On continually learning, innovating, and morphing into something new.
Sue Polinsky knows the online world. As owner of Get Me Online, a firm that teaches average people how to get a successful eBook published, how to use WordPress, and powerful ways to grow social media, Sue has been working professionally in the online arena for a quarter of a century.
“…After 25 years, it was time for me to look at doing something else.”
And with that experience came the knowledge of knowing when to transition her business from building websites to something that fit her lifestyle even better.
“After 24 years of building websites, all the way back from hand-coding them, to using Dreamweaver, to discovering WordPress when Matt (Mullenweg, creator of the platform) said he invented it and wanted us to try it… well, I’ve built websites. And after 25 years, it was time for me to look at doing something else.”
Sue explains that one of the biggest challenges for anybody that makes a living online is keeping up with technology. There are so many new things to learn almost every day of the week. She believes that going an entire day without learning something new is a wasted day.
Triggering a Transition
After deciding that she wanted to take a different path beyond building websites, this past summer, a person in her family fell ill. And it took the support of the entire family to help the individual’s condition improve.
It was then that Sue realized that she was under enough personal stress in her life without adding the stress of waking up to see broken websites.
Today, we’re working with all of the eBook publishers in the world.
“And I thought, ‘what else could I do?’ I had been thinking about this for a couple of years. And I decided that, instead of working with businesses, I wanted to work with people.”
After making this monumental decision, setting aside 25 years of building business websites, she changed the name of her company and sold the assets to a competing website development firm.
And that’s when her new business, GetMeOnline.today was born.
“Today, we’re working with all of the eBook publishers in the world. There are a million people who’ve written eBooks they want to publish. But we also work with YouTubers who want to start their own successful YouTube channels. And we work with podcasters to get them started. We show them strategies to build out their podcast routine, and the kinds of equipment they should be using.”
And then there are the people who want to be online influences. When someone approaches Sue about becoming an influencer, her first question is, “Well, do you have anything to influence me about?”
The mission of GetMeOnline is to get people started in growing their online presence. If they need a website, Sue is happy to refer them to some of the people she knows personally who are building fabulous websites.
“That’s where I am right now; dealing with individual clients and getting a lot of eBooks online. Also, getting people podcasting. Currently, I have three podcasters I’m working with and that’s enough to keep me busy. I have grandkids, and I want to go see them more often.”
In the Industry Since Before WWW
Amazingly, Sue has been in the tech industry since before Tim Berners-Lee invented the www.
“And he was so funny. He told me that had he known it would catch on, he never would have picked www. ‘Those are the three hardest letters to say,’ he would tell me. But I think I sent my first email in 1986, at an Air Force base. And from there, Unix chat is how we used to talk to people all over the country. We were a good group. Believe it or not, the word hackers hadn’t even been invented yet.”
“And that’s kind of my story. Every day, I’m morphing into something new.”
Then, in around 1994, Sue was asked to help build the original Yahoo.
Today, nearly everybody in Sue’s family is working in the industry. Her daughter is the SEO manager of a fantastic Denver-based firm. Her son currently runs apps for Capital One. And her daughter-in-law is a high-level executive at what she describes as “a company you would know from Silicon Valley.”
“And that’s kind of my story. Every day, I’m morphing into something new.”
A New and Rewarding Path
Since leaving behind business website design and development, Sue has found a lot of satisfaction working directly with average people while helping them achieve their passions. One of her favorite experiences is to see the look on an author’s face when they see their book for sale for the first time.
She also pays close attention to her clients when they hear their first edited podcast, or when they get to reply to YouTube comments for the first time.
“I never get enough of their joy,” she says.
But Sue doesn’t have much interest in creating a huge business that takes up all of her time.
“I am one of the few who doesn’t want to create a huge business. I want to grow it, but I am at a place where I can enjoy what I do.”
Of course, there have been a lot of challenges involved with making a successful transition from a business website developer to the owner of GetMeOnline.today.
“I am one of the few who doesn’t want to create a huge business.”
One of the biggest challenges for Sue was getting everyone in the industry, who already knew her, to adjust to her new path. After being a sought-after website developer for so many years, the industry definitely needed to change what it thought it knew about her.
“Another challenge was meeting new people, which was mostly online, and making them aware of my new services. But as I found out, it was pretty amazing that so many people either want, or know somebody who wants, to get a book published online.”
More Challenges Involved With Transitioning Into a New Business Model
Yet another challenge Sue has faced during this recent business transition has been centered on communication.
“…I tell them that they can have a two- or three-page WordPress site using Kadence Theme for a whole lot less than that.”
As she says, “There’s too darn much email. Now, again, I’m old. I was in the room when they decided to put the @ symbol in an email address. But email now, people are resisting change. They still prefer email to Slack. They’re not going to use Slack. They’re not going to download Slack. I just spent a day and a half attending the Slack global conference, saying over and over to myself, ‘wow that’s cool.’ But my clients aren’t there. My clients are not 20 year olds. So moving communication forward beyond email has been a big challenge.”
And, at times, this has been a challenge that has gotten in the way of being able to quickly uncover a client’s true needs so that she can solve their problems.
“Perhaps a client already has a Squarespace website that their daughter made for them five years ago, and they think it’s all they need. But I’m trying to tell them that, after just publishing a brand new book, their website really needs an overhaul. So I ask them what they’re paying for their current site. And, almost every time, I tell them that they can have a two- or three-page WordPress site using Kadence Theme for a whole lot less than that.”
“Then, the biggest issue is convincing them that they actually need a new website as a marketing tool for their book. Often, authors don’t look at their website as the powerful marketing tool that it really is.”
Sue’s WordPress Website Toolset
Since finding Kadence Theme, Sue has converted to using it (and the Block Editor) for website builds. Beyond that, her plugin must-haves are iThemes Security Pro and BackupBuddy.
Additionally, she uses:
- Code Snippets
- Custom Posts & ACF
- Login Designer
- Gravity Forms
- Clean Talk (anti spam)
- EWW (reduces image size, creates webp files)
- Media Library Manager (usually Filebird Lite or Real Media Library)
And after those, she says “it depends” on the specific project she’s working on.
How iThemes Has Helped Change Sue’s Business and Life
Sue tells us that iThemes Security has let her sleep better at night. And the same goes for BackupBuddy. In fact, she came across the iThemes family of WordPress products several years ago, and it changed the way she built and managed websites.
“After 2+ decades of website building, I’ve worked with a variety of paid plugins. And iThemes tops the list for full service.”
“And then there’s Nathan (Ingram, from iThemes Training). He has literally saved our bacon a few times and I’ve gotten to know him personally. HIs dedication and service to the WordPress community is tremendous. His hints, tips and tricks have saved us a lot of time. And Michael Moore, who provides clear answers to complicated questions. Not to mention the entire support staff, who responds clearly, quickly and wants to help. And does.”
Sue says that, because of iThemes, she really does sleep better. She knows all of her backups are done and the hackers are thwarted, letting her focus on her site and her business.
“After 2+ decades of website building, I’ve worked with a variety of paid plugins. And iThemes tops the list for full service. I like to get up in the morning. I get up early. I’m kind of an early person. And I like to sit here in the quiet. Sometimes, when I do, I feel like I can run the world using these tools.”
Learn more about Sue and Get Me Online!