I’ve had a few conversations over the last month with people who have contacted me for work lately and we’ve had a meeting or two (or currently work together). I rarely check my leads and referrals when they contact me through my blog or Twitter, which is a bad habit and I’m catching up now, and my research led to some interesting results.
- One of them met a former client of mine in London
- One of them googled “WordPress Developer Bulgaria”
- Another lead through Post Status – thanks Brian!
- One more liked a comment in a technical blog and reached out
- Another client found me listed in a site with other WordPressers and googled my blog
It’s quite amazing how many different channels out there could lead to valuable networking or a business venture.
However, what finally pulled the trigger for all of them was my WordPress.org portfolio, my blog and my GitHub activities (even if most of them aren’t technical).
SiteGround and I
I’ve been working as a WordPress Ambassador for SiteGround for about a year now and I’m excited for having the chance to work with the amazing folks there. Being able to run my own venture in the meantime allows me to enjoy that job fully, propose updates or new features whenever I think of various enhancements that I’d personally use as an engineer, and be open and honest at WordCamps for my affection with SiteGround. Working with a company that’s supporting WordCamps and meetups and pays for various contributions to the WordPress core and ecosystem can’t be explained unless you’re flying to the next awesome event, patching code in the plane, enjoying the party and getting funded for all of that!
I’ve had a similar opportunity with two other hosting vendors. However, being aware of the infrastructure of our servers and the masterminds behind them, all of the innovative solutions for DDoS protection, the security layers and the scalability enhancements – that’s what pulled the trigger for me.
Feedback and Testimonials
Whenever I browse a company website – offering products or services – I’m mostly intrigued by the testimonials and the feedback from loyal clients or people close to the company (such as partners or ex-employees). It’s a must for every company to outline its features and advantages in the best possible manner, however this is often subjective and hard to assess as a new visitor, unaware of the code or business practices.
Same goes for searching for services or products – I always ask for recommendations when I’m looking for doctors or lawyers.
In essence, what I need to verify is their background and portfolio.
The Right People
In our industry there are hundreds of WordPress experts online. They might be translation experts, plugin or theme developers, designers, security professionals, content writers, etc. And there are various sponsors and companies hanging out, looking for employees or trying to sell their products and services.
And what would be the better approach discussing business with their company: chatting with the business owner or salesman or a recognized community member with a reputation to keep? Purchasing a CRM or a theme by a suit or a developer with a solid WordPress.org background, WordCamp talks and other contributions?
I know a bunch of companies that offer services or products and the end quality is not satisfying, i.e. the code doesn’t follow the standards, support response times are bad, servers are down occasionally etc. And I’m a firm believer of the idea that none of my WordPress friends with established reputation would join their teams, unless they want to fully rebuild everything in the next 3 months and completely change that business.
Yesterday Sarah posted that Okay Themes is renamed to Array now. I’ve seen Mike’s code and his passion in the community and I’d definitely accept a project based on one of his themes if needed.
I’ve met Coen and seen his work in WooThemes too (and few more awesome folks there), which is why I go with WooCommerce for eCommerce solutions.
I had a bank account with a local bank with few friends working there. They left, so did I.
Nowadays most businesses have alternatives; most products have competitors, and it’s hard to evaluate the pros and cons of each one. Having recognized community members behind a business is a vote of confidence I’d appreciate and honor.
I hope that more companies would invest in partnership with active contributors in order to improve their flow further and reach out to more members. It’s a great step to discuss real-world scenarios, improve the standards and provide even more awesome products and services.