OwnWP Year in Review and Plan for 2019

Presented by Kerry Carron on 12/31/2018 2:00pm

mapOur OwnWP 2018 recap and road map webinar includes our 2018 webinar presenter thanks, appreciation, and acknowledgment and quick introduction of expected presenters for the next year.

We share our end of year survey results. You know those questions you sometimes are afraid to ask? The ones you're not really sure you want to hear the answers to? Well, we asked them. We needed to know whether or not we wanted to hear the answers or not. We asked how we help, how we are perceived, and the value we provide. And it was not just multiple choice. Many of our questions were open-ended and required a write-in answer.

We discuss how OwnWP uses network chat options and what to expect as we hope to continue to grow. We take a look back at our 42 (43 if you count this one) 2018 webinars and lastly, we talk about the many changes you can expect to see in 2019 as we begin moving forward.

A lot of changes. Changes in our target market, our message, our motto, webinar dates, times, topics, services, and products. It's going to be an exciting year as we take a turn onto a better road.

2018 OwnWP Year in Review Recap

How Many Webinars did OwnWP conduct? 

OwnWP hosted 42 Webinars in 2018 – 11 in the Freelance Survival Series, 9 in the Digital Marketing Series, 11 Tools of the Trade webinars, 7 Web Wonder webinars. We also had 8 Mystery Monday webinars that also often fell under one of the other topics.

OwnWP had 9 Different Presenters during 2018

We could not have had the success that we had with our webinars without the help of our presenters. A huge thank you and much appreciation to these wonderful and successful freelancers. Here they are in order of appearance:

Ultimate Solution, LLCKerry Caron

Kerry works from her home in New Mexico and specializes in helping freelancers create processes and systems to combine tools and skills to find a path to success.

Mike Clay

Mike is located in Atlanta and is highly trained in digital marketing and branding with skills ranging from graphic design to neuromarketing.

Hugh Smith

Hugh’s roots are in Kansas where he has been doing freelance work and building his own successful web development business for years.

Benjamin Bradley

Benjamin reigns from the DC area where he trains online and assists small business owners to take their skills to the next level.

James Dalman

James Dalman, from Oklahoma, is a long-time entrepreneur who has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs on building their businesses and spoken at events across the United States on entrepreneurship, freelancing, and branding.

Ereika Stimley

Ereika calls Austin, TX home. Ereika crafts content marketing plans that resonate with customers from the first touch to the final conversion focusing on engaging storytelling alongside integrated, repeatable processes for engagement.

Dustin Bolton

Dustin is from Oklahoma and is an advanced Software Engineer and an Entrepreneur with an expert level WordPress and coding experience.

This is Virtually EverythingBarbara Rowen

Barbara is a freelancer who resides in Idaho and owns Virtually Everything – virtually everything a small business needs to get out on the web. She is a web designer, graphic designer, and content writer who shares her self-marketing and new technology expertise with clients.

Steve Cunningham

Steve lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York state and operates a small but tiny web development agency called Big Fluffy Web Help – a company that provides web hosting, development, and design.

Survey Says…

How does OwnWP help you?

  • Provides community, comradery, and a place to hang out while I’m working.
  • Networking with other freelancers brings in leads, most importantly it is about developing relationships
  • To keep in touch with others in the same industry (and with friends!)
  • Support for WP-related issues
  • Communication with a community of users in a similar field of work
  • It is a good resource for all types of business information for running an agency.
  • Provides a community of like-minded professionals willing to listen and help, and introduces topics/provides information through webinars.

FriendsHow would you describe OwnWP to a friend?

  1. OwnWP is a place for freelancers to get together, to ask questions, get answers, get recommendations, and help others.
  2. A membership site full of resources, people to network with, and support for anything you need in your business.
  3. A great resource for web design. A fun and helpful group of people.
  4. A WP Support Group
  5. Group of users discussing topics related to the freelance web design field.
  6. A group of WordPress professionals seeking to grow their businesses mutually by providing information and helpful resources to the group.
  7. A community of web professionals who help and support each other, with a premium level which provides a library of additional resources.

So, we can see by the results of our survey that our group really IS encompassing a Community feeling. This has always been and will continue to be a primary focus of OwnWP. It was a relief to hear that we are accomplishing our primary goal and providing a place for freelancers to connect and network – without judgment.

But we can do better. One of our missions statements is to impact millions. We are somewhat disappointed that we only had so few people take the survey with even less leaving responses.

We have a challenge – attracting the right traffic and drawing in new and paying members. Though we seem to leave the right impression with what we are doing, we need to publicly spread the word to ensure that we get more people involved, regularly.

OwnWP and Network Chats

How many Slack teams, including OwnWP Slack, do you belong to and monitor?

Slack is a Web App

85% of our OwnWP community members belong to and monitor between 3 and 6 different Slack channels. With one member who is in 10 slack groups!

How one defines being active in a Slack group may differ from one person to the next, so we asked survey takers to briefly describe what being active in a Slack team means to them.

What constitutes “being active” in a Slack team?

  • Checking in and actually keeping up with the various channels with each Slack.
  • Asking questions, answering questions, providing an opinion, assisting others, gathering information, getting ideas
  • Keeping up with the updates, helping others, and having fun during the day.
  • Communicating with other slack members
  • Checking in at least weekly
  • Posting daily or every other day in a way that provides value to the team.
  • Checking and commenting or answering questions several times a week.

Interestingly, and using our member’s definition of what it means to be active in a Slack channel, 72% of us are only active in 1 or 2 of the 3-6 Slack channels that we belong to and monitor.

Thankfully 86% of our responders also report that the OwnWP Slack channel is one of the Slack groups they are active in and further report that they visit between 3 – 6 days a week. We think that is a pretty great turnout. Especially being that we encourage our freelancers to set and keep regular work hours – with many taking weekends off to place their priority with their families.

We also got some interesting insight asking…

Why do you normally visit the OwnWP chat?

  • That’s where I can find and work with team members.
  • To monitor and participate between work.
  • To keep active in the community; visit with friends; and get and provide help when necessary.
  • To get Support and Answer other people’s questions if I can. 
  • Catch up on anything I might have missed.
  •  I like to check in and read up when I can.
  •  To check messages from others, see what people are talking about, sometimes ask for help, occasionally see if I can offer help.

Here we have some great data from asking our survey takers to describe their overall activity level in the OwnWP Slack channels.

  • 28% read, ask, answer and start conversations weekly.
  • 57% read conversations at least weekly.
  • 86% have read, asked, answered, or started some conversations.
  • 100% at least read the conversations.

We asked, “On a scale of 1-5, how valuable is the OwnWP Slack? (1 being less valuable and 5 being very valuable.)”

Impressively, 43% selected 5.

We asked responders open-endedly – meaning we let them choose their words as to what they through the most valuable thing the OwnWP Slack channel provided them.

A community was the word used most often (3+ times), followed by friendships (2+ times). Additionally, people replied with “resources”, “a place to be to not feel isolated”, and “WordPress support”.

All we can say to that is that we are humbled and Thank-you!

Skype - Video and Chat ServiceOne of the questions that always seems to come up in our group – especially with those that have been involved since the beginning is Slack or Skype… so we asked.

  • 43% responded with Slack
  • 29% said Skype
  • 29% said both

And here is why…

  • Skype is easy. Slack is where my friends are.
  • Each has a place and fills different needs
  • Because all the teams I need to or want to belong to are on Slack now.
  • I use Skype for other aspects of business and it’s always open.
  • The new version of Skype is a bit annoying to deal with, and I have so many Slack teams that I prefer to not have to switch back and forth.
  • I’m open to either, but I’m active in other Slack channels and not on Skype, so I’d prefer only one place/app to check and have running.

What do you want to gain in a network chat? What is, or where do you find, the value of a network chat to you?

  • The chat is active, someone is usually around. You have a place to ask your questions, answer others’ questions, and be with others. 
  • Relationships and leads are priceless. But I am not willing to spend much on a chat because they are many times free.
  • WP Support and providing support if I can.
  • Almost instant access to a discussion on something that interests me. 
  • The value is in the conversations, trading information and things like that.
  • I like the feeling of being “connected” to people who understand the same challenges I have

As we continue chat conversations into 2019, and though it is not ideal for all users, OwnWP will likely open both Slack and Skype options (plus a public facing Facebook group) in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. We’ll never expect everyone to be active in all locations (although we are quite certain there are a few who will try).

OwnWP Webinars

86% of the people who responded to our survey have attended an OwnWP webinar.

OwnWP Webinar Series Icons

When asked, how valuable are you finding the information in the OwnWP webinars? (1 being less valuable and 5 being very valuable.) 57% responded with a rating of 4 and nearly 43% rated them with a 3 (and no one replied less than 3).

The OwnWP Webinar Series

OwnWP had 5 different webinar series scheduled in 2018 – Freelance Survival, Digital Marketing, Tools of the Trade, Web Wonders and Mystery Mondays, with the Mystery Monday webinars often falling into one of the other categories.

Tools of the TradeThe Tools of the Trade and Digital Marketing series were the favorite series in 2018. With Tools of the Trade scoring 43% of the votes and Digital Marketing scoring 29%.

We also asked why these were the favorites and got the following responses…

  • Real life info we can use in our business. 
  • I like seeing the products others use and the value they find in them. 
  • It’s nice to see what others are using and/or what I’m missing!
  • I like learning about new things.
  • I love learning about web marketing 
  • As a marketing professional, I like to keep up to date with any trends and tips.

We asked, Do you think OwnWP should continue providing weekly webinars? Not surprisingly, 100% of the people surveyed responded in the affirmative – YES!

What topics would you like to see OwnWP feature in webinars for 2019?

  • How to for plugins, business practices 
  • All the existing ones and business building 
  • More Marketing 
  • SEO and general business practices for freelancers 
  • More on marketing automation, client outreach, and scaling a business. 
  • Useful tools, digital marketing

Our webinars took place just about every Monday, every week at 2 pm Mountain time throughout 2018. Typically each Monday’s topic was coincidental with which week of the month it was. For example, first Monday’s were typically Freelance Survival webinars, 2nd Monday’s were digital marketing, etc.

Date and TimeWe had originally picked this day and time because we knew that is was not going to interfere with other webinar training provided by a few other regularly scheduled and popular webinar training that many of our viewers followed and attended. As the year progressed we noticed many viewers mentioning in our Slack channel that they found our Monday time slot difficult to attend.

Though many people were able to attend on Mondays, this observation of it being somewhat inconvenient was confirmed when we sent out our end of year survey in October 2018.  85% percent of people surveyed reported that Thursdays at noon Mountain time might be a better time. (More on this in the changes section.)

Our last survey question was to determine where OwnWP might be able to grow so, we asked, “What service or product we might be able to add to provide you with the most value? 

As was expected, the number one response was completely related to one of OwnWP’s primary objectives and connecting people – things like…   

  • a job board maybe – where people who need paid support can list what they need…
  • a list of recommended vendors/professionals for specific work… and
  • Continued availability of community

Time for ChangeChanges for OwnWP in 2019

Viewers need to understand that the planning and preparing of the webinar presentations and then the writing of the articles that accompanies the replays take a lot of time and effort to produce and publish.

We want nothing more than to keep OwnWP open and growing but we really need your help and support to continue.

The bottom line is this… our current membership levels are not enough to warrant continuing down the same road. We need our group to help with spreading the word about the value of OwnWP. Perhaps most importantly, if you are not already a paid member, join and then get involved.

That all being said, we are going to plan to continue… with some changes.

Change of our Target Market

A goal of attracting members that are willing to pay the more than affordable low pricing.

We seemed have had somewhat of a negative message going with the Freelance Survival Series so we are rebranding that to be Freelance Success.

Our motto has also changed slightly.

The path to success begins with a thriving community.

Join us often. Possess an actionable attitude. Find your passion and drive.
OwnWP is the place we’ll be so… Connect, Network, and Thrive!

Change to the Webinars

Goal: Simplify the webinar publishing process more and repurpose our awesome content.

We have decided to move the primary weekly webinar day to Thursdays at noon.

We realize that there is still a fair amount of you who love our Monday’s at 2 pm time slot, so we have kept that day and time open as well, however, there is currently nothing scheduled for Mondays. At the same time, we do not have our Thursday schedule solidified yet either.

Presenters and Topics for the 2019 OwnWP Webinars

Returning presenters: Kerry Carron, Mike Clay, Ereika Stimley, Benjamin Bradley

New presenters: Jeremy LeRay, Arelthia Phillips, Nathan Ingram

Primary OwnWP Webinar Topics:

  • Freelance Success (Business) 
  • Digital Marketing (SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Video Marketing)
  • Tools of the Trade (Productivity, Organization, Functionality, Plugins)
  • Web Wonders (Development, Hosting, Technical)

You can expect some of the webinar presentations to follow our standard format and you can expect other webinar format changes for 2019. Some examples might be some unscripted webinars, shorter webinars, panel or group webinars.

We are also planning to offer some paid training events – this is currently in the planning process.

We are always looking for additional input, recommendations, and suggestions because OwnWP is here for YOU. Our actions have been and will continue to be dictated by YOU, our audience. And remember, once you are a member, even if our prices go up, your price will never change so NOW is the perfect time to join us, take that actionable attitude, find your passion and drive.

OwnWP is the place we’ll be so… Connect, Network, and Thrive!

Presenter Bio: Kerry Carron

Kerry Carron is a loving wife and mother of three grown boys. As a freelancer, Kerry has built hundreds of WordPress websites and assisted other freelancers and small agencies with WordPress support and business development. She is the founder of OwnWP, a production of Ultimate Solution, LLC.

Kerry specializes in processes and creating systems. She is passionate about helping others find their path to success and her aspiration with OwnWP is to encourage other freelancers in finding and using the right combination of tools and skills they need to do more than merely survive!