If you are like me, you have made all kinds of mistakes in your WordPress freelancing career. I remember the time I answered the call to help a guy install a plugin. I thought it would be easy, but no.
First, he was demanding. You know the type. He had spent his career as a teacher and, intellectually, he was on a higher plane. I think.
My problem is that I underestimated the work of the plugin. It was actually some kind of eCommerce plugin. I was young, naive and dumb. It took way more time to configure than I expected and I didn’t even do any kind of contract.
I have no idea how I ended up with this short gig. Nevertheless, I just wanted to get it over and never deal with that guy again. He was a little aggressive at the end and I thought he might try to sue me over a few dollars.
Mercifully, it was over.
What are some of the business mistakes you have made as a WordPress professional? Today, we are going to dive into a few of those mistakes
I asked several WordPress professionals to give me some of their top mistakes and they responded. These ten come from those conversations.
Buckle up, it could be bumpy.
1. Pricing/Quoting too cheaply
How often have you quoted a project too cheaply? Frankly, I think it may take years to learn how to quote a project more accurately. Fortunately for us, there are lots of good resources available for WordPress professionals to learn how to quote better.
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Often, quoting too cheaply comes down to not understanding the value you are providing your client. You quickly learn that you can’t quote what something costs, that you have to consider your costs and your profits as well as the value you bring to the project.
2. Answering email “out of hours”
Does your client email you or text you at 10 PM? Of course, you wait until the next day to respond, right? Fail to wait until the next day and you will find yourself at the whim of a client who feels he or she can message you at all hours of the day.
One time I was walking through Silver Dollar City with my family for Thanksgiving when I got a call from a client. Sorry, Mr., I can’t do anything for a few days.
Such a client will treat you like an employee who is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trust me, your family will not like that. You don’t need that. Set some availability and set some parameters.
3. Not trusting my inner voice for a “flaky client”
You hear that? That is your inner voice telling you that this possible client is going to be trouble. There are warning signs about working with a client, and it can take some time to learn. In the meantime, trust your instincts. Trust your gut.
According to Dr. Brady Salcido,
This “gut feeling” is an instinctual response from your brain to protect you from making what it perceives to be the wrong decision. Your brain creates a mental map based on every experience that you’ve ever had and everything you have ever learned to create the foundation for which your brain makes decisions.
So, pay attention to what your inner self is telling you about a potential client.
4. Not getting the content upfront, not being involved in the kind of content they turn in
What else can we say about getting content up front that hasn’t already been said? It is one of the biggest problems that WordPress professionals have, am I right?
The solution, it seems, is to get involved with the content process. It may be hiring a copywriter or assigning this task to a team member. We know that copy that isn’t compelling doesn’t convert readers. Not converting readers will cause your client problems and keep them from being successful.
I think that WordPress professionals can longer leave website copywriting to chance.
5. Finding and hiring the best help, the right help for the job
One mistake that many WordPress professionals admit is not hiring someone sooner to help. Additionally, they often find they hire the wrong person or fail to hire the best person that they can.
6. Letting one client become too much of my income
If you depend, almost completely, on one single client for your work, you are in a dangerous situation. If that client packs their bags, decides to go in a different direction, or simply use someone else, it will put your business in a big bind. It’s nice to have businesses to serve as a cornerstone for your business but diversify your client base so that you don’t rely on one client.
7. Not in having a system in place
It takes a while, but at some point, you will want to create some systems in your business. It might be as simple as using a software as a service such as Better Proposals to submit proposals to prospects.
Maybe you see the need for some kind of third-party invoicing software or a way to auto-post to social media. You might decide that you need to create a system to manage the site care for your client’s websites.
The sooner you begin to implement some of these systems, the easier it will make it for you to move forward in your business.
8. Not niching down sooner on the type of websites – no real estate sites!
Niching is a hot-button topic and not just in the WordPress industry. They talk about it in the copywriting industry too. Sometimes it takes some time to figure out where doing the thing you love intersect with your skills and the needs in the market.
If you can find that point of intersection, you are on your way. You may love to do real estate websites or some other kind of niche. It is totally okay to specialize in that area. It is a sign you are moving forward.
9. I Treated myself as an employee rather than a business
In the beginning, we are often trying to find anything we can to generate revenue. There is no shame in that, but desperation can lead to all kinds of things that are bad. You are a not your client’s employee.
Let me say that again. You are not your client’s employee. They can’t tell you when to work, where to work, or how to work. You deliver the results. That is what matters.
You don’t have to go work at their place of business unless they have you on the payroll. It is time to fire yourself from an employee mentality and become a business.
10. Not implementing residual income, or site care plans sooner
Passive income. It doesn’t exist. However, in business, we can have residual income. For WordPress professionals, there is a couple of pretty simple options.
The first is site care or WordPress maintenance. There are many ways to implement this, but with the help of a tool like MainWP, it makes it an easier endeavor.
The second way to create residual income is through affiliates. Do you have products you can use that can make life easier for a client? Recommend it to them. It can be something as easy as hosting.
Resolve to create some residual income in your business in 2019.
Wrapping it up
Mistakes are a part of life and business. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from those mistakes, but we press on to be better. Are these mistakes some that you have made? What mistakes have you made that are different?