Jeremy, co-founder of WPUP, a successful website management & support, tells me that since welcoming his second daughter to the world recently, he has dialed down on phone calls and interviews, because day time is his baby duty. I was lucky to grab Jeremy for a 30 minute chat about his WordPress maintenance business, his career, and his thoughts on ManageWP.
The first thing that I wanted to know, how do you become an entrepreneur? Are you born one, or is it a combination of things? Jeremy, who has founded more than one business, and is an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization tells me his story.
I started when I was 12. I have always been starting businesses, from web hosting to national magazines.
For Jeremy, it was a natural instinct to start creating something. He explains to me that he did try to work for someone else for a while, but what really got to him was the culture of “outlazing each other”, where people would clock in at 9:15 and clock out at 4:45. There was too much politics involved and most of the time nothing got done. Jeremy goes on to explain that this type of environment didn’t suit him. He was looking for a different type of culture. He explains,
I’ve built a few businesses, some of them failed and some were and still are very successful.
WPUP, The Beginning
Jeremy debunks the myth that most people have and tells me he started a lot of businesses before becoming a successful businessman, and learnt from his mistakes. He says that before WPUP he was a partner at Pixelcarve, a digital marketing business, that he sold to his business partners in June 2015. What I wanted to know was, how he decided to start WPUP.
The reason I started WPUP is that I noticed the one thing that was really lacking was proactive website maintenance & support.
For Jeremy this involved making sure everything was secure and updated, but also making changes to the website. This is something that most developers are not interested in and usually these are put on the back-burner, he tells me. He saw a void here and for that reason created WPUP.
What I really noticed when talking to Jeremy is his down to earth attitude and open communication style, and so even though we talked for a short period of time, he was really able to show me a realistic picture of what it means to start a business. We talked stress levels, and he tell me,
Stuff now is less stressful, because I am more in control, and I can really help people.
He goes on to explain that when you are on the ground level and communicating with people, you can make sure they feel more comfortable. Before he started WPUP, Jeremy worked with some big names, and Fortune 100 clients. This was a great opportunity, but at the same time left him without that real life changing satisfaction. He tells me that with big companies you can only move the needle by a bit, and the pay is great of course, but he wanted to do more. His focus now lies on startups & small companies, and he intends to get them started and help them grow.
He explains this to me, “I was missing that satisfaction of really changing a company. We are now protecting the smaller businesses and helping them grow. It’s great when they outgrow our services and move to a more in house management.”
What puts the concierge service in WPUP?
WPUP is about proactive management of websites, taking care of website support, security, updates and uptime. Jeremy points out that they are aiming to really focus on improving website optimization, and trying to make their client’s websites better. Most people are clueless when it comes to building websites, so WPUP spends a lot of time fixing problems, which Jeremy points out is great for revenue, but he much prefers to use his skills to improve business performance rather than on patching holes.
The concierge service allows you to sleep easy knowing that not only your website is being looked after (maintained), but it also has the best people looking after it’s optimization and performance.
The most popular plan is their $97/mo plan that maintains websites and offers unlimited small changes. So when I asked Jeremy, what is the most common problem people come with to WPUP, his answer surprised me a little. He goes on to say,
The most common problem people have is slow response & action from their current team.
WPUP, on the other hand, try and answer to their customers needs and build a trusting relationship with them. Another issue that people are experiencing as a consequence of the slow response time of their team is that they are paying a lot of money for small changes to be made. This is something that WPUP are looking to solve for them, by offering good timely service.
When talking about the second most common reason people come to WPUP, website security came up instantly. Jeremy tells me a nice analogy about website security. He compares getting hacked to disability insurance. People don’t buy disability or critical illness insurance when they are young, and believe they are fine, invincible. It’s not until an incident happens to a close friend, family member, or themselves that they realize how important this can be. It’s the same with websites, until you get hacked, most people don’t think about website security. They come to WPUP for that reason, and end up staying because they feel protected. WPUP gives them the peace of mind option, because they have 30 day backup always available and a support team that’s there 24/7.
How to get people hooked on website maintenance?
Most people struggle with showing clients the true value of website maintenance. We hear this type of problem all of the time. I wanted to pick Jeremy’s brain about how they at WPUP approach this problem.
Some people may not see the true value straightaway. We get them on a trial, so they get to experience that peace of mind.
Jeremy tackles this issue by actually showing his clients what website maintenance & support means. A trial is a great way to gain a client’s trust, and it’s important, he says, to be proactive. WPUP offer immediate service, and reach out to their clients with suggestions and new ideas on how to improve website optimization.
Another great tip from Jeremy is DIY courses. He offers his clients content upgrades, marketing funnels and courses, which can teach his clients how to handle things alone. For example, how to secure your website. This means they can get a good idea of what it really takes to maintain a website. It usually ends with two scenarios, one is they manage to do it themselves and they get back to Jeremy saying, great now can you take it up a notch. Or, they see the complexities behind it, and trust WPUP to do it for them, while appreciating the amount of work it takes. Either way they opt for website maintenance with WPUP.
How to level up your skills as a developer or designer and keep your clients
For all WordPress developers and designers, here are a few great tips on how you can keep improving your skills, and keep working with your clients on improving their websites. Jeremy cuts to the chase, “Agencies, WordPress freelancers & developers inspire to work on the exciting projects that will advance them. If you want to keep improving, make sure you focus on those services to your clients.”
You should charge for what you are good at. If you are a designer, you can offer your clients things like microsite development, ads, social branding, etc. There are always new things to learn that can actually help your clients too.
Don’t create a false sense of recurring revenue, for the sake of money. There is a hype about recurring revenue, but if you are not enjoying what you are doing, then there is no point.
If you are a designer or developer, you can get your clients on monthly payments – retain design & development services, offer to do Facebook ads, for developers drive traffic, help with internal systems. Find problems you can solve with design or code, and offer those to your clients to create that real sense of recurring revenue.
How Would Jeremy Improve ManageWP
I love asking this question, because it’s everyone’s input that makes ManageWP so special. I wanted to share with you some of Jeremy’s thoughts and as he calls them, ManageWP pet peeves. He brings my attention firstly to clients who already used ManageWP in one form or another. This means that either they have an account or another developer does. The issue arises when you try and install two worker plugins on one website. The accounts disconnect each other. For Jeremy it would be great to be able to have access from two ManageWP accounts to one website.
Another great suggestion is to get notifications out to clients as you make changes on their websites. It’s a bit different than Client Report, and Jeremy does say he is very excited about the recently released Client Report automation, but this is more on changes made within WordPress like editing a post, page, a history of revisions and changes.
Jeremy, Outside of Work
Although these interviews are mostly focused on business, I wanted to share with you some interesting things about Jeremy. He is avid about competitive golf and all things active. When he is not golfing, he can be found weight training, playing volleyball, badminton, basketball or tennis. He and his wife have a great system, he tells me the key to getting everything done is being organized. They both have calendars, where they book time with each other, the kids and for work. Even with the new baby, they have got themselves organized and are on the ball with everything.
There is a lot to learn from Jeremy, and it’s not just about website maintenance business, so if you get a chance to meet him, make sure you talk more than just business. I almost forgot the most important part, if he could be a superhero he would definitely be Superman, because he wants to be able to fly.