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Welcome to Episode 22 of Mastermind.fm! Today our masterminds Jean and James will be talking about starting your plugin business from scratch. In the last 2 episodes we talked about getting your new product off the ground and gaining traction. We’re going to back up a little here and look at the pre-launch phase. What’s involved? What do you need to plan and prepare for?
How do you break into the WordPress space and carve out a niche of your own? Listen in! As always, show notes are below but catch it all in the audio!
Jean and James open up talking about the close-knit, unique nature of the WordPress community. The sense of community is strong in WordPress and coming in with an attitude that projects humility and an open mindedness to learn the terrain means a lot for your success within the community. Engage with members, get involved, and be respectful to be successful.
It’s an industry with a value system, which is something fairly unique in larger industry settings. Learn the community and be willing to merge with it, don’t come in swinging or trying to reshape the ecosystem in your own image right off the bat.
Starting From Scratch
Acquire a Brand
If you have the capital up front, finding an established WordPress business that already has an established brand and team behind it is one option for entering the WordPress space. What you’re getting in this scenario:
- Talent behind the brand
Understand that you’re not buying the code. WordPress plugins operate under General Public License (GPL), meaning code is open and available to the public. This is an important point to remember. Don’t look for a product first- look for an established brand with a positive, well established reputation in the community and a stable customer base.
If you’re a technical person coming into the space…
So you can build something awesome yourself and want to join the community? Great! This is how Jean got his start. How long is it going to take to make this a replacement for your full time job? How much can you make how fast? This is very variable.
For James and the WP Ninjas, it took him one year to feel comfortable leaving his previous full time job. He recommends getting started with your business side by side with your full time job first, closely following your monthly growth, and saving all of it until you get a year’s salary saved. If growth is sufficient and stable at that point, you can consider replacing your previous full time income with your WordPress income.
Jean recommends planning for a year to two years, but notes that the time and effort you are able to devote to it is going to affect that timeline considerably. Regular checkups are important- don’t just set out a 6 month or 12 month income goal. Look to the customer base, market penetration, and other growth factor metrics outside of just revenue.
Partnering with someone with technical skills
If you can’t build a product on your own but have good business chops, consider partnering with someone who does. It’s important to choose someone you trust and who will be around to support your product wholeheartedly.
It’s not enough to hire someone to build a product and then hire a developer to support it. You need someone with a vested interest who won’t bat an eye at responding to a 2 am crisis if something goes wrong.
Even if you’re a technically talented person that can build a product on your own, a vested business partner can be a huge boon. Someone to bounce ideas off of, brainstorm, share the down times with you, etc can be a huge advantage unless you’re someone who is just hardwired to go it solo!