“What do you offer?” A potential Web Dev Business Coaching client recently asked me. It was a great question and a good opportunity to explain to people what I actually do. Web Dev Business Coaching was an evolution for me. A culmination of years of doing Freelance, Web Development and Project Management for startups and Managing Production in the Enterprise space. After speaking at a few WordCamps I was starting to get approached by people that needed help with their own business. The questions weren’t about how to build your own WordPress theme or work with custom post types, it was, “The project is late, the client is upset, so what do I do?” or “Every project ends up costing us more time and more money, how do we stop that and start making money again?” Then it turned into, “I am a graphic designer that wants to change to just doing Web Development. How do I do that?” Another recent question has been, “My contractors always need more time, how do I get that under control?” I started to realize that at several of the positions that I had over the last few years, a large part of my job, was mentoring and training. Working with staff to figure out what they wanted to do. Where their interests lied and where to best utilize their skills. In reality, I’d been doing Web Dev Business Coaching for years.
So after 17+ years in the Web Development industry, I’ve experienced a lot and most likely had to deal with several of the challenges that Web Development Businesses are exposed to daily. This experience gives me a high level of perspective in how to run a Web Development Business. There are many pieces to making a Web Development Business work. I have worked with some of the most talented artists and programmers this planet has ever seen, but they were horrible business people. It wasn’t their fault, they just didn’t have the knowledge to know what to do. After years of working at different companies I started to see a pattern. Some Web Development Shops were really good at executing and getting the work done, while others were really good at sales. It’s rare to find a company good at both, but it can happen. Over the years my value changed from a person who built the site, to a person who managed the client, to a person who managed the team. This didn’t come from a book, a seminar or college. This came from long days, late nights and years in front of the computer. In my early years of training, I learned how to do the work, but I didn’t know how to apply it correctly. I didn’t know why I was doing the work I was doing. Something was missing. It took years for me to formally understand my most valuable asset. It wasn’t that I could build a website or had a good demeanor with clients, it was knowing what was going to happen next.
In the Web Development Industry people tend to move around a lot. This isn’t our parents world where you get a job with one company and stay until you retire. Those days are gone. In fact, looking at a job candidates resume, I’d often be concerned about an applicant that didn’t have multiple previous employers. To me, a person that had worked for several companies had secrets to share. Ways of doing things better, possibly more efficient than we had created in our own vacuum. Yes, a person that moves around a lot could also move from our company too, but everyone moves around eventually and as long as your business is set up for that, you’ll be fine. Another side benefit to working for several companies, was building a strong network. I have always tried to stay in good standing with everyone I’ve worked with and done the right thing. This is important, because in the Web Development Industry, word really does travel fast and you WILL see them again. In fact, there is this unmentioned brotherhood of experienced Web Developers, where we help each other out in hard times. Help with programming, design or possibly giving a colleague some work. Doing this is not only good for the soul, it comes back to you, when you find yourself in need of work too. There is a saying, “It’s who you know.”
What I offer my Web Dev Business Coaching clients
- Non-judgement. People come to me for various reasons. Sometimes they are at their wits end and are ready to give up. They’ve made dumb mistakes and are embarrassed. I’ve done it all and I will share the same stories. I don’t judge, it’s hard to run a Web Development Business.
- Privacy. People don’t want to air their dirty laundry and they’ve worked hard to maintain their reputation. Sometimes people are in transition moving from one thing to another and they don’t want to announce it. I look at our relationship as business/coach/friend. I wouldn’t want anyone talking about me either.
- Actual solutions. I’ve been to so many conferences and presentations that ended in a big pile of generalizations, with no instructions. The way I think about things is we can’t move forward unless we can measure progress. I will tell you exactly what I would do or we can discuss possible solutions that will fit with the way you already do things.
- Insight. I can save you time and money. For people that are busy and don’t have time to try out multiple paths, I can direct you to something that is proven and works. When you are running a business, you don’t have time to experiment.
- Introductions. Some people come to me looking to get into the industry and want to know what to study, what books to read and what conferences to go to. Others want to stop doing cheap websites and start doing expensive websites. Still, others just want me to get them a job. I do all of this and it’s not just about “A” connection, it’s about the “RIGHT” connection.
Every day I wake up and love what I do. For as long as I have done Web Development, I’m surprised at how much it still excites me. I think it’s because this industry is always changing, always evolving and new ideas are introduced every day. I came to the conclusion a few years ago that it’s time to start giving back. To open the doors and start sharing my secrets on how to run a successful Web Development Business. Formally becoming a Web Dev Business Coach is a continuation of that commitment. There will be no greater reward than to see everyone who does Web Development for a living, to truly love what they do.