HOLIDAY WORDPRESS DEAL: 30 Minute WordPress Consultation

As the holidays kick into full gear, and people start looking at a short sprint to gift times with family, I am offering a 30 minute phone consultation related to WordPress for $100. This is a great thing for someone who needs to figure out how to do something that may be unfamiliar for them or if they are just getting setup with WordPress and need plugin recommendations, or the like.

To setup your 30 minute appointment or to inquire about gifting that appointment, fill out this form. For the description, just reference this deal.

For longer term commitments or consulting engagements, including custom plugin development, I am booking clients for Dec and Jan, so feel free to ask about those opportunities as well.

This offer is only good today, Friday Nov 23, 2012 until midnight Central Time.

This offer is good through Midnight, Monday, November 26, 2012 – Cyber Monday.

Changing Roles at WP Engine

For some time, I’ve felt there was a change coming and today, I’m ready to announce that my role within WP Engine is changing. Starting today, I have transitioned into an advisory and consulting role with the company.

Effective immediately, I will be taking the portion of the business that focused on professional services and consulting to allow the company to focus on premiere WordPress hosting. It’s a good thing and I’m excited about the possibilities. Back in November, we decided to start taking on some professional services work to augment demands from many of our customers. It was awesome to have fast, secure, scaleable, managed hosting but they wanted more!

And we wanted more.

However, as the company has evolved, taken funding, hired more people, addressed growth challenges and built out our hosting option, it seemed clear that the professional services portion of the company was a separate kind of deal than what we wanted to focus on.

So today, I’ll be taking that portion of the company (and all related existing and current relationships, as agreed on), and working on that. Meanwhile, I’ll still be working with the company to guide direction and strategy. So it’s good for everyone.

Effective immediately, I am available for all WordPress consulting roles. However, I am also currently entertaining all possibilities involving full time employment as well, and welcome those conversations.

To contact me, please direct emails to aaron@technosailor.com. As transitions go, the immediate financial impact is something that I need to consider.

Help Wanted

Over the past month and a half, I’ve been working tirelessly on building out the consulting arm of what I do. Recently, I posted a consulting page here that outlines some of the work I do and can do for clients and people like Thomas Hawk have been actively promoting me. I can’t say enough in thanks for all the people who have passed my name along to interested parties, both as potential employment material as well as consulting material.

Though my search continues, I am pleased by the amount of inquiries I have gotten during this time. Though I am still looking for a big longer term project of 4-6 months, I am feeling confident that I can sustain the work I do here based on a myriad of smaller projects from WordPress migrations, sponsored plugin development, strategy consultation as well as SEO.

Historically, I have turned away work that involves design, for instance, because I am not a designer. However, the amount of work I’ve turned away is significant and noticeable and I no longer want to do that. There are also other positions I’d like to fill.

Ux Developer

First I am looking for a Ux Developer. As the most critical part of this position, I’m not looking for someone who has a firm understanding of usability. At this time, I am looking to retain the actual HTML/CSS coding but I am looking for a Photoshop ninja – someone who can take specs, work with me as well as clients on look and feel. We will use Conceptshare and Basecamp, or similar, as jumping off project management and collaboration tools. I will run the business side of things so you will not have to negotiate with anyone but me. Please send resumes and examples of logos and website design work to me. Please include general flat-rate ballpark figures for such work. This is for ongoing project work as it comes in.

Business Manager

Second of all, I’m looking to pay someone on a percentage basis to develop business. This is a typical BizDev role where you will talk to potential clients, work out deals and earn more money for more business you secure. You will work with me to vet projects and determine feasability, viability and develop requirements if necessary. Please send resumes and a short note to me.

Writers

Of course, the strength of Technosailor.com is in the writing. If you are interested in writing here at Technosailor.com and gaining notoriety and readership, please send examples of your work and a pitch to me. This is unpaid for now, but you wil have immediate access to the large and influential readership here. Areas of focus are web, technology, entrepreneurship, etc.

Moving on From Lijit

As the economy continues to spiral downward, and more companies are trying to extend their runways for as long as possible, we are hearing about an increasing number of layoffs. When you’re a contractor, you always sort of have it in the back of your mind that your number could be called at any time.

That time for me is now. Lijit has been my primary client since May and it has been a good run. I came into that role to learn the art of business development and I learned a lot. I can’t say it was my favorite role ever, but it added to my experience and gave me an opportunity to look at the web industry from a different side. No regrets.

Generally, my preference is to run a job or role until I get so good at it that I’m bored. Sometimes, things just don’t fall that way. My role will be changing in the next 45 days with Lijit. I am being offered a restructured contract that will be performance based and will allow me to expand myself back into tech. This is actually good for everyone as that will allow me to get into a role I excel in and can own in an economy where people are being laid off because they are expendable.

It also allows me to stay involved with the Boulder company and continue to extend the number of publishers who recognize the need for upgraded search capability and monetization of search content. At the same time, I can build my own pipeline and diversify enough to survive the next 18 months.

Of course, I am always open to discussions or job offers as well, so feel free to reach out as well at aaron@technosailor.com or 410-608-6620.

WordPress Consulting Extravaganza: One Day Only

Forgive the marketing speak, but I’ve decided to do something that really is a special deal. I get inquiries everyday asking me questions about WordPress from “How to setup a category based structure for my blog?” to “What are the most essential plugins I need for my blog?”

If I could cut and paste answers and spend no time, I would, but really every situation is different. Most times I can’t answer these questions because of limits on my time, but I’ve decided to create a day-event where people could book my time for a bit and get any or all of their WordPress questions, recommendation requests and “how-to’s” answered.

Mark December 18th on your calendar. On this day, I am taking reservations for 30 minute exclusive time slots on a first come, first serve basis. I will give you 30 minutes of my time to get on the phone and offer my insight and assistance on your WordPress related problems and questions. The cost is $100 per time slot. Even your grandma can do that!

If you’re a business looking for some strategy guides, or individual looking for recommendations on themes or plugins or other assistance, your time is now.

One person (or group of people, if you choose) per call. One day only. Book your slot now. All times are US/Eastern.

10-10:30 am
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

10:45-11:15 am
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

11:30 am – Noon
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

12:15-12:45 pm
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

1:15-1:45 pm
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

2-2:30 pm
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

2:45-3:15 pm
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

3:30-4 pm
Book this appointment and pay online using Monetime.

Business Consulting Etiquette

A lot of people ask what I do. Depending on the person, I’m a blogger, or an editor. To others I’m a WordPress consultant. Still, to others, I work with Lijit as I used to work with b5media. Notice I said with and not for.

The choice of words is very intentional. Though I own the work I do, and make it mine (or I wouldn’t do it, to be honest), I am a self-employed contractor. To that end, I am constantly getting referrals, cold call emails, etc asking if I can help company X or person Y do task A, B or C.

Generally, an email will come that says something like this (fictional):

Hey Aaron-

how are you doing? I’ve got a WordPress project that I need to have done and I was talking to [insert name]. He mentioned that you do this kind of work. I was wondering if you’re taking work right now and if maybe we could do a quick phone call this week to see if it’s something that interests you.

Thanks,
[insert name here]

This is a pretty standard email, and it’s for all intents and purposes perfect. It gives me a brief overview of what services I might have to perform without boring me with details. It also serves to possibly pique my interest.

Generally, if the idea (again, without the details) is interesting to me, I’ll respond and we’ll work out a time for a call. The client may need me to sign NDAs. I’m generally okay with that as well. If it’s not interesting to me or I simply don’t have time to take on work, I’ll let them know that as well.

It’s all about setting expectations early and reinforcing as often as possible.

The first call is an important call. It is the first time a prospective client and I have a chance to interact in person. It is not intended to be a “details” oriented call. It never, ever should be. In fact, a first call should be short.

In this call, there are two specific things that need to happen. Both parties are responsible for one.

  1. The client should have very specific goals, and timelines and be able to articulate them. At this time, I’m taking notes and listening. Usually, I’ll save questions for later. Again, have your 30,000 foot view ready to go in this meeting, but don’t get me into a guerrila war early. There is no contract yet, I can walk away.
  2. I should be prepared to ask probing questions about your expectations of me, your budget, your timeline, your platform. I’ll probably ask you if you have a project manager in place or if I’ll be responsible for identifying specs, milestones and goals.

Be aware that some consultants charge to be on the phone for this call. I do not, but some do. You should understand that and make sure you know the ground rules in advance. When in doubt, ask.

Tangent: It would be good to have an expected budget as well. Understand that I charge a lot, as most professional consultants do. We’re independent. We make more. It’s the game, and it’s everywhere so don’t whine when I give you a triple figure hourly rate. Thanks.

Usually, when this call ends, I will have a good idea of what you want to do and the resources you have to do it with. I’ll have a pretty good sense if I can do it (both in my own calendar, and skillset). I’ll be honest with you and decline the work if I need to. Usually, I’ll indicate a timeframe to provide a quote and we’ll be off to the races.

I say this because today I had a very bad experience with someone who didn’t outline expectations early. I received an email that gave me no indication of what I was being requested for and indicated a referral from someone I know.

Today, when we had our initial call, I was tossed into an Adobe Connect session and they asked me to share my screen. No, never, ever.

Turns out they wanted to watch me use their site and learn from how I used it. This was not communicated or articulated in any way. Second of all, as a professional, my computer is my silo. I have documents and email open that are proprietary and confidential. I will not share my screen with anyone unless I initiate it in the context of a pre-agreed on demo. In addition, the guy I talked to today had no intention of securing my services, and assumed I would just go along with his plans. This is an assumption that should never be made with a professional of any sort.

It’s the little things that matter.

Working with Lijit

Picture 2.pngToday was the first day of retirement for me. Well, not technically retirement. Don’t I wish! But it is my first day of doing independent consultancy.

My biggest client is also the company who I’ve been the biggest fan of during the past year. I discovered Lijit at Gnomedex last year. Their angle was what sold me.

Lijit is all about placing context around search. It can search across multiple points of contact – YouTube, Flickr, blogs, etc. Because it provides context, the Lijit Wijit provides a way for readers to search a site, all of the owners content or even all the content in the owners network of friends and contacts.

Because Lijit allows you to pull in all these contacts as well as points of content, it is able to provide a much more sane approach to search. Does this eliminate Google? No, not exactly. However, at the risk of sounding like Jason Calacanis, Google is filled with all kinds of irrelevant content as well as spam.

Take this for example. If you want to fix the problem of “too little virtual memory” on Windows, you can search Google for virtual memory, and get informational articles from Wikipedia, how virtual memory works, etc.

However, if you head on over to Ask Dave Taylor, the cyber “you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers” man, and search his site with the Lijit Wijit, you’ll find his post right away.

While this seems trivial, it’s pretty important to know that the information you get is authoritative and that you can trust it.

Enough pitching.

Now that I’ve begun work with Lijit, I wanted to share it with everyone who was concerned about what I’d be doing next. This is one of those things and I couldn’t be more excited.

Plus, now Micah Baldwin has been unseated as the #1 douchebag at Lijit – which is important.