On having a firm foundation of systems and processes, and recurring revenue.
If there’s one area where Brooklyn Taylor has excelled in her career, it’s been helping small business clients reach all of their marketing, communication, and overall business goals.
“Having a graphic design background, together with knowing website development, allows me to create websites that are both beautiful and functional.”
Based in Santa Cruz, CA where she operates her agency aptly named Brooktown Design, Brooklyn works with her clients on a wide array of different projects. Her skills and years of professional experience have led her into doing everything from developing logos and formatting monthly newsletters, to fully developing and maintaining their online presence.
Overall, Brooklyn promises to build a powerful brand for her clients. And the results speak for themselves.
Brooklyn most prides herself on her innate ability to deliver the highest-quality products, always on schedule and within her customers’ budgets. She achieves this through her unique approach to business problem-solving.
Her approach allows her to accurately project the budget of each project and the requirements that will be needed to create fully customized design solutions for every single client.
But her 20-year journey that led to her current level of success didn’t begin in the world of technology.
A Love of Art and Graphic Design
Brooklyn grew up in the state of Utah, where she attended and graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. At this time, back in the early 2000’s, her goal was to become a fine artist.
But her path quickly changed.
As Brooklyn explains, “I became a graphic designer and got a job in graphic design when I moved to California. It’s still my primary love. I still love graphic design. But when the .com crash came down (in the early 2000’s), I was laid off and needed to seek another opportunity.”
“Learning web development allowed me to sustain my business and grow much faster…”
She had taken a few web design classes while she was attending Utah State, and decided to go back to school to learn professional web development.
“This was the best thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “Learning web development allowed me to sustain my business and grow much faster than many of my design colleagues. Having a graphic design background, together with knowing website development allows me to create websites that are both beautiful and functional.”
It was 2003 when Brooktown Designs was created, and Brooklyn has been successfully doing things on her own ever since.
In the early days of Brooktown Design, Brooklyn was using Adobe Dreamweaver to create websites for her clients. But in 2008, she discovered the WordPress platform as a website builder, and quickly saw that it was the way of the future for herself, her clients, and her business.
“I first discovered WordPress because one of my clients had a WordPress website and they wanted to know if I could update it. At first, I had no idea what I was looking at. But I dug into their site and spent about a week figuring out how everything worked. And when I got it, I got it.”
It was at this time that she realized what a perfect solution WordPress is for her clients’ websites.
“WordPress has allowed me to be much more hands-off with my clients after a website build, and it’s been an amazing ride ever since.”
“Before WordPress, one of the most challenging parts of website building was straight HTML and CSS. I was never very passionate about digging too far into learning those disciplines. And the bigger problem was that my clients couldn’t update their websites on their own, which they all wanted to do.”
However, the ease-of-use of the WordPress platform immediately gave her clients the ability to change and update their own websites and add new content without her needing to do it herself.
“WordPress has allowed me to be much more hands off with my clients after a website build, and it’s been an amazing ride ever since.”
Who Brooktown Design Serves
Brooklyn’s clients are primarily small business owners. The vast majority of them don’t have a lot of technical skills, but know they need a solid online presence. But they may not understand exactly what that entails, or how to do it.
They simply know that they need to be on the Internet.
“For the majority of my client base, it’s up to me to get them online, get them found, and make sure it’s done as professionally and creatively as possible.”
But it’s not only about having a great website.
“I help them with their overall web presence. And I work with nonprofit organizations who have a lot of programs and integrations with things like Salesforce. And they’re very driven on the money side of things. So I have many clients like that.”
Currently, Brooktown Design has serviced hundreds of clients overall.
In fact, while a part of a networking group, Brooklyn challenged herself to do 52 websites in 52 weeks. While she fell just short of her goal, she did end up creating 48 websites in that time.
“For the majority of my client base, it’s up to me to get them online, get them found…”
Brooklyn prides herself on being a great problem solver for her clients. Many of her clients come to her from referrals, and they aren’t exactly sure what they need or what needs to happen after getting in touch.
“For some clients, they’re come to me and tell me that they think they need a logo, but don’t really know anything beyond that. So, for me, it’s about delving further in and asking them questions about where they want to take their businesses.”
In doing so, she helps clients look more into the future about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and defining their long-term goals. Because many of her clients are people just beginning to go out on their own and start a small business, they are able to gain a lot of knowledge from her years of experience running a small business.
And in doing so, it’s easy to see that Brooktown Design is a lot more than just a WordPress website building agency. It’s also about leading her clients with their business branding, strategy, and even marketing tactics.
The Challenges of Working With Clients
Brooklyn says that her biggest challenge in working with clients is getting content from them in a timely manner.
“The most challenging thing about working with clients is getting content from them,” she explains.
“Of course, most clients always wait until the very last minute because nobody wants to write the content, and they don’t want to pay for someone else to do it, either. Especially smaller businesses. And I’m not a writer. You don’t want me to write anything for you,” she laughs.
“…the hardest part of the journey is getting quality content out of clients.”
“So, the hardest part of the journey is getting quality content out of clients. Because they don’t necessarily see the need for it, or they don’t recognize the difference between a low resolution image and a high resolution image… things like that.”
This makes content education a big part of Brooklyn’s job. For many of her clients, she will point them to different writing services and stock photography websites. And of course, she always lets them know that their web presence will be ever-changing.“
It’s not like we build a website once and it’s perfect. It’s an ongoing process, and clients need to understand that.”
Brooklyn’s WordPress Toolset
As a huge fan of the iThemes products, Brooklyn religiously uses iThemes Security Pro, BackupBuddy, and iThemes Sync on all of her clients’ websites.
“These three products alone changed my world. They’ve simplified the process of migrating a site, helped reduce website hacks, and have provided monthly recurring revenue for my business.”
She’s also a big fan of the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. She says that it has helped take her website designs to an entirely new level, allowing her to create beautifully designed sites that her clients can easily update without any website maintenance experience.
Overall, finding iThemes has changed Brooktown Designs in several different ways:
- iThemes Training was a total game changer. Having a community of like-minded colleagues who are all in the same boat has helped her advance her knowledge.
- The Freelance Leap Year Course opened up the door for her to become a business owner and not just an employee. In fact, because of iThemes Training, she now has employees who work for her.
- iThemes Sync has allowed her to easily create recurring revenue in her business. She now offers monthly WordPress maintenance to clients to help keep their site happy, healthy, and properly functioning.
“Before iThemes,” she says, “I was constantly putting out fires. It was very stressful. And although I still have the occasional fire to put out, overall my day-to-day is pretty smooth sailing.”
Where Brooktown Designs Is Heading In the Next Five Years
Brooklyn says that in the next five years, her goal is to spend less time in the office and more time enjoying life.
“In order to do this, I need to have a firm foundation of systems and processes, recurring revenue, and employees who can manage the day-to-day for me.”
After 20 years of serving clients, this sounds like a goal that Brooklyn has earned, and will no doubt achieve.
Learn more about Brooklyn at brooktown.com