I am James and I’m from sunny Brisbane, Australia. Most people call me Jimmy and others are still confused about what to call me.
WordPress got onto my radar around 2006 when I started a silly personal blog. I was a tinkerer, so was happy to work out how to use web hosting and get it all set up myself.
The Journey Began
My first actual business started back in 2008 – when everyone was creating websites to rank them in Google and make money from affiliate sales and Adsense. The aim was to spin up new sites as fast as possible and add content as fast as possible, and that’s what WordPress was good at. Especially when compared to other things. So really I’ve been using WordPress.
The Need for Content Snare
Content Snare Logo
Years after I started my business, I finally met my business partner and started a web design agency. However, since we were both software developers, we always wanted to get back into the software.
We recognized getting content from clients as a big problem for us, and many of our designer friends agreed. After interviewing them, we discovered that every single one of them was facing a bottleneck when it comes to content. We knew this was a major problem and that we had to create a solution.
A bit of research showed that no one was really solving this problem well. There were some “competitors” but they either focussed on different markets or didn’t work in a way that we thought would actually work for us or other agencies.
We created a few mockups and sent them to quite a few people in the web design space, and the feedback was amazing. To prove that people actually wanted a solution, we ran a pre-launch based on the idea and mockups and sold our first 25 copies quickly. That’s when we knew we had to build this.
I’d say the biggest challenge in building Content Snare was finding good developers while trying to balance our agency. We were so busy with the agency that we kind of dropped the ball on checking the code that was produced for Content Snare. That left us with a lot of technical debt that took a long time to fix. In fact, we still aren’t fully done, but we’re close.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
We are a fully remote team and so far we have not had everyone in one place at the same time. In fact, there are many of us that have never met each other in person! We spend a lot of time chatting over Slack and on video meetings though, so it feels like we know each other.
James Rose with his Team
Advice for Business Owners
I think the main thing people struggle with when they start a business is confidence. That could be the confidence to charge more, sell their products to clients, or simply believe in what they are doing.
Confidence tends to come through experience – and the only way to get that is to keep trying new things and pushing yourself to come out of your comfort zone. Over time your confidence grows which in turn makes it easier to get clients and charge more.
While agency life isn’t for everyone, it’s a great place to start because it exposes you to a lot of different problems that people face. If you want to create a product, having an understanding of what people struggle with is super important.
WordPress & Beyond
With Content Snare the plan is to expand into new markets. It turns out that lots of non-web-design businesses have found Content Snare and are using it for things we never even considered – so that’s where we are going.
On the other side, I help people with automation through my Facebook group for web designers, and lots of people have asked me to coach them on Zapier. Like Content Snare, we ran a pre-launch for a training course that went well. That convinced me that I needed to go ahead and create it. So my Zapier course is a kind of a “side-gig” that came out of working with people to solve problems. That comes back to why I like the agency model to start with!
There are a few potential threats to WordPress I think. Things like Webflow that don’t require as much maintenance. I see a lot of people getting tired of the maintenance requirements, but there are pros and cons to any system. I think WordPress has a lot of time left still.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I wish I got to attend more. Because of other conference and travel commitments lately, I haven’t been able to get to many WordCamps. The last WordCamp I attended was in Sydney a couple of years ago where I spoke about getting content from clients. Hopefully, I can get to another one soon.
Outside of WordPress, I’ve been attending other agency related conferences like the Recurring Revenue Retreat and Agency Transformation Live.
How I Keep Myself Updated
Generally, I hang out in Facebook groups that are full of WordPress agencies. This not only keeps you updated but also shows you what people are struggling with. I also run a podcast for digital agencies called Agency Highway. The guests that I have are super smart and what they share helps me learn. Of course, listeners get the same benefit.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I’m big on making sure I spend a lot of time on non-work things, otherwise, I’d go crazy.
I love snowboarding but living in sunny Australia I don’t get to do a lot of it, so electric skateboarding has become my summer alternative. Other than that it’s a lot of travel, a LOT of craft beer (I’m kinda obsessed) and hanging out with my partner and dog. You can see a bit of what I get up to on my Instagram.
And here is Saki 🙂
James Rose Pet
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