2020 End of Year Review

Welcome back to the Matt Report podcast, it’s the show for opinionated resilient business builders.

How’s that, “opinionated resilient business builders.”

Anyway, we’ll keep working on it, I like it and that’s what is leading us into the 2020 year in review!

1. Finding the Premise for the Matt Report

There’s 1.8 million podcasts out there and about 20 of them are about WordPress. You’d think that made for great odds, but not that many people actually care about WordPress at a global scale.

It’s a topic I’ve covered at length before — being a content creator in the WordPress space — you either do it for the love, or do it for the affiliate links.

But as I’ve labeled myself a content creator and an artist — the topic of just WordPress is less interesting to me — maybe even you.

So as I work out my premise — the show for opinionated resilient business builders — new guests and content will be produced.

I feel like I’ve been telling you this for a while now, at least ALL of 2020, and that’s update #1 — that’s where I’m at with the show.

I’ll continue to deliver interviews and solo episodes, with the occasional roundtable show. Some of the tools people are using to build businesses and websites these days are very intriguing. Webflow, Airtable, Notion, are all very exciting to me.

And to be honest, I think WordPress is moving in that direction.

Sponsorship will still be open and I’m happy to say that over the course of the year, I’ve raised over 2000 dollars for Big Orange Heart.

Side update to the update? December was insanely busy — and I will be working on the videos that people purchased from me in January. That effort raised a lot more money than I expected, but also created a lot more work!

2. Business5000

At the end of 2019, heading into 2020, I started shopping around my idea for the Business5000.

It is…was? an idea accelerator. I grew the email list of interested people to 100 and I felt like I could get the chips to fall where I needed them to — but then COVID hit mixed with a heap of social unrest in America and it was just a shitty time to launch something like this.

Plus, I didn’t want to. I lost the interest in all of it.

I still think it’s a strong idea, and creating a community of people that achieve results in a particular area is something I’d still like to create.

But for now, Business5000.com is shelved.

3. Easy Support Videos

You know, that plugin that sponsored the show!

We launched ESV back in 2016. Four years ago.

I’m a nontechnical product maker. It started with Drupal themes, then WordPress themes, then Conductor plugin for WordPress, and now Easy Support Videos.

I took a lot of the lessons learned from Conductor, like not tackling an overly complex product that needs to be deeply integrated with WordPress core, 3rd party themes, and other plugins in a hyper-competitive market.

I’ve talked about this experience in the past so I won’t go too much deeper on this podcast about it, but I highly recommend keeping your first — or next — product as lightweight as possible.

The biggest challenge here is that my lead developer for the plugin, Scott, is still 98% of the time, working on Slocum Studio client work. We never could get themes + conductor to outpace services work in order to flip the switch to just product.

The cash flow wasn’t the only reason, but it was a big part of it.

We now have version 2.0 slated to release in January with a whole new set of features and a website that I’ve — slowly — been working on.

I’m envious of the WP developers out there that can code their own product, and don’t need to spend resources directly on that area.

Either way, I’m excited to launch version 2.0 of Easy support videos, so look forward to more updates around the success of that product in the future.

4 the move to Castos

The move to Castos was the right one for me.

Selling WordPress hosting isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s market that wasn’t all that interesting to me. Being able to sink my teeth into product development, marketing, and of course podcasting is a dream come true.

The team is great and we’re growing really fast. It’s great to work alongside someone like Craig, the owner of Castos, that really wants to see the product improve. It’s not just resting on the laurels of the industry, but we’re creating something that solves a need for lots of podcasters.

I’m also scratching the creative itch and it’s been a huge benefit stress-wise.

I’ve mentioned this on other shows before, but I haven’t been producing nearly any videos for the youtube.com/plugintut channel and I feel okay about it. I love growing out the Castos YouTube channel — youtube.com/castos — and I’m happy to say I’ve doubled it since I started contributing there.

I can’t wait to see where we’re at when I do my 2021 EoY review.

That’s all I have today. I hope you were able to pull some threads of commonality out of today’s discussion and it shines some light on the similar challenges you might be faced with.

As always, I appreciate you listening to the show, subscribing, and if you do one last thing before the year is out — leave us a five-star review on iTunes.

Alright, that’s the show, see you next year.


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