I’ll keep it pretty simple. 3 things I screwed up and 3 things that went well over the past month. I want to tell you about all the solid stuff happening at WPB, but I can’t stand people who only post when they have good news. It’s like looking at someone’s Instagram account and being jealous of how awesome their life is when those pictures have been carefully curated from the best 1% of their lives.
As anybody who’s run a startup before knows, what it looks like from the outside may not reflect what’s happening on the inside. A company can easily look like it’s running smoothly when in reality, it’s going up in flames. Let’s start practicing some radical transparency.
I’ll be writing something quick like this every month so please subscribe to stay tuned in.
1. Remote Work Challenges
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the past month and continuing to run WP Buffs has definitely been a trial by fire. Between a week away from an internet connection in the desert at Burning Man and friends’ weddings in various cities, it’s been a big learning experience working from my laptop on literally planes, trains and automobiles.
Now that we’ve brought on a new team member, it takes a lot of strain off my workload. Regardless, I’ve been spending a lot of time delegating tickets on our help desk’s mobile app, talking things out with the team on our internal chat while on my phone and teaching Nick the ropes while I’ve been on the go. And that’s not always easy when you have slow wifi on a train to New York.
And while I’ve been traveling so much, we haven’t been on-boarding as many new customers as I’d like. The value I bring to WP Buffs really comes in my ability to market the company, so finding new customers and partnerships is the most important things I can do when it comes to growth.
That being said, I’m embracing the challenge. It’s not easy, but it’s what I wanted from this job in the first place so it’s a puzzle I really enjoy figuring out. And I’ll have a lot more practice this month as I travel to two more weddings, head to Montana for a week and attend TEDxMidAtlantic here in DC. Wish me luck!
2. Health Maintenance
This whole travel phase that’s taken over my life for the last couple months has been rough on my health. My back’s disc issues have been flaring up again so that’s not fun. I’m doing physical therapy which seems to be helping, but it’s still means I can’t exercise as much as I’d like. That’s how I decompress, so it’s been rough for me.
I’ve also been on a ketogenic diet for the past year (high fat, low carb) and have fallen out of it over the past month. This means I feel like crap, so it’s not a big help to my efficiency.
In general, I’ve just been a mess. Still figuring out how to create some order from the chaos.
3. Pomodoro Productivity Lacking
Because I’ve been a little scatter-brained over the last month, I’ve been falling back into the trap of waking up and simply knocking out tasks without giving myself some time in the morning to map out my day.
This has led to a lot of stuff getting done, but moving from smart work to hard work. Don’t get me wrong – my wife will tell you I love to work hard. I’m happy doing that as long as I’m also being effective. As you know, I’m big on the 80/20 rule (like what 80% of issues can I solve with 20% of my time). Plus, I’m just happier when I feel like I have control over my day.
Today I’m on a strict Pomodoro schedule. And during every 5-minute break, I’ll do some stretching for my back. Time to focus on taking care of myself.
1. WP Elevation Rocks
I’ve been granted early access to the new class of WP Elevation. WPE is the world’s largest business community for WordPress consultants. They teach you how to improve your communication, workflow & business practices.
The damage? $1497.
I know. It seems like a lot. There’s definitely some sticker shock there.
But considering what you get, it seems like a no-brainer. I get access to a huge community of WordPress business owners who I can learn from. Plus once I build a few relationships and bring on a few white-label partners, it will pay for itself 10x over.
Just look how awesome the Facebook group responded to my little introduction!
I’ve finished all the introductory material and been on a few video calls with Troy and I can already tell this is going to be a huge point of growth for WP Buffs. I’m working on finding some dedicated time to make sure I take full advantage of it.
Troy is pretty amazing if you haven’t met him yet. He joined us on the WPMRR WordPress podcast and chatted about all things gratitude, standard operating procedures and scaling your business. Check it out!
2. Big Hiring Win
As you may have heard already, we brought on Nick Adams as our Lead Happiness Buff. He’s jumped right in and is picking things up way faster than I expected. He asks the right questions and is helping us move things forward.
— WP Buffs (@thewpbuffs) September 11, 2017
Customers are already getting to know Nick and they’ve had nothing but great things to say. My goal is to continue to give him more responsibilities within the operations of the business. Once he gets in the flow of things, I don’t think he’ll have a problem pushing our systems, automation and processes to the next level. Boom!
3. Speaking At WordCamps
I got the chance to attend WordCamp Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. Not only that, but they gave me my very first opportunity to speak at a WordCamp! Here are my slides from the talk. It was a great experience and something I’d like to do more of.
— Joseph H. Howard (@JosephHHoward) September 20, 2017
I was also asked to speak at WordCamp New York, but I unfortunately booked a week long trip to Montana the day before they accepted me so I had to politely decline. Next year!
I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Baltimore in a few weeks as well, so I’ll get another chance to give some value back to the WordPress community. Grab your tickets before they run out and come hear me speak about scaling your website to 10,000 unique visitors per month!
And I’ll be attending WordCamp Philadelphia and WordCamp US later this fall as well. WP Buffs is proud to sponsor both events and we’re looking forward to all sorts of WordPress fun! Lots more travel and WordPress coming up throughout the end of the year and I’m really pumped to keep gaining momentum.
Onward and upward!