bull-market-branding

Discovering your niche market doesn’t have to be so painful. Or does it?

I was lucky enough to have some time last week to catch the round table discussion over on WPBacon about managed WordPress hosting. When you have two little boys (5 & 2) constantly tugging at you, it can be hard to do these things!

Did you get a chance to catch it? It was pretty cool.

If not, I’ll give you a quick rundown — the panel included brass from various managed WordPress hosting companies like Pagely, MediaTemple, WPEngine and Flywheel. They talked about, you guessed it, managed WordPress hosting.

The conversation had a candid, but upbeat tone, with friendly banter going back and forth. I have to say that some of the ideology and stories behind these hosting companies is actually quite interesting.

When it was over, there was a huge take-away for me that reinforced something that I’ve been thinking for a long time as it relates to discovering your niche market — something that as entrepreneurs we often overlook, but that could be a game changer for anyone running an online (or offline) business if executed properly.

What was it? Pain.

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How to Stand Out From the Crowd: It’s All About Asking the Right Questions

Original ideaThe world is a much techier place, and has sparked a gold rush in the online business world.

As I’m sitting here in a coffee shop writing this post, I can’t help but notice the amount of people writing code or drafting new blog posts on their laptops.

I live in Austin, Texas, which is a huge tech city, so this is a pretty common sight anyway.

Yet I can’t stop thinking back to even just a few years ago when it was more of a surprise to run into somebody else coding or blogging. Now it’s just business as usual.

I’ve been in online business for about 6 years and have watched my numbers on social media, my email list and total amount of customers grow.

But being in this coffee shop today and actually witnessing this small group of people working on their laptops gave me a new kind of perspective about just how many people are trying to make a name for themselves out there. It was a much more impactful visual than seeing some of my own numbers.

I saw real people who do what I do.

As I sat back, all I could think is “how the hell am I supposed to stand out?”

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cant-do-it-alone

The Moment You Realize You Can’t Do Everything Yourself

I recently went on a trip to my hometown in New Jersey, and visited New York City for a little bit while I was there. Before I left, I reread a post I published during one of my last trips to the city in 2012 and it left with me with some mixed feelings.

It’s a great feeling to know that you’re in control of something; to have a clear path and a next step. When I wrote that post in 2012, I knew exactly what I was doing.

But reading that post today in 2014, as a much different person in a completely different place in my entrepreneurial journey, I realized I don’t have that same confidence I used to have about my future. There’s a lot of uncertainty, especially with the new direction I’m taking my business.

I have a million and one ideas for how I can provide value to you and your business, but I’m still trying to piece these ideas together and see what the bigger picture is for myself. The clearer that vision becomes, however, one thing stands out that I’m excited I’ve finally accepted:

I can’t do it alone.

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What I Learned From Making My First Free WordPress Plugin

My first WordPress pluginBig news! I submitted my first free plugin to the WordPress plugins directory. I’ve been working with WordPress for about 6 years, and have made tons of stuff with it… but I’ve never released a plugin.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent hours digging through the plugins directory in amazement at how many free plugins there are to choose from.

…You’ve also probably left it a few times frustrated, wishing you could have found what you were looking for.

In a nutshell, that’s why I learned how to develop for WordPress: so when I couldn’t find what I needed elsewhere, I could just build it myself.

But it never crossed my mind that I could actually contribute to the plugins directory myself, and give back to the community a little bit. So I made a simple plugin and got it approved! I learned a few valuable lessons along the way, too.

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smartwp-themes-featured

A Prediction Into the Exciting Future of Premium WordPress Themes

Last week, Chris Lema published a thought-provoking post asking if it’s worth getting into the premium WordPress theme business. He mentioned that some major theme shops are shifting their focus away from themes and onto plugin development.

Just because some of the top dogs are changing their game up a little, doesn’t mean that the premium theme market is going away.

If you ask me, there’s never been a more exciting time to get into the premium WordPress theme business than right now.

As WordPress grows closer and closer as a collaborative community and more plugin shops open with exciting new business models, the demand for simple themes that integrate with these plugins will skyrocket.

Here’s my thought process…

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