ll add to the post.
- Work standards are important (version control, backups, SSH, etc.)
- Taking shortcuts can hurt you
- Work standards can save you
- They make it easier to bring people on to your team
- Tools: Git, Vagrant, Bitbucket
How I started my WordPress business
- How Kurt got into WordPress development.
- Found his first (low-paying) jobs on Elance, and some jobs led to good clients. Lately it’s been too difficult to compete with low-bidders (especially in low-wage countries). He thinks oDesk is even more low-wage. oDesk takes 9.5%.
- Before you start, be prepared to go hungry for 1-2 years. If possible, set funds aside before starting.
- Work with others with complementary skills. He’s been making local connections at The Factory.
- Bills hourly with 50% deposits (of estimated total).
- Tools: Photoshop, email, Google Calendar, Firefox, Dropbox, Camtasia, Vegas, QuickBooks.
Contracts and business hours
- Scope of Work
- What’s included
- What’s excluded
- Schedule and Completion Date
- Client Responsibilities
- What they must provide you
- What they must do
- Cost Estimates
- Estimates, not fixed costs
- Payment Terms
- How much?
- Domain Registration, Hosting, Maintenance, SEO
- Specify who controls these
- Technical Support
- What will you offer?
- Limitation of Liabilities
- Copyrights and Trademarks
- Attorney Fees
- Protect your time; no one else will
- Set an autoreply with your work hours and emergency contact info
Discipline and time-tracking
- Be disciplined. Track time. That helps inform future estimates.
- Don’t allow scope creep. Something has to give: time, money, or scope.
- Topher had an hourly rate. He gave an estimate based on that, but told them that additional work would be hourly.
- Chad uses PayPal Payments Pro with Harvest: $0.50 per invoice (client must pay via PayPal; not credit card).
- Chad says you can probably pass credit card fees on to clients after changes that took effect Jan 26, 2013. Ask your lawyer. See Merchant Surcharging – Understanding Payment Card Changes, New Credit Card Swipe Fee Rules Are Good News For Shoppers, You Could Soon Pay More for Using a Credit Card
- Ways of dealing with price objections: explain your value, let them walk away, get them to reduce the scope, make them prioritize features, offer several price options.
- You won’t have 40 billable hours/week; you might get 20.
- Topher says you get tax discounts for accepting foreign funds.
- Save for taxes (25-30%). Make estimated payments. Kurt uses Paychex.
- Get an accountant. Have them do taxes, advise on deductions, etc.
- Send 1099-MISCs to anyone to whom you pay over $600.
Recommended Lawyers: Haans Mulder, Todd Stuart, Mike Lichterman, Andrew Longcore.
Prospecting & Estimating
- Use a Discovery Phase to get to know each other and decide if you want to work together. Give a deliverable (report/plan). Charge a few hundred if you can.
- Red flags: prospects who want you to reduce your rates because they tell you their site will be a good portfolio piece, or who offer equity in their company, or who promise future work.
- Time-tracking: Toggle, RescueTime, Harvest, spreadsheet.
- David Veldt uses Boomerang to schedule emails.
- WordPress updates: use a paid service like ManageWP. Use a free tool like WP Remote, InfiniteWP. Topher charges clients $10/mo for once a month updates (security updates are ASAP). Chad charges $30/mo and uses Advanced Automatic Updates for everything except e-commerce plugins. Here’s how to exclude plugins.
- Monitor sites with UptimeRobot, Pingdom