Upcoming Event: Designer Interview – Ilana Zatkowsky

Designer Interview - Ilana Zatkowsky // erineflynn.com

Hey! My live interview with April Durham was such a blast that designer interviews are gonna become a monthly thing! This month I’m super excited to hang out on air with Ilana Zatkowsky of Sugar & Type! Ilana and I have been online friends for a few years now, and she is seriously talented! We’ll be chatting about how she got started in design and what goes on behind the scenes at Sugar & Type–and you’re invited to join in!

I’ll be asking Ilana questions, and then we’ll have a live Q&A at the end where you can ask both of us whatever questions you have about running a design business!

The webinar is FREE, just register here and log on at 6pm EST on Wednesday, July 16th!

If you can’t make the webinar, it will be recorded, but we hope to see you there!

EDIT:  Due to technical difficulties (internet) we weren’t able to have our webinar! Sorry!!! We’ll be rescheduling and let you know!

How cheap hosting can cost you a small fortune

How cheap hosting can cost you a fortune // erineflynn.com

This was originally released as part of my newsletter-exclusive content, but people keep asking me for hosting recommendations, so I’m re-posting it here!

Hey!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I didn’t send out a newsletter in May. The reason why was because I was SWAMPED with moving clients and myself off of a certain (very popular) host to new, reliable, servers.

I think it took about 40 hours and $800 to get everything squared away.

That’s not counting the income I lost by my website and email being down (and a potential client walking away), or the projects I was unable to take on because I was busy moving clients off my reseller account and fixing problems.

Plus a lot of mental energy and stress.

In total, my old website host cost me somewhere between $800–$7,000.

Which is why in this newsletter I’d like to talk about the importance of GOOD hosting and my new recommendations.

Where you are hosted matters!

It’s incredibly important that your host have great uptime and support services. What good is a host you can’t even get in touch with or that is always down?!

Keep in mind that actual 100% uptime is pretty much impossible.

But your website should never be down for HOURS at a time. My website (and consequently my email) was down for about 24 hours, which KILLED a deal and made me seem unreliable. Who wants to buy a website from someone whose own website isn’t working?

Customer service is vital!

Do you know how to get in touch with your host? Do they respond promptly? Do they actually know what they’re talking about? The host I was with claims that they have great support, but when it really mattered, it was terrible. The best I got was a tweet saying they were “working on it” which wasn’t very helpful when I had to report back to clients what was going on.

Don’t host clients.

Unless you really want to be their sole point of contact at all hours of the day and night and not be able to help them. This was the worst part of the server problems–I had a reseller account and hosted clients; when the server was down, not only was MY website and email down, but so was theirs! My poor choice of host affected their businesses as well–and there was nothing I could do to help get things back online.

Hosts I’m digging

I did a LOT of research and finally narrowed down to three hosts that I am really loving.

Flywheel - If you’re looking for easy-to-use WordPress hosting, look no further! Flywheel is designed JUST for WordPress, and whether you’re a designer or a DIYer, they make it easy–they’ll even migrate your site for you, for free! Since they ONLY host WordPress sites, they know exactly how to pinpoint problems and provide great support! And if you’re a designer, you can create your client’s site and let them check it out before making it live and paying for hosting! (The downside to Flywheel is that they don’t host emails, so you’ll need to setup email accounts through Google apps or similar.)

LiquidWeb - As much as I love Flywheel, I run other applications than just WordPress, so I needed a host that could handle the weird stuff I throw on my server. Liquid Web has got to have some of the best tech support I’ve ever experienced! They are SUPER fast to respond, helped me fix all sorts of errors and problems I had migrating my site, and so far I’m thrilled with them!

Piece of Cake Hosting - I almost went with Piece of Cake, but it wasn’t the perfect fit for what I needed (as I mentioned, I really like to mess around with stuff), but they offer AMAZING service with their hosting. A bit pricier, I think they’re totally worth it and will likely be using them for any clients who need more than just WordPress installed.
One of the things I love about Piece of Cake is that they’re a small team, so you always have the same support team to chat with and get help from. PLUS, they help clients get everything set up, offer backups and security, and are run by the lovely Erin Pheil who is a kick-ass person who goes waaaay out of her way to deliver amazing customer service.

tl;dr

I realize this is quite lengthy, but long story short: pay the extra money for a GREAT host, don’t go with a cheap alternative–it may cost you a lot more in the end.

Where do you host your website?

Recent Work – Paper Raven Editing

Paper Raven Editing Redesign // erineflynn.com

Morgan was one of my first clients, so when she came back to me about a month or so ago wanting a redesign, I was excited to work with her again! She wanted something cleaner and more modern than her original design, with a space for her new opt-in and video. Because Morgan knew what she wanted, she basically did the design and I was able to do the development for her, which meant it was a super-quick process that worked well for both of us!

Special features on Paper Raven Editing:

  • Mobile-responsive design
  • Featured opt-in widget on home page
  • After-post opt-ins
  • Featured posts/pages

I love working with Morgan–she’s a dream client! If you need help with your writing, you should pay Morgan a visit! She even has a brand new, FREE video workshop which looks stellar!

Income Report – June

Income Report - June 2014 // erineflynn.com

June Income Report

  • Affiliate and Advertising Sales: $130.00
  • Consulting/Mentorship: $0.00
  • Design Work: $300.00
  • Development work: $750.00
  • E-course Sales: $25.00
  • Maintenance Work: $2,245.00
  • Refunds: $611.45

Total: $4,061.45 (before expenses)

What these things mean

Affiliate & Advertising Sales: Affiliate programs I’m a part of (Studio Press, Gravity Forms, etc.), and Google Adsense. I only count this as income AFTER it is deposited in my bank account. I don’t do a ton of affiliate marketing or ads, so sometimes my earnings sit in the program for months before I ever get them. Any earnings listed here are likely an accumulation of several months’ earnings finally being deposited in my bank account.

Consulting/Mentorship: Consult calls and mentorship for designers and small business owners.

Design work: Anything that involves me designing something. A website, header, graphics of any kind, etc.

Development work: Full site development, theme development, etc.

E-Course sales: Sales of my e-course, of course. Most customers have purchased at a discount. I receive payment approximately two months after the sales occur. For example, in February I received payment for my December course sales.

Maintenance work: Hosting setup, coding, plugin installations, etc. I lumped these all together because I often do coding/website tweaks as part of clients’ monthly maintenance packages. I will possibly break this down further in the future to distinguish between new coding projects and actual maintenance work, but for 2014 they’re all lumped together in my accounting software.

Refunds: Money I get back from business expenses that I get refunded on. Like training programs, software, etc. Not really income, but for the sake of the blog post…

June Expense Report

  • Advertising: $0.00
  • Contractors and freelancers: $22.05
  • Domains/Hosting: $251.34
  • Licenses: $46.50
  • Meals and entertainment: $0.00
  • Office expense: $0.00
  • Other expenses: $1.00
  • Paypal Fees: $10.91
  • Training: $0.00

Total: $331.80

What these things mean

Advertising: Any ads I purchase, to promote my business, blog, and/or specific products or services.

Contractors and freelancers: Anyone I hire to do something for me, or finder’s fees for client referrals.

Domains/Hosting: Any new domains, hosting plans, or renewals. I typically pay for an entire year, not month-to-month, so some months this may be non-existent and others it may be crazy.

Licenses: Plugins, fonts, software, or any other type of licenses for my business or a client websites.

Meals and entertainment: Meetings with clients or to network.

Office expense: Anything I need for my office; furniture, paper, etc.

Other expenses: Filing fees, random stuff.

Paypal fees: This one is pretty obvious, don’t you think?

Training: Courses or books to improve my mad skillz and my business.

June 2014 total profit: $3729.65 (before taxes)

Notes: I spent some time this month cutting services that I don’t really need back, and getting a few refunds in the process. I definitely encourage you to look at things you’re paying for monthly or yearly and see if you really need them!

I wouldn’t have had nearly the domain/hosting fees this month except I’ve been transferring all my domains over to Name Cheap. I really like their setup and the fact they don’t try to sell you 89347829374874827 things at checkout.

Overall, a decent month!

How’d you do in June?