70: WordPress, Side Hustles & Creative Outlets
In this episode, we talk about why we side hustle in Website Development and how we grew from a few clients per year into a multi-client side hustle in a few short years.
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In today’s episode we’re going to tell you how WordPress and specifically Divi can change your life.
What’s up Divi addicts Welcome back to another episode. This is 507 and today we’re talking about WordPress and about Divi in a little bit of a different way. We’re not talking about features. Today’s more about the business side of things, right. We want to talk about how, for a little over four years ago, we started a side hustle, it was just a fun creative outlet. You’ve heard the story, if you’ve been here for a few episodes, or if you’ve been here since the beginning especially you definitely kind of know what we’re about.
But today, we wanted to talk about how how things continue to change, and how it can ultimately change your life. And yeah, we’re going to talk numbers, we’re going to talk about specifics. When talking about workloads, we’re going to talk about money made, we’re going to talk about how things can change your life. So really, I want to take us all the way back to the beginning. And the current job that I have early on, was able to have that creative outlet, I really was able to build things that that were foundational to who we were as a brand, who we were as an operation and how we were going to continue to grow into the future. And once we really hit mass, I guess I don’t even know the right word. But once we hit a point where we were just rolling, and open in a lot of places, hiring a lot of team members, it wasn’t so much about the creativity anymore, as it was about working a system. And that creative outlet really disappeared, you know, which was, which was a bummer. It was a bummer for me because I’m somebody who’s created and did websites from, you know, the mid 90s, early 90s.
A lot of times, well, not early 90s, late 90s. Really more than anything, probably from 96/97 on, I was coding HTML sites and learning a little bit of iframes way before CSS was a thing. And you know, I needed that creative outlet again, and that outlet had dried up. So I really got heavily involved back into drumming. I love playing drums. And then I also got into the current state of WordPress. And this is probably early 2014, maybe late 2013. And I started playing around with a bunch of different themes that were available. And WordPress was still relatively young. At that point, I think it was like 3.8 or somewhere along those lines. It was different, definitely WordPress 3.0. And I used X theme and Jupiter and different themes on Themeforest that that used visual composer at that time, which is now WP bakery. And you know, they were okay, they serve the purpose. And I thought they were game changers back then especially compared to what I had used way back in the day.
But then fast forward to about three and a half years ago, sometime in early 2016. I ran across Elegant Themes. And I had seen their site a lot before and had seen Divi and I was really scared by the by the annual. And the fact that I had to buy, you know, pay every year for a license fee. Even though I didn’t fully understand that I could use it on as many sites as I wanted. At that time, I was just really building a site for myself, it was a fun blog, it was something to just kind of get into WordPress tinker around. And I didn’t really need to go super in depth, I definitely didn’t need the lifetime license or lifetime license.
So the price tag scared me away a little bit. And I went back to x and did a few things where I could build the price of the theme into the project itself. If I did one, a one off project for a client. And at that point, maybe one or two a year was about all I was doing. And so you know, it didn’t warrant spending 40 or $50 per site on a single license, definitely not the lifetime. And you know, you fast forward a little bit. And you build a site and you build your second site. And then along the way, I did a couple free projects for some friends. And those turned out to be some of the best decisions I ever made. Not only was it great experience building some sites that I probably wouldn’t have built, definitely to the level one was an e commerce site.
And at that point, I probably would not have gotten paid to buy anybody who would have trusted me to do that. And I started really digging deep and learning my craft and getting better and better and better through some of those free projects that I did for people who were very, very specifically picked. There were people who have big audiences, who knew great people that could put me in contact with some people that I could actually nurture and work those relationships. And that’s exactly what I did. And then you know those those free projects turned into recommendations. They turned into more projects that came down in the room and I turned this little fun hobby of a side hustle into something that I could make a little bit of money at.
And for a couple of years in a Row a meet up Hold on, like an extra, you know, 10 or $15,000 in take on cash, which was cool. But I was also spending a lot of money because it was the early times, and I was trying out different platforms. I was trying out a lot of different platforms and doing different things. As time went on, I found the workflows that work for me, I found the platforms that I really loved. And I picked up some things that were some lifetime subscriptions that were going to help with economies of scale as I continue to grow, making each project be a little bit more profitable.
That included some project management tools that included Divi, especially that included some add ons for Divi. And those things have just come in handy. They’ve been essential tools to growing and being able to scale what I do because I’ve gotten more efficient in the workflow I’ve gotten smarter with WordPress I’ve gotten to become really what I would think is a is a Divi master. I’ve used so many different platforms to integrate into WordPress, from form plugins, to membership plugins to LMS, plugins and all the different add ons that you can do to really take WordPress to the next level.
And it’s, you know, it’s difficult if you’re getting into this space, because there are a lot of things out there. They’re, they’re really cheap website builders, or people who are building websites, on Fiverr, and different places like that you can find the cheap promos on Twitter all the time. And if you’re a business person who’s listening to this right now, just be warned, like you do get what you pay for. There’s a reason that that some services are more expensive, it could be overhead, get to know the people that you’re bringing into the fold to work on your projects, it might be their own business overhead that you’re paying for a fancy office, multiple people, team software and things like that.
Or it may be that they’re really, really good at what they do. And they can warrant that amount of money. You know, because they’re experts at the field in what they do with the tools that they’re using. If you think you’re going to spend or get 100 bucks, or spend 100 bucks and get a great website, it’s just not realistic, it’s not going to happen. It’s like buying a cheap knockoff from China, and getting it shipped in. And it’s it’s not made the standard, you know, like, it’s just you do get what you pay for. And, you know, some people think that they’re web designers out there who charge a ridiculous amount of money, but you’re you’re paying not for the amount of time it’s going to take them on the project, but for the years of education they’ve put into mastering their craft.
And that is kind of a part of it. You know, if you find a welder who’s unbelievably skilled, if you find an artist or a painter, who’s unbelievably skilled, you find an artists like Beyonce or Taylor Swift, who are masters of their craft, you find a band like Metallica, you find people along those lines who are at the top of their game, you do pay more to see them you pay more to get their service. It’s just kind of the way things work. You know, Tom Brady gets top dollar, because of his experience, and Drew Brees gets top dollar because of his experience. Same thing with LeBron James. It’s not. It’s not just what they bring to the table today, the intangible results. It’s the leadership, it’s the intangibles that come from that project to some of the things that you may never see. But they put into that project, whether it’s knowing how to lay the great foundation for WordPress, how to speed things up, how to set up individual pages, and pick plugins that work well together that don’t cause conflicts down the road.
Those are all critical pieces that you may not see as a business owner. But it is you know, in your best interest to find those people who are going to help you set up for the long term. And make sure that the money that you’re spending isn’t for nothing. So in all of that time, it’s helped me learn those things to get back to the basics of what I do in WordPress. And specifically with Divi and taking it all the way back I said I was going to talk about how WordPress changed my life and how it can change yours.
I’ve been able to grow exponentially every year you know 25 to 50% sometimes 100% annual growth and side hustle sales and not putting in extra time but being able to be more efficient in the process. design better sites get people from leads to launching websites in a shorter amount of time so it’s better for them. You know having people that I work with talk extremely great about the process that of working with me so I get great referrals, those things are all things that you just cannot put a price on. And so like that has continued to help me change my life and bring inside business and side money to support my family. So you don’t have to go all in you can do this as a side hustle and you can put an extra 10 or 15 hours depending on what your day job is. And do that at night. A handful of days a week. You know two to three hours a night. If you wanted and Do that four days, four days a week, three to four days a week, you know, and that’ll allow you to pay off those loans pay off anything.
And you hear the side hustle culture, I’m not telling you to go out there and just work your face off and be exhausted, I’m telling you to, you know, this works for me. And it’s something that you can do. If you find yourself in a position where you’re just not happy, you could work it into being a full time job, or you can do it and make a little bit of money and pay off some bills, pay off some debt and get into a more stable part of your life. There’s just there’s opportunity out there and you can go find it doesn’t have to be in WordPress, it doesn’t have to be in web design. But I’m going to continue to share my story and share what we’ve done here at Keegan Lanier Media to really help adjust life and the trajectory of where we’re going. And maybe hope along the way of letting you know that it’s possible for you to.
So with Divi, you know, the way it’s the way it has impacted the business is they’ve added all these new features, these new workflows, the theme builders, copy and paste finding, or search and replace all these amazing additions to the platform that you’ve heard us talk about in episodes past of Divi addicts, those things have helped speed up workflow, which makes life easier and makes projects more efficient and makes them the final product a whole lot better as well. So that’s Divi is just continued to evolve. It’s worth paying and getting on a subscription with with Elegant Themes. Because of the all the stuff you get with it. A great email opt in plugin, you get a social media share plugin, you get Divi, which is hands down the best out there. I love oxygen, oxygen is cool. If you’re a power tech user, it’s not great if you’re a novice element, or is it very comparable to Divi, they do a lot of the similar things. Personally, I think Divi flow and user experience is better it comes from designers and designers are building that great user experience that also looks good.
It’s very easy to use. Like if I had to compare, I think Elementor is very much like utilitarian. Whereas I think Divi kind of takes the apple approach, they make everything look simple, and they make it look pretty. So if you’re a if you’re an apple fan, you’ll kind of get that even if you’re an Android fan, like me, I’m a heavy Android user. But I still have a respect for Apple and what they do and what they bring to the table. So that’s kind of what I think of Elegant Themes. And Divi, in particular, they give you a blank platform, or a blank canvas, and you can work with it. But they also give you a ton. I mean a ton of layouts and theme builders and post templates and all kinds of things to help supercharge your site.
But here’s the key, if you’re just a business owner, and not someone who’s going out here building sites is that just because you have that. And just because everybody has access to it does not mean that you’re guaranteed a great looking site, you can take those and really mess them up, you can add a lot of things to it. I jumped into a site a back end of a friend site the other day, and they had 12 themes that slows down your site. And they had tons of unoptimized images that slows down your site. So there’s pros that know these things, they know what to go after they know how to optimize the site, and they know how to get it set up the right way.
That’s, again, what you’re going to pay for whenever you you go out and find a great WordPress website developer, I still think that this is an amazing opportunity, it’s a great side hustle space, if you want to make a few extra bucks, you know, you can charge $1,000 for a website, depending on what it is you can charge more people charge 10/15/20/25,000 depending on the project, I’m not saying you’re going to get that from a regular website. Most cases you won’t. But the opportunities there, if you focus in on a specific target niche, and you go niche, niche, whatever you want to say, however you say it, you can go after that and, and you can be successful and make some money on the side. And I can tell you that we do it. Personally, I do it not from a place of making money. But it’s all about creativity, having a creative outlet.
But more importantly, helping businesses not get taken advantage of by people who are just looking to collect a buck, I want to partner with them, I want to share their brand I want to be I want to be a teammate for them, I want to be an extension of their creative department and help them build a website that doesn’t try to appease every single goal they have. But it’s just like everything else has a singular focus, and is a tool in the toolbox for converting new business and making money. So that’s that’s the approach we take. And that’s kind of where we try and lead our our clients is to be able to to to create a singular focus for a website, whether it’s driving conversions to a certain course, or whether it’s getting phone calls to the office, regardless of what it is. Our goal is to help drive to that end goal.
And yeah, it’s really been it’s been unbelievably fun. I’ve enjoyed this process over the last four years and I work a lot, you know, 50/60 hours. In my day job, and then I come home and probably spend another 20 to 25 hours a week doing doing this side hustle. And it’s truly because I love it. And I want to see people, I want to see their businesses shine, I want to see them grow and develop. And I want to play a part in that in any way I can. So if you have that passion about whatever it is, could be websites, definitely. Let’s talk about it. Find us on Twitter at Keegan elmedia, we can have a conversation about it. I’m always active, always wanted to talk and help people get to the next level, whatever that looks like.
So take a listen to all the other episodes we’ve got here. I think there’s a lot of great information on how to continue to grow a side hustle. We would love to get your feedback on it, especially if you’ve caught an old episode, which maybe got you into web design. I’d love to hear your story. Share it with us anyway, you can find us on Facebook, you can find us on LinkedIn, you can find us on Twitter, find us on Instagram, just have conversations with us, let us know your thoughts. Let us know your journey. Or just say hi, any of those.
So we appreciate you. As always, you know how we end these appreciate you listening. I appreciate the attention, we’re 15 minutes and 50 seconds in on this post intro. So this is a long one. But I feel like it’s a very important one. This is a cornerstone of who we are and why we do what we’re doing. So I appreciate everything that the community brings to us. I hope that you appreciate and get value more than anything from from these episodes at Divi addicts, and we put this in video form on YouTube as well. So there’s tons of tutorials there to help you get started. That’s really all we got to say about that. I appreciate you. Yeah, I appreciate you. That’s all I can say. We’re gonna keep on doing this every single week, every Tuesday, come back and check out new episodes. And until next week. hope you have an awesome one. And we’ll see you next week.
All right. So before you get out of here, I know that you’re listening, I see the statistics and know how many average users we have. And I know that you’re not subscribed, please, please, please hit the subscribe button come back here every single week. And if you have somebody in the WordPress space, or in the Divi community, make sure you send them our way if you think that they can get value from what we’re bringing here. We appreciate you. We love you and we’ll see you next week.