This is a guest post by iThemes customer Bryce Raley, who has used iThemes WordPress themes to launch a web design and consulting business called Simplified Solutions.
Everyone needs a voice. Now more than ever.
Everyone has a tribe of some kind. A group of people who will follow if you’ll lead them.
If you’re a non profit your tribe is comprised of your donors, volunteers and those you benefit.
If you’re a ministry your tribe is comprised of your financial supporters, sponsors and those you minister to.
If you’re a small business, consultant or freelancer your tribe is comprised of your customers, prospective customers and your community.
I’ve realized in the last 8 months that one of the greatest opportunities today is to build that tribe no matter who you are or what you’re doing. I’ve turned this into a business-here’s how.
I met a total stranger in a coffee shop about a year ago. He asked what my business did. I didn’t have a very good answer. My business was focused on helping small businesses get organized and streamlined, but unfortunately I was pretty invisible. I’m still passionate about organization, productivity and efficiency and blog about them here.This stranger, Aaron Marshall, later became a great friend and he lead me in a different direction that day. He said “you basically help people and businesses to be more productive using digital tools.”
Then he told me about WordPress and Twitter. He told me to learn them and put the gas on them. I paid Aaron for several one-hour coaching sessions in which he taught me to use WordPress. One day I’ll have to pay him the real value of what I learned and later was able to capitalize into a business.
Now that’s where iThemes entered the picture. Now that I had the greatest blogging platform and was seeing how it all worked to drive traffic, create community and interact with customers; I lacked a powerful theme. I had used several free ones but sometimes the widgets didn’t work and I’d have to ask questions through WordPress forums. Don’t get me wrong you can get answers but too many times I’d find the question, but the answer never seemed to lurk below. iThemes not only offered amazing customizable themes but they also provided screencast tutorials, a premium support forum and reference articles. Needless to say I became a customer, then a fan and now an advocate.
WordPress is the ultimate bootstrapping tool. I haven’t seen anything that provides more bang for the buck than using WordPress with a customized theme from iThemes to promote your small business, non profit or ministry. As my customers and prospects started to see my multiple iThemes’ sites- they started to commission me to do one for them. Some customers wanted to blog, others wanted to use social media tools and videos, others saw it as an affordable way to have an online advertisement and a content management system. One customer led to another with a little help from Twitter and Facebook. As I did an 80/20 on my business it showed I was a WordPress customizer and a digital productivity coach.
iThemes are easily customized with just what you need. You can often customize the headers, feature images and the widget areas to really make your WP blog a central springboard for your online footprint. Throw in Twitter, a video sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo, photo sharing with Flickr and now you can connect everyone with the pulse of what’s happening in your organization. How cool is that?
If you’re a consultant or freelancer, iThemes needs to be on your team. If you’re looking to make this a business like me, I’d suggest joining the Ithemes annual theme club. If you’re looking for someone to do a simple customization of an iThemes theme – Maybe I can help.
Remember everyone needs a voice. Now more than ever.