How to Start an Automated Freelance Business With Service Plans, Order Forms and WordPressJust last night I rolled out my new freelance service plans and a great automated system behind it that sells those services as products and directs my customers to an order form to complete the process.

I’ve also added different layers of customization services where the value of my skills as a web designer + developer can make my clients blog stand out further once it’s up and running.

In this post, I want to show you the tools I used to create this system and the mindset that lead me to its creation.

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Last night I made a declaration that really helped me put my life into perspective. That declaration was about what really mattered the most in my life and I had to be brutally honest about what those things are.

There are things from my past life that I haven’t been able to let go of that I have been holding me back in ways I never cared to acknowledge.

I can’t say what triggered these revelations but I’d like to try and start making sense of some things by talking about this quote I read earlier that day:

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Everyone is becoming an entrepreneur these days. Such a loaded word can mean so many different things to people, but the constant that remains true in any definition is simply:

You need to put in the work.

Entrepreneurs work long hours for themselves so they don’t have to work fewer for somebody else.

Entrepreneurs live their lives like nobody will so one day they can live their lives like nobody can.

These mantras personify what it means to be an entrepreneur and sound great when you have no other way of describing what you do to “normal” people, but what is it that makes an entrepreneur truly different?

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Original ideaThe world is a much techier place, and has sparked a gold rush in the online business world.

As I’m sitting here in a coffee shop writing this post, I can’t help but notice the amount of people writing code or drafting new blog posts on their laptops.

I live in Austin, Texas, which is a huge tech city, so this is a pretty common sight anyway.

Yet I can’t stop thinking back to even just a few years ago when it was more of a surprise to run into somebody else coding or blogging. Now it’s just business as usual.

I’ve been in online business for about 6 years and have watched my numbers on social media, my email list and total amount of customers grow.

But being in this coffee shop today and actually witnessing this small group of people working on their laptops gave me a new kind of perspective about just how many people are trying to make a name for themselves out there. It was a much more impactful visual than seeing some of my own numbers.

I saw real people who do what I do.

As I sat back, all I could think is “how the hell am I supposed to stand out?”

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My first WordPress pluginBig news! I submitted my first free plugin to the WordPress plugins directory. I’ve been working with WordPress for about 6 years, and have made tons of stuff with it… but I’ve never released a plugin.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent hours digging through the plugins directory in amazement at how many free plugins there are to choose from.

…You’ve also probably left it a few times frustrated, wishing you could have found what you were looking for.

In a nutshell, that’s why I learned how to develop for WordPress: so when I couldn’t find what I needed elsewhere, I could just build it myself.

But it never crossed my mind that I could actually contribute to the plugins directory myself, and give back to the community a little bit. So I made a simple plugin and got it approved! I learned a few valuable lessons along the way, too.

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A New Direction in WordPress ThemesSince 2012, Kolakube has been known as a leading provider of skins for the Thesis framework (back when you could still call it that). In Marketers Delight, I had created arguably the most popular and powerful premium Thesis skin ever.

Alongside Marketers Delight, I created a few other popular skins that helped get my name out there, and helped a lot of people build amazing websites. When Thesis 2 came out, I raced to rebuild Marketers Delight and release it. It was another huge success.

But something just didn’t feel right about the direction I was headed…

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In the convoluted world of WordPress themes that are built to stretch to infinity, and offer “all the options you’ll ever need”, its become easy to forget what delivering focused solutions to a client or customer’s problem entails.

Problem solving: it’s the reason we build. It’s the reason we scratch our heads and yell obscenities when we can’t get our precious code to work. The urge to solve problems is ultimately what drives us as creators to keep on creating.

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Take Note: I just need to add a little bit of text here to see what this caption looks like!

Responsive web design is probably the hottest topic in the design community right now. And no, I’m not just realizing this.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading all there is to read on the subject and been experimenting with a lot of different techniques.

Needless to say, I am ready to start converting my Thesis skins (and all future designs) to be responsive, just as I have on my new personal blog.

People who use my skins are always asking when I will make them responsive, and why it’s taking me so long to do it.

My answer? It’s simple:

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Currently reading: Einstein

Read: November 2018

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Einstein

by Walter Isaacson

Being a genius always sounded appealing to me so I read this book to study one. He played the violin, worked a desk job while working on his theories, walked with the best, and even ended up in Princeton – close to where I grew up.

I took more time understanding his personality and strange life scenarios than I did deep scientific research, but my favorite stories about Einstein came from my grandmother who used to see him walking on the Princeton campus.

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Steve Jobs

Read: November 2018

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Steve Jobs

by Walter Isaacson

I think this was the fastest book I ever read when at 18.

Reading about Steve Jobs makes you feel bigger than the world, yet restrained knowing that if nobody sees the imperfections and disorder in your product, you do and you know it. That way you know what to do for the best next time.

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