The Real Housewives of WordPress

WordPress-EonomyI couldn’t resist the headline. :-D

You may be wondering what the bucket “The Real Housewives” has to do with WordPress (at least I’m hoping you are). No worries, I’ll explain my ‘not-so-obvious’ choice of titles.

First I have to explain what brought me here.

I’ve been thinking a LOT about the economy of WordPress and the wide spectrum of opportunities there are to create a business around WordPress. As someone who has created a business around WordPress I can tell you there are times when I feel like “one of these things just doesn’t belong here” (queue the Sesame Street song).  Which I’m guessing might surprise some people, but the more I thought about this the more it seemed to me there were a handful of different ‘tribes’ within the WordPress community.

I kept thinking about the ‘Third Tribe’ membership site (now part of Authority), which was built on the premise that the other two tribes were: 1) hypey internet marketers who constantly pitched things to to you and 2) purist bloggers who didn’t want to charge for products (I’m totally paraphrasing here. I was a member at one point  and the content was great). The Third Tribe was the bloggers who were also marketers and were intent on creating communities, providing value AND making money.

questSo in my quest of understanding and looking at the economy of WordPress it dawned on me that there seemed to be similar ‘tribes’.

HOWEVER….(BIG OL’ DISCLAIMER)

Clearly these are simply my perceptions, which, when thinking about this I realized I needed to change those perceptions because they don’t really ring true (I found myself presenting proof that I was in fact wrong about this…can you see how exhausting a day in my head can be?).

To simplify things let’s look at my ‘perceived’ tribes within WordPress (I’ll go into more detail below):

1) Coders, programmers, really smart people

2) People who create WordPress sites, build a business around WordPress but aren’t coders or programmers

3) Newbies

4) People who understand WordPress, use it for their business but don’t make a living with WordPress (pretty much everyone else who doesn’t fit into one these other ‘perceived’ groups)

5) The Real Housewives

Mind you as I write this I’m feeling a bit of angst because one of the things I love most about WordPress is the community.

WordPress-Community

So why the division?

This hit me like a ton of bricks a few months ago when I joined a JV community on Google+. It seemed to be pretty straightforward, some guidelines to follow and no crazy scarcity tactics. I joined with the intention of getting the word out about Webinar Engine (our premium webinar plugin). One person I connected with invited me to a Skype group, so I joined.

Oy vey.

I had to remove myself from the community because every post listed the product, price, epc, upsells, etc. I don’t keep skype open unless I have a call scheduled, but every time I opened Skype I was hit with a TON of new messages or people that wanted to add me. This is exactly what I don’t want to do with my business.

O.K., back to the different ‘perceived’ communities in WordPress.thinking

At one point I remember thinking maybe I should learn php. I know enough html and css to be dangerous, but that’s about it (although truth be told I will probably take a udemy course on CSS3… I freakin’ love it!). Then I realized… um, yea no. This is not where my talents are. Let’s leave that to the people who love it and are good at it.

So I knew I didn’t really fit in to the first group and know that’s just not me (but Amen for what they do… I have a ton of respect for them and wouldn’t be doing what I do without those minds!).

Then comes group #2.

I’m way past newbie, I use it for business, create client sites AND make my living with WordPress. I love working with great clients but know that my talents also translate into the marketing side of things. I love digital publishing (all formats), graphics, blogging (I never knew I was such a prolific writer! … haha…kidding) and most of all I LOVE teaching! I like breaking things down in an easy to understand way for the everyday user.

Group #3 -  self explanatory.

Group #4 – also self explanatory.

Which leads me to…

 bom bom bom…

#5) The Real Housewives of WordPress

I’m fully prepared to get some flack for this, but let’s just say that if you get pissed off by this you’re probably a “Real Housewife”.

Let me also clarify that I have a huge aversion to reality t.v.

The only reality show I ever really liked was ABC’s Extreme HomeMakeover show, which is off the air now (although I’ve seen a few specials here and there). Obviously because it speaks to my inner Pollyanna.

The noise of the arguing and drama on these shows just feels like an attack on my senses. Nuff’ said.

Here’s my definition of a ‘Real Housewife’ of WordPress:

You don’t have a blog or primary site where you create content.

You do anything you can to get people on your ‘list’.

Your goal is to make thousands of dollars selling a product you have no intention of supporting.

You’re constantly going after “the next big thing”.

You’re a ‘band wagoner’ (how’s that for making up terms?).

Everything you do consists of long sales pages with testimonials from all your friends promising the latest, greatest plugin or tool that will completely dupe Google and get you to page one in NO time!

Your products use words like: Ninja, Ultimate, Automating, Automatic, Robot, Fast Start, Covert, Secrets, Smasher, Ultra, Tiger (kid you not… found a product with Tiger in the title…), anything promising 5 figures a month, Hijack, Warrior, Max anything, Guru (really?), Rush, Viral, Goldmine, Super Hero, Crushing, Killing it, Amplifier…

You get the picture.

Where do you find most of this?

WSO’s…

The Warrior Forum.

WSO

Hold on…

First, I know a few people who have sold things through the warrior forum, so by no means am I lumping everyone who uses this into my ‘Real Housewives’ category. However, the few people I know who used the Warrior Forum used it to test a product, copy, etc. They also have solid business models, websites where you can follow them and content that provides value.

They also leave the Warrior Forum.

I’ve bought a few WSO’s, but for me it’s usually graphics. The few plugins I have purchased end up in no man’s land with no support, no training and no one to get a hold of.  The bummer about this is that there are so many new people out there trying to “make it” online that they get sucked into the promises made by these products. Then they get discouraged and give up after they’ve spent thousands of dollars on crap that doesn’t work.

The SINGLE (yep, that one deserved ALL CAPS) best thing I’ve done for my business this year and probably ever, is to focus on connections and value.

Tooting my own horn here, but for the most part I think I’ve always provided value. We all test and try new things, some work, some don’t. But my intention has always been to help make WordPress easier for people.

The connections part of the equation is because I played it safe, but I’m not going to get into that in this post because I’ve written about it a few times recently and have talked about it in my podcast (a couple times there too).

When I refer to connections I’m not talking about just promoting people you know, like and trust. I’m referring to stepping outside of your comfort zone and sharing valuable content with people who may or may not be well known.

 Give a hand up.

 ASK people how you can support them!

 Leave comments on their blog and share their content.

 Write a post about some of your favorite sites that may not be on everyone’s radar.

 Highlight a reader.

… and the list goes on, but I think you get the picture. I made a conscious decision a year or so ago that if I was on a list that didn’t share valuable content or write often on their blog then I would unsubscribe. The same is true of people who only promote themselves or are so concerned with an image that you feel like you’ve connected with a real live Stepford wife. Life just isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. If you don’t have the courage to share the less-than-perfect stuff too I’m unsubscribing.

I don’t know at what point having an online business became about “not working”. It is work. It’s hard work.

But if you love it, it’s also good work.

Work that feeds your soul and pushes you past the carpel tunnel that seems to be intent on working its way into your wrists (repeat after me… “my hands and wrists are healthy and strong”….yea, my mantra when I walk).

If you’re fortunate enough to be doing work you love, stick with it!!! It will pay off.

But only IF…

You trust in your gut what you know is right.

You RUN from the Housewives… whatever ‘forum’ they seem to be on.

Create valuable content and make quality connections. NOTE: List size has nothing to do with the quality of the connection.

Quit freakin’ hopping from niche to niche! You have to nurture your business to see it grow. Your business can evolve (and probably won’t survive if it doesn’t), but unless you’re a niche marketer the only way to see a return on your investment (both time and money) is to stick with it and be consistent.

My guess is that this post will either resonate with you or it will piss you off. I’m not usually quite so black and white about things but in this case I don’t think there’s a whole lot of wiggle room.

 My Challenge to You

Step outside of your comfort zone.

Look for someone else you can support simply in terms of sharing their content or commenting on their site. Reach out to someone you don’t know and just say thanks for what you do. Even if it is an “A” lister. Never make the assumption that because someone has achieved a certain level of ‘status’ that they don’t want to hear that you appreciate them.

Find a blog to comment on.

Share a great post.

Leave a message on someone’s Facebook page.

Tweet something you’ve just discovered.

If you’re up for this challenge I’d love to hear your results! And let me know if there’s something you’ve done in your business that has made a significant difference.Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go mark off another day on the calendar until HBO’s “The Newsroom” is back, because summer TV is the epitome of reality TV hell.

Kim Doyal

Podcaster, Business Coach and WordPress fanatic. Full time online entrepreneur, information junkie and Mom. I live by the motto of "If it's not fun I'm not doing it".
m4s0n501

Comments

  1. Tamala says

    I LOVE this post Kim! :) ONE of my favorite points:

    “I don’t know at what point having an online business became about “not working”. It is work. It’s hard work.

    But if you love it, it’s also good work.”

    :)

    • Kim says

      Thanks Tamala!
      This has been on my mind for a while- just needed to get it out! Think I was waiting for the perfect post title.
      Nothing wrong with hard work when you love it!

    • Kim says

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks so much! I keep thinking there has to be a better way to have a community that supports each others products without it being so smarmy, y’know? And the good products get lost amongst the noise.

    • Kim says

      Hi James,
      aww…. now I feel like a crumb! I’ll make it up to you when I do a ‘housewives reunion’ post.haha.
      On a more serious note, I would LOVE to interview you for the podcast! I just recently came across ninja forms and am really impressed with what you guys are doing. And definitely group #1… ;-)
      If you’re up for an interview just email me & we’ll go from there. kim@thewpchick.com
      Thanks for being a good sport James!

      • says

        Love to be on the podcast. I’ll send you an email today. :)

        I will say that I agree with everything in the post. Everything but the “ninja” part. :)

        • Kim says

          Thanks James!
          Got your email & will respond to set up a time.
          And not all ninja’s are housewives… ;-)

  2. says

    Kim, I love this article and love the title. I have been as you know reading your posts and have seen how you have really stepped outside and have been sharing and helping others. I love what you have done and I have been looking at things for myself and I’m up for your challenge to go out and let others know I appreciate them and just share great content that people find helpful or need.

    Thanks so much for all you do and I really do appreciate you!!! You have helped me in so many different ways. THANK YOU!!!!!
    Barb Sibbing recently posted…Hashtags The New Trend in Social MediaMy Profile

    • Kim says

      Hi Barb,

      Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun writing this post.
      You are such a champ! Thank you for ALL your support! ;-) And it means a lot to me that you’ve noticed me stepping outside of my comfort zone. I think it will be a continual work in progress, but I’m O.K. with that. BTW.. fabulous hashtag article! I’m going over to leave you a comment myself. ;-)
      Kim

  3. says

    It took me a while to understand the “Real Housewives” reference, but I got there in the end! The WF is SO terrible for plugin developers disappearing after the sales trail off, some of whom have produced amazing plugins! I’m sure with your WP Plugins Lab, you’ll clean up as support and upgrades are crucial!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE what you put after the “Housewives” reference, business is all about building relationships and sharing your goodies – great post and a real reminder of what’s important.
    Lesley Johnston recently posted…21 Day Challenge – 21 Days of BloggingMy Profile

    • Kim says

      Haha..yea, I didn’t quite think about “The Real Housewives” being a U.S. reference only…
      It really is a bummer that people who have good stuff and use the WF don’t stick with it! They’re on to the next latest & greatest thing instead of nurturing what they’ve created.
      Took me a while to really get the relationships and sharing goodies part (we hear it but it takes a while to ‘get’ it), but now I’m on a mission! ;-)

  4. says

    Authenticity at its BEST! Thanks for the challenge and advice on getting out of our comfort zone. I actually signed up for a challenge a couple of weeks ago (you will hear about the challenge soon) which will definitely get me out of my comfort zone. I will keep you posted on the progress.

    • Kim says

      Thanks Regina!
      And WOO HOO on the challenge!I read something the other day and for the life of me don’t remember where it was but basically if you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable all the time you’re not growing (totally paraphrasing, but you get the jist!).
      Can’t wait to hear about the challenge!
      Have a great 4th~

  5. says

    Ok, this connection has been one-way long enough. Hi Kim. Your voice has been in my head as I’ve listened to all your podcasts the last few weeks. I love your story and how you manage to be smart and funny and always you. This post is so fresh and honest. Ironical that you call the last group “housewives” when we all know it’s the boys who are the worst offenders!
    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and thanks. I’m a neighbor so hope to see you at WordCamp SF.
    Frankie Johnson recently posted…New Website DesignMy Profile

    • Kim says

      Hi Frankie,

      Thanks SO much for getting the two-way connection going! ;-) And thank you so much for the wonderful feedback, it truly means a lot to me! I was trying to think of something else I could use instead of housewives because it really is the boys who are the worst offenders (although there certainly is a crop of women who fit a different level of smarmy marketing… I’ll have to let that one percolate for a while because it’s a WHOLE different ballgame).
      I’m definitely going to WCSF and in fact am organizing a meetup/dinner for Genesis peeps! We’re going to get together on Friday night, you up for it? I’ll keep you posted.
      Thanks again,
      Kim

  6. says

    Hey Kim… great to connect. Love your manifesto, by the way. Got quite verklempt.
    Yes, please keep me in the loop for the meet-up. Looking forward to seeing you in person!
    Frankie

    • Kim says

      Aww…thanks Frankie! ;-)
      I will definitely keep you in the loop with the meetup. Can’t wait to meet in person.
      Kim

  7. says

    Great article & very informative. I consider myself a newbie to WP & blogging. I like to think of myself as a “Real Mom”, not a “Real Housewife. ” ;)

  8. says

    I would add the caveat that some of these housewives have a blog but they don’t update it and the reason they don’t update it is because blogging doesn’t work… in their opinion. Some get lucky and their the ones that are dangerous, they think they are good at an aspect of it and overdose on that part.

    The trouble with ninja / killer and all the other buzzwords are that they date our evergreen content. It’s no longer fresh and let’s face it calling everything killer or secret is soooo last season (and the season before and the season before that).

    And the thing is, if we met these people in real life, we’d like them. We’d want to be their friend and we’d want to stay in touch until they got too intense…
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…3 ways small businesses can use Google HangoutsMy Profile

    • Kim says

      Hi Sarah,

      GREAT point about the use of some of those words! I think about that when I use certain words or phrases myself, because it dates me!
      The other thing that’s a bummer is that some of these people are working their tails off for these quick hits or big paydays and if they would apply the same energy to building a solid, sustainable business they would have a more consistent income that grows over time and truly creates a brand/business.
      Thanks for the comment & stopping by. ;-)
      Kim

  9. says

    Hi Kim!
    I just love your tone when you write, I can totally hear your voice in my head, with all the asides and all ;)
    I’ve never looked at WP users in this way, but it’s a good observation. I think I fall somewhere between 2 and 4. Connection is very important in the blogging community, no matter what you blog about and I really commend the way you’ve been reaching out and helping support other people in the community, including myself! :) I definitely want to not only return the favor, but pay it forward as well.
    Some people think that they need to keep to themselves because they are afraid of connecting with their “competition”, but I think that connecting with others serves us all.

    • Kim says

      Hi Marianne,

      SO true! I read something earlier today that said “Collaboration is the new Competition”. We all have different styles, voices, etc. and when we stay true to ourselves and simply support other people we realize that there’s plenty to go around!
      I can’t WAIT until you launch! (I’ve been telling people about your soon to be released e-book, because it ROCKS). Thanks for the note about supporting other people too. ;-) It’s definitely been something I’ve been working on.

      • says

        Oh for sure! you walk the talk when it comes to that. I know I’m not really dragging my feet, just so many things I want ” perfect” first. yeah yeah I knew, just do it already haha

        • Kim says

          Haha… Considering you have a full time gig Marianne I’d say you’re doing fabulous! There’s a fine line between “Good is Good Enough”, perfection and doing something “right”. Of course the “right” is completely subjective, but that’s also the beauty of it! There’s a song I’ve been listening to called “Just Do You” by India Arie (friggin love her) and one of the lyrics is: “When you create the game, you create the rules”.
          Could not have said it better myself! You’ve gotten a lot accomplished since we first connected… make sure to acknowledge that too. ;-)

  10. says

    This is awesome. YOU are awesome. I’m so happy to have discovered your site this week!! I love promoting other bloggers but I don’t feel like I ever get It in return so I get discouraged and loose motivation and steam. I know I just need to move on to the next. I am still trying to find my voice and my purpose. Maybe I am doomed to remain in no man’s land. But I’m going to have fun regardless!
    Chirleen recently posted…Big Boobs Are Overrated: Why I’m Having Breast Reduction SurgeryMy Profile

    • Kim Doyal says

      Hi Chirleen,

      Thanks SO much! (although now I have the Lego song ‘Everything is AWESOME’ in my head.. haha). For what it’s worth (and of course this is just my two cents), I think a LOT of people are simply caught up in their own thing and really don’t get that one tweet, share, comment, etc. really does make a difference for people.
      I have an amazing coaching client, Sandi Eveleth, who is fantastic at connecting people and creating engagement. I think she would be a great connection for you. You can connect with her on twitter – @kissyourweb
      Feel free to reach out & connect with me socially too (I spend most of my time on FB, trying to step up the twitter engagement :-) ).

      There are SO many people to connect with. You just need to find your tribe. :-)
      Keep at it! (Your site looks great btw).
      Thanks again,
      Kim

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