Stephanie Hudson of FocusWP.co talks to us about the benefits and power of focusing on your strengths. As you’ll find out in this fascinating conversation, knowing yourself and being self-aware of your strengths can lead to so many amazing benefits and opportunities in business and in life, particularly with partnerships and working with colleagues and a team. Perhaps more importantly, knowing the areas you’re not as strong in or as well suited for will help you find someone who compliments you in those areas to make an awesome team or pair. This is crucial when collaborating, hiring and growing your web design business.
In This Episode
03:11 – Greeting to Stephanie
08:16 – Your strengths may not be
13:55 – What energizes you
19:37 – Don’t focus on weaknesses
22:19 – Seeing opportunity
28:01 – Find a “complement”
30:15 – Be self-aware
32:39 – Giving is better than stashing
35:06 – More than you think
40:24 – YOU define your success
56:32 – Hate it? Not a strength
1:00:58 – You don’t need a partner
1:02:51 – Developing strengths
1:09:31 – Final thoughts
This episode is presented by my Website Maintenance Plan Course
Connect with Stephanie:
Episode #008 Full Transcription
What’s up friends welcome to episode eight. This is an interview with a colleague of mine, Stephanie Hudson. She’s a web designer based in North Carolina. And she has a web design agency called Sweet tea. And she’s also a partner in a white label maintenance plan service called Focus WP. And speaking of focus, this episode is all about focusing on your strengths.
This was an incredible episode from start to finish, because we talked about the power and the benefits of focusing on your strengths and focusing on the type of work and the tasks that you enjoy. And that builds you up and give you life opposed to what most designers do for a very long time, particularly for freelancers and solopreneurs, which is to do everything in the business and have to do a lot of tasks that you’re either not well suited for, or things that you hate, or things that just bring you down. And if you do that for a long time, you’re going to experience burnout, you’re going to be worn out. And more importantly, you’re going to wake up and not enjoy the work you’re doing.
And this episode is really all about focusing on the things that give you life that really helped build you up and make it so that you wake up in the morning, and you’re excited to do some work. And that’s what it’s all about. So this was a fascinating conversation from start to finish, I think you’re gonna get so many actionable and tactical and practical things that you can apply right now to your business. And Steph is grace. He’s just a really great communicator, and she loves people. And you can tell that this was a super passionate subject for her. It was interesting, because we were actually going to do an episode on maintenance plans, which I think we’re going to do one here sometime soon on maintenance plans. But she asked about maybe doing episode based around focusing on your strengths and talking about what success looks like to different people. And that’s what we did, and it was awesome.
Now speaking of maintenance plans, this episode is brought to you by my website maintenance plan course. So starting a maintenance plan absolutely changed my life, it changed things for my business, it changed things for my family, because it was my first taste at these two lovely words called recurring income. And as soon as I launched my website maintenance plan, and I got it off the ground, it really ended the feast and famine for my web design business. And I was so passionate about how it helped me that I created a course office. So my website maintenance planning course will teach you from start to finish how to create a plan of your own, you can join today and I would love to help you start building solid recurring income, it’ll be a win win for you and your clients. If for some reason though, you don’t want to do your own maintenance plan. You’ll hear throughout this episode that you can actually connect with Steph and hire her website, white label maintenance plans service at Focus WP and she’ll be a great partner for you.
So without further ado, guys enjoy my super engaging and fascinating conversation with Stephanie Hudson, and you guys are gonna get some serious value from this one enjoy.
Steph, welcome to the show yo,
It’s really good to talk with you. I am excited because just before we went live, we kind of talked about switching up the topic of what we’re going to talk about. You have two businesses, and we’re going to cover kind of what each of those businesses are. We’re also going to talk about maintenance plans and some things like that. But I think the overall arching topic that up and I decided to go with is to how to focus on your strengths. And I think that’s a really valuable topic for all of us web designers. Because sometimes we can get wrapped up into doing all these different tasks that we’re not really built or suited for or even want to do. So really excited to talk about that. Before we do though. Can you just kind of summarize your story and how you got into web design, because I actually don’t know how you started sweet tea and how you got into web design.
Well, I I started school, I wanted to be an artist, and I didn’t want to be a starving artist. So I thought I would teach our I had a an art teacher in elementary school that really impacted me. So I thought I’ll do that. And then I tried that and it was not a fit. And so I thought well, what other kind of non starving artists could I be? And back then, graphic design was always called commercial art, which makes me sound old. But um, so I started learning commercial art. And I thought, well, what am I going to design I want to stand out. And this was the late 90s. And which is shocking, but it was like the internet was new. And I was like, maybe I’ll design web pages, you know. And so I was like, Well, I’m gonna design them. I gotta figure out how they work.
So I took one HTML class, and I’m in this class and my very first HelloWorld went up on the screen and I was like, This is awesome. Like, I freaked out, I loved it so much. So I just went, boom, boom, boom, like straight into that. And that’s what I wanted to do. And I still love design. And I still love things. But I didn’t have a lot of confidence. So I didn’t. I didn’t ever really hook I did a million things in between then and now. But I really like that’s what I started with doing freelancing. And I got one job after another doing other things. But I’ve always always had at least a side hustle. And then in 2016, late 2015, early 2016, I started sweet tea, which is my marketing company, web and branding and things like that. And so I’ve been going on that. That’s been my web platform. And then as you know, I’ve then branched off a side business with the maintenance stuff called Focus WP.
Gotcha. So when you started sweet tea, which is Enjoy Sweet Tea.com, for anyone who’s interested, had you been using WordPress and Divi around that time? Or did did that start out? I’m just curious, like, Did it start out with good because if you started designing in early 2000s, or whatever, that’s, you’re doing hand coding stuff. I mean, when did you get into WordPress and
Dreamweaver and all that business at the beginning, you know, of course, and then I use Joomla. For a long time. I had a job that had June, that was June, we’ll
Say you port, you poor thing.
I know. So I use Joomla for a good bit. Drupal. Does anybody remember? Drupal was until
I had, I had one experience with Drupal. And it was not fun. I’ll tell you that.
Yeah, And then and then I eventually got into WordPress and pretty early days of WordPress, I don’t remember the exact year those all those CMS is sort of overlapped for me, I was learning them sort of all around the same time. And then I was building websites, I was doing some, you know, freelancing, and you know, side hustle kind of stuff. And I stumbled on? Well, I was buying templates, you know, like we do, right? You buy a template, and you got to learn it. And I said, this is nuts. It’s taken me way too much time. So I found Elegant Themes, and they had all of those templates. This was pre Divi, and I thought well, at least they’ll all be built the same. So I subscribed to them. And then Divi came out. And I was like, oh my god Forget all these other ones, you know. So I think I think there’s still a client who refuses to update her site that’s on one of their original templates. It was like a friend of mine, this tiny little thing, but But anyway, yeah, so I just sort of lucked into that and stumbled on Divi. Day one. So
Gotcha. That’s so funny because I think everyone has that story where yeah, all Divi users are most WordPress users. Nowadays, we’re buying themes on ThemeForest or whatever. Now, most people are using Divi or different builders, something like that, to where here one theme kind of ruins them all. Okay, so I really would just want to get right into our topic of focusing on your strengths, because I know you’re really passionate about that. And so you were doing enjoy sweet tea. Before we talk about how you started focus WP, which is your white label, maintenance, website and business. What were your strengths when you started sweet tea?
Well, um, you know what I thought were my strengths, and what are my strengths have sort of, maybe not always been accurate, but when I started sweet tea, it’s actually perfect question for this topic. Because I was, I’ve always sort of been a lone wolf, even when I had a job a full time job as a web developer. I was the whole department. Like, my boss was an executive assistant to the I worked at a university, I worked at Georgia Tech. And so I, you know, I was even there a lone wolf. And then when you freelance, you know, you do the design and the development and all this stuff, you know, copywriting when it needs it, everything.
So I, I got a freelance job working for this web shop in Charlotte, where I live and the creative director there, he was designing and I was building and it was like, Oh, it was amazing. It was like the work was so much better. He had been doing the same thing load Wolfing it. And, you know, he pretty much sucked at building websites, but he was a great designer. And so when we teamed up, it was like, our work was so much better than either of us could do alone. So that was one of my first things where I started to realize like, Okay, if I have somebody else doing the design, my work, my development work is better.
You know, so I started it’s sort of started to sink in a little bit, you know, like this refinement of who I was. And so, we did we work together and then I forget which one of us was like, um, do you want to do another side project with me? And it wasn’t we were like, yes. Oh, my God. So we started doing work just out of the gate. Boom, all of a sudden, we had checks in our hand, and we didn’t have anywhere to put them we’re like, I guess we should start a company like so. So that’s how sweet tea came about. so that it was all sort of because of that sort of starting to recognize strengths and things.
Okay, what’s behind the name with sweet tea? Is it because you’re because you’re in North Carolina? Right?
Yeah, I, I, um, it’s just silly. Like, I think you’ve talked about it before too, right? With your in transit, it’s like, it doesn’t really matter. So we were in this urgent situation, like, we couldn’t get a bank account until we had an LLC, or we couldn’t get an LLC until we had a name. And we can get names, we figured out our URL, because you never know, like, so we had, you know, it’s this whole thing of like, all the steps you have to take to go into the bank for five minutes and open a bank account, you know, so we were in such a hurry. And so I said, Okay, well, listen, we’re gonna think about it ahead of time, we’re gonna get together, and we’re gonna brainstorm for one afternoon. And that is it, we’re gonna come up with something because I could overthink a thing for years, like I could assess, and obsess and obsess.
Every web designers struggle, right?
And I’m very much a analysis paralysis kind of person. So I’ll think through everything, so I kind of I basically came to that meeting with things I didn’t want. My previous like, freelance endeavor was called 510. I ve one zero. And I’m like, if I have to freakin spell something, again, I’m gonna like murder somebody like, it was confusing, because it was the word five, and the number 10. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want I had one before that that had a dash in it. Image dash design. No, I’m not saying a dash, I don’t want to have to spell anything, I want it to be words, that people know that i and that I can say them over the phone without ambiguity.
So these were kind of my things. And he came up with the whole sweet tea thing, because he’s from Charlotte. And we were going to focus on this southern market. Everybody loves sweet tea, its values and all this stuff, too. You know, cuz we’ve all had all those clients whose like, their web developer has run out on them, won’t give them their passwords, whatever it is, like all this stuff. So we wanted to sort of be the opposite of that, like nice, gritty. And so anyway, honestly, I’ve never really loved the name. And it’s really funny because my partner at the time, which we’re not partners anymore, he’s gone his own separate way, amicably. But he drinks and he drinks half and half, and I’m diabetic, so I can’t even drink it. Which is funny.
That’s how I would have thought it was started. Like you guys just love sweet tea and you want to make a business out of that name or
Not just that big fans of a beverage? No.
Well, you hit on two really important points there. I think one was a name that is easily found and that you don’t have to type in differently because like a number is very tough. Yeah, they have to typing in a number versus the word of the numbers completely different. And people type sweat tea, which I don’t care. Yeah. Yes. It’s memorable, though, even like when I met you a couple years ago, and I was trying to think back to your site. I remember sweet tea, it was just a very easily, you know, memorable name. But to your point, yet, a name really doesn’t matter. I mean, unless it’s just an absolutely terrible name, or as tough to type or something like that.
Like, I always have Kodak and Xerox can become the behemoths that they became with. I mean, those are made up words, they don’t even remember
When, I mean, half of my clients don’t even know my business name. They’re like, Josh, our web design guy or whatever. So yeah, that’s that’s,
To be fair. You do put your name on a lot of things.
I do now. Well, yeah, I do with Josh Hall. CO but in transit studios. Yeah, no, no, it’s it’s valid point, though. So what’s so going back to your strengths with sweet tea? Do you think your strengths were more like, the vision side of things? And then, you know, some of the more like, business owner end of things? Or did you enjoy the design and development? Or yeah, what did you enjoy? When you start a startup? My
My problem is, is I enjoy a lot of things. I’m, I love personality tests, I love all those things where you try and identify, you know, like, and define yourself a little bit, but I never can remember which ones I am like, I don’t, you know, like, I end up whatever. All I know, is every one of those tests that I take whatever the gregarious outgoing one is, I’m 100. Like, well, I’m the the max on that. And, and the other ones I sort of am balanced. And I just sort of figured everybody had like a saying they were all the way on. And I’ve sort of realized down the road that like a lot of people are more balanced than me. But I have this extreme part of my personality where I’m, I’m a true extrovert. So I get fueled and energized from interactions with people. Like, I’ll be wound up after this podcast just from like, blabbing with you. Or, you know, or if, you know, I went to some conferences last week WordCamp us and another one, and it’s like, everybody else is like exhausted afterward. And if I I mean, I it just fires me up. I have a blog Sunday.
Same here because I’m the same I’m way I am very much an extrovert to where people energize me and fill me up. My wife is the complete opposite. If we hang out with somebody on Friday night, Saturday, we better have a day at home because she is like, done out. Yeah.
And I’m always like, let’s keep going. Yeah. So, um, but anyway, so when it comes to certain things, like, sitting down and being able to, and I’m kind of an ADD, like, all these things that I would try to kind of fight and jam myself into, like, No, I’m supposed to, like, be this, I should get up and start working at 8am and work my eight hours. And I’m like, I don’t come like I’m like, I don’t why did I feel like that? Like, why did I think that’s a thing? Why do you know, and I think a lot of people sort of feel like, there’s something that we should be, but that’s not me, my brain doesn’t work really before noon, very well. Late to in the morning. You can’t imagine the idea is I come up with right when everybody else is Dun, dun dun. And so I thought, you know, well, I need to work with my strengths instead of fighting it.
So sit down and do the bookkeeping and the billing, it’s terrible for me, because it’s so detailed and focused, to sit down and do like a bunch of coding and programming, it’s not going to be my strengths, gonna take me way too long to do it. So I kind of had to come to the these terms, you know, and, and I, I’ve just sort of recognized like, I can design some stuff. But I’m not the best designer, there’s lots of people that are way better than me, I can build a website. But there’s lots of people that are way better and faster than me.
So what I can do is I can talk, I can run my mouth, and I can I understand all of these things enough to run a team, I understand them to use freelancers, and contractors. So I could say, like, I know about how long that should take, you know, I know, like what’s involved in it. And I know how it should look, when it’s done. I know how to plan a website, because I know what the capabilities are, you know, these kinds of things that I started to realize, I can speak to a client and translate geekspeak I can do those kinds of things. So you know, at some point, I really wanted to build the sites myself, because I am a geek, and I do love it. And, and I wanted to hire somebody to do sales. And I’ve done a complete 180 From that, at this point where now I’ve realized, like, that was not my strength. That was something that I felt I should do or wanted to do. But it wasn’t my strength. I do much, much better when I’m, you know, on camera doing podcasts or tutorials, or sales calls or networking meetings, or all of these things, you know, because that’s my personality type. So that’s, that’s sort of the metamorphosis that I’ve taken over the past few years.
Gotcha. Well, very well said, That’s really interesting. I think you hit on a number of really important things, I think, being self aware of your strengths, and then listening to your gut as far as like, like, it sounds like yeah, because I it’s funny hearing you talk, I almost like it’s like an echo of how I feel. And what I’ve experienced the past few years, too. It’s like, I enjoy designing, and I love CSS and I could do some more coding, but I don’t, well, I should say I like CSS, I’m not gonna say I absolutely love CSS because especially now that I’m doing teaching and podcasting and everything else, like, these are the things to your point that I’m best at, like, there are coders that are way better than me at CSS and PHP and design.
And I’m like, You know what, what it would take me to do something and a certain code is going to take someone else like half the time, but the areas of my business with to your point, like the sales and networking, the vision casting, and then even with my Josh hauling Dotco endeavor, like these are things that I that fired me up more than those other tasks. So to be able to get those tasks filled up quickly, or, you know, at least hiring those out with subcontractors. I think it’s a very valuable mindset that most people don’t have.
And I think one thing that’s interesting about both of us is that we have the background of design and development. So we can do your point speak that geek language, but we because a lot of people, like if somebody gets into web design, and they just want to do sales and marketing, but they don’t know the tools. That’s a very, very dangerous position. Because they have no idea how to code a project, they might say, oh, yeah, we can do that for two grand when you talk to the designer and developer, and they’re like, oh, this should be like five grand at least. So I think that’s a very valuable thing. I think that’s something that people can take away from is, you know, figure out what areas of a web design business that you like, and that you’re good at and you have expert expertise and or that you want to get better at, and focus on that and then share the load with other people who are better at those tasks.
Right? So it’s not recognizing weaknesses, it’s recognizing strengths. So you can say like, you know, you’re not that is like a perfect example, right? You’re not the best programmer or whatever. But, you know, look at the strength that that provides you because you have dabbled in it. That is an amazing strength to be able to understand all the things bits and pieces that go into these projects to be able to quote them to be able to teach them to do all that kind of stuff, you know, like, so it really is about finding like, what are you? What is your strengths? Like, Oh, what am I good at? It’s what is your personal strength? Like, what is your personality and your brain type? Like, what direction do those lead you in.
And that’s a really good point too. Because I, one thing I talked about in my business course that I just released is that there are like, all kinds of roles when you start a web design business. And when you’re the freelancer, you are in every role, you are like, basically, I kind of say there’s about nine or 10 main roles, there’s the CEO, the head honcho, as I like to call it, there’s the creative director, project manager, salesperson, marketing, designer, developer, support tech, stuff like that, and caring space. Yeah, accounting, there’s all these roles. And I think it’s good to get a versatile knowledge of each one, at least that you know, dip your toes into, to each roll, and then you’ll quickly realize what you’re good at and what you hate.
To your point, I’m the exact same way I cannot stand, the accounting and the numbers and the business. That is not my strength. I am not, I am a detailed person, but I’m not a bean counter. And that’s the area where like I hire, my CPA does all that they have my books and everything, like I just work with them. I don’t even want to touch that stuff. I want to focus on creating content, doing what I love, and more importantly, what I do best, and that fills me up. Because if I had to do number counting all day, I’m gonna be miserable. But if I get to do podcasts and teach people and help people, that’s what fires me.
Yeah, yeah. So really, really interesting. Let’s talk about So you found your I was gonna say your niche but you found you know what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing and you sounds like you scaled to where you know, you you focus on the roles that you enjoy, and you’re good at with sweet tea. Let’s, since we’re talking about focusing on our strengths, let’s talk about Focus WP. That was a nice segue. Because that, that the birthplace of that was at WordCamp. Us in 2017, right? When you met
Yeah, two years ago that,
Because that’s what I that’s when I met you, I met you and Tom. And yeah, tell us about that. Tell us about how that all came about. Maybe we can transition into this conversation in regards to focus WP.
So um, at the time, I don’t know why. But a lot of people were talking about maintenance at the time, WordPress maintenance and kind of grumbling about, like, it was this sort of thorn on everybody’s side. And I was always, like, You guys are crazy. I love maintenance. It’s so easy. And it’s so profitable, like, I love it. And everybody just thought I was nuts. But I had, I had put this whole system in place with my company, sweet tea. So I had done all the research everything, put manager WP in place, hired a couple people to work to do the updates for me and send the reports and do all this stuff. So I had this little machine running, just making me money. And I freakin loved it.
And I so I met Tom and he and I were conference buddies that year. And we we were just kickin it during, you know, between sessions or something, and I was just talking about this, and I was just fired up about it. And he just listened quietly, because he’s a different personality type than me. And he, like, uh, I don’t know, if it was a week or two later, I he sends me a message and says, like, I just sent you a long email, don’t freak out. And I went, and he sent me a business plan. But he sent me this mile long email that had all these details worked out. And he was like, Do you want to start a business? And I was like, yes, like, immediately. Yes. And he’s like, you don’t even think I’m like, No, I want like, because, again, this is like the pairing of these strengths. Right? So I, I’m the dreamer. I’m an inventor, a dreamer. And nothing I’ve ever invented will ever see the light of day, but that’s what they always say, right? Like, the any invention that you see, the person who’s credited with it is just the person who got it to market. Have you heard that?
Oh, that’s good.
Because it’s the brain type that can actually invent and create doesn’t have the brain type that can do all those other bits,
The fulfillment, I have heard that in a couple different ways. I’ve heard the greatest idea ever, but it doesn’t matter if they’re not actually going to do something with it. It’s whoever actually patents it and puts their name on it. That’s
Exactly so so I’m like, I have millions of ideas all the time I have since I was a little kid, Mike had this memory of my brother and I playing outside when we were like five and six or something and, and him rolling his eyes and going, not another invention. Like that’s just been me my whole life. But so, uh, Tom is very detailed. And he he can like, see all the business elements that I don’t see. I just see like, Hey, this is cool. And he put it he made it, he made it a business. And so we put all of the pieces in place and he’s great with the automation and this and that. And I’m like, Okay, I’ll talk about it on a podcast or I’ll make training videos.
I’m like, do you wanna do it? He’s like, Heck no, like he doesn’t want any parts of it. have that. And so this has sort of like, been such a perfect we crack up all the time, like we are complete opposites. And we are like the yin and yang for business like it’s perfect. So it’s even bled into our, our other businesses because he runs anchored media, which is a Web Studio, he uses Divi as well, and sweet tea. So sometimes he’ll jump on and help me with some of the tedium of things. And I’ll make I made a sales call for him yesterday, because he doesn’t like talking on the phone, you know? So it’s like, yeah, we’re both balanced, right? Exactly. Like we, I don’t like, I don’t know how to say it, right. It’s not filling in for someone else’s weaknesses. It’s just our strength, complementing each other.
Yeah. And you find that with relationships, too. I think that’s super important in business, but also in like marriage, and just just relationships in general, with friends or family. Like, like I said, my wife is pretty opposite of me on the spectrum of being like, she’s, she’s social. And she’s, she likes people. And she’s, you know, she’s really fun to hang out with if you’re in a party. Yeah, you’ve met her super nice. But I’ll tell you right now, like after we left workcamps she’s like, Oh, hi, I’m done. Like it was cool meeting everybody. But tomorrow, I’m just ready to not do anything like,
And you’re like, I have so many ideas now. Like,
I’m ready to go back. I’m so pumped. But even other things we found like, I am much more, I’m more of a risk taker. I’m not a numbers deal, detail oriented person, where she is like she is more of the kind of bean counter. And what’s interesting, have you so you said you’d like personality test. One thing I’m big on is disc, have you ever taken like a disc test. So
All I do, though, and I can never remember what my I always have to go like, look,
I can tell you right now you’re a high. So Pete and I actually talked about this in my business course as well, because this is super important for your team, but also with clients because you can figure out what type of personality type your clients are and how to work with them. But for those who aren’t familiar, a disc is basically a personality test platform to where and there’s different levels of testing, you can do basic tests, or you can do really advanced ones. I did an advanced one through some coaching a coaching program I did a couple years ago. But there’s different terms and like for the letters disc, it’s d i s c. And the way I like to explain it is that D stands for more dominant type like a personality type I is more interactive, which you and I definitely are, we’re very high eyes, S is more like a steady personality. And then C’s are more cautious.
And then sometimes the like, if you have two people who are married, for example, that are high DS, like two really dominant personalities, that’s where in class, it’s gonna be, there’s gonna be some tense moments where you have like, two C’s together, they’re both really cautious, you’re probably never gonna get anything done or never. Like, if you have a high D and a high I paired with an S and the C sometimes that makes a really good combo. And that’s kind of the way my life is like she complements my strengths to your point. Hmm, just because it’s not a weakness that I’m not like that I just that’s not the way I’m exactly.
It’s not a weakness, but like, I don’t know how to refer to it. But yeah, it’s just so there’s this word compliment. There’s two spellings of it. And there, it’s not compliment, like, Hey, you look lovely today, Josh. But it’s, it’s got an E in the middle. And it’s complete. It’s like completement complement with an E. And it means to complete. And that’s really the word you have to find someone who is your complement. In that way. It’s not a you know, I don’t even know. But anyway, so that’s, it’s just interesting to me to to think about. Even that like even that little word that means like to complete somebody like somebody who is your complement. So Emily’s your compliment. She’s, she’s the right match for you.
That’s really great. Yeah, because if I was with somebody who was a high in a high D, or well, she is a little more D she’s she’s very dominant and direct in some areas, but she’s more cautious. So she’s, she is more of a D and A C, to where she’s a little more direct in more areas than I am. But she’s also a little more cautious and reserved in some areas where I’m interactive and steady. Those are my so we literally like complement each other through and through. And yeah, to your point, like from a business partnership perspective, like you You probably wouldn’t do well with somebody who was just like you in a business because you guys are both gonna go a million miles an hour you kind of need somebody to to reel you in.
The creative that I was partnered with before that I’m no longer partnered with?
Is that was that the problem?
Part of it? I mean, not entirely. He you know, life stuff, but But you know, really, like the business would wouldn’t have grown the same with somebody like that, compared to somebody who is a lot more detail. I mean, he’s, he’s an artist, so he was a broad strokes kind of guy. He didn’t like the details. He never cared one single bit about the bank account, you know, that kind of thing. So I would do it by default, but I hated that stuff, too. So you know, it was just like we were we were too lopsided on one side of the spectrum. Even though we made some cool projects together. It was yeah, no, business wise, it wasn’t the greatest fit. But then that like circles you back around to, you know, for the people that are listening, they can be like, okay, yeah, that’s great. So how do I do that? Right? That’s the trick. That’s an it’s there’s no simple answer, except for maybe to at least be self aware. And be on the lookout for opportunities. You know, like,
Yeah, and you I mean, I think it’s probably worth talking about the importance of getting, like going to meetings, Wordcamps, Divi meetups which are becoming more and more popular. Those kinds of situations where even if you are an introvert and you’re you know, being in social situations are really tough, because I recognize that a lot of designers and developers are that way. Yeah, to were going to a networking group sounds like the worst thing in the world. I totally understand that. But the cool thing about going to a word camp or particularly a Divi Meetup is you’re with your tribe.
Like there, I spoke at a Divi meetup a couple months ago, and they were a few people who you could tell were like more like us, the extroverts and could be really good at sales and stuff like that. But at least half of the group was very, like, I would prefer to be working on a site, then, you know, meeting people, so I can understand that. And I think it’s a really good point, you want to be very self aware of where your strengths are. But I say that to say get to a word camp, get to a Divi meetup around you, if there’s not one around you scheduled, you can start one. And you’ll make some amazing relationships.
Because, yeah, you and it sounds like it was a little bit unintentional. Like you were just talking with Tom. And then obviously, something you said made him think like, holy crap, we can make a really cool, profitable recurring income business out of this because I feel the same way. I love website maintenance. So that’s why I have my first course was built off that. I mean, it changed me and my family’s life like that. So to that point, like, yeah, I say, do your website maintenance plan. However, if it’s just something you don’t want to handle? That’s where your guyses business comes in with focus who learn
Learn how to do maintenance call Josh, if you don’t want to do maintenance, call me.
Yeah, that’s perfect. Well said, well said. But I mean, the point of like, it’s really interesting that Anton must have kind of seen the the strengths in you that paired with him, right, because like he technically could have started that business. But I imagine maybe he met you and was like, You know what this is? Maybe Maybe he didn’t even intentionally think about this. But he probably realized, like, this is somebody who, who complements the areas that I don’t you don’t want to do I’m not best at with the sales and be in the face of the business and that kind of thing. Would you say he kind of heard that. And then that’s what kind of lit the fire for him to
I don’t know. You’d have to ask him, but you’ll never get a chance because he
I’ll have to send him an email, not expect.
Yeah. But um, yeah, I think another little element to all of this, too, that I sort of, this was another sort of part of me that changed a bit. And I thank the Divi community for this actually. And that is being pretty much an open book and being transparent. And I sort of when I started doing web things, I would, you know, I’d wander, I figured out a couple cool things, and I wanted to show them off, but like, not let anybody know how I did them. And the early Divi community, like the early Divi groups and stuff like that, Gino Quiros, he was one of the ones that really out of the gate, just gave everything away. And he would do all these, you know, these cool things, and he just throw the code, right, in a, in a message or something.
And, and I think that took a, you know, took a shift with the community. And I mean, to this day, people largely love the Divi community, it’s so big now that you have, of course, you know, struggles and things in some of the groups, but for the most part, like, it’s very helpful and warm community and I think like that whole mentality, that that changed me and I realized, like, yeah, what if it doesn’t help anything to keep stuff in, and by giving things away, it only just shows people what you’re capable of. It’s, you know, the people who don’t want to do it will hire you anyway, you know, like, if they’re gonna figure it out, they weren’t gonna hire you in the first place. And it just, you know, it’s just the the community and giving.
So if you go into these groups, and you give, and you just show your true colors, and you don’t try and be something that you’re not back again to that self-awareness, but then it really does come back to you. So you know, Tom and I were sitting having that conversation. I told him everything. I told him what I had the girls do, I told him what I charged, I told him what I paid, you know, I just was like spilling it I’m like, this is cool, you should try it, you know, and and look, then he came back to me with a business idea. And now we’re partners.
So you know, like, it feels like maybe you should hold on to something proprietary, but really, if you just give it then then and that’s, you know, for for those of you guys that are introverts are more shy. You can still give things on the internet. You know what you can you can share things that you know, something that I Tell people like in my group and other places, people that have these struggles as they’re starting out and like, you don’t realize how much you know, most of all the people listening here, if you’re insecure, and you don’t know where your next client is, or you feel like you’re not good enough, like, think about who your family calls when they have trouble with any gadget, when they’re anybody’s printer breaks, who do they call you? Right? Because, you know, things, you know, things that people don’t know, and that they wish they did know. So give it away, help people and give back and then it’s like, stuff just starts to shift. I mean, I don’t want to get all karma. Whoo, whoo. But it’s like,
Oh, it’s totally. Uh, yeah, I mean, my, my, the what we’re doing right now is literally like the prime example because when I got into the Divi community, first off, I didn’t even know there was Facebook groups. I’ve, I’ve joined a couple and then I didn’t realize how many there were. So I started mine, the Divi website and Facebook group, which is almost 20,000 members at this point two years later. And yeah, same thing. Yeah, that’s Wow. And
My group just hit 145.
Your group, the focus focus on your biz is that’s kind of the primary word here focus is that’s more like business oriented. And honestly, it’s probably better that that group stays a little smaller. Because if you get it, that’s yeah, that’s because mine is really more of a support group than anything.
Yeah, I’m just kidding. 145 little Yes.
145 members with with high engagement is much better than a large group, but no engagement. But yeah, to that point, like, I did his exact same things I just started giving, which that’s my personality, too. I’m very transparent about everything. And that’s kind of one area that my wife and I defer to I’m like, cool, we’re talking about money. Like, I’ll talk about money and figures and everything, but she’s a little more reserved like that she kind of feels weird about talking about money. And that should shouldn’t be talked about. So like, you know, for me with the Divi community, when I got started, I started doing tutorials. And before the Divi community, I was just doing mentoring here locally to high school kids and stuff. And I was like, Hey, here’s how much I made this year, you could you could go work at McDonald’s and make 500 bucks this summer, or you could learn how to build websites. And you can make five grand this summer, you know?
So, like, that’s kind of what got me started with the teaching and everything. And yeah, so I was really happy to give a lot of information. And it’s come back to me tenfold. Like now I have a six figure course business with Josh Hall CO and it’s amazing. Now, I didn’t make that initially, partly because I gave a bunch of information for free. And I didn’t really have any, any products or anything. So I was just giving, giving, giving. And then I eventually, once my audience was built to a bigger size, that’s when I kind of started.
That’s the thing was was made money if you haven’t got your audience first. Exactly.
Yeah, exactly how to do that. Yeah, yeah. And to your point, like, you just never know what doors are gonna open when you’re generous. And I think that goes through a lot, or even just being personally financial, or gift oriented and giving oriented, like I’m really big on giving to charities and nonprofits that you respect and care about, like, there’s a lot that is said about both business and personal life. As far as where that will come back.
If you’re starting out. And you don’t have like, give $5
Yeah, yeah, if you get a box or
Something like to the yard, or whoever it is that you like, whatever. There’s a local Charlotte, like news list that has great, great emails, and they just sent around a thing today, and I’m like, Heck, yeah, I gotta give you a few bucks, because it’s like, you know, so. But even if you don’t have a lot, just like you’re saying, Just give and it’s amazing.
It’s interesting on a personal level. I like for the past couple years, anytime I go to the grocery store, and they ask if you want to, like round up for Children’s Hospital or something like that. I always say yes. And I found that just that act of like, being very giving, and nature has just completely not only changed my mind, but just how I am as a person, and it’s definitely bled over in the business as well. So that’s really,
Interesting. You know, I always say no to that. Now, I feel like a jerk. I never pay attention really, to who they’re saying. Like, I’m just like, Nah, yeah. And the other day, I actually like the other day, I felt like especially a jerk. It was like, your totals at 81.97. Do you want to round out? I’m like, nope. My three pennies.
Yeah, yeah, no, I mean, I don’t say that to be like boastful. I just, it is, yeah, that really has kind of changed. I’m much more giving now. And I think it’s important to have that mindset before a certain amount of success comes because you don’t want to be that wealthy. You don’t want to be any hangs on to every penny. And you know, that’s, that’s a dangerous place to be in which speaking of what success looks like, we talked recently about the word success because you you told me you know, I talk about success and web design. And while yes, I’d say six figure web design business and I use success as a term of you know, maybe providing for a family right ever. There are different forms of success and I’m completely fine with that I talked with podcasts coming out, it’s probably already gonna be out by the time this is out. But I talked with Noel steeks, who is a digital nomad. And success for her is way different than success for me monetarily, because she doesn’t. She’s not supporting a wife and two kids like, and a hungry golden retriever. You know, so success looks different. But But yeah, talk about that, like, what do you what do you think about the word success? And what that looks like?
Well, I think it goes back all to this same thing of like, knowing who you are, and what are your, what are your goals? Because there are, you know, stigmas and there are established things, just like what I was saying before about, like, oh, you should work these hours and these days and blah, blah, blah, well, okay, so a successful business means what? You make a lot of money, or you do this to that, but does it you know, do you need a lot of money? I don’t know, maybe you don’t? For me. So I sat down and thought like, what do I want from this? What do I want from my own business, and I want to have the flexibility, to have my own schedule, and to work when I work best.
Because I’ve had that full time job I had, I straight up went to my boss and said, like, Listen, if you want me to be creative, why don’t you let me come in at 10. Because I’m going to, if you don’t, I’ll still come in at 830. But I’m going to sit and stare at Facebook until my brain turns on. And she went, just show up at 830. Tomorrow, she didn’t even care. And I’m like, I don’t want to sit at a desk, I don’t want to be paid because my butt is in a seat like that is like torture to me. So I want to be in control of my own destiny, I want to be able to work when I work best. And all of those kinds of things.
That’s part of the success to me that I can do that. I want to and and I had an opportunity. Last month, a friend called me and said they were going on this epic vacation to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. And someone backed out. And there was an there were open seats available for a fraction of the price. I don’t know, that works out. But we had to leave in one week. It was a week away. And I said, I’m going I went and I it was amazing. You know, it was an incredible adventure. But if I worked for a company could have taken two and a half weeks off with one week notice, you know, so to me, that is a part of the success that I feel. So that’s, that’s a big one for me, I also I want to be able to take care of my family, you know, and I want to be able to, my folks are great right now. But you know, when they’re not I want to be able to take care of them.
So you know, I have goals like that, which are financial and schedule, you know, so there’s just all these different things like, I don’t have, you know, I don’t have babies and things like that either, like you do, which is a whole nother level of pressure to provide for them, you know, but I just think, to not get tied up into what somebody else’s definition of success is yes, it’s important.
Yeah. And I think that’s really hard for people who have families who are really big on like, if you’re not a lawyer or a doctor, I’m not proud of you kind of thing, which I think it’s a little bit different now as a whole with all different societies and cultures. But I know there are still certain cultures and a lot of families out there still who will only like I, to be honest, a lot of my family like my extended family, not my mom or my dad because they were both very supportive with all endeavors from being in a rock band to start in the business. But I had family members who
Yeah, they’re cool now because now I can show them like hey, yeah, come on, you know, they see we live in a nice house and everything. And it’s like, Oh, great. He did all right. But I remember growing up like even in my mid 20s Yeah, probably mid to late even late 20s. Like I know a lot of people I felt very looked down because I didn’t have a four year degree and I didn’t go to a traditional path. And I just wasn’t like everyone and I a lot of my extended family is all about security and stability. And probably you’re probably wired like me like that’s not as important to me as freedom. I would much rather have freedom and then Miss mortgage one month or pay it late and then have to be stuck in a job where I’m stuck to a salary. And luckily I haven’t you know Mr. Morgan’s in a very long time but, but that’s the trade off.
But you definitely like it’s one thing I talk about my course as well as I talk about like what what are you? What are you okay with handling like worst case scenario? I remember I talked about this with Anya and episode three, we talked about like, Okay, what’s the worst that could happen? You know, and it’s like, if you don’t have your clients dry up and businesses slow for a while, like, if you miss your mortgage, or God forbid you you know, you can’t pay rent or you have to move back with your parents. Like, if if you’re okay with the worst case scenario, yeah, it would suck. You’d have to swallow some pride but on the opposite and the freedom of being able to do what you want when you want for you. That’s amazing.
The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can earn in web design when you have a freelance business because you’re not tied to a $50,000 salary or something you could write easily. I always say easily, but you could make six figures and totally possible to go over that. Totally possible. Yeah, with with potentially less work than what it would take, you know, in a salary position. And you know, that there’s so many things like that I think are really important to talk about when it comes to the term success. Yeah, because yeah, like what, in success often is thought about, like money wise, but yeah, if you’re, if, if you have a lifestyle you really enjoy and you have the freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do then that is success.
Yeah, and that’s, it’s interesting. Success. Tears, the success. Yeah, cuz it looks, it looks different for everybody, for sure. And I think most web designers get that. But I think people in the corporate world, maybe, maybe it’s a little bit of a more struggle and people who go from the corporate role to freelance, it’s just it’s the Wild West, it’s completely different. As far as I know, it really looks like that. And yeah, and there’s I don’t know, I love it, though. It’s one reason I’m passionate about doing this podcast and getting people more plugged into the web design. So with like, focus WP, you guys are doing white label WordPress maintenance. Just like you said earlier, if you want to learn how to build mate website maintenance plans, which you and I both love, that’s where my course comes in.
If you just taken Josh’s course, yeah, it’s great.
Yeah, I was gonna say I had you and Tom go through it to help out as you guys were doing the white label stuff. And that’s one cool thing about the Divi community too, is like, you can go through similar courses, even if you already know a subject, and you can get so many golden gems because like I had a different experience with website maintenance and how I do things with how you guys do it. So
Like there’s so many great things about that, as far as you know, going through a course that you may already know a little bit about, or may or I have some interest in but again, yeah, like with, with what with your white label services, if you don’t want to do maintenance, that’s where they can hand it off to you. And what’s your kind of what’s your vision with focus WP? I mean, you guys have been doing it for what about a year and a half now? Or maybe just over? Yeah,
Really like full force about a year because it took us a little bit to get up and running with our other businesses and stuff. But yeah. So my the design work and the marketing work on the web, all that was sweet tea, that’s a little bit more like, my baby. You know, like we’ve talked about before your I think you’ve talked about on with others on the podcast, too. It’s like, you care so much about every detail. I love focus on repeat, and I care a lot about it. But that’s almost like a business that I want to have every single thing automated. And it’s a business that I could almost see, like, I want to build it so that if the time ever came, I could sell it. Like I want to build it like a turnkey system that could be sold.
I’m not saying I want to do that or anything, don’t freak out, Tom, if you’re listening, no, he knows. But um, but I like that’s sort of the structure of that business. And I like the idea of it being automated and recurring revenue. And so. So while I do a lot of custom work in my other business, this is like this, I have, you know, there’s like, one product three levels, the price is set, you get that this is what you get, you could sign up on the website, it puts you through automation, that you get all the emails and we collect all the things we need, we do like a kickoff call, and boom, you’re done. You’re set up, you’re running. That’s all you get your thing every week, every month your report, you know, like that whole thing. So so it’s it’s a different animal. I love them both. But you know, they’re just they’re very different businesses.
Yeah. And it’s cool though, that they work together and that’s one thing I love about web design you can have different businesses or different sub services that work with either under the same entity or maybe a whole different website in general which is really cool because yeah, you can like you get out you know, you have your sweet T maintenance plan but that was basically used as the framework to do focus WP a complete white label side business that yeah, you and Tom could absolutely build up to sell one day, which is awesome.
Yeah, that’s really cool.
Yeah, do you so like we’re talking about focusing on strengths and being successful and it sounds like for you very similarly, you obviously care more about freedom and obviously finances are big with it like you want to make enough to have the life you want to sustain and live and help your folks out one day and stuff like that. But do you almost I guess my question right now is how do you balance those two? The good thing is it sounds like focus WP is pretty like not that time intensive. It’s more automated. But did you did you have a point where it was tough managing both because that’s obviously I’m going through that to where I’m I’m running my web design business I’m not doing any of the design now. But running that and doing Josh Hall co stuff with courses and tutorials and our podcast it’s certainly been a dive headfirst dive into like, how to balance things effectively. How did you how did you learn to balance that When you started a separate second business?
I’m not sure I have learned yet honestly, Time Time management is not my one of my strengths. And that’s something that unfortunately, as a business owner, you don’t really have the luxury of handing off to somebody, you know, like, there’s no, uh, you just have to keep working at it, you know. So, I, I was really, there was a couple times there were it was really stressful, because there was a lot to be done. And I actually had a business coach, at the time for sweet tea, I was getting some coaching. And he, like, I would say, I stopped telling him about things with focus, because he said, you, you can’t do two things successfully. You know, that was his thing. And, and my side of it was, well, I don’t have a choice, because I can’t give up these clients. I can’t neglect my clients, because that’s my bread and butter. But this ship is sailing, like Tom is going with this bit. Like, if I don’t be a part of it, I’ll just miss out. So that was a tough one, you know, but that’s the other. Like, that’s sort of the part of the thing with the freedom. You know, we talk a lot about how much freedom we have. But it’s not the same kind of, it’s not like not working is freedom. It’s like you’re on vacation, that freedom is that you are in control. But sometimes that means you work a lot more than you would if you’re working a nine to five jobs.
I’m glad you said that that’s a really good point. Because yeah, freedom itself is a whole different term that yeah, it’s random.
It’s not free time.
Yes. Yeah. It’s not like I just wake up every day and do whatever I want and never work. Yeah, it’s just that right. Yeah. To your point, like I work in segments around my life. I don’t like if I have never missed one of my daughter’s visits at nationwide. Children’s Hospital here in Columbus, like that, for me was very important. And if I was in a corporate job, of course, no way. I could have done that.
But I have had to do work on evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Yeah, yeah. I haven’t
I just took that awesome vacation. But I can’t remember the last time I took a week long vacation like, yeah, the 10 years, seven years, maybe I think it’s been since before that said, you know, I mean, it’s a different it’s a it’s a specific use of the word freedom.
Yeah. And it’s, you know, to your point, though, like with your because it’s so funny, you said that because I had when I went through a business coaching program a couple years ago, he said the same thing to me. He was like, you know, this endeavor I was new and with with the Josh Hall co stuff, I just started putting out a few layouts, which are so low cost, I don’t even market them or anything now, because my focus is courses. But he was like, this is like costing you a lot of money with time and stuff. But I was just so dang passionate about it. And I also knew the potential, like I knew, maybe I didn’t articulate like how big it could become or because I mean, you talked about sky’s the limit.
Web Design, you’re a little more limited, because service work is all about time and how fast you can get things done. Or if you have a team, like there’s a lot more to it. Whereas with things that are more recurring, like with focus WP, what you guys have going on, you could scale that very easily for me with courses. I like if 100 People buy a course, I’m not spending any more time other than just answering a few more emails or stuff like that. It’s not service work. So it’s selling a product or something over and over and over and over again. So that there’s no limit to that it’s much easier to scale.
So I say that to say my business coach was the same way. It was like I you know, this is if you’re going to do this, it’s it’s costing you a lot. And yes, it was very costly in the first year, but within two years, because I started Josh Hall CO two years ago, just a couple months ago. And in two years, I built a six figure business with that, whereas it took me several ways. I mean, it’s so cool. I Oh, yeah, I just love I mean, but But to your point, like I paid my dues I have worked my frickin butt off to get to this point. But like I say that to say within transit studios, my web design business that took I think five years before I think was more like four and a half years before I got to that six figure point. And it was still much more time and service intensive.
So yeah, I think that’s a really important thing to remember with side endeavors. And the cool thing about that for anyone who wants to have some sort of site endeavor that they think has some potential the biggest thing is to make sure you’re not doing it all yourself like you had Tom it’d be it’d be a whole different story if you were doing everything with sweet tea and with focus WP it wouldn’t happen I couldn’t then you’re gonna have to half ass efforts. You got 50% here Yeah, cuz and that’s one important lesson I think in anything in life is you have 100% If you do over 100% You’re gonna burn out. So where is your 100% going? Like if you’re going to do 50% here and 50% here you’re gonna need to have other systems in place or people to account for those that other percentage that you’re Yeah, that you’re missing, you know, on that endeavor. So I think totally Yeah, it’s an interesting point that you’re out there that
But there’s there’s not there’s something to be said for sure for being overworked, stressed and rundown for something thing that you feel passionate about, as opposed to, because you have a boss telling you to punch a clock and show up and do something that has nothing to do with your passions or your feelings.
So and it’s also you doing when you’re deciding me to cut you off their stuff that’s gonna say, when you’re doing something you really enjoy. Even though you may work a lot more, it’s different because you enjoy that work. I actually call it FIRK. I call it fun work. So I tell my wife that I’ll do I have different types of work.
They say, yeah, for cute jobs.
Yeah, right. Right. I tell him no, sometimes I’m like, like, if she knows I’m on my laptop, or something in the evening or something. I’ll be like, I’m doing a little bit of furk, which is fun work. I have learned, which is like learning work if I’m on like, a course or something. But then yeah, like work is like, I got some emails I got a client has email issues going on, or some domain stuff like that’s where like I could spend way less time doing in transit work, which I still I still really enjoy a lot of that. But my passion of doing this kind of stuff is just Trump that completely that I’m, you know, I probably work a lot more with Josh Hall co but it doesn’t feel I guess I say all that to say I could do half the amount of work I had in terms of studios, but it feels like double the amount of work. Yeah, cuz I don’t enjoy particularly the areas of support and client stuff. And you know, some of that stuff is just great.
So you You’re, you’re identifying your strengths. Yeah. So my preferences, so yeah. And that’s where like, probably not one of your strengths. If you hate it, it’s probably not a strength is another thing I’ll say, right away.
Great point. Yeah. And it’s something that you definitely…
We like doing things that we’re good at. Yeah, like doing things we’re not good at. But if you hate doing it, I guarantee you, it’s not your strength.
Yeah, and that’s one reason I have some some contractors in place now. Like now I don’t do the design and majority of the development, I do have a guy who can assist with email problems and domain stuff. The tricky part with that is I just don’t have enough of that work to bring on somebody reliably, like full. So it’s not really a win win in that case. And then complete side note, but one thing I kind of learning to deal with, with scaling my web design business is my subcontractors in Australia, Jonathan, and a lot of my local clients want somebody to call and I just, you know, our time, the timezone differences. There’s a lot of things like that, that I’m kind of working through as I’m scaling that.
Staffing up is no joke, that is a whole nother multi hour podcast. Like that. There’s a lot that goes into all of that, and a lot of headache and a lot of stress. Speaking of but, man, when you have a team that is clicking, and you could like stuff comes in, you delegate it and it gets done, and you sit back and just see the great product, turn it off. Isn’t that like the best feeling ever?
I to have just a couple hours ago, I reviewed the way we do it is I get a project started. I’m the creative director and main contact and then I turn once I get all the questionnaires and the brief and everything together, I turn everything over to Jonathan, and he does an initial site preview for me, and then I’ll review it and then we’ll tweak it before we show it to the client. And yeah, he showed me an initial preview today on a new site. And he started on it in less than a week ago. And it looks amazing. Like all I’ve probably had three hours in the project so far. And we’re at the point where the site is just about ready to be shown to the client. That’s amazing. Like all I’ve had to do great feeling. Yeah, I did the proposal got the client plugged in and everything. And then now I’m turning him over to work with Jonathan like yeah, once once you get to that place where you have some people who can do that kind of thing. It’s, it’s so freeing, and I totally agree. It’s amazing.
It is it’s such a good. It’s such a good feeling. But it doesn’t come it doesn’t come cheap. It’s it’s not not just money wise. But I mean, that’s there’s a lot of stress that goes into getting, you know, really when you’re I mean, I don’t want to start going down this rabbit hole, but you almost have to start, like getting contractors and subbing things out before you’re ready. If that makes any sense. Like before you need it. Because if you wait until you need it to like you can’t do anything, you can’t fulfill your work assignments, like and you hire somebody that you rely on. I mean, you just can’t rely on them until…
You know them. Yeah,
Because I mean, it takes some time. Like there’s there’s some time
To get like communication down and all of that kind of stuff. But I mean, I guarantee you, you’ve had some people flake on you or do a bad job or whatever. And it’s like then it’s just on you like you have to do it. And if you’re already maxed so there’s a lot that goes into that again, that’s a whole nother.
Yeah, no, that’s true. Well said. Well said. Yeah, that will mind to do a round two on that for sure. But yeah, well Steph, this has been a really great talk. We’ve covered some some really cool topics. I think just the idea of focusing on your strengths is so powerful with every area of life, particularly in business. And even I mean, one thing I encourage people is that particularly for web designers who are just getting started, they may not be making that much the idea of hiring out and doing a team is just overwhelming. And I’ve always said like, you can do it on your own for as long as you want.
I was very content for a long time with being a solopreneur, a freelancer, up until a couple reasons I wanted to focus on what we’re doing now with my courses and stuff. But I also got to the point where my business grew so much that I was like, I literally cannot handle it. Like I’d never forget February. I’ve talked about this a couple times, but February 2018, we had 23 projects. And I was like, I have got i There’s no way like there’s no way I can do all this without it taking forever. And then I’m not I’ve never liked the method of like stopping work or saying I’m not available, because I always like, you know, spacing and staggering projects to be able to get in come in, and then work on, you know, other stuff. So yeah, in any case, though, yeah, the idea of focusing on your strengths is so crucial. And that will help in every area of business.
And you don’t have to, you don’t necessarily have to bring a partner into your business, right. So you can I mean, that’s, that’s an option. If you if you do find somebody, that’s a good, that’s a good fit, you know, you’ve got some people that they they find somebody that it matches up, they could actually not like I did, we’re starting a business, but like you can bring someone into your business, but you can also just do tiny things. You know, I know there’s a lot of people that just use like a VA, if you get a VA, from a country where the dollar goes far, you can get somebody to just help you with a few small things, you know, even a few hours a week, I mean, when I first hired someone to help me with maintenance, it was like, an hour a week. And it was great to do all the things you know, so you don’t have to like break the bank, you don’t have to hire a full time $65,000 A year employee, you could just do little bits to sort of change.
So true. And that’s kind of the method I had with all my subcontractors. At first, I only have one full time subcontractor, Jonathan, who is my what I mean, he’s, he’s basically still a subcontractor role. He’s not on sourly Sara Lee or anything, but I said celery there.
Your words, combos? I don’t know. It was like salary and hourly.
I am a little dyslexic dyslexic to where I will very frequently mix words together, which is why I was at a concert. Yeah, like for now that won’t work.
On purpose. Yeah,
I guarantee if you listen to numerous episodes of the podcast, you’re gonna hear some words mixed together. And I probably didn’t even know I did it. So
Maybe we’ll have noticed I’ve listened to him. And I haven’t noticed it. Yeah, I’ve had
I’ve had some Dyslexics moments for sure. But yeah, no, I say that to say like, yeah, I started small with sub contracting, and most of my subcontractors now or just when they’re available, and then if the project needs it, and it’s it’s worked out very well.
It’s the best. One other little thing I wanted to say about going with your strengths, if you don’t mind is that, like a couple of the things that you and I have both talked about is like we have, we have certain personality types that are inherent. And we have certain brain types, the way we process things, but there are things that are in our control. So like, you made a conscious decision to become more generous, and you started taking actions to do that. And, and I made a conscious decision to be more open and sharing and transparent and things like that. So learn your strengths, but also, like, society boxes us in enough don’t box yourself in and say like, well, I’m an introvert. So I can’t do that, you know, don’t like if you want to change, there are things that you can do even small things and, and, you know, find new strengths.
Great point. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, I I have a big issue with people who say I’m just it’s just me, it’s just the way I am. And like, you know what, that’s such bullshit because I struggle. I struggle with that growing up and I got to a point where I’m like, You know what, that’s excuse number one. And it doesn’t matter where your past is or who you were when you grew up, like you can do anything. And for me, for one of the big things for me was public speaking and being comfortable on camera. I really didn’t work at that. Yeah. Oh, yeah, I’ll post even some videos from several years ago. I’m completely different on camera. A few years ago, even my first couple times I joined on Divi chat, I was much more nervous.
When I joined my networking group, I am an extrovert, but I still get butterflies talking in front of groups of people. Now I’ve learned to kind of use that. And side note, I’m going to do a podcast episode soon with somebody who is a really good public speaker and we’re gonna talk about speaking close and public. But one thing I learned is to kind of channel that energy to like energy rather than nervousness.
Ah, that’s good.
Yeah, cuz you
Do your Power Poses before you get to
Do the power poses. Yeah, no. But the cool thing is, is and that’s actually good. Like I’ve learned if you’re not feeling slightly nervous about something or you don’t have those anxious feelings? Sometimes that means you might be bored with that. Or maybe that’s not something you should be into. Like, I’ve kind of realized that with certain things I’m doing. I remember going to meetings with clients in the early days being like, kind of nervous. And, you know, I’m like, Who am I gonna meet with a couple people with a company. Now I go to a meeting, I don’t feel a thing, which is kind of a dangerous position to be in. It’s cool, because I’m cool and confident collected. But part of me is like, I’m a little bored with that now.
To where this is different. For me a podcast interview is a whole different ballgame. So. But yeah, anyway, I totally agree. I didn’t mean to get off on a tangent there. Oh, that’s cool. You know, yeah. Don’t, don’t just don’t buy Yeah, I think you said it. Just don’t box yourself. And don’t let society put you in a thing. Don’t let family tell you. You’re one thing. If you want to be something else, like, yeah, you can be an introvert. But you can still make really good connections. It doesn’t mean you have to start an influencer brand. Or on YouTube, do you just, but you can go to networking groups, and you can meet people. And you know, you can take little steps that will go a long way.
So I share things on facebook. Yeah,
Yeah. And that’s where I think the online communities have really blown up is because web designers Yeah, they’re happy to jump on a thread and help out. But if they go to a meetup, or something that’s a hold, you know, they’re gonna really
And you get you get to know people in those Facebook groups. And by the time you meet them in person at the next big networking event, or work camp, or whatever it is. They’re like, so excited to see you because you feel like you’ve known each other for ever, you know, so yeah, it’s a little bit. Yeah,
Totally agree. Yeah. I mean, what a couple years ago when we met at WordCamp, us and I met you know, Tim and David a bunch people. Yeah, elegant themes and everything. Like, yeah, we feel kind of like already knew those people. Yeah, you get to see him. And you get to see either how short or how tall they are. Some cool things like that. But yeah, I think it’s worth bringing that point up again, to where, like you, you know, the thought or the vision that you have yourself sometimes is so limiting. And yeah, you can do whatever the heck you want. I know for me, like, I one point and when I was a teenager, I basically looked at my parents strengths. And I was like, you know, I’m going to try to be like the best of my dad in these areas and best of my mom in these areas. And that’s kind of what I’ve worked towards, like,
You can literally do stuff like that. So anyway, yeah, maybe we’ll have to have a a segment where we just have an inspirational talk, but this is, this is good stuff.
Oh, yeah. deep thoughts with Steph and Josh. But with no deep thoughts with Hall Hudson. That’s what we’ll go with.
There we go. I love it. Man. Speaking of Lot, one last thing. Fun fact, to wrap it up. Do you know what you and I have in common? I know, you know, but I you probably forgot
Drummer were you?
This was like forever ago. Yeah. It was a long time ago that it came up. But I had forgotten about YouTube. And I heard it in one of your podcasts. Yeah. Yeah. We like to Oh,
Yeah. Yeah, that was yeah, that I mean, that was my identity for so long. That was when I transitioned
Identity, but I really loved it. Yeah, I still do. I gotta get my my kit out of storage and
the nice yeah, I have my electric one set up that all my daughter. I’m sure all of our cousins are going to love here once I get big enough, but my actual drums are packed up right now. Just season life.
They’re tough. Yeah, you can’t just have those anywhere.
Yeah, yeah. But I’m excited to fire him up one day for sure. I know. I want to hear you play. So that’ll be a well you can search Josh Hall jumps solo. It’s still online. Actually. Somebody okay. Yeah, buddy on I posted the first podcast, which was my story and somebody found it. Somebody found my drum solo, and put it on there. Yeah, there’s a big correlation between musicians getting into web design. And funny enough, really, I think it was the same guy who posted Nick Roach had a channel of doing like acoustic singing and stuff that is still live on YouTube. So if you really want to have a good kick, yeah, search Josh Hall, jump solo and Nick roach. Forget the song you
Posted next and start a band. Right.
We’ll see if we can make that happen.
Anyway, awesome. This was awesome. Josh, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Absolutely. Do you have a final thought for anybody to kind of wrap this all up?
Oh, goodness. Divi chatting me with the final thoughts.
I like the final thoughts because sometimes it can lead to some actionable stuff. You’ve said some incredible stuff. So I’m sure there’s plenty of things. Yeah.
No, I mean, I just think focus on your strengths. And and don’t let anybody box you in including yourself and define success for you. Not for somebody else.
That was three. Good final. That was three final thoughts mixed in one but all that was good. All right, Steph. Thanks for taking the time to chat. I’m sure we’ll do this again. Fun.
See you on Divi chat.
Alright, see you soon.
Great advice for talented people; both Stephanie and Josh.
Glad you enjoyed the episode, John!
I loved this episode, Stephanie has a great charisma and humor, and she also provided very useful tips for life and business. I hope you can interview her in the future to talk about more topics.
Oh she’ll be on again for sure!