Building and running a WordPress business has a lot to do with our chosen development platform. We usually know WordPress inside and out.
Business, as you know, is much more than the tool you use or the service you sell.
Many core competencies in business have little or nothing to do with WordPress. Often, they are forgotten.
Forgetting many of these core competencies can have a disastrous effect.
One of the top reasons businesses fail is money. I know, you didn’t become a WordPress developer to focus on accounting, but it is a necessary reality.
This fact begins to kick in the first time you have a client, and you have to create an invoice.
Do yourself a favor and get invoicing software. After that, find someone to help manage your books.
Many business owners love Freshbooks or Quickbooks. However, if you are starting out, you might try Wave Accounting. The software has a free starting point, and it is an excellent way to start with managing your business invoicing.
These two are not the only products available. Find one that works for your business.
Money, of course, has to be coming in to keep your business operational as well as pay you, the owner, a living wage.
Client Relationship Manager
CRM, or Client Relationship Mangement, is one of the most important pieces of software to use. Luckily, for WordPress business owners, there are hundreds of CRM’s on the market.
The most important thing is to have a place to save client information, and you can share that info with your team.
If you are a solopreneur, you may not need a complicated system, but it is helpful, however, to have a database with your client’s information.
The most important thing is that you can maintain accurate client information, especially as you grow, allowing for better communication.
Here is a fantastic guide for exploring CRM’s by Zappier.
How many projects do you do in a month as a WordPress business owner? How do you keep up with the project?
Some do one project at a time, but they still operate from a baseline of regular, repeatable tasks, and often, they create task lists from which they operate.
Are you building WordPress websites for new customers? Are you completing small tasks for a client? Are you developing and maintaining a plugin? Regardless of the project, you need to have a process in place to manage your tasks.
You don’t have to have a certificate or degree in project management, because, there are lots of great tools available.
Certainly, project management for a team looks much different than for an individual.
Some solopreneurs may use Trello to keep up with their tasks while other may rely only on something like Google Drive.
Teams have tons of options including applications such as Asana, Basecamp, and Wrike.
Just like your CRM, there are WordPress based options for Project Management.
According to management consultant Mike Forrest, W. Edwards Deming gives a simple process for managing your project.
Build a team
It is important to remember, as human beings, we do not live on an island. We live in community.
Building a business is no different.
While we do work hard, and there are things that only we can do for our business, we still need help.
Three areas we can build a team for our WordPress business include mentors, colleagues, and outsourcing.
We all have mentors. It might be the business owner down the road which gives us advice and wisdom from being in business 20 years longer than us or another WordPress developer who welcomes your questions. Mentors can also be well-known developers who give business advice. Finding a mentor can help us avoid certain pitfalls.
Colleagues are important as well. A colleague is another person who is in the same place in business that we are. They can offer a different perspective and help us formulate ideas for our business.
— MainWP (@MyMainWP) September 12, 2016
WordCamps and other WordPress events are fantastic for finding colleagues and meeting those we admire. Also, finding a forum, Facebook Group, or Slack room can help us in our quest to find a colleague.
Since, as a solopreneur, we can’t do everything all the time, there comes a point when we may need to outsource work. You might need a graphic designer, a virtual assistant, an SEO specialist or more advanced developer.
Outsourcing can help round out a team.
Many agencies will keep a group of freelancers who they can turn to for certain aspects of the project.
It is important to keep yourself from being completely isolated in your work. A team is often needed to complete projects.
Build a process for getting clients
It stands to reason if you have no clients, you have no business. Clients are the lifeblood of business, and having a process to acquire customers is one of the most important steps you can take.
There are many ways to find clients.
Techniques to attract clients can often take time. Spending several thousand dollars on a website is not a decision a small business owner will make quickly. Therefore, your sales cycle is likely already fairly long.
You may choose to invest time and money in content marketing, pay per clicks or some other kind of marketing efforts, but as a business owner, find a process for attracting clients.
Find your differentiation
There are a lot of WordPress developers. WordPress powers roughly 26% of the world’s websites. Developers have flocked to the industry because of the plethora of potential clients.
How do you stand out?
Are you the best WordPress developer? That’s hard to measure.
Are you the first developer to build themes? Can you prove that?
Do you build WordPress websites for real estate agents? Now, we are getting somewhere.
Differentiation is an important part of positioning your business for your target audience.
Maybe you can build a WordPress product that you can sell. You may sell consulting services for using WordPress.
Figuring it out
Running a business has many variables and running a WordPress business is no different. Owners need to know how to blog, how to write emails, practice excellent customer service, and several other necessary tasks.
Running a business still requires the core competencies and tasks. You still need marketing; you still need to know your audience; you still need to manage your money.
What kind of skills have you developed running a WordPress business?
What parts of running a business are most important to you?
Leave us your comments below.