How Do You Find the Top Talent? Sometimes It Finds You

Diamonds in the roughWell let me start by saying that I’m not qualified to talk about this subject.

That’s all. (I can never resist a chance to slip in that line from Devil Wears Prada.)

Being qualified never stopped me before so here goes.

I think the reasons we’ve been able to attract some amazing talent here at Simplfiied Solutions LLC are numerous, but I’ve listed a few below.

1) I like to connect with people online. Hopefully people would say I’m a giver both online and off. I like to retweet, promote others, help others make connections, and refer as much business as I can. This led to a resurfaced relationship with an old friend on Twitter. Wayne Cox and I connected via Twitter after knowing each other in a different business years ago. Wayne is instrumental in our WordPress customizations, email marketing efforts, and our video editing. He is truly a jack of many trades. A pastor of a thriving church plant in Elizabethtown, and a coffee business owner to boot. I think Wayne and I have contests as to who can promote the other more. It’s like Dwight and Andy trading favors on the Office.

2) I am constantly looking for talent and gravitate toward it. The first time I was referred to Josh Starr with Solid Giant Web Design—by my buddy and Louisville HVAC contractor, Rob Benefiel—I said that guy rocks. Josh and I struck up a relationship and partnered on at least five projects last year. When both our lives and businesses settle down, I’m hopeful we’ll do some more work together. I could say the same thing about Louisville photographer Robert Burge. Bobby knows his trade so well. He has done work for large commercial customers like Jewish Hospital, Churchill Downs, and even UK Athletics. He also does wedding photography, shoots for top realtors, and helps us out with pictures for our website content. When Bobby is on the scene he naturally makes people laugh, relax, get serious, or whatever the situation calls for. He directs traffic and keeps everyone on task. He and I are kindred spirits, and we do a decent amount of work together. It’s growing as we speak.

3) I’m not the most humble person, but humility is always on my radar. I like to make fun of myself, and I don’t take “me” too serious. Heck, I refer to myself as a hack. I also hope that I listen and learn from those wiser and more experienced than me. The best example I can think of is how I came to know Jessie Devine, our star copywriter and inbound marketing specialist. Jessie came on board about six weeks ago as our first employee (team member). Jessie and I connected via Twitter and LinkedIn. She had the courage and boldness to point out that I was advertising that we offered “copyrighting services” on our main website. This is an instance where you could actually say, “Bryce, you can’t even spell copywriting.” Yes, folks, I was using the wrong version of the word on my website. Jessie offered up some constructive criticism along with a few compliments. I could have gotten mad, but instead I thanked her for caring enough to tell me. That day I remember thinking, I’d like to hire that gal. Well, we were able to. She is my sounding board on a daily basis. She’s extremely talented at her trade, and she is a straight shooter. What a great addition. I’m careful about the culture we’re building, and I’ve got a great benchmark to build upon.

4) I lean on experts. Proverbs 15:22 says plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Sure I have a CPA. Yes, my customers are good mentors many times. However, I’m talking about a very close business adviser that I won’t mention yet. He keeps me grounded and guides me along. I cherish our phone conversations, coffee talks, lunches, and Gtalk chats. It’s a major component of what I was missing the first few years. One of my other mentors that I’ve never met is Peter J Daniels. He says good morals is good economics. So God will always have a place in our business. It’s all his anyway. He’s just letting me drive the ship.

So how are you finding the top talent?

Skip the craigslist ads and value humans. Develop relationships. Give. Be humble, or at least try.

Why I use WordPress?

Let me count the ways … no that’s too cliche.

Here are the top 10 reasons why I use WordPress … no that’s too Twitter.

Please become a fan of WordPress on my Facebook page … no that’s too Farmville or whatever that Facebook game is called that everyone sends me and I ignore.

For only $19.99 get all my WordPress Secrets … too splash page.

Click here to download a free trial of WordPress … too spammy plus it’s already free.

Pick up the phone and call now and you’ll also get my bonus report “How I’ve made millions in 3 hours per day using WordPress” … too late night infomercial.

Ok seriously now, the reasons why I use WordPress are many. This post may just scratch the surface but WordPress is something I love to use and write about. I’ve also built a business around it. Did I mention [start of shameless self plug] that my wife downloaded a virus on her PC last week for the 2nd time this year. It’s toast this time (I use a Mac and she wants one too but wouldn’t this Netbook really hold her over for another year or so- I think so too) [end shameless self plug] and we could use a new Netbook.

WordPress has leveled the playing field in two big ways:

1) It has made Web Design way more affordable. You no longer are tied to a webmaster if you don’t need to be. You also don’t have to get a custom CMS (content management system) built. You can launch a website or blog in a matter of hours. With the amazing number of premium themes and plug ins you can focus your attention on creating compelling content and building a community around your product, idea, service or cause. Instead of focusing all your attention on design, functionality and technical stuff, you get to redirect that energy toward the things that truly drive traffic and create bottom line results. Plus it has widgets and you can’t go wrong with widgets.

2) WordPress has allowed you, me and anyone with a business, passion or hobby to self publish. You no longer have to wait to be published in a magazine, newspaper or journal. You no longer have to pay big bucks to broadcast your message on TV or radio. You hit the publish button everytime you post something in WordPress. If it’s good they’ll find it through Google. They’ll share it on Twitter. They’ll Digg it or Stumble it. The ball is in your court like it’s never been before. It’s the ultimate bootstrapping tool. It’s homebase. It’s better than the other blogging platforms and open source CMS’s because it has a legion of fans, developers, designers, writers, podcasters, video bloggers, visionaries and entrepreneurs making it better daily. It’s a movement. It’s a community. Did I mention it has widgets and that’s fun to say.

I heart it and it’s high on my list.

Thanks to WP Studio for putting on the contest and to ithemes and webdesign.com for all they do to make WordPress better.

Ten Twitter Tips

After using Twitter for more than a year, I’ve come up with a list for the beginner. This assumes you have filled out your profile and added a picture. Without those people probably won’t follow.

1) Be genuine and be real. Be authentic and people will want to follow you and develop a relationship with you. Post about yourself, your day, your business and your family. Add some humor, some inspiration, some wisdom, some tips and hints. Then plug away with your business, your blog or your links. It will be natural and we’ll be interested. Reverse this and you’ll be in for a long haul.

2) Use the @ symbol before someone’s user name or handle to reference them in your tweet. This is what I love about Twitter and it’s viral nature. It’s make the world a lot smaller when we connect the dots to who knows who.

3) Linking is a good way to showcase your content, your blog, your website and articles you read which others would be interested in. Shorten the URL if you’re using Twitter.com.

4) Retweeting others is also a great way to reward the good content of others and to share meaningful tweets with your followers. Remember just because you’re following someone doesn’t mean your followers are too.

5) Remember if you want to get retweeted then you must give people a chance. Keep your tweet to 120 characters instead of 140 and then others can easily retweet without having to edit parts of your message.

6) If you’re looking for followers then tweet like Goldielocks. Not too little, not too much but just right. If I see someone’s face for 10 tweets of my past 15 then that person gets unfollowed. If someone just lurks and never says anything, there is a chance they may get unfollowed too.

7) If you, as a new user are still wondering what’s the big deal with Twitter; then check out Search.twitter.com

8 ) If you’re looking for followers right out of the gate, then go back to the person who introduced you to Twitter and scan their following list. Follow those who interest you. They will probably reciprocate.

9) If you’re looking for followers right out of the gate, then follow an entire list created by another user. For instance you keep up with golf and you see someone with a great list of all things golf. You can follow the whole list blindly or you can revert back to step 8.

10) Have fun. Make connections. Build relationships. Then meet the people in person for coffee and you’ll feel like you already know them.

Twitter.com has it’s own resource for new users. Here it is.

Padding around Images in Posts

DecisionsI constantly see Wordpess blogs and websites with pictures butted up next to text. It may be a choice for some. Sometimes you may not feel like making the simple tweak to add padding around an image. I can live with that, after all I’m not the picky type. Plus I’m reading the text and seeing the image and everything is just fine. Sometimes though, I think people leave the image and text side by side because they were not aware you could edit them.

This quick screencast below shows you how to add an image with padding around that image. Then the image and text would look like the picture on the right. If you think of other simple WordPress tutorials you’d like to see leave them in the comments section. I love the little ah ha moments. When you think to yourself I always wanted to know how to do that.

Once you begin playing the video below you can click the bottom right monitor button to enlarge it. You can also click this link to go directly to the video Padding around images in wordpress posts/pages.

Back in the saddle again

I’m back running Simplified Solutions LLC on a day to day basis. I still am representing webdesign.com and ithemes but just as an independent contractor and affiliate.

The last 3 months were great. I learned a tremendous amount and hopefully the team at WD.com did as well. We made several sales, worked out some processes, tested different price points and a whole lot more. Hindsight is always 20/20 and everyone is the best Monday morning quarterback but I believe all parties involved had wins in the arrangement.

In the market things cannot be conceived in the mind and implemented without realizing they have to be tested and refined. If we operated in an environment where things stopped and you could walk into the paused picture, then business would be so much simpler. With the way things change so rapidly today you have to adjust quickly. It reminds me of Seth Godin’s book The Dip. You really do have to quit the things that don’t look to work out and to focus on being the best in your endeavor. There is little room left for mediocrity. I think both parties saw this change made since and thankfully we realized it at the same time.

Take a spin around the site.

I’ve jazzed it up a bit and hopefully made it much more clear how I can help you. I admit it was extremely vague over the past few years.

We help you create your story and share it online. We use tools like WordPress and Twitter.

A New Direction

It’s time for a new direction. I’m posting this verbatim on my other sites as well.

For the last two years, I’ve planned and built, tweaked and refined, sold and invoiced, collected and accounted. I’ve marketed and branded and promoted. I’ve written and blogged and spoke and taught. I’ve coached and consulted. I’ve laughed, cried and learned a whole lot along the way.

I don’t regret starting Simplified Solutions, LLC two years ago. It has been the single best business learning experience I have ever had. I made so many mistakes. Too many to list here. I definitely failed forward at times. The best part was that this last two years was a training ground. A preparation if you will for the greatest business opportunity in my life thus far.

As my business has started to succeed the last several months, it’s been in large part due to a company called ithemes- and a open source platform called WordPress. I owe a lot to WordPress and to the team at ithemes. WordPress gave me, and more importantly small businesses, non profits and ministries; an affordable, effective, and attractive way to gain an online presence. Ithemes created some amazing themes powered by WordPress. That made the rest pretty easy for me.

A few months back my relationship with this amazing company grew a little closer. I always wondered how employable I was after being in sales most of my life and then running a small freelance business. Deep down though I knew I could follow a great leader and be a contributor on an amazing team. Well I’ve found both. The great leaders are Cory Miller and James Dalman. The great team is the team at ithemes and now WebDesign.com.

About a month ago, we started a serious dialogue about me joining a new venture that ithemes was launching. Time passed, many chats and conference calls lined out the details and I flew to Dallas this past weekend to meet the team and join this new venture – WebDesign.com

I am joining a thriving team at ithemes and have become their first sales consultant with WebDesign.com. To say I’m thrilled would be the understatement of the year.

We have a rockin team and we are ready to show the world an amazing model for web design and the customer service that comes with it.

You can follow all the details here at http://webdesign.com

You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/webdesigncom

My new email address is bryce@webdesign.com and the cell phone is still the same.

I have already spoken to most current customers and this transition will be very seamless. I’m just joining the company that I promoted and sold before accept now I have a team of programmers, project managers, coders, designers, graphic designers, tech interns, owners and partners behind me. Way cool!

Simplified Solutions, LLC will still be an accounting entry in Quickbooks. Some things will trickle in and trickle out but I’m putting my 100% focus on making WebDesign.com the best in the world.