This past weekend Orlando was abuzz with activity for WordCamp Orlando. The conference was held in Downtown Orlando, so everything was in walking distance—lots of fun for exploring local places.

WP Valet is a proud return sponsor of this year's WordCamp Orlando. We provided the bewitching branding. (So fun to see it pop up around town!) We enjoyed spending time by our sponsor table, getting to know our fellow lovers of WordPress.
WP Valet team at WordCamp Orlando 2015

A sample of the fun WordCamp Orlando 2015 sticker collection our team designed.WordPress Orlando Stickers by WP Valet

Our team was also well represented, with Jesse Petersen, James Tryon, Josh Shashaty, Kim Lipari and Trey Praytor speaking in talks or panels. I loved the panels, along with all the valuable and inspiring conversations with devs, designers, investors, projects managers and business owners.

Block Out Production Time
A repeated suggestion from the panels was on blocking out production time. Time management can be a big challenge with our work. So many emails. So many tasks. So easy to get overwhelmed. Blocking out time to focus on productivity is one suggestion I heard many times over the weekend. It's something we implemented at WP Valet a while back, and we're glad. We need to get our "actual work" done, so we block out time to do it. Our team blocks out set time Tuesdays & Thursdays just for production—no meetings allowed. Blocking out production time lessens stress and ensures we ship deliverables on time.

Panel at WordCamp Orlando 2015

I also enjoyed a talk by Scott Mann of HighForge called "Don't Give it Away" ...something many of us are guilty of doing. Below are some take-away points from his talk I found interesting. They inspire thought, and some may apply to your business. They're not all WP Valet policy, but hearing suggestions from other veteran design & dev teams can be helpful—especially for new agencies starting out.

1. Give Away What You Can Afford
Loved the suggestion to choose a cause you want to support, and let them know what you're available to give. Maybe that's 2 hours a month, maybe it's 4 hours a month. Decide what you can give and offer that every month. This shows commitment and a true desire to help.

When you near the end of your set time, let the client know, and offer to let them purchase additional time if they want it (or pause work until next month.) You might even offer time at cost. This is a great way to cultivate business relationships (especially for new agencies) and help causes that you're passionate about.

2. Send Invoices at $0 
When we take care of extra requests, or do other "little favors"— remember to communicate the value of them. One great suggestion Scott made was to send an invoice at $0 for the full price of the service, favor, quick fix, edit, or whatever it was you provided. This helps clients understand the value of what you're giving them "just to be nice" for free. It can improve relationships, and it can help clients value your time.

3. If You Give a Freebie Away, Consider Saying It's the Last One
If you give away a free fix, one extra round of edits, or other service just to be kind, consider communicating: "This one's free, but the next one's billable." Clearly stating this ensures that the client understands, "We're nice, but you should expect this to cost you something next time." It leaves a good feeling in the moment, and it sets clear expectations for the future.

4. Beware of Discounts 
Watch out for discounts. They can be death by 100 paper cuts, especially giving away resources when you're not in a position to. Prices are set with much thought and intention. So giving discounts can say "I was a fibber to begin with. If you're smart, you'll now question everything I say."

If you give a discount, give a discount that benefits you as well. For example, "We'll give you 10% off the project if it's 100% pre-paid up front." This may actually save you administrative time, and it may be mutually beneficial.

5. Good Reminders: Why NOT give your business away?
- You’re giving away your respect.
- You’re unable to grow.
- You can’t pay bills.
- You can’t invest additional time in your company.
- You can’t get back your time later.
- It doesn't necessarily make the client happy.

5. Carefully Qualify Clients
Especially for new agencies finding their footing, think carefully and evaluate a client before you pour 5, 10, or even 20+ hours of your life into sales or Discovery. We've all been guilty of going too far down the road with the wrong client. Remember to ask a few questions...

Do clients have:
- Money
- Time
- Desire
- Power to buy

If a potential client does not have 100% of these, they're likely not a good fit. A client who is a bad fit can be a waste of time and a source of frustration. Avoid.

7. Get Paid for Discovery 
A serious client who cares about what you’re doing will pay for Discovery. WP Valet provides valuable website audits that involve our entire team delving into our client's project to really understand the true nature of their challenges. This consulting expertise we pour into these is an incredibly valuable service. If a client wants to know what's wrong with their business or their performance, or just wants to help structure a plan for strategic growth, we're here to help. We work closely with them to figure this out together. Our Discovery process allows our clients to benefit from decades of our experience in this industry. It's not free.

Shout Outs
Big thanks to all the sponsors! The venue, food, and after parties were great. We really enjoyed hanging out with the Pantheon team at Redlight Redlight. So great of these sponsors to help make cool community events possible and open to so many. Big thanks also to the amazing volunteers who worked so hard.

Until Next Time...
As a remote team, we really enjoy opportunities to spend time together. Many ideas, great brainstorming and inspiration on how to continue evolving take place when we spend four days running around Orlando. Can't wait till next year!