On today’s episode of WP Elevation we’re talking with Dustin Hartzler, a happiness engineer at Automattic and the host of the Your Website Engineer podcast. His podcast is consistently at the top of the Google search rankings and in the iTunes search results for WordPress podcasts!
Dustin talks about his first experience with WordPress, how his podcast got started, and what it’s like working at Automattic. It’s all here on episode #92 of WP Elevation.
With a degree in engineering and a passion for answering people’s questions, Dustin is a natural fit for his happiness engineer role at Automattic – a job coveted by WordPress enthusiasts everywhere.
But he didn’t begin his career wanting to work for them. His earliest ambitions were to be a pilot – until he realized he’d have to be away from home a lot. That interest gave way to curiosity about computers and website development. In 2002, he bought his first computer and by 2008 he was building websites for his wedding and his friends.
He was introduced to WordPress around the time he began building websites and at first glance he had no interest in using WordPress! He couldn’t see the value in it and don't like the interface.
But he gave it a shot to use it when building a friend’s site and by 2010 he had started his own WordPress consulting business.
He noticed other WordPress consultants had podcasts to promote themselves and their services, so he started his own. The Your Website Engineer podcast was born! Today he says the key to the success of that show – and its high rankings – are mainly due to its longevity and its consistency. He regularly creates new content for his users and has done so for the last five years now.
But by late 2013 he and his wife were planning a family and he was frustrated with web site projects, so he started looking around for something that would offer him flexible hours and the ability to work from home.
After listening to a podcast that featured another happiness engineer from Automation he checked out their website and their “work for us” page. He decided to submit his information. A few weeks later he interviewed for the role, then was given a four-week trial after which he was offered the job.
Today he continues in his day to day role with Automation and produces his podcast and other offerings at night and on weekends. He is also the doting father of a 13-month old girl and a committed husband who likes to travel, hike and bike with his wife.
Have a listen to hear all of it on today’s WP Elevation show!
The Elevation Round!
Q: What’s the #1 thing any freelancer needs to know?
A: The main thing is to find the right solution for the customer.
Q: What’s the best thing you’ve done to find new customers?
A: Used custom Twitter searches to find people and give them what they needed to provide advice and value.
Q: How do you stop competing on price?
A: Charge more! Be firm, stand your ground. Think about how much your time is worth.
Q: Any tips for writing better proposals?
A: I’m a horrible proposal writer so no!
Q: What’s your favorite CRM tool?
A: Using MailPoet within the WordPress dashboard.
Q: What’s the best way to keep a project and a client on track?
A: Communicate regularly – two-way communication, so everyone knows what’s going on.
Q: Any ideas for getting referrals from existing customers?
A: Asked people for referrals when a project is all said and done.
Q: What’s the #1 thing you can do to differentiate yourself?
A: Have your personal voice. There’s no one else who can do your business like you.
Dustin suggested I interview Jason Knill, Devin Walker and Matt Cromwell from Give WP. Jason, Devin and Matt keep your eyes on your inbox.
Hint: to enter the competition, leave a comment below and answer this question: What is the #1 thing stopping you from using WordPress.com and instead using WordPress.org?