How WordPress business owners measure success in life and business

Matt Medeiros continues Season 8 with this interview discussing changes in the WordPress community.  Liam Dempsey and Tara Claeys are running WordPress businesses, they are consultants and produce a Podcast together called Hallway Chats.

Listen to this episode:


Liam Dempsey runs a WordPress agency called lbdesign. He and Tara Claeys started the Podcast called Hallway Chats for the WordPress community and share how people use WordPress in their lives. Tara and Liam have known each other through the WordPress community and each had thought about having a podcast. This show came together out of a common interest in the WordPress community and giving back.

Tara Claeys is a small business agency owner of DesignTLC.  She is a co-host on the Hallway Chats podcast that explores the personal side of WordPress with each guest and investigates how WordPress has changed lives of so many people. This podcast was a first for Liam and Tara. Together they have a great interviewing style and make a strong team. Tara wanted a podcast that did not overlap with many others in the space that concentrate on the technical side of WordPress.

What you will learn in this Episode:

The longevity of a WordPress podcast can be a challenge. Hallway Chats does not have a set format and is very unique because each guest shares a personal story. The podcast is not used as a business tool and is not being used as a lead generator or as a revenue maker.

Liam – the professional focus has been to have a podcast that is scalable and not be an overwhelming task for either host. It cannot compete with other daily work needed to run a WordPress agency.

Matt – Discusses what the costs are for scheduling and producing a podcast. Episodes can run $2,000 – $4,000 a year. You can spend a couple hundred dollars a month and can look to sponsorship to help cover the show costs. A WordPress podcast is unique where a person needs to understand the product.

Is Success Possible with a podcast?

Tara – Success is related to your goal. Hallway Chats is a podcast that enables guests to tell their story. The ultimate goal is to have a conversation. When Tara attends WordCamps it is a great feeling to know that you have interviewed many of the people on the Hallway Chats podcast. Liam has become a good business support as well.

Liam – There were about 50 shows in the first year of Hallway Chats.  The show has been an avenue for people to share their stories from around the world. It is amazing to find out about people and what they are dealing with in their lives. The opportunity to work with Tara Claeys has been a great experience.

Matt – Thinks the mix of having a co-host on a podcast with you is a strong business model that can work with compatible personalities. Matt has done seasons with a co-host and has handled his podcast alone.

Change of WordPress with Gutenberg

Matt – Sees things calming down a bit around the release of WordPress. He also has observed things tightening up in the WordPress community with the competition. He has noticed that people are partnering with companies and often taking on a job. There is a concern about the rush to get the latest release of WordPress out there.

Tara – There have not been many discussions around Gutenberg and changes in the WordPress community on the Hallway Chat podcast. She does acknowledge there has been a challenge around the release of Gutenberg. There is nervous discussion around a community that has usually been supportive and excited about new releases. It almost appears that you need to choose a side around the release and have an opinion about it.

Liam – Hallway Chats has actively avoided conversations around Gutenberg and WordPress. When the conversation has been touched on, most guests are excited about the changes coming with the release of Gutenberg. Some guests have shared concerns about the release of Gutenberg, leadership, and communication.

Balancing and Monetizing work with a WordPress Agency

Tara – small businesses coming to a small agency for work usually don’t care about what you are using to build a website. They want a site that looks good and works well that is easy for them to maintain. She has not tried out any new Content Management Systems.

Liam – does not do any affiliate marketing. He tries to use the best solution for his clients which has been offering WordPress websites. WordPress is so prevalent and can be delivered in many different ways for a client.  However, many agencies are delivering websites without the same level of quality.

Matt – it was easy to customize WordPress but the basic coding practices are changing with JavaScript and may need more advanced developer skills.

Website agencies will be paying more attention to the customers and what they are attempting to do with their websites. You will really need to understand the customer’s intention.

Advice that has helped in your life or career?

Liam – Be mindful and aware. It has been quite a journey. When you are saying and doing things, stop to ask Why am I doing this? Analyzing why is something that has helped personally and professionally.  This has helped with defining success as not being just about profit or fame.

Tara – Striving to be a mindful person has been a goal.  Recognizing your personality and where you are in life also impacts your approach. Aim higher and do more. This helps as an entrepreneur.

To Keep in Touch:
Liam Dempsey:
Twitter @liamdempsey

Tara Claeys:
Twitter @taraclaeys

Episode Resources:
Hallway Chats
Matt Report

To Stay in Touch:

Watch the panel discussion on Matt’s YouTube channel.

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