Going Solo

After 4 ½ years in the agency world I’m stepping out to start a company of one.

These years have been amazing.

I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some of my closest friends, people who I admire and respect deeply.

And, in the midst of a number of what I consider “once in a lifetime” experiences I’ve had the opportunity to develop a personal mission. This personal mission is driving me and is why I’m now stepping out on my own.

My Mission

I believe in the importance and power of WordPress as an “operating system” for the Open Web. I want to see a strong, healthy, diverse, and vibrant Open Web for our generation and the next. I see the success and future of WordPress as an important indicator of the health of the Open Web.

In my work in the enterprise, and particularly with technology companies, I’ve had the rare opportunity to connect with numerous individuals and organizations outside the WordPress ecosystem, help them see the value of WordPress, and offer guidance on how to be a part of this ecosystem.

As I take off my agency hat, I’m putting on a hat that I’d best describe as the hat of an Evangelist.

My personal mission is to help technology companies figure out and invest in WordPress, the operating system of the Open Web.

I believe that if I’m successful in doing so, then that’s good for the companies I’ve had the privilege of offering guidance to. And as they serve their customers better through WordPress and attract new customers to WordPress, that’s good for WordPress and good for the Open Web.

So what’s next?

I’m open for work again! I’m looking for three types of engagements:

  • Consulting Engagements – One-time or ongoing engagements where I offer my insights, perspective, and strategic guidance. I’m best at helping organizations figure out their WordPress strategy. (I’ve setup a consulting page with more details)
  • Webmaster engagements – Ongoing, month-to-month engagements where I take on ownership of a web property (or multiple properties) and am responsible for “all the things” (e.g. maintenance, updates, support, and ongoing development).
  • Small WordPress projects – Projects where I can come in and “do all the things” (I code, design, write, test, you name it) to get a job done.

Ideal budgets are in the $5,000 to $2,500 range, either per project or per month.

As I work, I’m pursuing the “big picture” side of my personal mission through a few different projects:

  1. GrowInWP.com – This project is intended to serve as a guide for decision makers in technology companies to help them figure out WordPress. I believe strongly in sharing my best thoughts and ideas freely and openly and I’ll do so through GrowInWP.com.
  2. IntegrationIndex.com – This project is intended to help product managers evaluate how well their product integrates with WordPress.
  3. PluginCurator.com – A tiny project (with a minorly ambitious roadmap) designed to help site owners discover new plugins.

Outside of those projects, I’m also working to support HostCamp, the Tide project and Creating Clients.

Thank you for reading! If I can be of help to you or someone you know, let me know.

500 days of pushups

Today is the 500th day in a row that I’ve completed at least a set (and nearly always 4 sets) of pushups. No exception, rain or shine, sick or healthy, on the ground, or in the air.

When I started out I could barely do a single pushup.

At my peak near the end of 2018 I was averaging over 150 pushups per day.

I’ve tapered off since, now averaging around 40 per day.

It’s been great. I’ve gotten better at pushups and, as was my original intent, started a positive trends towards investing more in my health.

It turns out, though, that pushups were only the beginning. As of today, I track 29 different habits, most of which have passed over 100 days.

It seems impressive, and over the span of a year now for many of my habits, I’m noticing real results.

But what’s actually important about my experience with habits and what I care to write about is how ridiculously easy I designed each of my habits to be.

They’re all tiny habits and, as such, even though I still have days where I don’t want to complete them, I do it anyway.

500 days of pushups is a big accomplishment for me. Yet it’s anti-climatic. I didn’t set out to get this far, I just decided that I’d pick something super easy, that I could do no matter what, and keep doing it.

Momentum is a beautiful, powerful thing. As much as I’m sure I’ll enjoy looking back on day 1000, that’s not what matters right now. I’ll complete today’s habits and do them again tomorrow.

Experimenting with early mornings

I’m on Day #9 of a new tiny habit, which I’m tracking as “Prepare tomorrow morning’s routine (set out clothes if needed, water, etc)”.

Prompted by a few friends a few weeks back, I sped-read through a book called Miracle Morning and decided that it was time to give early mornings a try again.

I’ve historically been a big fan but got into the badhabit over the past year of both getting to bed really late and then staying in bed till my wife takes the kids to school (which, not a big surprise, she isn’t a fan of).

Now, for the past 2 weeks I’ve set my alarm for 5 AM on most mornings and so far I’m really happy with the results.

The biggest difference is time to be awake in the quiet and thinking, reading, and working before the day kicks in for everyone else.

It hasn’t been easy.. There were a few nights where I still got to bed late and got up early anyway. Those days were a bit rougher, but I made it.

If you’re interested in experimenting with early mornings, there are two key takeaways from my experience thus far that I’d like to pass on.

  1. The key tiny habit is to prepare the night before – I set out my clothes, fill up a water container, and put a book out by my couch in the living room. When I wake up in the morning I get up, get dressed, and go straight to my couch to begin my breathing exercises. I’ve prepared a routine for myself that I don’t have to think through in the morning. Figure out a routine for you that gets you out of bed without thinking about it.
  2. Your mindset matters – The most helpful thought for me from the Miracle Morning is this idea of telling myself, before I go to bed, that whatever sleep I get that night is going to be enough. It seems counterintuitive at first, but it works. I’ve felt anxious in the past.. “Oh man, I have to get my 8 hours in or the morning will be terrible..” and instead I’m saying “You know what, whatever I get tonight will be just fine. I’ve done my best and I’m grateful.”

Now time to get ready for bed.

Choosing a Habit

I’ve been asking for feedback on ways to make the first edition of Tiny Habits more useful.

One suggestion I received was to write about the thought process behind choosing a habit.

My original motivation for experimenting with habits back in 2017 was improving my health.

I chose my first habit, pushups, because I believed it would get me started in the right direction. And it did!

But as important as exercise is, the big thing I wasn’t addressing with regards to health was my relationship with food.

See, for a long time I just couldn’t figure out how to form a helpful, momentum-building habit around food. I thought of a few different food related habits I could experiment with and they all just felt wrong.

The whole point for me behind experimenting with tiny habits was to choose things so ridiculously easy that I wouldn’t have any trouble keeping them up.

And that’s worked. I’m coming up on 500 days of pushups soon without missing a single day.

Food, though, I just couldn’t crack.

I kept thinking about it, though, and after a few months I settled on an idea.

I started tracking the following habit: “Take a picture of or record at least one meal”

Why a photo? What’s the point of that?

Well, my thinking went something like this..

Trying to limit what I eat or eat more of something is going to be hard to do, especially without breaking a chain. I might be in good shape for a week and then it’s a special event or we’re eating out all day, etc.

I don’t like the unsustainability of forming habits that restrict me.

What I actually want is to make it easier for me to make better choices.

In order to make better choices I need to know what choices exist and that requires awareness and keeping the subject matter in mind.

Speaking of awareness.

Take a random skill, like juggling, card tricks, calligraphy, playing an instrument, learning a new language, etc.

Now, look back over the past 10 years of your life.

For one of those skills where you don’t currently have any ability, if you had thought about that skill at least once each day, would that have made a difference?

I suggest it would have. When you’re aware of something you’re more likely to take action, however small. You’re more likely to ask a question, given a relevant opportunity. You’re more likely to pay attention a moment longer when you notice something related.

So, while I’m my thoughts and ideas on the matter are still in development, I’d sum it up like this.

Take a big, difficult “goal” (I don’t like the word goal, but that’s a topic for another time) you have in mind like improving health. Break it apart into “sub-goals” like eating better or exercising more, then form rediculously tiny habits that you can start that build momentum towards that goal.

And, if you can’t think of anything tiny enough (e.g. the equivalent of pushups), start by just forming a habit around awareness (e.g. taking a photo).

Wold Family Currency

I started an experiment with my kids recently that might inspire you with an idea for your own kids.

I wrote Tiny Habits for my kids, to encourage them to form tiny habits of their own. This last weekend, I helped them each setup their first tiny habit: 5 minutes of cleaning.

Once they’ve completed their habits for the day, I give them a “Wold Coin”. I bought the coins from a craft store along with a wood burner and made them myself. I’m happy with how they turned out!

My kids can then spend those coins in the “Wold Store”.

So far, my store offers two items for purchase:

  1. Video production – I’ll film and produce one 2-3 minute video for a coin.
  2. Website development – I’ll setup a new website for 10 coins.

My daughter (5) is having me produce YouTube videos for a private channel.

My son (8) is saving up for his first website. (Which will be on WordPress, of course!).

The experiment is in it’s early days and I’m curious to see where it goes.