In today’s episode, we bring back Joe’s conversation with Jennifer Bourn, a designer for twenty years, an agency owner for thirteen years, and a blogger for ten years. She is founding partner at Bourn Creative, a full service design and development company that specializes in purpose-driven design and everything WordPress.

Jennifer talks about her 13-year journey founding and managing an agency that helps new businesses improve their website, drive traffic, and generate leads; and her plans to gradually shift to content services. Her agency also offers online courses and classes for new entrepreneurs.



What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:46 Welcome to the pod, Jennifer!
  • 01:49 When you start a company, nobody gives you business training
  • 05:21 Profitable Project Plan: Video courses for new entrepreneurs
  • 07:31 Everybody taking the class at the same place with similar questions
  • 11:10 Courses had started as side revenue stream
  • 15:06 Focusing on monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
  • 17:49 Next course: Lucrative Leads
  • 19:42 The biggest challenges in finding leads
  • 24:13 Gradually shifting to content services and copywriting
  • 28:34 You have to advance your skills if you want to continue running an agency
  • 36:51 Running an agency while raising kids
  • 40:39 Find Jennifer online

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: [00:00:00] Hey, WordPress people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. Again, live from beach breasts. I’m Joe, I’m Darth Maul, and you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast. Whoa. It’s Darth Maul on the podcast this week. Cause I think I always remember about Joe Small is that Doug small got cut in half.

So I’m glad you’ve what amazing recovery you’ve had.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:00:32] Well, normally I wouldn’t be talking. I’d be strutting with the emo face planning to how to cut you in half, but we’ll go with it.

Joe Howard: [00:00:40] Cool. So maybe someday we’ll have actual Darth Maul on the podcast, but unfortunately not today, actual Darth Maul, but we do have, uh, Jennifer born on the podcast, uh, hanging out at beach breasts.

It’s funny that you chose Darth Maul from all the characters you could have chosen. Cause I remember we were talking at Chris’s house the other day and we were, I was saying, um, I looked up your profile and it says like probably a Sith, like on your website. And I was like, oh my God, we’ve got a Sith war Lord here.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:01:11] Well, I’m a really nice person, but you don’t want to cross me.

Joe Howard: [00:01:15] That’s good to know. I think that’s very important information to start the podcast off with, you know, so Jennifer born she’s the best, but you want to stay on her good side and everyone, so now with people now, so that’s, that’s a good place to start.

Cool. And so Jennifer bourn.com. I fucked up and had, I wrote born with an E when I typed it out. Uh, but it’s Jennifer B O U R n.com. Building successful businesses is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to work. So it sounds like you’re helping people be successful in business. What kind of find some of the things that makes it a little bit easier, maybe some of the learnings that you’ve had.

Um, but yeah. Tell us about jenniferbourn.com. The stuff you’re doing there.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:01:52] Uh, you know, I’ve been a designer for 20 years and run my agency. Bourn creative for 13. And in those years I probably have made every mistake that you could possibly make. And I was like, I think most people, you start your business because you’re good at what you do.

And you think that you could help a lot of people and you want to try something on your own, but you don’t necessarily know how business. Nobody gives you business training. You can, nobody tells you how to price things and package things and all of those things. And, um, and so the first several years I was in business, I just worked like a dog, like 16 hour days, seven days a week, I was just constant.

And I found myself saying, you know, I started my business for more freedom, but I have less freedom. Like I just bought myself another job that. Had worst work-life balance like worse, you know, worst schedule. And, you know, I luckily grew and learned and found systems and processes and strategies and surrounded myself with people that could help me learn the things I needed to learn, to grow my business and increase my pricing and repackage my services and all of those things.

And I went from working 16 hour days. Seven days a week to taking, you know, nine weeks of vacation a year and never working past five and never working on the weekends and you know, really, really enjoying life. And I think, you know, I went from living to work, to working to live and it changed everything.

You know, I think when you really enjoy live, while you’re working, it reminds you why you’re working, right. Why am I working so hard today? Oh, because of these other things we’re going to do, or because of all the things that I enjoy and I’m fulfilled by in my life and. I noticed most of the really, really talented people that I knew that ran businesses or were freelancers or designers or developers or things like that.

We’re still in that struggle space of they’re incredibly talented, but are working like crazy. Cause they haven’t put ups, they haven’t created systems and processes or they just haven’t got the right tools or the right information. And with a little tweak. Like, right. Like they know what they’re doing.

They don’t need help in the skill department, but the business side with a few small tweaks, they could maybe not work nights. You know, they can maybe finally start taking weekends off. You know, they can go from never taking a vacation in the past two years to taking their first vacation with their family, you know, and start making those meaningful changes to build a great business, but to enjoy life along the way.

Joe Howard: [00:04:17] Very cool. We have an episode coming out about. How to take a three week hiatus from your business or take three weeks off from your business. I don’t know when that’ll be coming out compared to this episode, but, uh, probably before. So we’ve Christy and I have talked about this too, and how important it is.

A lot of people who are starting businesses and they’re kind of like working full-time job. Maybe they think they want to go to their own thing. They want to freelance. They want to, they want to start their own, their own business. Eh, Think, you know, I want to go from working, whatever it is, 40 or 50 hours a week when I go do freelancing, like, it’ll be easy.

Right. I’ll be working 20 hours a week. Like, I’ll be a beach press. Yeah. Like I’ll be at beach press, like hanging out on the beach and like working for a couple hours a day and maybe eventually you’ll get there. But when you have that first jump off, you’re actually probably working far more hours trying to get something off the ground and.

By having something like, like you, as someone like you as a resource, people can have the ability to accelerate some of that learning a little bit at the beginning. Um, because I think that those first, that first year or two years is, is a real struggle. Um, but it doesn’t always have to be, I think there are some ways that, uh, you help people to do that.

Um, so on Jennifer bourn.com. Courses, right. Video courses.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:05:25] Yeah. So I do it through, uh, I deliver the courses through zoom or through video. So it’s video downloads, handouts, worksheets, things like that. But yeah, all digital.

Joe Howard: [00:05:35] Cool. We just launched our first course@wpmrr.com and I’m so I’m like a total course newb.

Um, but I think for me, it was there. I had a lot of, I had a lot of challenges in not only building the course, but like launching it and, and drawing traffic to it and all that kind of stuff. How long have you been. Doing course things here.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:05:52] Uh, the whole project plan. The, so the first time I ran, it was in late 2016 surrendered, late 2016, twice in 2017, twice in 2018.

And now we’re getting ready to open enrollment again. Cool. Um, yes. Yep. So it’s been live up until this point, uh, after this time though, it’ll go evergreen. Yeah. So I think running it, starting with it live allowed me to gather Q and a and questions and feedback and survey responses and tweak all the little things.

So I really liked doing you starting live and getting that immediate feedback from students and that interaction, and then going evergreen after that, and that’s worked really, really well.

Joe Howard: [00:06:36] So yeah, people, a lot of people here have mentioned this book, a company of one that they’re reading. It’s this new book it’s out.

Uh, by Paul Jarvis, he’s the first person who I saw running courses, but closing it for most of the year and only opening it for like one week, twice a year and having a ton of success with it. And I was like, oh, like, I guess that’s a thing you could do. So I’m starting to think that that might be a better route.

And I didn’t even actually think about what you just said, which you think is really important. If you are open twice a year for a week. First of all, you get people kind of excited, like, oh, it’s open now. Like I can’t get it until six months from now. So if there’s an urgency to sign up, but even more than that have the other, uh, you know, 52 weeks of the year to get the feedback, to talk with people about how the course was to focus on the people in the course who were taking the course at that time to get engagement.

I feel like I’m kind of lost there right now. I have people like new people signing up every week and I’m just kind of like, they’re all at different points and I kind of wish they were a group together to do it. Um, did you find success kind of doing it with that? Previously or when you started kind of doing it, having an open twice a week, twice a year.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:07:38] Yeah. I think the benefit to doing it that way. There’s a few benefits. So one everybody that’s taking it is in the same path. They’re at the same point. So all the questions that are coming in about that lesson or that module. All the questions are related to that. So you can gather feedback for that specific module or that specific lesson and apply that.

So the next time you run it, there are less questions. And the next time you run it, there are less questions. So you continue to refine your content as you go. And that makes it. You know, really, really easy. The other thing is opening enrollment and at very specific times, so for us, it was twice a year.

Also allowed us to get promotional partners and affiliate partners and things on board for a push over one period of time, all at one time. So if they had a whole marketing schedule for the year, they have their own things. They’re launching their own things. They were doing. This was. You know, a one-time thing.

So you could get people on, do a big push and then move off. So I think some of that you have to look at, what do you want your promotion? You know, what do you want your promotions to be? And the other two is payment plans. Like, do you offer pay-in-full? Do you offer payment plans? So while we only open enrollment twice a year, up until this point, we do a six pay.

Payment plan. Like most people are a three pay or a toupee or they break it up and I break it into six because the course is 14 weeks. So it runs a little longer than, you know, three months, but the payment plan is longer and it stretches that cashflow baseline out because. Probably 80% of the people that purchase the course purchase through the pro to through the payment plan.

So that brings, even though the launch was once the cash flow is still coming in every month for that. Uh, so even though it’s not evergreen, it’s still producing, you know, producing an income, you know, every single month. So.

Joe Howard: [00:09:28] I’m stealing that idea. Uh, I like that a lot. We don’t do any kind of payment plans on our video course.

And so WMR has kind of, it feels like it’s almost a side venture right now. A lot of my effort and time is going towards WP Boston, running that business and WMR is kind of there. Like people want to do it. That’s cool. If you want to sign up. That’s fine. I like, I want people to sign up, but if people don’t and it’s not right fit for them, like that’s fine, but I want to give people the option to financial option and flexibility to, uh, and right now we’re just kind of, it’s like an annual membership, but having given people the option for payment plan sounds like a really good way to give people a lower.

Bar of entry so that they feel comfortable coming in right now. And it also allows you to bring in people who may be more towards the beginning of their journey, right? Like people who are like, man, like $500 for a year, like I have to pay $500 right now, or I could pay it like a hundred dollars over five months.

That sounds like a little more, uh, you know, beneficial for me. So cool. I did that. I’m also on your website right now. And you’ve got like the best pictures ever of yourself. Do you, like, I feel like you have one of those energies when you walk into word camps or people are just like, I got to get, I got to snap a picture here.

She’s just got that energy up on stage. Did you like whoa, so good.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:10:40] Totally by accident. I’m actually like I have terrible pictures. I really need to like hire a photographer to like come and do it, but thank you. That’s amazing.

Joe Howard: [00:10:50] Awesome. Ah, okay. So we talked a little bit about course, the course you have out now.

It’s been out since remind me again and at 2017. So it’s been 14 months a year plus. Nice. And so this is one of the big things you do now in 2016. Okay. So a little over two years then. Um, nice. How has the, um, uh, in terms of kind of general revenue and stuff for the bit for the, uh, the, uh, Video course, is it, uh, like somewhat comparable to some of the agency work you do?

Cause I know you have born creative and you do some agency work. This is kind of still a, like somewhat of a side income coming in and like an additional revenue stream or is it starting to kind of be one of the more central revenue streams for you?

Jennifer Bourn: [00:11:32] Uh, it definitely started as a side income stream agency has totally bread and butter agency pays the mortgage, pays the bills, all of those.

So it definitely started as a, as a side thing, but we were going through some transition in our agency. I see. So it’s becoming a little bit more of a prominent role for me. I’m not stopping client work anytime soon. I really like it. I’m shifting my services a little bit with the agency, but revenue went from the first time I ran it.

I think it was. I had 30 people in the courses about a thousand bucks and we did various discounts and deals to do enrollment, but each time we run it at around 50 people in there. And so revenue is going, you know, each time it’s more and more people enrolling and revenue is going up and up. But more and more people are paying in full at the full rate, which is amazing.

I think now that we’ve been doing it for enough time, the testimonials are coming in and the people are seeing the results and they’re going through it and they’re experiencing the changes in their business. And, uh, and it’s proven, so. I use the system. I created the system originally profitable project plan was something I created for myself in business because I wasn’t ready to hire someone.

I wasn’t comfortable yet hiring someone, but I had too much work and not enough time. And I needed to automate systems in my business. I was going to die or I was going to die. So, you know, created that system for our business. We ran in our business for years and Chris, uh, Chris, lemme had invited me to talk at WordCamp LA about it once.

And I came in and the first time I talked about it at a word camp, the afterwards it was, I want to buy that. I want to buy that. Can I buy that? Where can I buy that? Can I have that? Can we do it? And I’m like, no, I like, this is my secret sauce, man. Like, I made this for me. No, I’m not giving it to you. No, you can’t let, are you crazy?

But over the years, our agency shifted and kind of are the clients we were working with shifted and my services are now shifting. And I kind of got to a point where I was like, this could really make a difference for somebody else. I have proven it using it with hundreds of clients since 2011, over and over.

So it’s proven successful for me. I’m sharing this core, Sara sharing my system with other people could really make a difference in their business. And so I came to a point where it’s like, okay, I want other people to use it. And now I’m seeing, they’re having the same kind of success with it that I had in my business.

And being able to automate things and free up time to actually enjoy some of the free time they thought they’d have. When they started their business.

Joe Howard: [00:14:04] That’s really cool to hear. I think that it’s, it’s hard to create successful systems and to do all that creative and agency that in itself is a difficult process.

It’s another really difficult process to be able to teach that to someone else and help other people implement it in their business. So the fact that you’ve kind of felt feeling like you’re figuring out that transition, like you said, you’re getting good testimonials. Like people are really enjoying the coarser.

Businesses are changing for the positive because of it, I think is much easier said than done. So I think kudos you just for like hitting that milestone, I think a lot of courses don’t quite reach that. I think our course is. I w I, it was created, I created it for the same reason as you did. I felt like people are a lot of people in the WordPress space are looking for ways to have predictable revenue, as opposed to like this month was great.

This month sucks. You know, now how do I pay a mortgage this month? You know, if you can kind of focus more on the subscription service, I think that can be beneficial to some people, maybe not a good fit for everyone. Obviously, like there are a lot of successful agencies that do just, you know, big custom development and they’re very successful.

But to me, small business can also focus on MRR, monthly recurring revenue. You have something to say.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:15:14] I think too, when you talk about monthly recurring revenue, you can talk about. You know, website support, like right ongoing monthly website sport. Everybody talks about that. You can talk about landing retainer clients.

Everybody talks about that, but what’s been really interesting with profitable project plan is the response from the students on change orders, the amount of people that are like I’ve never used change orders will change. Orders are way too. Add more bottom line revenue. As you’re moving through projects, you, you get the client in with the original contract, but then they want to add features.

They want to add different things. And a lot of people get sucked into just, well, I’ll do that and I’ll add it and I won’t charge you any extra or they undercharged and they do that. But change orders along the way. Are a really great way to continue to add more revenue to projects, you know, to bring that in over time, to increase your relationship with clients.

So I think it’s just a different shift on looking at building in ongoing recurring revenue and bumping up the investment that clients are making with you.

Joe Howard: [00:16:14] It’s funny you say that I was Steve, uh, was just talking about that upstairs about how the. Like the best thing he can do when he has a client and they’re having a new project is to like raise his hand as quickly as possible when he sees things that are outside of scope and to bring it up as quickly as possible and give the client the option to say like, okay, what are we going to do about this?

And he said his, uh, his super power is like, you know, he feels like he can make it. It seemed like it was the client’s idea, which I think is a lot of things that beginners don’t quite get yet, but develop as they kind of go along. And, but that’s kind of a, it’s a nice little, it’s a nice shift in perspective to say like, you know, I have this idea.

Here’s what we should do in order. But instead it’s maybe a little counterintuitive, but you kind of want to get the client. You want to give the client one plus one. No, I want to give them to get them to the point where they’re like starting to follow your track and then suggest the ideas on themselves for themselves.

But yeah, I mean, I think that’s, that’s right. And if you can find a way to, especially if you’re doing agency work to get a project in the door for X amount and you can, you know, I don’t know if upsells right word, you said it. You said it better to, to, to change a change order for people, it allows you, and if you can increase the price at which you’re working on and you can add more value, that’s the best case scenario, because now you’re kind of moving up market a little bit.

So instead of a $5,000 project for X value, you have a $10,000 project for two times the value, or maybe you have, you know, a 20,000 project first, like six times the value. So like, but, uh, I think that’s a big place where people can move. So, yeah, really cool idea. in April you have a new course coming out.

So. Tell us about that what’s going on.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:17:54] So the next course is called lucrative leads. A profitable project plan walks you through everything from the sales call through post-launch follow-up from a client management perspective for a WordPress project. So lucrative leads is a precursor to that. What I noticed when I was doing running students through profitable project plan, it starts with the sales call.

So I was getting a lot of questions of, well, how do you get a client to the sales call? Right? Uh, I, the, I need more clients, right? So, uh, the kind of the natural next course was on lead generation. So that course walks people through. Uh, it starts at the very foundation of what kind of client do you want?

What is the kind of client you want to attract? What’s the kind of work that you want to attract? What kind of projects do you want to get? Uh, building that foundation into your website so that when someone gets to your website, they move down that path to fill out your project inquiry form, because you can’t start with just lead generation tactics.

Because if you do that, you’re gonna invest a bunch of money in lead generation. They’re gonna get to your website and if they don’t convert, what was the point? Right. So it moves through identifying kind of the ideal client, the ideal project, getting that foundation in with your website, uh, building in a inquiry form that segments your leads and a system to manage your leads.

So you’re not overwhelmed doing that. You’re not spending a ton of admin time doing that and then moves into online and offline lead generation tactics for your business.

Joe Howard: [00:19:14] I love that one reason I really love it is because it’s a, you have one course going from sales to product launch. And then from that, you got feedback from that and people needed something else.

So you said, okay, now I have a second product that comes to the precursor to that. And those two courses can now work in tandem. So when people finish one course, they, uh, they buy the other course, which in itself is kind of a, it’s a way to add a lot of value to people. Now I can take you through the whole process of it.

It’s just. You know, you pay for both the courses, which is really cool. I would love to hear a little bit more about from your experience, like what are people’s biggest challenges? Let’s start with the more recent one we’re talking about, which is lucrative leads. Um, like where do people struggle the most in that area?

Is it like. And actually like trying to gather email addresses. Is it, is it trying to drive traffic to their website? Is it kind of all of the above? Is there like one surprising thing that you find kind of, a lot of people feel like they’re struggling with them.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:20:07] I think that most people drastically overestimate how much traffic they’re getting to their website.

Yes. So they think, oh, my website’s not converting. I need to get, and this is in general across industries. My website’s not converting. Uh, I’m not getting enough leads coming in. I need to redesign my website, but I think if you dig a lot deeper, it’s the traffic problem. Not necessarily a website problem.

A lot of the time or the, the issues with the website can be fixed usually fairly simply with content and things like that. We get a lot of people have, especially through our agency over the years, too, that came in wanting a whole redesign and we’re talking to them out of it saying, you really don’t like, you really need to be spending your money on traffic.

Uh, so where we find that most people struggle is. Effectively talking about what it is that they do in a compelling way. So the person they’re talking to says, that’s what I need. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m I am a good fit for that. So they self-select or self identify as an ideal client and say, how do I learn more?

What is the next step? So most people don’t have that comfort. Talking about what it is that they do. They don’t have clarity about how to phrase their message so that people self-select or self identify. And because they don’t have that, they go to networking events or they go to conferences and people ask them, what do you do?

And they flounder, or the, you know, how many times have you walked away? And you’re like, dang it. I should’ve said this, or I wish I said that, or why didn’t I say this? Or they default to like, I’m a designer, I’m a developer. And that generally doesn’t. That doesn’t really interest. Everybody knows somebody who does that.

So they really, I think once you get clarity on how to talk about what you do and how, what your message is and what the benefits and the risks are like a lot of people never think about what’s the risk someone takes. If they say no, What do they risk if they don’t take action, right? Once you know those things you can show up and really powerfully talk about what you do and the value do you deliver, and the benefits people experience when they work with you.

And those are the things that emotionally connect with people. And those are the things that get them to fill out that inquiry form and say, I want to work with you. Let’s talk.

Joe Howard: [00:22:17] I think what you said is so important just about copywriting in general. I think a lot of people, uh, have this idea. I have to have this really beautiful website.

I have to have this like UI. That’s just so incredible. It’s like the user experience has to be phenomenal or no one’s going to convert and people, I think often, especially when they’re starting off or even if they’re like pretty far along copywriting is not something that they focus on very much. And I think that.

No matter what industry you’re in, like the people who are going to buy what you have, whether it’s service or product, they’re going to read your copy. Right? Like, I feel like that’s a pretty easy assumption to make, you know, a lot of people scroll and maybe don’t read everything, but the big banners, like in the big areas, you know, people reading that F shape, right?

Like they’re going to read. The basics. And if you don’t catch their attention right there, then you’re going to lose them. So I think that that’s something before, like you mentioned, like talking people out of doing redesigns, you know, people need to get the basics done first. And if you can, you know, if you can get to the point where you even.

You, you kind of have a base conversion rates, even if it’s low. And you can say like, what is the actual, what’s the actual problem here? Because if it’s a simple copy change, I talked to, I’ve talked to people in the WordPress space. Who’ve been like, I just change the copy on my top of my homepage. And like my conversion doubled and like my lead generation doubled.

It’s like, yes, because you just, some people like the copy on the right top of their website. It’s like, it’s something, if you’re working in enterprise or leeway, cause you can have this solution, blah, blah, blah. But like. Most companies should probably just have, like, here’s what we do. Like here’s the customer we work with or here’s the problem you have.

Here’s how we fix it. Free demo, uh, you know, uh, see pricing, um, you know, contact us, uh, whatever it is, some called action. Those are just the basics people have. So I think copywriting has a big, uh, a big place to play in the future. Do you want to talk more about copywriting stuff? Potentially?

Jennifer Bourn: [00:24:17] I’m actually transitioning all my services over to content.

So. Nice segue there. Nice segue there. Yeah. You know, we’ve been a design and development agency for 13 years, but, um, over the last few years I’ve been doing more and more work with content. The last several sites we’ve launched, I’ve done all the copywriting for, uh, as well. And I’ve been doing, uh, ghost writing for blogs, for client blogs and things like that.

So I really, really enjoyed the content work I’ve done over the last year. And a half or so. And, uh, my business partner who is also my husband moved on and took a job with another agency in business development. And it was the perfect opportunity to kind of shift my, to shift my focus a little bit, to work more in the content arena.

And as. A designer. Who’s, you know, I’ve been working in web design and graphic design for, for 20 years. And I worked at a PR firm, uh, before that and a publisher publishing agency before that. But 13 years as an agency owner, I’m like, I got this agency thing down, so I’m uniquely qualified to create content for other agencies.

So I’m looking at, uh, copywriting. Ghost blogging. Uh, and then also support around, uh, case studies, case studies and portfolio updates. So, uh, working with and partnering with other agencies to help them keep their case, studies, their portfolios up, keeping the tools, keeping the site current, you know, you’re always the light cobbler’s kid has no shoes or whatever you as the website.

Oh, you know, designer, the developer, the agency, your websites, like what, usually at least a couple years out of date. When’s the last time you put your last project up there, how current is your portfolio? And then you get an opportunity to create, you know, to pitch a big client. And you’re like, yes. And they asked for case studies.

And you’re like, damn it. Yeah. Or you have a hosting partnership and they’re like, Hey, we’re doing this whole thing. By the way, we need three PDF case studies and you’re like, damn it. I don’t have that. I don’t have that. So developing content around that and some different things. So I’m working on repurposing my services right now and hopefully we’ll have that done and, you know, in a couple of weeks, uh, but.

Content is a huge struggle for people. You know, you see people, you know, they second guess it. They’re not sure on the wording, the grammar, the time, you know, the planning, the research, you know, going into it, figuring out what the topic should be. All of it is a really a struggle for, for, I think every site owner across the board, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.

Uh, but content is, I would argue the most important part of the entire thing. Because that’s why you see terrible websites, ranking very highly in search. That’s why the site that’s uglier than yours might outrank you because their content is better or is, you know, done differently. So I’m a really, really big believer in content, especially in content that tells.

Stories and success stories and case studies and, you know, client success stories and things like that. So I focus a lot on profitable project plan is all content. So all the content I created in my business, all the emails I use with clients, all the eBooks I created with clients it’s included in profitable project plan.

You don’t have to do it. Any of it yourself. So there’s over 50 of them all in the process. Uh, lucrative leads is the same it’s sped instead of done for you. It’s worksheets and formulas to fill in to help you write your content, your marketing message, your benefit statement, your risk statements, your service descriptions, the emails to clients.

If you’re doing outreach, whatever it might be. So I’m a big believer. I’m like don’t recreate the wheel. If somebody else has got one that works. If you’ve got a formula, you can fill in the blanks, Madlib that shit and take, put it in your business and move on. So, yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:28:04] WordPress open source, you know, it’s you take her, you tweak.

It sounds good. Um, I love the, hear you telling the story of transitioning after 13 years of an agency to doing something new, because I feel like a lot of people get into this thing and they’re like, this is it. Like, I’m an entrepreneur now. Like I have my own freelance ticket. This is what I’m going to be doing.

Like. Start don’t be so like people who are listening, like don’t, it’s, it’s, it could all change very quickly. And, uh, and after 13 years, um, but I would love to dig into that a little bit more. Like, is it like scary right now? Or are you like a little bit scared? Like, like what’s going through your head in terms of cause like 13 years is like, I can’t even like, what was I doing 13 years ago?

Like, I don’t even know, like, to me that’s like a lifetime, right. So like, are you kind of like, this is a brand new thing, like what’s going to happen? Are you kinda like feeling kind of confident what’s kind of going through your head?

Jennifer Bourn: [00:28:52] Uh, all the things, all the emotions? Um, no, I think it’s been coming for a long time.

I think it’s been coming for a long time, probably about a year or so. Uh, that both of us kind of sat down at one point and looked at each other. And I was like, we have to look at, you know, our kids six years and both my kids will be out of the house. They’ll be off in college and we’re kind of looking to the future.

And my, you know, Brian had said, you know, I don’t want to be writing code in six years. And like, I don’t want me to designing websites in six years. So let’s talk about this. And I think, and, and with the way that WordPress is moving with the way that it’s advancing and with. Gutenberg and these things like if you want to continue to, you know, run a successful agency, if you want to continue to keep landing projects and you want to do this, you have to advance your skills.

You’re going to have to move forward. You’re going to have to learn new things. You know, you’re going to have to learn, react. You’re going to have to do this. And Brian was looking at it and saying, none of that is exciting to me. Right. Like, I think it’s time to make a shift, but we weren’t quite sure how we were going to do that.

And I was doing more and more content and less and less web design. And our work has, was separating a little bit because for years it was, I designed the website. Brian builds the website. I designed the website, Brian builds the website. Um, but over the last year, so our work has, you know, kind of diverged a little bit and we weren’t quite sure.

And I went to Cabo, press hands down. One of my favorite businessman’s ever of all times, like we’ll never miss it. So. I went to Cabo press and, you know, we’re, we’re talking through things and I kind of came to this realization of, I think I’m okay. Being done with, with born creative as it is. Right. Like I’m okay.

My identity was so wrapped up in that, like I founded that company and worked, it was mine for five years by myself. And like my, like, it was my identity. Like I am born creative and it was, you know, There was so much that I was emotionally tied to that, that brand. And I never thought I’d get to the point where I was like, I think I’m okay.

Having that not be my. My thing, because the business had transitioned to being so much more development heavy. And I was like, I’m at the point where I’m Brian, this is your business now, like we’re creative juror, baby. I’ll step in if you need design support, but like I’m okay. Letting it go. And, uh, Brian, wasn’t really looking for a job.

Like he, wasn’t looking to go do something different and, but he’s been friends with, uh, with Jake Goldman for a really long time. And, and, uh, They’ve been trying to, Jake’s been trying to get Brian for a while, but it’s never been the right role. It’s never been kind of the right, you know, the right time.

And this came really kind of really fast. We had a conversation and Thanksgiving right before our road trip, they had a conversation and brands. This actually sounds like it would be awesome. And we went on the road trip and we kind of talked about it all through the road trip. Why could we do this? What would it look like?

What it would mean for our family? You know, like you do all the kids carpool, like you do all the stuff. No, what’s that? What is that transition going to look like? And we kind of ran through it all and came back and all the details worked out in January, January 7th was his first day. So that all happened really fast.

And, but Brian’s like, well, goodbye, I’m doing this. Born creative as yours again. And I was like, no. I kind of made peace. I kind of made peace that I was going to be done. What are you talking about? I don’t want, I kind of don’t want it back. Yeah. It was like, I kinda don’t want it back. So I had to look at what it was, the work that filled me up the most over the last year or 18 months.

Right. What did I like doing? What were the projects that I liked doing the most? The clients I like doing most, and I found that the majority of it was all content driven. Or design-driven around content. So writing an ebook and laying it all out for the client, like writing, you know, a brochure and laying that all out for the client or developing a portfolio pieces for that for the client screen, doing all of those things.

And I realized I can keep this company, I’m just going to shift to my services. Right. I’m just going to shift and transition. So. This month is really messy. We’re in the process of closing down some stuff with warn creative, referring some clients elsewhere. We’re keeping some clients, some clients are going with Brian.

Our schedules are messy because we’re getting used to him having meetings and traveling and us not working together and not having the same schedule and not being able to go to lunch all the time because he’s busy. Or him wanting to go to lunch, but he took a shower and got dressed as is all fancy.

Cause he had video calls and I hadn’t taken a shower and I’m not fancy. And I’m like, I don’t want to go to lunch with you looking like a slob when you look like that, which are things that you never really thought about, but we’re going to lunch less because I’m like, maybe I need to up my game. Maybe I need to get dressed and shower more often now.

But um, but low those little funny things, right? So. It’s been a little stressful for the kids. So short week-ish every night for like short-term sacrifice long-term game, like new job, new schedule, new rules, like new things, but it should all even out, you know, the beginning is always hard when you’re learning a new role and you’re learning a new business and you’re learning new rules and you’re learning a new job.

So there’s the doing of the job, then there’s all the learning that comes along with it. But the most important thing is he’s having a really good time. I’m really excited about the transition and new opportunities for, for myself and getting to work with some friends on their, their sites and their projects and getting to work with some other agencies that I really, really respect.

So I think transition’s always messy, but. I think as long as you kind of, you know, plan for it as much as you can, but also give yourself grace and know that it’s okay if it’s messy, right? Like it’s okay. If you have bad days are long days or there’s days where you got up at six and you’re still working at 10, at 10:00 PM, as long as it’s temporary.

Right. As long as you know, it’s not forever. Right. You got to get it done and put in the work, but eventually it’s all gonna kinda, you know, flatten out and even out. Uh, but, but yeah, this isn’t our first rodeo with transition though. This is, uh, we’ve gone through it a couple of times. This is a. This is, this is not new territory for us.

So Brian’s gone through a couple, like he was a fire captain at the city of west Sacramento fire department for 15 years before he became a developer. So leaving a job with a pension and a defined salary and you know, all of the benefits and everything that comes along with that. To be self-employed developer when WordPress was a really, really big shift for us.

So the transition for us, isn’t, isn’t a new thing. We’ve done it before, you know, we’re navigating it again. But I think what you said is I think what you said about, you know, moving through transition that it’s easy to get stuck on I’m this thing, you know, or I’m this person or this identity. I never thought I would ever say.

I’m okay. That born creatives and my identity, or I’m okay to move on. Like never in a million years would I think that Brian would go take a job and, you know, we never thought that that would happen, but I think you always also need to be open to opportunities that come your way and open to an open, to change and open to at least have that conversation and see what it’s going to look like and see if it’s going to be a fit, because you can always say actually, you know what?

I don’t think that’s a fit or actually, you know what, this isn’t the right time. But I think you owe it to yourself to explore those opportunities.

Joe Howard: [00:35:58] Well said, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I really love talking to people in the WordPress space who have families and have kids. And because I have no kids at home, so there’s nothing to make me feel like, man, my life’s easy running a business.

Then talking to people who are also have a second job, which is having a family. And it’s nice for me to be able to talk to people just so I can also touch base with them and be like, so like, what’s your life? Like, like what do I have to expect? Like what is, and I know that doesn’t totally help because.

You know, once it happens, like that’s all you figuring it out. Like I know that much there’s, you know, but just hearing from other people. And honestly, like, knowing that it’s possible is a big, is a big plus because there’s someone who doesn’t have a family yet, or doesn’t have kids yet the idea of trying to do both is very intimidating, but it’s clearly possible because people have been successful with it in the past.

Yeah. So you have some real rest at home. Who are they?

Jennifer Bourn: [00:36:54] Yep. I’ve got two kids. Uh, Carter’s 12, almost 13. Natalie’s 15. Uh, so I started, I started born creative when I was pregnant with Carter. So I started, I started at, uh, when he was still in my tummy. Um, so he hasn’t ever known any different we’ve always had, we’ve always had that, but I think for us, one of the things with our kids is they’ve always been involved in the business planning of our business, even when they were little, little toddlers, just not like they are now.

So when they were really little, it was, Hey, We have are going to have a really busy month with mommy, daddy, you’re going to work a lot, but at the end, we’re going to Disneyland. Like if you can be really good, like help us out. So we’d always, you know, our big thing was teach them. We’re going to work really, really hard.

And then we have this fun payoff. We’re going to work really hard and we have this fun payoff. We’re going to work hard. We need you to work hard at being good. Right. And then as they got older, it was more, we just signed this contract. This is what it means for us for the next few weeks or for the next time, or this is what it means.

And, you know, so we’ve always kind of kept them involved in the conversation about the business, because it does impact our life so much and it does impact what we’re doing. So they’re very well aware of. You know, the contracts, we sign the work that we’re doing, the amount of, you know, the deadlines that we have.

And we’ve always approached it as we have our job, we do our work. You have your job, that school, you do your work. We’re responsible for getting our done. And if we miss our deadlines, our clients are going to embed it. You you’re responsible for getting your work done. If you miss your deadlines, your teachers are going to get mad at you.

And so, um, we’re trying to kind of teach them those same, you know, those same skills, but. Life is fun. They are, they are super fun. They are why we take as much vacation as we do. Cause we want to spend as much time with them as we can because they’re getting older and older and then I don’t even know.

But yeah, it’s been fun watching as Natalie’s gotten older, she started a blog and she blogs. She has. Yes, of course she has. She asked, we. Uh, Brian made her start@wordpress.com. He’s like go to her breasts.com. You can sign up for a free blog. You can start there if you stick with it and move that you’re actually going to do it.

Then we’ll design a blog for you. So she did, she started@awordpress.com for free. She stuck with it for, I forget. I think he said you have to stick with it for like a year. So she stuck with it so well, she’s in high school, so it’s whatever. Positive motivational things. And she writes about a ventures we go on and vacations and different things that she’s doing and stuff like that.

But yeah. So then we built her accustomed blog cause she proved that she could do it. Uh, and this last year in 2018, she spoke at her first word camp. She spoke at a word camp, San Diego. And she gave a talk on the fears that she had of starting a blog and how she got over them and finding her voice and getting comfortable with blogging.

And she did a great job and she spoke in the beginner track at word camp Sacramento. So my sons, I could care less and was like, no way I don’t want anything to do with that, but he’s interested in software in code and in development. So he’s starting to take some classes and learn how to write code. So I don’t know what he’ll do with that, but.

We’re excited to kind of see them grow up and have seen what we’ve done and been inspired by that and want to try something for themselves as well.

Joe Howard: [00:40:08] I think that’s fantastic place to end on a very bright note. I love what you said about involving your kids in the business. I think that’s something that it’s like a teaching moment for everybody, many teaching moments for the whole family and kind of keeps everyone on the same page.

To me, that’s a big thing I took away from just from that part of the conversation is just like, It can, it doesn’t just have to be us like, or like my business life versus the family life that can come and kind of meld together in one and we can all kind of push forward together. So on that note, let’s wrap it up.

Uh, I always ask people who are guests to, um, tell our audience where they can find you. So what are the websites? Are you on Twitter? That kind of stuff.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:40:48] Uh, Jennifer bourn.com. Obviously that’s the best place. No eat B O U R N. Not like the movies, not like the books. Yes. Yes. Uh, so Jennifer bourn.com is the main, uh, I have a family and a venture blog called inspired imperfection.

So you can always find me there as well. And on social I’m at Jennifer borne on everything except Instagram, I’m at gen born. Cause I’m a late adopter. I only did it to babysit my daughter, but then I really liked it. So that’s it.

Joe Howard: [00:41:18] Nice. All right. Last thing for you to do here on the podcast. I always ask the guests to ask our audience and people for iTunes reviews because they get really tired of hearing it from me.

So I always ask the guests to ask for it instead. So you’re up. We need to get a lot of iTunes reviews. So I need you to ask people.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:41:35] If you found value in this podcast, if you find value in any of the episodes that you’ve listened to do us a favor and head over to iTunes and leave a review five stars, please.

Yes. Leave a five-star review, leave a comment. Tell us what you think. Make sure it’s positive, please. Not kidding. Oh yeah. Leave us an emoji. Go for it. Five star review comment, maybe positive leaving emoji will be your best friend forever. Thanks.

Joe Howard: [00:42:05] And, uh, if you like this episode specifically, cause you’re like, Jennifer is awesome and born creatives.

Awesome, please. Uh, add that to the comment as well. We’ll shoot it to her and say like, Hey, people love this episode. If you have any. Further questions. You can email us@yoatwpmrr.com. We answer questions frequently on the pods. So cheers in, uh, and we’ll get them answered. I think that’s it, Jennifer. We’re good.

We’re going to get back to beach press, but thank you for jumping on. This has been fun.

Jennifer Bourn: [00:42:29] Thanks for having me.

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