Brian Gardner is the Founder of Studio Press, as well as the Chief Product Officer at Rainmaker Digital (formerly known as Copyblogger Media). He has pioneered the business of selling themes for WordPress and is talking about that very topic today on WP Elevation!
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When Brian Gardner began his entrepreneurial journey he never thought productizing development is what he would end up doing! But it has become the cornerstone of his work. He says at the beginning of his journey he was new to WordPress. He noticed everyone was doing free themes, and there was no premium theme market.
At the time he was just trying to freelance because he loved the idea of blogging and had begun to really like the design world. One day he did a freelance theme project for a client who didn't like it, the project was too forward-thinking!
Naturally, Brian was upset that his client wasn't happy with the product. But, on a whim, he asked the followers of his blog if they would buy it, and they snatched it up! They loved it and within months Brian had generated upwards of $40k. And he realized he was on to something, he saw an opportunity for commoditization. That was the start of his Revolution theme and the start of his journey.
When asked how to start productizing and commoditizing Brian gave three things that will move the needle for a WordPress developer or WordPress business:
The first is to take 5% or 10% of your week and invest that in building a product or commodity. Many people say they have no time to build a product but if they would set aside just an hour or two for a little while they will eventually have a finished product to take to market.
Second, Brian recommends you have plan. Investigate the market you are going into, and make sure there is an audience who is willing to pay for the product you are going to create. Hang out in forums, Facebook groups, blogs, etc. Look at what questions they are asking, listen for their pain points and you’ll find out if your product is a solution or if there is another opportunity you weren't aware of.
And third, think beyond the initial run of the product, and consider what else might be required of you. Consider things like support, content marketing, etc. At some point you may have to consider bringing people on as you scale up. Brian explains why this is so important, and why it was something he did not do initially but he does today before any new project.
He also recommends going the simple route for a specific audience. In his companies they don't want to be the all-in-one-every-kind-of-theme for everybody. They try to create simpler solutions for specific audiences.
Take AgentPress for example, it's a real estate theme. They could have included a bunch of other options for other businesses but they didn't. They identified the nicest-looking way to offer a solution one specific type of client can use and then they document their product to the nth degree! He says the better documented your product is the more satisfied your customer is and the less you have to deal with from a support standpoint – so everybody wins!
On today’s episode you'll also hear why he killed sidebars on his personal site and how to build a customer for life. Watch and learn all of that and more on this edition of WP Elevation.