WP Elevation Was Live in the U.S.A. Did You Miss It?

The dream for many WordPress consultants is to build a business that doesn’t require them to work inside the business day in and day out. Whether or not you’ve acquired that level of freedom just yet, there are plentiful opportunities to go out into the world while simultaneously working on your business.

WordCamps are certainly one good way to do this. The days are jam-packed full of insightful and useful information — coming from leading experts from the WordPress world. However, sessions tend to be a bit lacking in terms of collaboration and interactivity.

WordPress Meetups are another good option, but then you have to deal with the reverse problem. Because of the limited time in which you meet, not much ground can be covered and you certainly can’t expect superstars from WordPress to show up each time.

On February 16, we did just that from the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, CA.

the shore hotel, overlooking santa monica beach & peir

In addition to shipping both myself and a number of WP Elevation peeps out from Australia to the not-so-sunny shores of the U.S., we had some friends join us throughout the day:

Dana, a Mom and Author, grew the Boss Mom brand into a six-figure business in less than a year with over 20k students in various courses and a 30k+ strong community.

Dana Malstaff

BOSS MOM

Chris Lema

LIQUID WEB

Chris is a master storyteller who helps companies leverage WordPress and WordPress companies find leverage. He is also VP of Products and Innovation at Liquid Web.

Adam has grown his WP Crafter YouTube channel to over 87K subscribers. He also recently released his first product, a WordPress plugin called CartFlows.

Adam Preiser

WP CRAFTER

Did you attend the event? If so, bookmark this post as it contains a bunch of gems from the day’s sessions and guest speaker talks.

Did you miss the event? If so, that’s okay. The following recap will let you know what you missed and perhaps inspire you to attend the next one!

What the Heck Happened at WP Elevation Live?

Yeah, I know. WP Elevation Live was a one-day event. How much could we have really packed into that short of a time frame?

Get a load of this:

Time to Simplify and Amplify

Introductions were made. Mavericks reconnected. And everyone found a seat around the spacious meeting room.

Not yet a full-fledged Maverick?

Join the Digital Mavericks Facebook group and get a taste of what it’s like to be part of a strong WordPress community.

It didn’t take very long before WP Elevation Live got underway — and before attendees new to WP Elevation realised how interactive a day they were in for.

It started with a quick unveiling of who was in attendance and from how far many of the attendees had travelled. Then, we dug into their business profile. After all, you don’t go to an event like WP Elevation if you’re not ready to take your business to the next level.

the shore hotel, overlooking santa monica beach & peir

Curious to know who was there and whether you’d fit in? Check this out:

Who are you?

How old is your business?

Who do you work with?

Where does your business stand right now?

The 4 Futures
The 4 Futures

This last question seemed like the hardest one for people to answer. But that’s the beauty of an event like this. The kinds of obstacles that stand in people’s way and keep them from taking flight and truly elevating their WordPress business were carefully broken down throughout the day.

If they felt unsure of what they were doing at 9 a.m., that all changed by the close of the event at 5 p.m.

Premium Positioning

WordPress consultants and designers typically don’t have an issue with doing what they’re good at. That is, they know how to build awesome websites.

However, a problem we commonly see is the undervaluing of what they do. It’s not intentional. It’s just that… well, why should a client pay more than a few thousand dollars for a WordPress website when it didn’t take that long to build in the first place?

This is what the premium positioning segment was all about.

When attendees were asked how much they typically charge for a website, this was the response:

For those that have already gone through the Blueprint Program or have begun to implement ideas like productising their service, they understood the message here: Stop charging based on time or perceived effort. Charge based on value.

Learn about how to charge higher fees in this free online training workshop.

For those that still trudge through low-paying jobs and difficult-to-work with clients, they were heard saying things like:

“I just can’t say ‘no'.”

And:

“It’s easy to fall into being the person anyone can go to to build a website.”

But as one attendee pointed out:

“We aren’t selling a little website. We’re selling an online presence.”

Storytime with Chris Lema

This is Chris Lema: Masterful storyteller. Trusted WordPress expert. Software guru. This man is a legend and we were so grateful to have him share his words of wisdom at WP Elevation Live. So, what exactly does someone with as much experience as Chris Lema talk about in such a short timeframe? Bridges. More specifically, this bridge:
The Bridge
Sell the bridge

And the moral of this story was:

You’re not selling a service. You’re selling the bridge.

Okay… What does that mean?

Think about it like this:

Your prospective clients are sitting at home, looking up that hill and wondering how the heck they’ll ever make it up there with the big river in their way.

They try to come up with ways to navigate the river, but all their efforts have failed or been otherwise too arduous.

But there you are, waving to them from the other side of the river. You shout:

“Hey! I’ve been there! I found my way around the river and can help you do the same!”

This is the bridge. It’s an answer to their pain. It’s not a lengthy explanation about how you put together a bunch of pieces of wood or beams or, in the case of what you do, code. You tell them a story about how you’ve helped others traverse the river. Just as Chris did when he told the story about the bridge.

Simplifying Sales

The next segment of WP Elevation Live blended smoothly with Chris’s lesson. In sum:

Understand that prospects and clients don’t care about you. Or the plugins you’re going to use. Or how long you’ve been designing websites.

They just want to know that you’re going to remove their pain/roadblocks/river.

The Gap Widener
The Gap Widener

To do this, you have to simplify and streamline your sales system. If you do this right, you’ll stop having to work so hard to convince prospects to convert. Instead, the right kinds of clients will come to you out of sheer awareness of what you can do.

Dana Malstaff Is a Boss

Dana Malstaff (A.K.A. Boss Mom) is an incredible example of someone who’s owned the marketing game so effortlessly that it’ll make you wonder, “Why the hell haven’t I thought of that?”

While speaking at WP Elevation Live, she clued us in to many of the tricks she’s utilised to launch her business, scale her community and do so organically.

Here are some of the golden nuggets she shared with us:

Use What Exists
Starting out, Dana worked on making a name for herself in already established communities rather than trying to do the same from a brand new Facebook community of her own.

Search for Relevant Convos
Rather than try to be ever-present in any and every Facebook group and discussion, Dana utilised the search function to ensure that she was engaged with only the right conversations.

Get to Know Your Audience’s Pain
Dana admitted that she didn’t initially know what her audience’s pain was. Surprise! It wasn’t that they wanted to make more money. It was that they wanted their businesses to be legitimised.

Leverage the Facebook Algorithm
For the most part, Dana has built the Boss Mom Facebook group and community organically.

Boss Mom Facebook
The Boss Mom Facebook page

Want to know how she did it? She leveraged the Facebook algorithm, which seems surprisingly simple to do once she explained how it works. However, it does require continual work to convince people in the group to engage with posts and then to convince the algorithm that your page is an influencer worth putting in front of a larger audience.

Improving Operational Flow

Next up, we focused on operational flow and, more specifically: Why you’re too often the bottleneck holding your company back. Struggling with Open Loops? Use this guide to close up unnecessary and wasteful loops and get more done today. This isn’t a problem strictly relegated to WordPress consultants. Anyone who’s built a business from the ground up typically runs into this issue. After all, this is your baby. You created the processes. You probably even managed most or all of them starting on Day 1. It’s hard to let go and entrust that others can run with the ball on your behalf. But if you want to stop your workflow from looking like this:
Operational Bottleneck
Operational Bottleneck

And make it look more like this:

Operational Flow
Operational Flow
Then, it’s time to refine your processes and learn how to automate, delegate and delete when possible.

Adam Preiser: The Bald Guy on YouTube

Some of you may already know who Adam Preiser is. If you’re not familiar with his name, then maybe you know his brands WP Crafter and CartFlows. Still unsure if or where you know him from? This should jog your memory:
Adam Preiser

That’s right. Adam is “The Bald Guy on YouTube” (that’s his unofficial name, by the way). Having built a non-techie YouTube community of over 97,000 WordPress users, Adam was the perfect person to talk to about branding.

Among the many tips he shared with us, these were the ones that stood out:

Quote White
“Everyone should put their face on everything.”
As he explained, if you can show your face and let your audience hear your voice, they’ll know that there’s a real person behind the brand. It’s easier to connect with and trust a consultant or designer or even brand if you know who you’re working with. It's also great for recognisability, even if they can't remember your name or your brand name off the bat. (They will eventually though!) He also pointed out that:
“If people don’t understand the benefits of something like your product, how do you expect to sell it to them?”
Adam told a story about how an erroneous assumption about his audience’s understanding of his sales funnel product led to an unexpectedly slow sales start. He’s obviously recovered since then and has built an amazing predictable product for his brand, but it took a hard lesson to sort that one out.

Productising for Profit

In the last session of the day, we discussed how to turn a service into a product. However, rather than rely solely on the lesson we had to share, we let others share their stories of productising for profit: One such story told was of Bill Erickson from Genesis Themes. Tired of slogging through lengthy and complex website-building jobs, Bill created a system for designing websites and productised it. He told clients:
“Gimme your PSD and I’ll give you a website in one week.”
He then set a strict schedule: work Monday through Thursday; deliver Friday. Even if clients failed to deliver content to him by the agreed-upon date, he’d still get to work with what little he had. Paula Glynn was in attendance at WP Elevation Live and told a story about the page speed optimisation product she developed. She told clients:
“Gimme access to your website and we’ll fix it.”
Paula and her team would then go into their websites, optimise for speed and get the green from Google. Clients didn’t care about the ins and outs of what she did. They were just thrilled to see the results. For anyone who’s struggled with having to justify what they do and why they charge as much as they do for it, productising will save you a lot of trouble. It also saves your clients from decision fatigue — which can harm both you and them in the process. This is what happens when you give your clients too many options to choose from:
Decision Fatigue

When you take control of the conversation by productising a solution, this is what happens:

Productise for Ease

You create the perfect bridge that requires little thought on your client’s part and an easier solution for you to implement.

Wrap Up

We'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who took time to come out to Santa Monica for WP Elevation Live.

Farewell Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA. Overlooking the beach

It means a great deal to us to be able to give WordPress consultants a strong community within which they can learn and grow. And nothing makes Troy and Simon happier than being able to bring that to a live stage.

Simon
Will we see you at the next WP Elevation LIVE EVENT?
We'd also want to thank our guest speakers — Chris Lema, Dana Malstaff and Adam Preiser — for taking their time to share their insights with us. It was a great pleasure being able to look behind the curtain of these inspiring geniuses. And for those of you who didn’t make it out to this session of WP Elevation Live or are thinking about coming to the next one… What are you waiting for? Oh, right. We don’t have another one on the books yet. That’s okay. Start with this free online course, claim a copy of this proposal template and don’t forget to join the Digital Mavericks Facebook group. Start setting the wheels of change in motion now so you can make the most of the next live event!
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