What I learned at WordCamp DFW 2019

I love WordCamps.

Ever since I attended my first WordCamp at WordCamp DFW in 2016, I’ve been hooked on going to them. And in 2017 and 2018, I was the PR/Social Media organizer for WordCamp DFW.

This year, I did not continue as one of the organizers for WordCamp DFW. But I still went this past weekend because I knew I would learn something in at least one of the sessions. And did I ever learn.

I attended 11 sessions and walked away having learned at least one thing and come up with one idea to use from all of them. Seriously, it was a steal for just $40.

So today, I thought I would share the three top things I learned at WordCamp DFW 2019.

Start earning recurring income

If I was handing out awards at WordCamp DFW, Nathan Ingram would undoubtedly take home the “best in show” prize. Of course, there’s no such thing because WordCamps are most definitely not a competition. But I absolutely loved his talk, and it’s the one that I got the most out of and felt the most inspired by.

Ingram gave a presentation on “The Power of Recurring Income” and talked about how recurring revenue can give freelancers (and really small business owners) freedom and safety. Imagine if you only get by on the power of sales, especially if you sell services rather than products.

But with recurring revenue, you’re not dependent on just sales to get by. You always know that you have a base amount coming in each month or year and your sales only add to that amount. It becomes freeing in a way.

Since Ingram is from the developer world and WordCamps are usually attended by developer-type folks, he used selling WordPress care packages as an example (which, hint hint, I also offer if you’re in the market for that). But the reality is that this goes for any business.

I’m not familiar with your specific industry or market, but I bet if you sit down and really think about it, you can find something to offer that can be paid on a recurring basis. What is something that your customers are always going to need and pay for? And how can you offer that to them?

Because at the end of the day, that money from that recurring service is going to help you stay afloat. It’s going to free you up to do awesome things with your business. It’s going to take you a while to get to this point, but imagine what you could do if your recurring revenue was enough on its own to cover all of your expenses? How much more could you grow your business?

So start to learn about the power of recurring income.

Start marketing products from development

Also, I got quite a lot out of Bridget Willard’s talk on “Concept Car Marketing – Learning From the Car Industry”.

In the talk, Willard discussed how developers, mainly, never really talked about the products they are working on, waiting, instead, until they are launched to begin that discussion. And then they are left wondering why no one is coming to buy their plugin, theme or other product.

She compared that to the car industry which releases concept car after concept car to get people talking about what’s coming next from the company and generating buzz around it.

I actually did this for my Sports Bench WordPress package. During the development phase, I put out nearly weekly updates on what I was doing and what I hoped the final product looked like. Didn’t quite help me, but I had no idea what marketing was (I still kind of don’t).

And I really like this idea. It might not be for everyone, but it can be a big help for anyone trying to generate interest. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Put it on social media. Create videos about it. Make sure people know what’s coming.

Your mileage may vary based on your industry and products/services you offer. But I really think you should consider seeing what you can do to teaser your future offerings to generate buzz.

Read more books (about business)

Finally, one of the best things that happened this weekend was that a talk gave me the challenge of reading more.

No, this didn’t come from a talk just about books or really reading in general. In fact, it came from a talk by James Bullis about “From Volume to Value: How To Charge What You Are Really Worth”. Not exactly your book-lover’s ideal talk.

But one of the first things he went over were four books that he’s read that helped him grow his web design/development business.

  • The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber
  • Built to Sell by John Warrillow
  • Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
  • Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

These books aren’t specific just to web design and development, or really any specific area or industry. So I highly recommend you check them out from your local library or bookstore and see what they can teach you.

It’s also a reminder that I probably should be reading more. I tend to get so focused on my day job and trying to grow this freelance business, that I just let reading fall by the wayside. When really, reading can help me grow this freelance business.

So consider this the kick in the pants for me to read more. And maybe for you too if you need it.

Find a local WordCamp

I’ve always said that the best part about WordPress is the community. And it was no different at WordCamp DFW 2019. And I bet you might find it to be that way at a local WordCamp near you.

These are great opportunities to meet fellow business owners and developers who might be able to help you in someway and to just learn more about websites, online business and basically anything else on the internet.

I highly recommend checking out the WordCamp schedule to find a WordCamp near you. Most, if not all, camps cost you either $20 for one day or $40 for both days, and let me tell you that’s a pretty big steal for you. I can almost guarantee you’re going to have a great time.

And if you’ve attended a WordCamp before, leave a comment below talking about your experience and what you learned.