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I'm Carrie Dils, WordPress instructor and podcaster. Ask me anything!

May. 3, 2017

I've had a long and winding journey from a freelance web designer in the late 90's to an independent web developer focused on WordPress at present. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I've learned that I thrive when I can help empower other people with knowledge. To that end, I:

* teach front-end web development, WordPress, and the Genesis Framework on Lynda.com / LinkedIN Learning
* help organize and volunteer at local WP community events
* travel the US speaking at WordCamps (one of these days I'll get out of the country)
* host a podcast for freelancers and creatives who work with WordPress
* writing a "real world survival guide" for new freelancers

When I'm not in front of my computer, I'm hanging out with my two rescue labradors, nursing a craft beer, and enjoying good food with my husband, Dave. I occasionally pretend to be athletic.

I'm armed with coffee and a laptop. Ask me anything!

Comment
36 votes   Flag
Joe Casabona

How's the book writing process going? What was harder than you expected and what was easier?

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Joe! Thanks for breaking the ice here. :)

The book writing process is so much more difficult than I anticipated. Of course it takes time to write, but there are all these other decisions in the mix like:

* will I self-publish (yes)
* will I do KDP Select (this is equivalent to the will I sell in a marketplace that keeps some of the $ but gets me visibility, or will I market myself and keep 100%)
* what's the marketing strategy (I'm working with Diane Kinney, so you know we had to talk about that early on)
* will we offer "packaged" variations of the book (yes)
* what collaborative writing tool will we use (after trying several options we settled on Microsoft OneNote)

Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

I think where I went wrong in the beginning was assuming I could treat the book like a "nights and weekends" project. It needs full, calendared attention just like a development project would.

All that said, Diane and I are still excited about the project and are pushing to get it out there. :)

Reply
Bojana Milosevic

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for taking time for AMA.

Can you tell us a few big advantages to going freelance?

Thank you

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Bojana,

You bet. The first advantage is that I'm not wearing pants as I type this from my home office. ;) Seriously though, my favorite things about freelancing are:

* Flexibility of schedule - I can set my own hours. I can leave during the middle of the day to go for a walk and not have to ask anyone's permission.
* Freedom to change directions - Last year I made a decision to stop doing client work so that I could focus full-time on teaching, writing, and podcasting. I'm free to take risks and move in directions more quickly than if I were part of a larger organization.

One thing I want to note, however, is that the best things about freelancing can also be the worst.

* Flexibility of schedule and working "whenever" is great, but it also leads to a lack of boundaries between what is "work time" and what is not. It's taken me years to get to the point where I consciously choose to not work on a Saturday (not answering email, not checking numbers, not even cracking open my laptop). As a business owner, your work is always with you and it takes a certain discipline (that I've long lacked) to set up appropriate boundaries around your time.
* It's awesome to be able to go in any direction with your business, but the flip side is that I bear 100% of the risk. There is no cushion (employer paycheck) to take when my projects fail.

To sum it up, freelancing is amazing and I love what I do, but it's not for everyone. I wrote more on the topic here: carriedils.com/freelancer-not-for-everyone/

Reply
Milan Ivanović

Hey Carrie,

Can you tell us what tools do you use on daily basis? Also, if you had a magic wand, what would you change in WordPress?

Thanks,
Milan

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Milan,

I spend a ridiculous amount of time in Google Drive. I don't know if that counts as a tool or not, but it's proved a great way to share and collaborate on documents and stay organized. Also for organizing, I rely heavily on Todoist and iCal.

I'm not doing as much development work currently as I was in the past, but when I do, I'm hanging out in Sublime Text and iTerm.

For my podcast, I spend a lot of time editing Audacity and prepping artwork in Photoshop. The one other tool I almost forget I use until I'm on someone else's computer is Spectacle. It's a Mac app that lets you create different window sizes/positions with shortcuts.

What would I change in WP if I had a magic wand? I think that I would change the current structure of WordCamp approval and support. It's a true labor of love to organize a camp and it's disheartening to try and adhere to a set of ideals that don't take into consideration cultural and geographical differences. I don't have a solution (I'm just here to complain - ha!) but there is no "one size fits all" and I wish they weren't treated that way.

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Kyle Maurer

1. WordPress training is pretty big right now. Do you think it always will be? What if somehow WordPress got fifty times easier? What would happen?
2. It's pretty clear that you enjoy podcasting. But you probably wouldn't keep at it if it contributed no value to you and your business. As far as your motivation for continuing, what percentage do you believe is personal and what is practical? Like "I do this 50% because it helps my business and 50% because I just like it".
3. Do you like dill pickles?
4. What is your most commonly preferred beer style? Like when you hit a new brewery and you see it on the tap list, you'll most likely try it?
5. Which beer styles do you find least appealing?
6. Who in the WordPress community is not currently podcasting but you think would be doing the world a favor if they did and you'd subscribe for sure?
7. Do you believe there are too many WP podcasts? Or just too many that are too similar?
8. What is your favorite animal at the zoo?
9. Tabs or spaces?
10. When you're at an event, what are examples of questions you wish people would stop asking you?
11. As you peer out across the WordPress landscape and observe all the different businesses, products, events, shows, people, etc., what are you personally surprised to see so much of? Also, what are you surprised to see so little of?
12. You've built up a pretty solid audience and community. Is there any one thing that you really appreciate most about your community?
13. It strikes me that a model serving the freelance community probably isn't the easiest in the world to monetize. Do you think that's true? Is that a challenge you face?
14. What was the best concert you ever attended?
15. I've never been to Texas. Is it awesome? Should I really try to visit there?
16. As you reflect on your many interactions with WordPress beginners, what is the biggest misconception or misguided expectation you encounter which you wish could just be suddenly, magically, universally corrected?
17. I'm pretty excited to see your keynote in Kent next month. What are you hoping attendees will take away from your talk?
18. OMG page builders!! Are you enamored with them or sick of hearing about them?
19. What were some of your most notable "Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be, why did I wait so long to try it?" moments?
20. Have you seen "The Fundamentals of Caring"? I just saw it recently. It was pretty good. It's on Netflix.
21. What are some things you've been wanting to try with your business which you believe will make a positive impact but you just haven't gotten around to yet?
22. What's your favorite EDD extension?
23. Who are some of your favorite unsung heroes in the WP community?
24. When you need a little inspiration, you turn to...
25. Did you plan on getting any real work done today?

Reply
carrie dils

I don't have enough room on my BIG SCREEN MONITOR to even see all of these questions without scrolling. That said, game on.

1. I don't know.

2. This is a hard question because I genuinely enjoy podcasting and I think it's beneficial to others. That said, it is definitely a labor of love. If I had to put a percentage on it, I'd say 75% because it helps my business and 25% because I just like it.

3. Yes

4. IPA

5. Wheat

6. Diane Kinney

7. There's always room for more. People tune in for personalities more than they tune in for content (IMHO). That said, it'd be nice to hear from some different voices outside of the WP "bubble"

8. I don't like the zoo. It stinks.

9. Tabs FTW

10. Not sure?

11. Form plugins. ?

12. I love that my community create their own relationships within the community. See twitter.com/Sara11D/status/859141365883686914

13. That thought frequently crosses my mind. :) I haven't managed to monetize it to date, so I'm not sure how that will go. That said, freelancing is something I've done for so long, with tons of mistakes along the way, so I see a clear need to serve that audience.

14. U2 (Vertigo tour)

15. God smiles when he looks upon Texas. You should visit.

16. The myth of passive income and how quickly you can acheive it.

17. Inspiration mixed with some actionable to-dos

18. Page builders serve a need. The only one I really like is Beaver Builder.

19. Sass

20. I haven't, but I'm adding it to my list!

21. Formalized mentorship or masterminds. In-person coaching.

22. EDD Stripe. It makes sure I get paid. :)

23. All of the many volunteers that organize local camps and meetups

24. Long walks on a warm, sunny day

25. Not if people keep posting 25-part AMA's. ;)

xoxo

Reply
Paul Oyler

Hey, Carrie!

Told ya I could come up with a question or two...

1. What is your favorite current TV show, network or streaming? And why?

2. What is your favorite music for working, for relaxing and for jamming?

3. Star Trek, Star Wars, or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

4. Alabama or Texas?

5. Just what in the world IS a Horny Toad?

Thanks,
Pappy Paul

PS. OfficeHours.FM is the BEST WordPress podcast and OfficeHours.fm Top 10 is the PERFECT introduction to the best podcast. EVERYONE should subscribe!

Right now!

Go subscribe!

Reply
carrie dils

1. Eh, no favorite at the moment. Generally speaking, I love English period dramas. (Downton Abbey)

2. Brain.FM (working), lately I've been stuck on Reggae

3. None of the above (feel free to revoke my Nerd Card)

4. Psshhhhhppptttth

5. Horned lizards are a genus (Phrynosoma) of lizards which are the type genus of the subfamily Phrynosomatinae. The horned lizard has been affectionately called a "horny toad", or "horned frog", though they are not moist-skinned toads or frogs. Also, they are the mascot of Texas Christian University. RIFF RAM!

Reply
Róbey Lawrence

Geez! I feel like Kyle asked 'All of the questions' just now.
ummm...
what is your favourite shape??

Reply
carrie dils

Circles. Because round is funny.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLEabGpRPkI

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BobWP

Ha I am guessing you are busy with Kyle's question blitz. So I'll keep it easy.

1. What is your favorite and least favorite part of podcasting?

2. So you write your posts in a doc or directly into the editor?

3. And one that has kept me up at nights:
How much Words can a WordPress press, if a WordPress could press Words?

Reply
carrie dils

Hi Bob!

1. I LOVE just getting to talk to other smart people 1 on 1. My least favorite part is editing.

2. Directly in the editor.

3. If we can use Tootsie Pops as a learning lesson, the answer is approximately 252.

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Adam W. Warner

Hi Carrie,

So informative and fun so far!

1. What was your first job ever and how old were you?

2. Did you try any platforms before WordPress (straight HTML site building doesn't count) and if so, what was it about WordPress that made you stick with it?

3. Is there a physics trick to punching a hole through a beer can with one's thumb or is it straight brute force?

4. If you were an animal, what animal would you be? (labs excluded)

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Adam!

1. I babysat neighborhood kids probably starting in 6th grade. Other than odds and ends, my first job after that was folding mailers and licking stamps for a realtor in exchange for guitar lessons from his wife. That was maybe 9th grade.

2. Eh, I did MoveableType and Blogger back in the day. I also set up an e-commerce site on Magento, but that was like driving a bus when a bicycle would've done. A friend introduced me to WP and it was so much simpler to use (compared to Magento). The rest is history. :)

3. No brute force required. Also, I defy physics.

4. Hmmm... probably a cat? Cat's do whatever the heck they want.

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Adam W. Warner

Puuuuuurrrrrrfect! ;)

Reply
carrie dils

HA!

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Matt Cromwell

Hey Carrie!

You've done product work, client work, agency work, teaching. How do you enjoy each of those? What are the major challenges of each? Do you have a favorite? Least favorite?

Thanks!

Reply
carrie dils

With a couple of short sentences, you've asked some big questions!

I'll start with the present. I enjoy teaching the most, probably because it feels the most effortless of the bunch. Not effortless as in workload (there's a ton of work that goes into courses), but effortless as in the most natural fit.

I've done (and enjoyed) client/agency work for a long time, but personally felt I needed a change of pace - a different sort of challenge. Teaching has definitely fit the bill for that. Product development has, too. It's just a different set of problems to solve. :)

One note on solo vs agency work: While my preference is as a Lone Ranger, there's SO MUCH VALUE in working with a team. Most recently I'm speaking to my experience with Crowd Favorite. It's nice to work with smart people who can help with problems when I'm stuck. It's nice to have a sort of "forced" exposure to technology I wouldn't have necessarily worked with on my own. And it's nice to work on larger scale projects - something I definitely wouldn't have had as an independent.

I've gotta go refill my coffee...

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Matt Cromwell

Thanks Carrie... my motto is ask loaded questions or don't ask at all ;-)

What about product work, thinking specifically of your Genesis themes. Has that been fulfilling, enriching? Would you love to do more product work and all that means (marketing, sales, etc)?

Reply
carrie dils

LOL I'm actually in the process of overhauling my theme, Utility Pro (with the help of the amazing Gary Jones). Products are fun in the sense that you keep getting paid long after the work is done. The issue is that IT'S A LOT OF WORK.

If I look at lifetime sales for Utility Pro and take out what I've spent maintaining the theme (the ecom site, support, etc.), I'm making < $50/hr for every hour I originally spent in development. That's not bad money at all, but it's a lot of up-front time spent for $0 in hopes to reap the benefit of that "passive income" down the road.

That said, it is a fun process and an educational one at that. I'm sure I'll keep doing it. :)

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Vladimir Prelovac

Carrie!

Whats the most beautiful city you visited because of a WordCamp?

See you in Paris this year? :)

Thanks!

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Vladimir! That's a good question... I don't think I've traveled anywhere exotic for a camp so far. That said, the winner is probably WC San Diego - because there's a beach. :)

I won't be able to make it to Paris - I'm slotted to be back at Lynda.com that week working on some courses. But I am tempted to see if I can switch things around... That would be amazing to attend.

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Matt Cromwell

Woot! SD for the win!

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Ginger

Howdy partner,

What feature/problems do you think could be solved by a WordPress plugin that you're surprised there aren't more of?

Do you like niche themes as a product?

Reply
carrie dils

Heya! This isn't a plugin so much as an approach to the way WP displays plugins, but it'd be awesome if plugin extensions were grouped together (hierarchy style) in the admin Plugin view. For example:

- Easy Digital Downloads
-- EDD for Stripe
-- EDD for Helpscout
- WooCommerce
-- Memberships for WooCommerce
-- Subscriptions for WooCommerce

That's not what you asked, but that's what came to mind. :)

I like niche themes as a market because (generally speaking) people have a hard time visualizing a more generic theme to work for their site. It's like walking into an empty house - it's hard to visualize what it could look like with your own furniture. Niche themes provide a way to show a site "staged" for a particular type of business or organization.

That said, when it comes to selling niche themes, I think there'd be a ton of work marketing them and getting them discovered if you're selling independently vs a marketplace.

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Michael Terndrup

Hey, Carrie!

Will you get a tattoo of my dog is name is Mo he so sweet.

I really want to help nonprofits with their websites get them to use WordPress any suggestions?

Do you think that it's hard for new people to join the community because so many people are doing it now?

How can someone like me who does more website maintenance continue to grow in the WordPress community?

One last question there going to be a WordCamp in DC near me I live in Strasburg Virginia do you see there soon being one in every state in American in the future?

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Michael!

I only have 2 tattoos and, should I get a 3rd, it probably won't be of Mo. ;)

That's awesome that you want to focus on helping non-profits. I'd look less at getting them interested in WordPress as software and more at helping them figure out how a website could solve their problems (and then you can use WP!).

One of the things I've always admired about people in the WordPress community is their willingness to embrace newcomers. I would strongly encourage anyone working with WP to become involved in the community. Now whether you can _sell_ services/products to this community is a separate question but in terms of being involved (learning from some, sharing with others), definitely, do it!

The WordPress ecosystem is made up of all sorts - some serve clients, some make products, some do maintenance, some write content, some sub-contract, some offer support, the list goes on... If you want to continue to grow in the WP community, just keep doing what you're doing: showing up and having conversations. WordCamp DC will be a great place to do that!

I'm not sure how many states in the US have hosted a camp. If anyone else reading this knows, chime in!

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Nemanja Aleksic

Thanks for being on the AMA!

1) What was the biggest challenge you faced creating Lynda tutorials?

2) When will you dethrone Morten as the No.1 WordPress course creator on Lynda?

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Nemanja!

1. I think it was the realization that I didn't know stuff as well as I thought I did. Understanding how to do something in order to do it and understanding how something works at a deep enough level that you can teach it are two different things. :) The bright side is that those courses have sharpened me.

2. Never! And I don't want to. I originally learned WP watching Morten on Lynda, so in many ways, I credit him with helping start my career with WP. I continue to learn from Morten. He's awesome. :)

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Nemanja Aleksic

side note: this is the 15000th thread on ManageWP.org! Drinks on Carrie! :D

Reply
carrie dils

WOOOOOHOOOOOO! I'll buy you a drink, but you have to come to Texas. ;)

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Nemanja Aleksic

I'll hold you to that!

Reply
JazzFan Junkie

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?

Reply
carrie dils

One horse-sized duck. Less clutter.

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Ross Johnson

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for doing an AMA.

You do a lot of different types of work... freelance, teaching, products, your book, podcast, etc...

As a solo entrepreneur, how do you balance the needs of each avenue? Any one probably requires regular attention and I can't help but think if I was in your shoes I'd spend all day just bouncing from one to the other without really being productive on anything. It sounds like you've found a way however, I'd love to learn more.

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Ross,
I appreciate the question. I've found that setting aside entire days to one thing has helped keep me the most focused and productive. For example, some days are "podcast days" - all of my tasks for the day have something to do with the podcast. Likewise with "course writing" days. Of course, which tasks get a designated day depends largely on priority/deadlines. Those two are most of my days at present. :)

I tend to set Fridays aside to handle operational tasks (bill pay, balancing books, renewing licenses, etc.)

I'm not perfect in my execution, but blocking off days seems to work best for me.

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Claire Brotherton

Accessibility is a passion of mine, so...

How could we make more WordPress plugins which generate accessible content?

Could you write one yourself?

What type of plugin would you most like to see an accessible version of?

Reply
carrie dils

Yay for accessibility!

There are already some good plugins out there (most notably WP Accessibility) that address some of the more structural elements of accessibility. As for content, that's the $64,000 question. Rachel Carden's got a solid start with her wa11y plugin - it includes some assessment tools content creators can use.

I think educating content creators on their role in accessibility is part of the solution. Reality though is that a plugin that "forced" (or at least strongly encouraged) accessibility in the WP editor would be awesome. For instance. If you're working under an H2 header, your only headline options would be another H2 or an H3 and so forth. Now that'd be a frustrating UX so clearly not a great implementation, but that's the idea: Help guide content creators toward better accessibility without them necessarily using an audit tool (because without the education piece, they may not even know they need to use an audit tool).

I'd like to see more attention paid to accessibility with forms and e-commerce plugins (or any plugin that generates a lot of fields). Tab indexing and proper aria roles.

There are people much more capable than me when it comes to speaking on accessibility (you're one of them), but thank you for bringing up the discussion. The more aware we are... :)

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Nemanja Aleksic

This has to be asked. Are you any relation to these fine gentlemen?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnE97BwPeTI

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Adam W. Warner

Whoo hoo! GREAT question!

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carrie dils

LOL not to my knowledge!

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carrie dils

Hey Gillian,

Thank you for the thoughtful questions. I appreciate you being appreciative! :)

1. There will always be clients (or people) that want more than what they pay for. That said, it's our job as service providers to set expectations, communicate frequently, and establish boundaries (i.e. a contract or terms of service) and to do this *from the very first contact with a client*. There are bad clients out there, but I think there are plenty of good ones, too, and that we (the collective "we") as providers have not done a good job of educating our clients about what's involved in a web project. The result is that we're not on the same page as our clients and there becomes this yucky "us vs. them" feeling when they ask for things that we didn't think we were agreeing to. Maybe they know what they're asking for is out of scope, but I'd wager that they don't know they're asking for "extras" - because we haven't set the right expectations. Scope changes should be wonderful things - things that generate additional revenue on a project, not the frustration points that I frequently see them as.

I'm starting to get a little soap-boxy, so I'll leave that answer for now as well as mention my interview with Steve Zehngut on this topic that was so informative (officehours.fm/podcast/142-2/).

2. I think the answer to this question is entirely personal. Not to be overly dramatic, but it takes a great deal of soul-searching (or at least it has for me), to figure out what kind of work you want to do and who you most want to do it for. Frankly, I don't care what other people are doing because that's (hopefully) in line with their own soul-searching and the business model they've come up with. It's a big word with plenty of opportunities so I'm not worried in that sense.

Maybe I'm not answering your question (as you meant the question), so you get the passionate rambler answering my interpretation. :) I've given away a lot of knowledge over the years, but that's all been a part of building a community and establishing expertise. There's a certain type of person that wants to research the heck out of web dev and DIY instead of hiring someone - they'll leverage all the free material they can find (and pay for it as well). There's a lot more people, though, that never ever want to think about code and will hire you to do it. I truly think it goes back to focusing on what makes you happiest. Find the spot where you feel both appreciated for your work and satisfied with the work you're doing. I believe the Japanese call it "ikigai."

pbs.twimg.com/media/C-FDVUbVoAEMJB-.jpg

Please followup with any clarifying questions. :)

Reply
Aaron Jorbin

1) Who inspires you, both personally and professionally?

2) If you could give Carrie from 5 years ago any advice, what would it be?

3) How many times have you heard the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth?

Reply
carrie dils

Heyo Mr Bowtie!

1. My dad (personally). He's a life-long learner and student of his world. He's also a man of incredible integrity. I admire him and inspires me to do better. As for professional inspiration, I'd say Chris Lema, Cory Miller, Rebecca Gill, and Diane Kinney. They challenge me and make me excited to tackle new challenges.

2. Oh girl, dive in with two feet. You may know next to nothing about WordPress, but you know more than someone else does, so ditch the "I don't know enough" mentality and start sharing. I'd also tell her to never, ever use the Editor to change code in WordPress.

3. You suck for putting that song in my head.

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Joseph H. Howard

Hi Carrie!

Regular listener to OH.FM and fellow WordPress enthusiast here! Thanks for doing this. I got involved when Adam Warner did his AMA so I wouldn't miss this opportunity :)

My company works in the WordPress space and we've been growing pretty steadily until now, which fortunately I don't see changing! I've been able to make a few more hires and I've found that I'm now able to spend my time in a more deliberate manner (instead of just spending 12 hours a day getting sh*t done).

I've thought about splitting my days into more focused areas, something along these lines.

+ Monday: Customer Work + Improve Customer Experience + Improve Systems
+ Tuesday: Analytics + Conversion + Growth
+ Wednesday (Hump Day): WP Community + Speaking + WordCamps + Meetups
+ Thursday: Content + Marketing + Growth
+ Friday: Lots of Learning + Calls
+ Saturday-Sunday: Whatever Comes Up + 30,000ft Big Thinking

As someone who works on a few different projects, how to you manage your time and days to get the most out of them?

Sorry for the long-winded question and hope your hands aren't too tired from all the typing :)

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Joseph,

Thanks for stopping by! I'm a fan of dedicating days to a particular focus (see comment managewp.org/articles/15000/i-m-carrie-dils-wordpress-instructor-and-podcaster-ask-me-anything.

That said, I don't work in a team environment like you do, so I'm not sure how much flexibility you have when it comes to blocking off days for XYZ. I'm also looking at all your XYZ's and thinking your next hire should be to help with some of those things. ;)

I've been reading Deep Work (h/t Curtis McHale for the recommendation) and there's no question that being able to spend highly focused chunks of time leads to better results than simply bouncing around from thing to thing. If you share a group calendar with your team, you could block of 3-4 hours here or there as "unavailable".

Don't know if that's helpful? Just some thoughts!

Cheers,
Carrie

p.s. Take a weekend day off. ;)

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Joseph H. Howard

Very helpful, Carrie. Thanks so much.

Onward and upward!

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Gillian Lisa Trethewey

Hi Carrie,
Thanks for being on AMA. Long-time fan and appreciative learner on Lynda of your courses. Glad you are releasing more - love your teaching style.

1) One question I have is about clients pushing boundaries on what they want you to do for the price. As themes have become easier for folks to purchase, load and customize, I have found that a developer is not as respected as in the past, and that there is an assumption that it's easy and should be cheap for you to do the fix. There is push-back on pricing and even some bargaining mentality. Or am I just not getting great clients? :) Also they keep asking for more and more that's not in the scope.

2) It takes study and practice to get to the point that the development job is quickly and done well. There are so many self-help sites out there where the community is amazing, but sometimes I feel that some developers are giving away the knowledge that took so long for free. What are your thoughts on this? Or should I be building a group of clients that appreciate my care and dedication?

I'm trying to stay positive on this but gosh learning javascript, php, wordpress and genesis has taken a few years - and I feel like it's not valued. Perhaps I should move over to more pure development?

Thanks Carrie!
Gillian

Reply
carrie dils

Hey Gillian! Sorry for the out of order comment. Here ya go:

managewp.org/articles/15000/i-m-carrie-dils-wordpress-instructor-and-podcaster-ask-me-anything

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Gillian Lisa Trethewey

Thank you Carrie!

I probably need to build my clientele for those wanting more than the standard customized existing theme. I have built several membership sites, including my own, and I do find that people wanting a higher level of functionality seem to appreciate that the payoff is vast for the upfront development costs.

You've given me food for thought - I think it may be a gravity problem (not solvable) - and that I should focus on a better type of clientele who want someone ethical who does the job correctly with clean code ... and has the budget! :)

Gillian

Reply
carrie dils

+1!

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Donna Cavalier

Hi Carrie! Do you ever worry about hitching your wagon to one horse (Genesis), and wonder if it will last? And do you just assume that you'll roll with the tide as needed if the horse goes lame? (Intentional bad metaphors. I don't know why. Just feeling goofy during a rainstorm here).

Reply
carrie dils

Donna, that is an EXCELLENT question. And being in Texas, I can appreciate the metaphors. :)

I'll start by saying that I don't think Genesis is going anywhere. It's a solid platform and there are enough active developers to keep that project alive even in the event StudioPress chose not to.

That said...

The longer I've been in this space, the more I've realized that I'm selling a solution, not a technology. Genesis is a tool. WordPress is a tool. They're both wonderful tools I can use as part of what I deliver to clients. To your point, the technology will eventually change and when it does, I want to be able to flex with it. That doesn't necessarily mean what I offer changes, it just means I might use different tools.

I've been intentional the last couple of years about backing off the "Genesis developer" identity as I felt like that pigeonholed me as a one-trick pony (I'm keeping with the metaphor!). At one point I was the "Genesis girl," and while that's nice to be viewed as an expert, I'm pretty sure that limited my opportunity. I love working with Genesis, but that's not the extent of my ability.

Similarly, a couple of years ago I changed the name of my podcast from Genesis Office Hours to simply Office Hours. I realized the content we covered had application beyond Genesis, but as long as Genesis was in the name, it would turn off people who didn't work with the framework.

Windy in Texas,
Carrie

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Donna Cavalier

Thanks, Carrie. Great answer! (And I'm all out of cheesy metaphors). :)

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Liam Dempsey

Hey Carrie,

I've been wondering about how prevalent it is for service providers in the WordPress community (designers, developers, writers, etc.) to deal with clients who shout in anger at them either in person, over the phone or via all caps in emails.

While I doubt that anyone would ever shout at you in anger, given the many conversations you've had with so many people in our community, I wonder if you have any indicator or anecdotal evidence about how pervasive an issue this unpleasant experience might be.

Thanks for all you do for our community.

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carrie dils

Hey Liam,

I've heard of plenty of disgruntled emails, but I don't recall folks saying they've been yelled out. I'm gonna refer back to my interview with Steve Zehngut about working with customers (officehours.fm/podcast/142-2/). He shares some great wisdom for how to *respond* to angry emails/calls in a way that diffuses hot situations.

I certainly hope that it's not pervasive in our community. I would throw it out there that if someone consistently runs into these sorts of issues with customers, it might not be the customer who's the problem... ;)

Hope that helps a bit!

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Liam Dempsey

Thanks, Carrie. Your conversation with Steve got me thinking more about it as it followed a conversation I had with a WordPress friend about the issue. The combination of my own conversation, followed by your chat with Steve, got me to thinking that the issue might be wider than I expected.

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Jose Castaneda

What was your least favorite sport growing up and why?

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carrie dils

I don't know if tumbling is a sport, but my mom put me in a tumbling class when I was 4. I was so embarrassed because it required me to take my shoes off and my toenails were painted at the time. (I was not a girly girl)

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Jack Huang

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for taking time for AMA.

I have one or two questions related with premium wordpress theme.

How do you think the code quality of the best selling theme like Avada, Enfold, etc. in the view of a SEO point.

For a person don't know how to code, do you suggest him to build a site by a premium theme or a free theme?

Thanks!

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TLC Webdesign

Hey: C

Whys my WordPress dash board taking 20 seconds to load!?

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