The Tools Don’t Matter

I used to blog a lot about tools and tricks.

I was so clever. I knew everything about various CRMS. I talked about sales techniques.  Till I bored myself.

Oh, I was smart.

Here’s the thing: the tools don’t matter.  As a salesperson you need about 3 things:

  • A place to find people to connect with them.  Could be the Rotary Club, Twitter, a forum, or conferences.  Could be your blog.  Could be some combination of these things.
  • A pitch to get in front of them.
  • A system for checking in and adding value.  This could be index cards, 43 Folders, a CRM.

That’s it. Everything else can more or less take care of itself.  You don’t need to spend time optimizing this stuff, you need to spend time executing.    People want to spend time optimizing nothing.

The art of the hustle is the important thing.  Focus on timing. Focus on adding value – in a real way.  It’s hard to do.  I want to talk to people daily but I have nothing to give.

Redbox Proof Your Business: What NOT to Do To Customers

146958_Redbox_LKH.

Hollywood is PISSED.  They HATE Redbox146958_Redbox_LKH..  Why?  Because they have the BALLS to be customers.  They rent out movies to the customers at a buck a pop, and DARE to offer convenience to people.  Hollywood HATES that.  Warner Brothers hates Redbox so much that they even decided to sue Netflix for good measure.

If you’re in the Midwest like me, you’ve seen redboxes popping up everywhere: kiosks at seemingly every gas station, Kroger, where you can rent DVDs and Video games.  Put your credit card in, mess with a touch screen (that is badly designed), and you get a movie for a buck.  You don’t return it for a week?  No biggie, you bought it.  Simple, done.

Google does the opposite.  They built a search business so cool, and allowed people to build businesses alongside it.  Hell, they embraced it.  Embraced the innovation, embraced Internet marketers, and are thrilled to write big-ass-checks to people.

Redbox basically says: “how ’bout a movie rental, maybe a video game with that gas fill up.”  Cool.  They buy the damn movies to rent out to people, so it all works.   The studios have a big customer in Redbox.

The movie studios treat their customers badly.  Been to a movie lately?  Besides the overpriced concessions, you go in and are hypermonetized the entire time that you’re there.  From when you show up to when you leave, you’re talked at and sold to. When I was a kid, I  used to remember fondly going to the Piqua Twin Cinemas with my father, and talking before the start of movies like Ghostbusters or even The Untouchables. There was an event like silence in a partially darkened theater.

Now I gotta watch damn disrupting ads for dentists and “the coke side of life.”  It keeps me and my ADD addled self out of the theaters unless there is an event like movie.  Hollywood drives me out of being a customer because they make the experience positively horrible.  I’ll go see the Dark Knight. I’ll go to the dollar theater sometimes.  But a regular first run movie?  It’s gotta be great, or it’s gotta be Pixar.

They made the experience of being a customer so horrid, and are somehow aghast when someone does it better.  Think Blockbuster isn’t scared?  They’ve gotta be.  Go to rent a flick from Blockbuster.  Sure, sure we get good selection.  But you wait in a line a mile long that is deliberately slowed so you buy candy and magazines (at movie theater prices).  You pay $4 bucks, feel screwed over.  Redbox just gives you the damn movie.  And they are beating down Blockbuster.

So, with that said, how do you redbox proof your business?  How do you make it so that some nimble competitor can’t give you more:

  1. Be methodology neutral: if you’re in business providing widgets or knowledge, let the customer say how they want it.  Hourly, subscription fees, whatever, all on the table.  Don’t be obsessed with people doing things your way.
  2. Honor Your People:  Hollywood and Starbucks lost their way when they monetized their traffic and started selling crap to people that were there for coffee or movies.  Be nice, respect the intent of the customer.  Getting coffee isn’t permission to sell them itunes crap.
  3. Embrace Partners that Distribute For you: Hollywood should be thrilled to have someone buying their content, and should make it really easy for them to do so and make money.  So should you.  Anyone that’s a potential partner should be honored.  You should help them, high five them and invest in their success. (And even imitate them).
  4. Always get feedback, always make it easier: Blue ocean stuff here. Get customer feedback, collect data.  When are customers happy?
  5. Focus on EASY TRANSACTIONS: How easy is it for a customer to do business with you?  Focus on making it “dead simple.”   Keep the experience brief, and don’t add clutter or “tack on sales”  Be the best at say, selling coffee.  Forget CDs and stuffed animals.  Forget extended warranties.  Or at least subordinate that to selling coffee and having a quiet “third place”.

What if Hollywood had said, “Kiosks? Cool.  Let’s make some. Oh, and let’s make ‘em REALLY good.  let’s charge $2 bucks, but let’s give MORE value for $2 bucks.”

[Unrelated [Note: This is the last post for a couple of weeks here GenuineChris.Com. I'm going to do a new home page that helps people figure me out and where I fit in. I'm focusing all of my stuff on two channels, and will be building up http://FlatRateWebJobs.Com as my new business identity.  I'll have more in a bit. If anyone wants to guest post, please let me know so my 250 readers aren't left in the lurch]]

What’s in a Name? Not Much, Only Anti-Marketing

Right Right Now.

Guerrilla.ME.

New Market Survival Guide.

Confusing names. None of them tells people what I do for a living.  None of ‘em answers a question.  And, nobody could spell Guerrilla.  Those were the things that I was trying to call my business for a long time.  Those were the names of my company.  And none of ‘em say a damn thing about what I do for a living, none of ‘em say anything or even resemble what I was making my living doing.

I paid for design and logos.  For what?

I was dead wrong naming my company this stuff.  Guerrilla.ME was clever, seemed an ‘aha moment.’  But the thing is, nobody can spell ‘guerrilla’  “Gue–two ‘r’s and”  the .ME domain confuses the buhjeezus out of people.   And I don’t have the pull or desire to brand something.  Personal branding is worthless, anyway.

Nobody knew what I did, I’d have to explain it, and that causes a tiny bit of anxiety.  Anxiety = resistance.  People–in this economy especially-have their guard up.  Trolls are everywhere, and people who have been burned before…would be confused.  A few people resonated with the Guerrilla stuff, but the fact is this: that was a stolen idea, a copyright of someone else.  Not the way I want to play.

So I figured out how I want to do business:  No bullshit.  No hassle.  No haggle.  Products & services on a “take it or leave it,” basis that have insane value.  Real tools that real businesses can use, understand and profit from.

More on this in the near future.

But I will be some variant of “flat rate web jobs.”

If the Offer Still Stands: A Great Attitude for Business

KissBow75

About a year ago, maybe a little more, I started using a designer named Kasey Kelly. He’s done a about 40% of the total output from stuff you see on the web.  I like his ethos, efficency and work.  He and his brother Issac created a site called Servee, and for those folks not wanting to use/learn WordPress it might be a fit.

The phrase that he contributed to my thinking was this: “If the offer still stands.”  He did a logo for Right Right Now, an idea I had on creating a small project specialty company.  The idea was OK, maybe, the logo looked great.  He got back to me a day or so later and said, “If the offer still stands…I’d like to work on this project.”

He’s done a about 40% of the total output from stuff you see on the web.  I like his ethos, efficency and work.  He and his brother Issac created a site called Servee, and for those folks not wanting to use/learn WordPress it might be a fit.

The phrase that he contributed to my thinking was this: “If the offer still stands.”  He did a logo for Right Right Now, an idea I had on creating a small project specialty company.  The idea was OK, maybe, the logo looked great.  He got back to me a day or so later and said, “If the offer still stands…I’d like to work on this project.”   The humility of that phrase, and the earnestness was top shelf, and it struck me at the time as a good ethos.

I’ve employed, off and on, probably 15 people in the last year, all freelancers.  Maybe as many as 20.  I’ve sought quotes from probably another 10 or 12.

One common theme is this: the outrage when a bid is passed on.  I sought a quote recently for a project that I wound up outsourcing for $500.  I sent the bid out on Monday to 3 people, in separate emails.  I said that I’d go with the first person with a reasonable offer/delivery time.  One guy did the work, no harm, no foul, Tuesday.    One guy passed due to schedule reasons.   The third guy gets back to me late on Wednesday saying that the work could be done by Friday or Saturday.

I told him hey, I got this handled.

I got a 912 word email telling me that I was treating him  badly.  That I didn’t know what I was doing, and that I should lose his email.  I’ve sent the man 7 offers, he did and was paid for 4 of the 7.   He declined one, and didn’t get back on another.  Then there was this gig.   The one that I undervalued him.   I probably ask too many people for quotes, but I don’t think I’m too far off base.

Sure, sure: best practice for sure would have been to send a follow up and close the loop.   Just like best practice is to ALWAYS acknowledge both delivery of a job and payment for the job.  But, I don’t want to create a race to the bottom.  I don’t want to make it so that I play people off each other, make a weirdo competitive thing.  I want people to do the work, I had that gig pegged at between $350-600, and $500 was in the range.

Anyway, if more than a day passes, confirming that “the offer still stands,” is a great best practice for accepting a bid and taking in work.  It’s a great way to start and keep a relationship, and it’s a great idea long term.

A Preview: 8-15-09 I’ll have a course up.

I’ve gotta do it.  Seriously.

I’ve been a real estate agent, and I know about a sales cycle that ends in the winter.  I know that business gets hardeer in the winter than it is during these delirious and delicious summer days.

Hell, I’ve gotta do it because Brian lit the path so well.

That course is excellent for copywriters, that book was excellent for people starting a business.   Buy the freelance X factor.  I did.  I also didn’t include an affiliate link there, because I don’t want anyone to be confused: buy it for your benefit, not mine.

So It’s Time To Create a Membership Course

I’m not a coder.  I’m not particularly good at writing.  I know a limited amount of PHP, and I use consumer level programs on my Mac.  Yet, I have security financially.  I have money coming in every day.  I don’t use PPC, and I don’t use anything that’s past twitter.  I know a small amount about SEO, but I’m no Wolf.

I’m making money despite this stuff.  I’m making money that has allowed me to take a $140k debt down to $35k in 19 months.  [Honesty box: we live in a hovel in the Midwest].

“It” is translating my hardscrabble sales skills into helping freelancers get clients.  I don’t consider myself a freelancer trainer, but what I did provides peace of mind.  I still have cash crunches, but I don’t have to take short cuts, I don’t have to lie cheat or steal.

“It” is ensuring that every freelancer knows what I know: that our security is only in our ability to provide service to others.

“It” is to create a membership site–a brief training class, say 12 weeks.  This will give people the playbook for how I got business last December.  How I’ll get more this December.    Time is moving fast, friends.   Time is the enemy of freelancers.

Getting into the “broke cycle” sucks.  You get confused.  You get screwed up.  I know.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been levied by the IRS, I’ve been knocked around hard.   Your mind doesn’t work, not at all, when you’ve gotta sweat your living.  Freelancers, those that are striking out a path deserve to have some light on it.

This Christmas can be a glut of consumerist anxiety spending, or this Christmas can be a celebration of peace and prosperity.  Your choice.

Stay tuned, put your name in the box to the right, and in about a week I’ll have the details.

Details Friday.

Blogging Goals | Company Vision | More

list of goals, yellow legal pad, mission statement,

list of goals, yellow legal pad, mission statement, 100 days.  Not too much time, not so much that if I fritter it away anything will be OK.  Not too little time that if I get a little behind I’ll never do it.  But the deal is this:  I’ve got to go after sales at Guerrilla.ME.

I was given verbal info on my dispensation with the IRS.  Good times.  The figure is in the $35k range.  Managable, but it could get out of hand.  They are putting me on an installment agreement instead of a ‘submit financials all the time’ agreement.  Criminal Investigations won’t be a part of my life.  All good things.

So the uncertainty that has paralyzed me is gone.  The excuses for not taking action is gone.  And I don’t have to lay awake at night wondering what the dispensation is gonna be.  I just have to get after it.

And to get it out of my life, forever, is gonna take a big burst of work.  Something I’ve never done.  I need to knock this out.  My systems and videos are finally built.  If I learn to trust Infusionsoft, they will get better.

What I’ve done in the distant past is to use this blog for a forum to hold myself accountable.  I’m going to do it again–here.  That’s the current (and only) point of this blog.  To be accountable to what I wanna do in my business.  To expose my life to the point where you can watch me win.

000_0005So.  The pic to the right? A little macbook, and a foam core board with 100 spaces on it.  That will be who I sell.  I’ll put the URL in mind every time I sell & deliver a blog.  Blog sales are 45% of my revenue now.  I want that to be more.

The first post wes me at my sit down desk, thinking about what I want the vision of my company to be.  I want it to be different, I want it to be what I want it to be.  I want it to honor my customers.  I want to help and sell.  I have big dreams, starting with customers first, & meaning it.  Having a high level of service.

More on this in a moment.

For now, I’m committed to 100 new bloging customers in 100 days.  I’m doing it, period.

Want to be the first in the process?  Http://guerrilla.me/thesisblogs

As is always the case, more to come.

Vanity Plate Marketing Fail: Review of Susan Stalnaker’s License Plates

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In my new office complex, there are a couple of computer shops, a couple of insurance places, and a couple of dentists.

One dentist’s name is Susan Stalnaker:

000_00051

I’ve never  met her.  She could be a fantastic dentist.  She does, however, have questionable taste in license plates.

Vanity plates have been something I’ve never understood.  In ohio, it works out to 8-9 bucks a month to have something adorn your car.  Of course, I’m not a car guy, so that could be part of the problem.  But like Morgan, I got me no patience for vanity plates.  I think they are for idiots.  Something grates on me, and I think “Old Jags” when I think license plates.

I see this:

ssdds

About every day when I walk to my office (I have the worlds crappiest house, but the worlds best commute).  I dig it. Anyway, what do you think?  I see that plate, and I remember..the actual SS dentists as being pretty creepy dudes.  AM I nuts…but my mental image goes right away to this:

vplatefail

I’m thinking marathon man all the way:

marathonman2

So, what’s a BETTER license plate for Dr. Stalnaker?  How can she convey things without bringing back memories of John Wayne and the Luftwaffe?  I’m guessing that–given the choice between “SS DDS” and “GHX-B49J”  I’m taking the second one.

Here’s the real question though.  What is your marketing ACCIDENTALLY saying about you?  How could people construe it?

My guess is that this post will soon rank #1 for Susan Stalnaker, Dentist.  She’s not taken care of her online reputation.  Here’s her google search.

Products, Not Projects

genuinechrisprojectmanagement

genuinechrisprojectmanagementI still do projects.  Really I do.  I dig ‘em, and I dig getting stuff done for people.  But, I’m more selective right now than I was.  I don’t take anything because I can’t, and (B) I have to make sure there’s a path to money.  I’m making a living delivering insanely great value.

So, I’ve come up with 3 things to sell, and plan on having 5 over at my business.

All sell & compliment each other.  All have nutso value.

The other candidates that I think I can sell are:  some type of writing service (as yet undetermined).   And some type of freelancer sales training.   That’s it, nothing else is needed really.  I can do projects or refer them, but that’s enough things to sling that will (A) add value and (B) keep me able to sell stuff.

The problem with projects is this: if you don’t get the spec perfect, it can be a huge pain in the neck to get paid and get finished.  There is often more work and tension.  But with a “product” I sell something.  You either buy or you don’t.  And…I don’t have to be an employee.

People buy from me, and I create the experience.  I have minimal friction.

Recently, I took a $400 job.  It was tedious.  There was friction.  And it took a day and a half of bloody work.  And neither me nor the client was particularly pleased with the outcome.  It is over, and the client is a good guy and we’ll again work together.

Instead?  I should have passed or passed it along.  Live and learn.  More on this in a bit.

I will Out Sell Your Marketing.

Someone asked me to sign an NDA.  Thought I was crazy for sharing my ideas (http://guerrilla.me).   Thought I was on crack for not ‘keeping it under my hat.’

Thing is: I could tell you EXACTLY what I’m gonna do.

HOW I’m gonna do it.

And still be fine.  Still win the war.  Because most people (you) aren’t gonna take any action.  And most of my ideas are not revolutionary.  An account creation and social media training site.  Big Whoop.  Oh, it’s a kickass idea.  One form propagates to 30 sites.

But doing it–getting it done, finishing it, making it happen is what matters.  So I can share it here, and not feel threatened.

Grinding out the damn work.  Nobody wants to.

So with that said, I’m going to make a MINT off of Brian Clark and Chris Person..

All while I send them $40,000 and more.   (Think about this: have you ever deployed a product that can cause people to have goals of sending you $40,000 and get rich doing it?)

And I’m going to tell YOU how–the cliffs notes–that I’m gonna do it. Because you won’t.  Nobody will outhustle me.  Nobody on the corner has swagga like me.

They made the Thesis framework.  It powers my blogs.  And my clients blogs.  And it’s a worldbeating gamechanger.  I reviewed it here. I wasn’t generous enough with it…because I was pissy about only being able to order one deployment license at a time.  There are annoyances that are working themselves out.  I’m pissed because EVERYONE bought it.

Here’s how that thing is gonna make me a mint:

I’ve gotten a good start on collecting overlays for Thesis.  Thesis is made to be tweaked and customized.  It’s made to do different and cool things…and it does a decent job.  Kasey Kelly was instrumental in getting me started on this stuff.  I’ll have 20ish looks, deliberately putting buttons elsewhere and resizing them.

The second thing: by collecting this work I commoditize the design process.  By having 10 aboslutely and freakishly good overlays (I’m at 4), I can sell those themes, do a better job for less money than anyone.

The third thing:  $750?  For a kick ass website?  AND training in the basics (SEO, Running WordPress)  AND customization?  AND your plugins installed?  HOLYCRAP.  AND an affiliate program (20%)…?

The forth thing:  More stuff to sell.  “Insanely Great” products that deliver training and value, and help people sell their own stuff.  Social media account creation, ping services, blog writing.  If I get my 700-1000 clients (225 work days * 4 a day), I can help them all.

There are details to work out: which CRM, what other stuff, but this is an awesome way to live.  My guerrilla.me product will be every bit as strong as this product and they will sell each other forever.

I can spend $2,000 bucks on initial thesis designs, and then $100-150 to designers…for one off customizations that utterly kick ass.

I can make $460…net…20 times a week.  And more.  ($750 – 40 for thesis = 710 -25 for merch. services = 685 services – 125 for design = 560 – 100 for affiliates (average) = 460)  * 20 = 9,200.

Direct sales can drive this.  Each client should also retun another $800 gross/500 net/ year.

I believe that thesis is gonna keep getting better at the same rate, and so I’ll hitch my star to theirs for this gig.  I can get this stuff done rapidly, and knock this out of the park.

The difference between me is that I’m a sales guy.  A hustler.  I’m wired that way.  I don’t tire of selling people.  I’m more @garyvee.  I love it.  I want to help people plugin to the matrx and help them sell.

I just told you what I will do, and it doesn’t matter.  You’re free to fight me or join me.   Point is, execution matters.  I will outsell your marketing.

Freelancers: Have some F#@%ing Manners.

Seriously.  I have hired a couple dozen freelancers this year to do odd jobs.  Anything from doing a WP install, to doing a block of SEO-riffic blog posts, to site scrapes…and more.

And I pay on time, I pay early a lot.  I find jobs, and find people that can do them and I charge for that service.  And the one thing that happens a lot…and the one way I spot low caliber people I don’t want to be working with is the ‘thank you’ portion of the experience.   A ton of people don’t bother with basic manners.

And you can tell a problems going to come because entitlement kills every business.  Having the entitlementality is a good part of the reason I wrote my book.  The situation goes like this:  A job gets done on time, I get invoiced and pay on the agreed date.  Often, the freelancers that want payment fastest are the least likely to say thank you.

And, I’m guessing it rubs everyone the wrong way.  I don’t need you to genuflect, I don’t need you to fellate me for paying on time, but seriously, a simple thanks is all it takes to get good will.  And more business.

The ones I called out on it said, “I don’t have time to acknowledge payment, too busy.”   I’m insulted, and I don’t work with people that don’t acknowledge payment (esp. first time around) with a thank you. I view them as scuzzy and I probably ascribe characteristics that they don’t truly have.  And I’m sure other people do as well.  Even if a job was less than smooth, even if you don’t care to work together again, say thanks.  Super simple.

But then they are the same ones that signal that they are highly broke by invoicing multiple times, asking for advances and even soliciting my clients directly.  Stopping a moment to be in gratitude is so powerful, it changes the dynamic.   And not doing it sends signals that you’re not a real good guy.   You shouldn’t be doing work you’re not grateful to be doing.  You should pass.  If you view it as shitty, simple moneywork, then you should find work you’ll run through walls to do.

How To Get Started as a Freelancer: Plan your first job

Every single week, someone asks me “how did you get started as a freelancer.  More to the point, the question is really, “How can I get started a s a freelancer.”  So what I’m going to do is demonstrate what I do to make a kickass living, and grow a business, mostly for a twitter friend of mine.

Getting started as a freelancer is sales focused first.  You have to sell yourself, build up your personal brand, in order to be where you want to be.  You have to have a real simple widget to sell and deliver…all while not over-analyzing or over thinking things.   I’ve talked about the “daily number” before, which is to say the number that you gotta make to stay in business each day.   You gotta know that number COLD.

Then, specifically, you need to have something to sell.  Offer insane value for what you’re selling.  Make it a product that doesn’t have flexibility, and make it cheaper than anyone else’s.  (Think: Blue Ocean Strategy).   Don’t overthink the deails of your product–I’m going to give you an EASY one now.  Keep all the points of friction to a minimum.

Make it something that you can grind out quickly–in a day or two.  Don’t take big long projects.  Make it prepaid, always.  Pass on clients that want freebies–find more by using Twitter, your blog, the phone book.

What I’m offering, How I’ll make $7,000 next week.

Brian Clark and Chris Pearson created and marketed a WordPress theme called Thesis.  It powers my blog.  It powers my e-book sales site. I was charging clients $1500-2,000 for setting up and going with a thesis blog.  I don’t need to charge that much anymore, I can do it in my sleep, and I can make the training outsourced.

#1:  I will sell the Thesis Theme blogs.

I have used the Thesis theme in about 60% of the blogs I’ve delivered. I’m going to do so in 100% for the moment.  One of the things that I’ve built is a bunch of thesis designs. I can reuse those pretty much at will now.

#2: I will make it cheap. I was charging people up to $2,000 for WordPress blogs one on one training and thesis blogs.  That’s too much, even though they felt like they got vlaue.  It’s too much because when someone pays you $2,000 they think they own you.  And to a point, they do.  We need to make it way cheaper.  $750 for the basic blog, $250 more for a year’s hosting on my hostgator server.  That’s it.

#3: I will add value. I have a good list of things I do with every blog.  I have a lot of things that I do and so I can make this work by making screenflow screencasts. I can do 3-4 screencasts a day this week and have ‘em organized properly to teach people what to do.  (Camtasia has a 30 day trial, screencast-o-matic works, so does snapz and screenflow)

#4: I will deliver fast. I have 3 capable designers that have done Thesis blogs with roughly equivalent quality.  I’ll be able to do this in 48 hours, 100% of the time, with instructions to get into the training site immediately with videos delivered.  (use google docs to orcistrate all that you want to do)

Fast wins.  So here’s what I’ll be able to do:  $750 per blog…I’ll pay out $40 to the Thesis designers (they have an affiliate program).  I’ll pay roughly $150 for design (probably average lower).  That’s $560 left for me.  Lose $25 for merch. services, and I’m making $535, and I can do this 3x a day and more.  This creates immense value for people.

…and it gets clients in the door and used to paying me.  A secret I’ve learned is that in my practice, I can count on all of my clients paying me about $375 in profit per quarter, if I maintain them properly.  So if I get 20 clients in 2 weeks…ah, that’s another $30,000 a year in revenue.

It’s a modest way to begin, but it works for me, and it works for others.  I’ll show it off next week…and you’ll have a blast.

Thesis Theme: A Comprehensive Review of What Brian Clark, & Chris Pearson Created for WordPress

There are no affiliate links here.   Thesis Ain’t Perfect, but if you ain’t making $1,000 a day, you can use it to do so.

I was an early adopter to the Thesisphere last year.  I bought the developer’s license thing in May or June of 2008, and deployed it on my sites. (Here, http://guerrilla.me, http://ftherapybook.com,   And–right now–it’s the easiest way to make money for yourself on the Internet.  I’ll get to that in just a second.  The design framework comes from Chris Pearson, who is responsible for some of the very best themes in the WPress-o-sphere.  (Cutline, PressRow).  He partnered up with Copyblogger’s Brian Clark to shill this thing, and it’s ubiquitous.  If you read blogs, you have come across Thesis.

The Thesis Theme For WordPress Is For The lazy sales guy.

I’m not yet perfect, but look, if you can’t sell thesis sites, then give up on selling anything.   I can make sites that look like mine, or that look like Bakingasametaphor.com I can put stuff anywhere I want it, and with 1.5, I can make any width I think looks good….without limitations that are preset.  Thesis creates css code for me.

My workflow is simple.  I follow keywords on twitter.  (Blog redesign, fix my blog, many others that I ain’t sayin’).  I call ‘em up (if they have anything in their profile) and tell them my team can whip out a blog in a day, and it costs, $1,000 bucks.  You’ll have a little work in it, you make videos on http://screencast-o-matic.com to tell ‘em how to work it, and you’ll be coming in chepaer than anyone else, delivering a better experience, and you’ll pocket 800-1k per.

I send out a paypal link, I do a brief, recorded design interview.  I have someone cool like Kasey Kelly bang out a design for them.  I install WP on their server or mine with whatever plugins it needs, and give ‘em access  to it.  The whole thing can be in and out in a day, and clients are happy with the results.   It’s cheaper for them. It’s FAST, and it’s GOOD.  And since I’ve made a ton of WordPress how tos, it’s easy to support.  Brian and Chris get $40 per deplpoyment.  I pay $100-200 in design, and that cost is trending down because I’m building a library of cool friggin’ looks.

A client can have a killer blog in a day and a half that doesn’t HAVE to look like other blogs.  And then we retain the desing shells, the custom.css theme to deploy in other colors elsewhere.   At the end of the day, I’m the one that delivered a killer, custom blog in a day for just a grand…not some jackass that sold them a crappy website that is fixed.

The Thesis Theme For WordPress Is Flexible & The Support Kicks Ass.

Look at all these thesis blogs.  Couple hundo per deployment because it’s one custom.css file.  They don’t have to look very much alike at all.

The support?  I generally haven’t needed much, and what I’ve needed is in the forums on their website, or I can, since I’m lazy, @pearsonified on twitter.  The forums have stuff–and another semiscocial community space to waste time with random bragging (my random bragging goes here on  the blog).

The Bad Stuff

Keith Baker had gotten me used to using Headspace2, and headspace2 doesn’t seem to work with Thesis, not right, at least.  I also have to, from time to time, edit and modify code a little bit for this plugin or that thing.  And, there seem to be upgrades about 3 times a week, so you may have to upgrade more than you like (although, in fairness, You also need to, once you buy a developers license, pay $40/pop to put it on someone else’s site.)   Also, when you do want to legalize your licenses, their cart doesn’t let you edit quantities, so you can’t buy 10 at a time.  It’s not clear to me when All-In-One SEO works and when Thesis’s stuff (SEO details and additional Style) work.  It also needs to have some more clear instructions to get custom pages, and a better/saner uploader.

There are also minor peculiarities on install, and times you need to save, and the normal stuff where widgets can pass code to the whole theme if you dont close an <iframe> tag or whatever.  Nothing that’s not learnable by a sane person in 3-4 times and fixable easily.

If you’re SUPER lazy, you run the risk of all your blogs looking  alike. That’s happening on the net and we’re a couple beats away from Thesis being a brand that people avoid (I don’t-want-a-thesis-blog).  Hopefully Chris will whip out something new.  Clients won’t notice, but when you lower your standards, it’s  F#@%ing slippery slope.

Finally: I’d sell blogs and make cash with or without thesis.  Seriously.  But it’s a framework for a sales guy like me to be able to rapidly deliver a quality experience.

WordPress Plugin Request: Better/Smarter Post Scheduler

One of the things that WP needs is a way to schedule output. I want to blog every day, I might average a post or two a day, but there are days (recent) that I’ve gone through droughts. I often write a lot of timeless posts (My Michael Gerber Hit Piece) that don’t need to come out any particular time. So, we need a plugin. I’ll pay for it’s design if I must, but it needs to do this: -take a post and allow it to be categorized. -look at WP. If there’s no “new” post, that post gets published, in the order it was written, or the order it was put in the database. -if there WAS a post, it runs the next (day/business day) This way when we’ve got massive output, we output, when we don’t we don’t. That’s really all it needs to do, and if you want to quote me, I’ll pay for it. I want that for me, but I’ll release it for everyone…if it gets built.

I want this in the next 96 hours, folks, and I’ll entertain whatever quote and terms possible.