25 Things You Spend More Than $25 On – An Argument for Managed WordPress Hosting

Twenty-Five Dollars. $25. That’s all I pay for my managed WordPress hosting with my vendor (and client) Pressable. Yet, most people think $25 is expensive. Is it?

Let’s look at other managed WordPress hosting costs (as they describe their monthly pricing):

Your website is for your business. Isn’t it worth $25 a month?

Don’t go cheap. I’ll leave this tweet right here.

The List: 25 Things I spend more than $25 on

  1. Cazadores Tequila. At Hennessy’s it’s $9.50 a shot. Two shots plus a tip and tax is about $35.
  2. Pedicure. A plain pedicure at Happy Nails is $22. With a $5 tip that puts the cost at $27.
  3. Starbucks. Every reload on my  Gold Card is $25. I do that at least once a month.
  4. 2 for 1 burgers on Tuesdays. Again. This with a tip is about $35.
  5. A tank of gas. My last tank of gas at Chevron was $39.42.
  6. Monthly massage at White Lotus Day Spa. I’m a member so it’s $75.
  7. Jewelry. The last bracelet I bought was soft leather. $40
  8. Home Decor. I bought some pillows and paintings at Ross for $34.
  9. Office Supplies. Last run to Staples for misc pens and post-it notes was $67.
  10. Pizza. Domino’s large pizza, soda, delivery fee, and tip. $37.
  11. Sunday Brunch. Pierside blueberry pancakes and bottomless mimosas, tax, tip. $42.
  12. Toll Roads. My last statement was $39.
  13. Uber. I lost track of how much I spend monthly but it’s over $100. It’s why I prefer to walk. But when traveling, you have to do what you have to do.
  14. Hair coloring. My friend does the labor for free but the product at Sally’s beauty supply is $28.
  15. WiFi on Swiss Air flight. $39. It is admittedly less expensive on other airlines, but I had no problem spending this to get connected.
  16. Keepsake Frames. Print of a photo for my mom. $39.
  17. Monthly Flowers. I just purchased a subscription from Enjoy Flowers for $68.
  18. Airport Parking. The last time I parked at SNA it was $60. (Not everyone has a person who will drop them off and pick them up at the airport.)
  19. Choosing your seat on Swiss. I was glad to pay $55 each way to choose an aisle seat on my international flight to Belgrade.
  20. Vacation. Even though I won a two night stay at an all-inclusive resort, I had no trouble paying $215 for the airfare.
  21. Premium Plugins. I spent $100 on Beaver Builder and $30 on Better Click to Tweet without any reservation.
  22. Shorts. The last pair of shorts I bought from Old Navy was $22. Tax and shipping put that over.
  23. Advertising. $30 for LinkedIn. More than two $20 boosts on Facebook.
  24. Makeup. My last Glossier order was $30. That’s not my only vendor.
  25. Donations. I donate $20 to 4Ocean and $5 to FreeCodeCamp every month, plus the odd request for someone in need.

None of these include utilities, rent, cell phones, internet, insurance, taxes, groceries, or car payments. These are items that come out of discretionary income.

People Speak up on Twitter

https://twitter.com/rajendrazore/status/1023434580194250752

Your Time is Worth Money

It doesn’t matter to me which host you choose, but pick managed hosting. The race to the bottom is real. Get good service. Invest in your own business by investing in your website.

This also means blogging on a regular basis but that’s anther post.

SaaS: The Cost of Doing Business Online

These days you hear a lot of complaining about online costs. People think “online” means “free.” It doesn’t; nor should it. So what is the cost of doing business online? In this post I’ll detail my software as a service expenses to give you an idea.

Software as a Service (Saas)

Software as a Service basically means you can get a service through a webpage. Wikipedia has a better definition. The point is, that digital space has a cost. Software over the cloud has a cost. Clouds are not free.

Traditional Services

Traditional services like accounting and law typically charge retainers and charge by 15 minute increments. We never question this. So why not value our own time?

This also includes monthly, recurring costs like cable (internet provider), electricity (to power and charge the devices you use to get to the cloud), cell phones to work remotely and call clients, as well as a percentage of your mortgage/rent or co-working fees.

This isn’t the place for it, but please. Understand your costs as an agency. Understanding your costs allows you to charge for your value.

My Monthly SaaS Costs

I spend quite a bit of money for cloud-based tools that I deem necessary to run my Marketing Consultancy.

Here are my monthly costs rounded to the nearest dollar:

  • Website Hosting at Pressable $25
  • Postmatic (for content delivery and commenting) $20
  • Dropbox (for website & photo backups) $10
  • Backblaze (backup computer) $10
  • iTunes (cloud storage) $4
  • Hootsuite (manage client social accounts) $15
  • Freshbooks (invoicing clients) $25
  • Canva.com (making graphics) $15

The total amount I spend monthly on things specifically to run my business is $124. Read more SaaS: The Cost of Doing Business Online

Why Small Business Owners Should Read Self-Help Books

Small business owners wear a lot of hats: founder, CEO, sometimes office manager and janitor. So why do I advocate reading self-help books? There’s a few reasons but they all boil down to leadership — soft skills.

Firstly, I “self-help” has a negative connotation. I call it nonfiction, research, and personal development. Whatever way you look at it, if you have a small business, you have challenges that often lie on the outside of your primary skillset: the reason you built the business.

Soft skills are the social glue that brings together all aspects of any successful business. Click To Tweet

As a small business owner, you are a leader. Leaders create company culture that works for everyone. Leaders model psychological safety. Leaders understand their own limitations.

How can you possibly be a successful business without first understanding yourself and secondly understanding your team? We haven’t even stared talking about understanding your audience, customers, and potential market.

Leaders Model Company Culture

Company culture is created whether you intend to or not. Intentional company culture provides a path to success. Your small business depends upon you to create culture. It’s almost impossible to create it bottom-up. It comes from the top.

One of the aspects of a small business company culture that is important is vulnerability. Small businesses are a small team. Your team has to look up to you. As a culture, we view vulnerability as weakness. It’s not weak; it’s the opposite. True vulnerability is strength. That strength not only encourages your team to trust you, but it inspires them to try (and fail) as well.

The more vulnerable I have been, the more encouraged I have been to continue to do so — through business connections, mentorship opportunities, and the growth of my own empathy.

“The most transformative and resilient leaders that I’ve worked with over the course of my career have three things in common.

First, they recognize the central role that relationships and story play in culture and strategy, and they stay curious about their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Second, they understand and stay curious about how emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are connected in the people they lead, and how those factors affect relationships and perception.

And, third, they have the ability and willingness to lean in to discomfort and vulnerability.” Brené Brown, Rising Strong

True vulnerability is strength -- it encourages your team to trust you and inspires them to try (and fail) as part of the learning process. Click To Tweet

Leaders Create Psychological Safety

The vulnerability that you express creates a safe space. Small business owner, I ask you these questions:

  1. Do you feel safe to fail?
  2. Does your team?
  3. What are the implied or strict consequences of failure?
  4. How is that treated in your company culture?
  5. What kind of atmosphere exists in your stand up meetings or staff meetings?
  6. Do your employees come to you with ideas or concerns?

I can’t answer those questions for you. These are questions that require self-reflection and thought.  It may require observation over time and meetings with your management. Successful teams need to feel safe. If your team isn’t bonding, how can that be fixed?

“In Edmondson’s hospital studies, the teams with the highest levels of psychological safety were also the ones with leaders most likely to model listening and social sensitivity. They invited people to speak up. They talked about their own emotions. They didn’t interrupt other people. When someone was concerned or upset, they showed the group that it was okay to intervene. They tried to anticipate how people would react and then worked to accommodate those reactions. This is how teams encourage people to disagree while still being honest with one another and occasionally clashing. This is how psychological safety emerges: by giving everyone an equal voice and encouraging social sensitivity among teammates.” Charles Duhigg, Smarter Faster Better

The best benefit you can offer your company's employees is the freedom to fail. Click To Tweet

Leaders Understand Their Own Limitations

There is nothing worse than a person who can’t see their own limitations. This is the moral to the story in the Emperor’s New Clothes. We delude ourselves with our own pride and often forget to look at the whole context.

This is another reason why leaders and small business owners should meet and mastermind with people outside of their own industry. Thought diversity is an important component of innovation. What can a manufacturer of tile learn from a computer programmer? How can a battery business learn from solar? The connections we make foster ideas. Confirmation bias is a danger and the first step to protecting yourself is to recognize its existence.

“A modern name for Smith’s insights about self-deception is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias happens when we filter reality through our biases, ignoring evidence that challenges or refutes what we believe and eagerly accepting evidence that confirms what we believe.” Russ Roberts, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

Do you dismiss alternative theories and ideas as negative or are you thankful for a differing view? Click To Tweet

What are you reading?

If leaders who understand their own limitations, create an intentional company culture with psychological safety, then understanding yourself, your team, and your customers will follow. And with that internal success, external (financial) success is bound to follow.

So, what are you reading? What inspires you?

Specialize and Refer – Grow Your Network

How do you grow your network? That’s easy: specialize and refer. We all live off of word of mouth, if it’s not your specialty, refer. Right?

I was thinking of writing about this and then saw Rebecca Gill’s tweet. So this post came alive.

Why Specialize?

“Do one thing and do it well.”
“If everyone is your client, no one is.”
“Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

These are the clichés that make up business advice we all know. Okay, the last one was from my mom.

But the point is you can’t do everything – and do it well. Which reminds me of the ‘good-fast-cheap triangle’ tweet my friend Rachelle Wise just sent last week.

Thinking we can do everything is not only delusional, but distracts us from the things that really make us money. We’re in business for a reason, right?

If you’re a roofer, be a roofer. Go horizontal if you want, and do HVAC, but don’t start installing windows.

If you build websites, build sites. Go horizontal and make apps, but don’t start making videos.

Do what you know. Do what you can do well, efficiently, and make a profit.

How do you refer?

Knowing that we should refer and knowing how to refer are two different things. If you refer the right way, you’re still providing a valuable service to the client. It’s not losing business, it’s about being that go-to person, the expert, and the well-connected person.

If someone asks me if I do Facebook Advertising, I say,

“Sorry, John, I don’t do Facebook Ads, but my friend Jason at Thought House does.”

You can either give your client their contact information or write an email to them both. “John meet Jason. Jason meet John. John wants Facebook ads, I told him, you’re the best.”

This way, you’re making an introduction, and keeping your brand top of mind to all parties involved.

How do referrals grow my network?

Referrals work on the human emotions of trust and reciprocity. Firstly, by referring, I am extending my brand to another. I am saying, I trust this person, you can, too. So be careful about referring to people you don’t trust.

Secondly, if you send enough business someone’s way, they will also begin to refer you. That’s reciprocity. Heck, if you are just a nice person, your network will send people your way. I cannot even tell you how many dozens of people have sent others my way in the last four months.

Sometimes, they come in the form of public tweets. I have amazing and generous friends.

Do you refer, Bridget?

I absolutely refer. Firstly, I don’t build websites, I refer people to agencies. And I’ve even agreed to a partnership with Roy Sivan of ARC(CTRL).

I also don’t do Pinterest. I refer them to my very good friend Carol Stephen of Your Social Media Works. I don’t blog. I mean, I can, but I’d be way too expensive. So I refer clients to my friend Jen Miller of Need Someone To Blog. She has a system. She’s efficient. Guess what? She doesn’t do social. She sends me leads.

Do you see how it works?

Be serious about your brand and your focus. Kill the things that consume too much time. Specialize and refer the rest. You’ll never regret it.

rawpixel.com

Say “Yes” To Yourself: Why I Started My Business

What does it mean to say “yes” to yourself? Saying “yes” to yourself is about taking a risk — regardless of your fear — and going forward. If you fail, it won’t be because you didn’t try. This is why I started my business.

I’m sure I heard it somewhere but I’ve found myself advising my friends this year,

“If you don’t apply to speak, you say ‘no’ to yourself.”

The inverse is “say ‘yes’ to yourself.” This is my 2018 statement.

Daily reminder at #GuruHQ: say yes to yourself. #marketing #freelance

A post shared by Bridget Willard (@bridgetmwillard) on

Why the Business?

When my services at my dream job were no longer needed, I found myself at a crossroads. Do I look for another job? Do I take on clients? It wasn’t an easy choice, yet I knew I had to make a decision.

My late husband wanted me to start my business in 2009. All of my social media friends for the last ten or so years have always encouraged me to go into business.

I had the support of my friends and family:

My sister-in-law believes in me. My grandma believes in me. My mom believes in me. My long-term friends believe in me. Julie Brigham tells me to say “I am awesome. I love me.”

Still, I was afraid. I knew social media. It was running a business which scared me.

Then I realized I have all of the skills I need to run a business. Accounting, job costing, customer service, teaching, marketing, reporting, counseling, sales, and proposal writing have all been learned on my awkward career path. My broken road wasn’t broken — it was training.

I had the knowledge, the skills, and the support I needed. I was still worried only now, I knew I could and should make the leap. I knew I would succeed.

New Logo: A Dragon

With a new direction comes a new logo. My previous tagline was “Giving Unsolicited Advice Since 2011” which is true. Sometimes I’d joke and say that “I do things the hard way so you don’t have to.” But when I decided to start this business I thought more about my clients and how I can help them.

I was chatting with my friend Jason Lemieux of Postmatic about how I approach social media marketing. He said, “Oh. You’re the Jane Goodall of Twitter.” Yes. I study them and I work hard to be them.

So when I was in Seattle with Justine Pretorious, I bounced off my new tagline and she said, “Yeah. That’s you.”

“Your voice. Your power. Your Brand.”

I asked Cheryl and Sherrie LaPrade, of Rosie the Wapuu fame, to take my tattoo and make it into my logo using it for color cues. (Wait, tattoo? Read the next section).

I love what they did. It’s so me.

  • ocmarketingguy That’s really awesome Bridget – I love that you incorporated your new ink! #badass #branding 😎👍🏼
  • meg.delagrange Ohhhh it gives me chills, you are moving forward powerful Queen!
  • mhanes Amazingly well done, communicates you perfectly 🙂

Thank you @cheryllynn730 and @sheriebeth79 !!! Happy New Year!

A post shared by Bridget Willard (@bridgetmwillard) on

A Dragon and a Flower

So, what’s up with your new logo? It came from my tattoo.

Fear has always been my nemesis. It’s had too much of a hold on my life for too long — in every single area. I cannot allow it.

In November, I did it. I decided upon a dragon because they are fierce and powerful. I wanted it on my right hip to remind myself that I have my own power. The flowers speak of my femininity. I can be a strong woman who is fierce and powerful and soft and pretty. These are not flaws or mutually-exclusive attributes. It’s me — I’m a whole person who is powerful.

My power is my voice. Your power is your voice. Let’s amplify them together.

“Your voice. Your power. Your Brand.”

 

 

Brooke Lark