Welcome to the WP Elevation podcast “Best Of” series where we dig into the archives to bring you the best golden nuggets and business principals from over the last few years. Yes, we even looked at the metrics to find the most popular podcasts so if you have missed a show or are a fairly new subscriber, you will love this!
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Today on the WP Elevation Podcast, our guest is Sarah Pressler. Sarah runs a WordPress company, has co-developed a plugin and is a mother of four! Yep, a bit of a superwoman! She joins us to discuss the advantages of working in a small team, balancing motherhood and the entrepreneur life, developing the plugin OptimaList and much more.
Sarah runs a successful business with Cindy Kendrick called Codebrain Media, a company which helps build custom websites, custom plugins, manages migrations and marketing. She also spends a lot of her time working with the team at ServerPress.com with product development and social media. And then there is their latest project – the OptimaList WordPress Plugin.
From Full-Time Mum to Entrepreneur
Sarah started spending time on the internet when her children were babies. She began blogging as a means to occupy herself during their naptime. Sarah also created a group for mothers in her area to support each other, socialise and network.
Eventually, Sarah learned HTML and CSS by playing around with features on her blog. Her proficiency in writing online grew, and soon a friend asked Sarah to help with content writing using WordPress. That helped Sarah realise the potential of making money online and opened her eyes to new possibilities.
Today, Sarah dedicates the majority of her time to working on business development and communicating with clients. She also keeps busy collaborating with the team at ServerPress with product development and social media. In addition to being a successful product developer, she also teaches ballet and when she’s not working, Sarah loves spending her time outdoors with her children.
Small vs Big Clients
Sarah tells us that they have a wonderful client who is a small business with a lot of legacy content that they are moving over to WordPress. This company listens and is really appreciative of their experience. So this type of client is Sarah’s ideal as they are easy and enjoyable to work with.
Her and her business partner, Cindy, have both worked on huge enterprise level builds but they enjoy working with the smaller business by helping them come up with affordable solutions for their company. This is very rewarding work for Sarah.
Big Teams vs Small Teams
Sarah prefers to work in smaller teams because she is very invested in her projects as well as her employees which makes it hard to manage large enterprise clients as well as the number of developers and designers that you need to hire to look after those clients.
Sarah wants to bring her best to the table and working with a larger team meant she was thinly spread. She needs a lot of autonomy in her schedule and she wants to have the freedom to work when she wants to so it can fit in with being a mum.
Larger teams take up more time and you have to be dedicated to a 10-15 hour day for those larger builds. Sarah did this for six months and then went back to working with a small team who she found to be more efficient and effective.
Takeaways from Working with Bigger Teams
Sarah says that working on those bigger projects with a larger team teaches you a lot. She says that you develop your professional ability because you have to manage your time, your workflow and be professional at all times. There is more breathing room in a small team. However, she realises that after achieving what she did with the bigger projects, just how valuable she is. “You can appreciate how much you do know and walk away with more self-worth.”
She tells us that it may be the right fit for some, but just not for her.
OptimaList WordPress Plugin
Sarah co-developed the OptimaList plugin which is a to-do list for WordPress. Her business partner had been developing a to-do list plugin for 5-years called “Cleverness To-Do List” which was quite successful, but it became time for a complete overhaul. So they leveraged Cindy’s customer base and have been blown away at the market need for this product and have seen how people use it for all kinds of things.
Sarah and Cindy needed $800 to pay for the business expenses, so they threw it out there and people donated! They are humbled by the people that supported them and their generosity.
Tune in at the 35-minute mark to hear Troy and Sarah discuss the WordPress community and why WordCamps are so valuable.
Sarah explains to us what the ServerPress product “DesktopServer” is. Basically, you download DesktopServer and in a few minutes, you have your own local development environment which is WordPress optimised. It is super simple to use and you can change things with immediate results all on your local system. You don’t even need to use cowboy coding!
Side note from Troy – Do not use Cowboy Coding on your websites people!
Find out more about the benefits and how to use this plugin around the 40-minute mark.
Sarah's Golden Nugget Tips
- Manage your time. Sarah uses a handwritten to-do list every day and is a big advocate of Franklin Planner’s method (see the link below). She remembers things better when she writes it down.
- Use Twitter campaigns to get new customers. Sarah does sponsored Tweets because they are easy to do and you can segment your market very quickly. She has never spent more than $100 on a campaign and the ROI is amazing.
- Take your time to write proposals. Be thorough, and actually spend time with your clients in scoping discovery. Build the relationship and use your discernment in regard to charging people for the discovery process as you might not want to charge the smaller businesses that just don’t have the money.
Well, there you have it… we told you Sarah is a superwoman! Let us know what you think about the podcast in the comments below!