In this episode, I speak to Jaime Slutzky from; a Canadian based near Seattle, Washington. As well as being a WordPress developer and an online technology consultant, Jaime also helps her client with running a virtual summit to grow and leverage their business.
Jaime has shared a very interesting story about using her computer science and “geeky” background to help other people to overcome their tech barriers which is holding back their ability to grow online. And using virtual summit with WordPress is a unique way of doing that.
Here are just a few things we talk about:
- what is a virtual summit tech and how it helps businesses to grow
- the benefits of “following someone else’s script” to help with your learning experience
- how Jaime helps to ease the clients’ experience in using WordPress
- the important transition from being a freelancer to a business owner
“You can follow someone’s blog, you can follow someone on YouTube, you can follow someone on their Facebook page. You can meet them where they’re at and where you’re at, to get the information you need.” – Jaime Slutzky
Ahmed Khalifa: And here we go. This is the Ignite Rock podcast. Within one week I interview those who are doing awesome stuff with WordPress. The other week I shared some tips and advice on making the most out of your online business and career. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let’s get straight onto the show.
Here we go everyone. This is going to be a fun one today because I’ve got Jaime Slutzky on the line today, calling all the way from the US. I’m really excited because this is something very different. I’m not going to say too much about what we’re going to talk about because it is quite different. I’ve even learned about Jaime, what she does. I was intrigued. I’m like, “I have to speak to Jaime.” So I thought let’s get it going.
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So Jaime, thank you for coming on. I really appreciate your time and effort to be here. I guess we’ll just start off with … Just tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, where you’re from and how did you get to where you are today.
Jaime Slutzky: Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. It’s always fun to talk to podcasters and podcast listeners. I am based out of Seattle, Washington, so pretty far away from you. I was a WordPress freelancer from about 2010 until about 2016-ish, at which point I took that freelancing skills and honed it in on one specific market, which is online virtual summits. I started as a freelancer trying to get my feet wet, figure out what I wanted to do with WordPress.
Then some of my clients were like, “I’ve heard about this virtual summit thing, do you think you can pull it off?” As someone who has her degree in Computer Science, and is a total techie and an integration specialist I’m like, “This is my jam.” So I really dove straight in and now I produce virtual summits for all sorts of people, all sorts of creatives, solos, duos, corporations, all sorts of people like that. I use WordPress because that’s the right place to be doing it.
Ahmed Khalifa: Awesome, and that’s something I’ve noticed as well is that you are a techie in your personal life, in your career, computer science as well, so that tells you everything that you love technology and computing and stuff. I have noticed when reading about you is that you help provide tech-based solutions to your clients.
Am I right in thinking that you have a lot of focus on the health and fitness industry as well? Because that’s what I’ve noticed.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, you know I have dabbled in and out of health and fitness since about 2009. I owned a fitness business for a little while. I’m a certified personal trainer. I have a real passion for fitness. I made my business brand about fitness but I’ve really transitioned out of working just with the fitness niche and working much more with anybody who’s got a message to deliver.
I find that fitness people, it’s a great industry, it is so, so difficult to make a name for yourself in that industry, and because my expertise is truly technology, I was not finding success for myself personally in that space.
So I’m like, “Okay I’m going to work with fitness professionals and other people who are making names for themselves.” So yes, you absolutely read about me right. I am a techie but I have this passion for fitness.
Ahmed Khalifa: A good combination, you know why not? It’s great. This is a thing that people kind of try to niche themselves in certain areas. I think that’s what you’re trying to do as well because you’re not just another developer kind of thing, you have your own niche and you’re doing virtual summits and stuff like that.
This is my next point is, what is a virtual summit? What is a summit model? Can you explain that to me? I just don’t understand it completely.
Jaime Slutzky: Absolutely. That’s probably the question I get asked the most. I think my mom’s asked it about 40 times already, which is … I’ve gotten better at explaining it. A virtual summit is kind of like a webinar on steroids. It is back-to-back to back-to-back webinars, or they’re conversational. They’re very much like a podcast. Like taking a season of a podcast and condensing it into four or five days.
It’s a bunch of information all based around one specific topic or theme and it’s delivered free through a website. It’s usually 24, 48 or 72 hours the content is available for free. They’re all video interviews, so they’re engaging, it’s not like you’re just selling transcripts or anything like that. So you can actually sell the videos afterwards and that’s how you monetize it.
Actually, a lot of times we’ll sell it starting from the get-go as a less expensive option. But then being able to sell those video content for long-term.
The virtual summits work really, really well in the health space and in the fitness space, you know when you’re solving someone’s big problem. I’d just finished a summit not that long ago about a specific medical condition. The host was interviewing all sorts of medical professionals who had a lot of experience in this particular thing.
This summit was solving pain points, was helping people start to feel better because they’d got the information they needed and it was all centrally located. There’s some WordPress summits out there. I know I’ve seen a couple of them.
But any industry where you’re providing an influx of knowledge and you’re helping people have an opportunity to take that and to do something better for themselves or their community with it works in the virtual summit model.
Ahmed Khalifa: Is there a timeline of how long it should be? Because I know you offer a 12-week summit kind of thing. I mean is that recommended? Is it [crosstalk 00:06:42]
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, so the live summits run four to eight days. When I say 12 weeks, I say it takes about 12 weeks to put a summit together. When you’re starting to interview people or ask people to be on your summit all the way through to the date that it goes live, there are a lot of pieces that have to take place.
It takes about three months to get there because you want to remember that you’re not just launching it on the day it goes. You have to get your affiliates in order and you have your marketing in order and you have to get sign-ups and all of these other things. So those are part of that 12-week process.
For me, my biggest work period is from eight weeks out to four weeks out, because that’s when we’re putting all of the technology together and in place, so that the website works the way it needs to, the emails work the way they need to and all of that. It’s a lot of fun. A lot of work but a lot of fun.
Ahmed Khalifa: A lot of work, yeah. Well that’s good you enjoy it as well. It sounds like a lot of things to think about. You’re right, your email list, your affiliate, your website, your video technology and your content and whatever. It’s like, “Wow.” It’s a lot of work that you have to do. That’s kind of my next point, it was about you create a lot of content from what I’ve seen.
People talk about being online, you have to create content online, you have to get involved with content marketing and such like that. Do you have a system when it comes to creating content online? Do you have a particular model? Do you have a particular style preference? What is your way of creating content that is most engaging to your audience?
Jaime Slutzky: You know it’s so funny that you ask that because my audience is still being honed in because I work with so many of my client’s audiences. I do so much work within the summits themselves. A lot of it is social media and if they have had a blog or a business that’s been around for a while, then we definitely use content marketing and we use their blog to get people excited and ready for the summit.
But if they’re starting brand new and this is their initial “lead gen” tactic, then they oftentimes the best way to go is with a combination of organic and paid on Facebook. So that’s kind of where we end up.
Ahmed Khalifa: No, no, because it’s always important to diversify your traffic sources. You don’t want to depend on one thing only. You have your organic, you have your paid, you have the social media as well and all these things we talked about. You’re getting your lead gen, you’re getting your email list created as well. At the end of the day it’s a good thing. I don’t think you should focus and hone only on one traffic source, I think if you do that you’re kind of putting all your eggs in one basket, really.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I tell my clients that getting on podcasts is not like, “Oh, I have to get on podcasts.” But getting on podcasts to talk to people about what you are doing is fun and it’s a great content strategy. It’s something that I absolutely, I love personally and I love telling … You know, helping my clients see that.
I also think that guest posting or have opportunities to be in front of someone else’s network. I mean this is the same for just about any industry, any time you can guess on someone else’s platform then you are one step further because you’re one step removed from those people and you’re just going to provide with something that’s great value that makes it worthwhile for them to become part of your network.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s very true. It’s something that when people talk about you have for example a blog post and that is for one particular audience, if you repurpose it into a YouTube video, that could be for another set of audience that you wouldn’t have reached unless you created that video for example.
Again, the whole benefit of get your incomes done and can stim your traffic sources all different directions, stuff like that makes sense. It makes sense to me and it’s nice to hear that you follow that philosophy as well.
Jaime Slutzky: Absolutely.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s great, yeah. Outside of a summit then, talking about WordPress and you build WordPress website as well. I’m curious just how did you first came across with WordPress and what was that like? What was your first experience like with WordPress?
Jaime Slutzky: Okay, yeah, well so you’re taking me back to 2010. I think WordPress was still on one-point-something at that time, okay.
Ahmed Khalifa: I can’t remember.
Jaime Slutzky: We’re going back … Maybe it was on two something, but I know it was definitely before that WordPress 3. I was actually teaching a fitness class. One of the gals in my fitness class, she and her mom owned a hosting company. I said to her, “I really want to …” I was still working corporate. “I really want to do something in addition to the fitness that takes me out of corporate.” She looked at me and she says, “Learn WordPress. Pick up WordPress.” I said, “Okay.” She said, “We’ll host your domain for you. Just pick it up and see what you think.”
So I bought my domain and they hosted it. I installed WordPress and I looked at these themes and this stuff and I’m like, “I can’t tweak as much as I want to tweak.” So probably within the first week of when I was in there I started playing with CSS.
That was love at first sight. I became a CSS junkie. Love it. I was very, very early on using media queries to create mobile responsive. I mean it was before mobile responsive was really a thing. I was like, “Hey, why can’t this look right?” I went in and I’m like, “Okay, let me figure it out.”
Again, I said it earlier, I’m a techie. I’m a total techie. I’m a tinkerer. I’m just going to make it work. So that was really my first experience with it. Then I just started offering, “Hey, can I build you a website? Let’s see how it works.”
I started building websites for just a couple of hundred dollars because I had to get my feet wet. When I quit my corporate job I had six websites on the books so that gave me some stability. Of course I was a mom at the same time so I was working at the computer late at night and things like that.
I took to WordPress because of the way my brain works and the way that I like to see things. I think that user experience is so important online that it made it really easy to be able to focus on that. I don’t know and I guess the other thing is, is because I have such a technical background I got into the PHP pretty quickly and I’m like, “I get this.” I could lead the code.
I didn’t always want to write code but I could write snippets, I could write some custom loops and things like that. That kind of separated me from other people who are like me, who are just getting started. I already had this toolkit that I was able to tap into.
Ahmed Khalifa: Wow, it really is love at first sight then.
Jaime Slutzky: It really was.
Ahmed Khalifa: Wow, because it’s what I like is that you said you kind of played with it, you just look under the hood kind of thing and find out what’s there. You kind of tweak and break things just to see what it’s like and I think that’s one of the best ways to learn it because I can relate to what you’re saying. I’m not a developer. I can understand code but I still like to experiment with what’s going on under the hood. I still like to experiment and see what can I do to improve X, Y and Z. Even just experiment with building something from scratch. Who knows?
But you learn from that, which I agree with. It makes total sense that with your computer science background, with your technical background, and PHP, and CSS, and all that stuff, it is perfect obviously for WordPress. It makes sense that you really went towards WordPress and you got stuck with it, and you just love it.
So it’s amazing. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s amazing that you … What it sounds like anyway, you sounded like you learnt by yourself, isn’t it? You were kind of like built it from the ground up and you just learned by playing with it, reading and all the stuff, isn’t it?
Jaime Slutzky: Absolutely. I am definitely a self-taught WordPress developer. That kind of how I described myself when I was talking about it, but then in order to validate that, I felt like I always had to fall back on my Computer Science degree. It’s like, yes I am self-taught but I’m self-taught with a big huge asset in my toolbox versus somebody who is self-taught who has a graphics background.
They and I have very, very different tool-sets. We are both good at what we do but what we do is not the same. So that you can be very successful at a self-taught with a graphics background, or with a marketing background, or with a computer science background, or with all these other backgrounds, it’s just we become different people.
Basically different types of businesses are going to look at us and say, “Yes, I want to work with you.” Depending on what that background really is.
Ahmed Khalifa: Yeah, makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with being self-taught you know. At least you have built yourself up by yourself at home, on the side kind of thing. Nothing wrong with that, I think it’s a great thing to be. So obviously then in that sense you kind of offer, obviously WordPress site to your client. Why do you use WordPress for your clients? What do they get out of it?
Jaime Slutzky: I actually think that most of my clients don’t have a clue what they get out of having a WordPress site. What they do get is a reliable site that isn’t going to break. You know they get something that we can do a lot of visually compelling things. We can have a lot of components working together that if we had used any other building platform, It wouldn’t have made quite as much sense.
It wouldn’t have been quite as easy. It wouldn’t have been quite as seamless for them, they may have had to have more involvement. My ideal clients, they really … I want them to focus on their content. I want them to focus on their summit and what they’re putting out there, and their copy and things like that. I don’t want them to have to worry about the platform that they’re on, and so I just don’t give them the option.
I had one client that had pushed back on me and said, “I don’t want to use WordPress.” I conceded with them but they’re doing most of their website, I’m doing more consulting work, so that worked out. Because I’m like, “I don’t want to. I want to work with WordPress.
I want to work with the tools that I want to work with.” The page-builder that I work with, the environment, all of those details I’ve kind of honed in exactly how I want to do it. So I don’t really want to have someone tell me what they’re going to do.
Now, if someone hires me later on in the process and they’re on WordPress and they’re using a different page builder, yeah, of course I’m going to use it because one page builder is not that different from another.
Ahmed Khalifa: Yeah, the general idea is kind of similar isn’t it? But you’re right, if you’re so focused on WordPress and you’re specialised in that, and you know how it works, it’s quite hard to … At the very beginning anyway to listen to your client and they say, “Oh, I don’t want to use WordPress. I want to use something else.” And you’re like, “Oh God, no.” Maybe not the best kind of client to work with, it’s tricky.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, exactly, exactly. There are some clients that if they came to me and said, “I want to use this platform, or that platform.” I’d be, “Absolutely not.” But the platform that these clients chose with them that I wasn’t like 100% opposed to, so that helped.
But the content management that comes with WordPress and being able to have custom post types and being able to have all of these other pieces inside there, makes pulling together all this vast amount of content efficient. Then structuring it, because oftentimes someone who’s hiring me to do their first summit, it’s not their only summit.
So we kind of have the foresight of planning the page structure and the modularity of everything, so that we can put something else right inside and on top of what’s already there. Even though going to have a different vibe for summit number two, summit number three and number four.
But if I didn’t have that foresight and if we didn’t have the flexibility within WordPress to change our structure … All you have to do is to create a new top-level page and throw everything underneath it and you’ve created a organisational structure. I love that about WordPress, you really have that ability.
Ahmed Khalifa: Right flexibility is really important actually. I can imagine for you, as you said, costing, post-type and all these things, it give you a lot of room to do a lot, to grow and to be really, really flexible about what you could do with it.
It is interesting that when you have certain client who may be not in an industry that we’re both in, in terms of the technical WordPress digital website, whatever it is. They don’t want to usurp us, or they have a particular idea of using something else. I always find that interesting but once you get into it, once you explain to them why the benefit of using WordPress, why you should use it, in most cases anyway I think it works.
I think it works for me anyway and thankfully most of my clients would work with it and most people use WordPress, but I guess you are right, you can use any other content management system but you want to do what you are best at, at the end of the day.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that I know a lot of people push back on with WordPress and I’m sure you’ve heard this as well is it’s so complicated in there. It’s so overwhelming. This is one of the hacks that I do almost 90% of the time when I’m working with the client is I create multiple user profiles for them.
They have their admin one that they’re only allowed to go into once a month to update their plugins. They have their editor that they only use when they’re editing. They’ve their author profile when they’re actually putting content in there.
I love having that structure in place because it’s less overwhelming when they go in on a day-today basis. As an author, they see so little. They just get in, do the work done and get out.
I’ve been doing this for years now with my clients and they are like, “Okay, on the fifth of every month that’s when I login as the admin.” And they do the tasks that I do. Then on whatever day of the month it is, they need to do anything that’s at the editor level. That gets scheduled.
So they’re generally in there and it’s not overwhelming because they’re not seeing plugins, they’re not seeing updates, they’re not seeing all these other things that can get in the way of doing work. I think that’s probably the biggest hack that I’ve implemented for my clients. I’m sure your audience is going to write that one down and take it with them going forward.
Ahmed Khalifa: I’m thinking I can’t imagine what their face will be like when they have admin access and they look at everything that’s there. I’m thinking, “Oh God.” “The temp logins, what’s all this?” Yeah, that would be everyone then. I know exactly what you’re saying because there’s certain people I give them certain access levels just to keep it simple for them.
If they only want to write a blog post and that it, then they don’t need to have access to the editor and to add new plugins and stuff like that. They don’t need it because I have access to the post and the page, and that’s it. It’s [crosstalk 00:24:06]
Jaime Slutzky: Exactly, exactly, exactly. I think it’s really important to understand the client and understand that their resistance, especially if they are resistant to WordPress, what is that resistance and how can we help them overcome it. Then you also have all these people that have no clue, no clue. “What is WordPress?” “What is …?”, some of these other platforms. They don’t know A from B, so those ones are kind of easy because you just guide them down the road you want.
Ahmed Khalifa: Well so then this kind of leads me to my next question then. Obviously a lot of people have trouble with using WordPress, so what advice would you give to those who are having trouble with WordPress? Or even starting using that, what advice would you give to those people?
Jaime Slutzky: So someone who’s just installed it for the first time in getting going in there? Goodness, follows someone else’s script. Seriously and truly got out on the Internet and find a methodology of how to set up the site that you can resonate with the author. Then take your time, I mean you don’t have to do it all instantly. You can do it over time. Those are the two things.
It’s so funny because posts are right at the top, you know right underneath the dashboard you’ve got posts, but in reality, that’s not where you need to be starting. There’s so many things that you need to be doing before writing your first post.
They’re little things like it would be nice if there was a guide that sat on top of WordPress that, “Okay, are you a first time …?” I mean there’s a little bit of guidance and stuff but something that’s so specific to … “Okay, pick from one of these three layouts.” You know like really simple. Putting a theme in place and making sure that you’re just starting with a little bit of hand-holding.
Since there isn’t anything unless it’s from the host level, which a lot of the hosts are putting in their own front end on top of WordPress to guide you through. If there isn’t one, I can think of a few that are out there, can’t remember exactly what the sites are though. I can probably provide them if you need me to afterwards. But just guides to getting started.
Ahmed Khalifa: There are a lot of resources out there and you don’t have to do it on your own. You can follow, as you said, someone else’s script on the guides from starting from scratch where from starting to get the best theme or host or whatever. You’re right, you can kind of follow other people’s way of doing it and how they’ve done it and learn from their experience and then you can copy it. On the other hand, yes, you’re right you don’t have to do that.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, and one of the things that I like about that is that you can follow someone’s blog, you could follow someone a YouTube, you could follow someone on their Facebook page. You can meet them where they’re at and where you’re at to get the information you need.
The other recommendation is as long as you’re getting a good host you can lean on the host support. You can lean on them, there are some really amazing hosts out there that will give you way more than they ever intended as advice and guidance and where to go and stuff like that.
I guess my only rule of thumb with people is that if they’re installing something free, like a free plugin or a free theme, only ever installones that are in the WordPress repository. That’s one of those big ones that can sometimes get overlooked because you want to make sure that there’s been some level of legitimate validation and that helps with that.
Ahmed Khalifa: I think especially if you’re starting out, if you’re going to download products from another website, and there are plenty of legit website that sell plugins and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think you’re right, if you’re starting out just go to the repository, read directions, read the reviews. Recent ones as well, not just the overall one.
Read about the people who made it and obviously how other are using it, how other people rate it as well on their own blogs, so on so forth, just to get an idea of what that product is like. So you are right.
Jaime Slutzky: Yes, absolutely.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s kind of the safest way, just download from there. Even the process of installing it is easier. If you’re not a technical back person and you have to download a zip file and then you have to import it and all these things.
Jaime Slutzky: Oh, right, yeah. No, do it from inside WordPress inside the repository. I say that because there are plenty of really good premium plugins and premium themes out there that you do have to buy from outside, but when you’re talking about the free stuff that you just want to just play around and try out then, yeah, starting from the repository is always my recommendation.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s a good advice. I think you’re right there. It’s some kind of validation and review set when you go to the repository. You just have to follow your common sense especially if you see a plugin that has not been updated for a very long time, or over two years they come up with a warning. You see that the last update was maybe years ago, or six months ago, 12 months ago, you should really think about whether it’s worth installing or not if it’s not been maintained.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, there is actually one free plugin that I use pretty extensively that hasn’t been updated in two years. It feels so weird but it’s a legit plugin, it just works, they don’t need to improve it. It’s where it needs to be it’s doing what it needs to do. It’s quite funny, I’m almost like, “Okay they just need to submit an update to see that they’re still alive.” [crosstalk 00:30:16]
Ahmed Khalifa: Yeah, but I can’t do that. Because you work at this, I’ve seen a lot of plugins and they’re well-known and they’re run by big names but they haven’t been updated for years. Even then I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to installthat.” Just in case it crashes my site.
Again, if you want to test it, if you have a good host provider, a managed WordPress hosting especially, and they have a development site or a staging site and you want to test whatever you have, yeah okay, you can give it a shot.
I’m not going to say do it and install all plugins and you’re going to be fine, but sometimes you just have to follow your guidance, your gut feeling, common sense and think about whether it’s worth doing or not. Obviously test it at the end of the day.
Jaime Slutzky: Yeah, and have a backup. Have a backup before you’re doing that stuff.
Ahmed Khalifa: Oh yes.
Jaime Slutzky: If you have a backup and you don’t how to use the backup, have somebody on speed dial who knows how to restore that backup if you need to.
Ahmed Khalifa: Or if you can use the support of your host provider and sometimes a good one will have their own backup. They are so, so useful, so important to have a backup. You just never know what’s going to happen, never know. So just be careful out there, the big bad world-
Jaime Slutzky: Absolutely. Yeah, we’re all in this world together.
Ahmed Khalifa: Well that’s exactly it, exactly. Follow your common sense and you’ll be fine. Just don’t do anything crazy out there, you’ll be fine.
Jaime Slutzky: Or know who you’re telephoning.
Ahmed Khalifa: In terms of about yourself, I’d like to know is, what is your biggest strength?
Jaime Slutzky: Definitely my intuition, that’s understanding what the client needs versus what they’re saying. For sure, they think that they need this but in reality they need something just 70 degrees off from where they think they need it and what they’re saying.
In seeing the long picture, like long-term, you know, not just seeing the immediate … When I was just a building websites and not doing the summit stuff, I did out the 12 month programme with my client, so we would get the site up in the first three months and then they’d have an iteration every couple of months for the rest of the year, because I can guarantee they’re not going to be doing six months from now what they think they were going to do before they started their website.
Ahmed Khalifa: I think that’s a really good skill to have. If you know what your client wants that they’re not able to explain to you, I think that’s a really good skill to have. It’s a really important thing to have. I think it’s brilliant. It makes your life easier, it makes their life easier.
Everyone’s happy, everyone got what they wanted in the end. It’s great. I just don’t know how you can teach that, that’s the problem.
Jaime Slutzky: That’s not such a very teachable skill, so that just means that I get to do a lot more of the strategy work and the visioning and things like that. I’m kind of at the point right now where a lot of the doing within WordPress and stuff, that I’m starting to outsource that, which is hard too.
It is really, really hard to take this business that I’ve grown from the ground up and piecemeal some of it off because I need to focus on the bigger picture. That’s been a transition, I’ll tell you that.
Ahmed Khalifa: I think that’s a challenge for a lot of people, is to … You’re used to being the person who done everything, and you wear a lot of hats, but there comes a time where you have to let someone else do the job and someone who can do it better than you or quicker than you, or just so you can focus on what you’re best at. It makes sense.
Jaime Slutzky: There’s hundreds of people out there that can installWordPress and set up the environment the way you want it, so that you can go in and do the real work that can’t be done by anybody else. I don’t need to be installing WordPress.
As much as it’s easy and it’s something that I can just do, I don’t need to be doing that and I shouldn’t be doing that. I should be focusing on the bigger items. I love that about this community is that there are people who don’t want to work with their clients, they just want to work with someone like me or someone who wants a doer, you know that they can really hone their skills as the doer and keep their plate full.
They don’t have to actually do any of the strategy work or they don’t necessarily have as many opportunities to make mistakes. As someone who’s guiding someone and giving strategy, I definitely have opportunities to make mistakes. But as somebody who is just implementing, it’s a great place to be because you just do what you’re told to do.
So that’s one of the things that I love about with the WordPress community is that there are a lot of people out there who just want to do the work and say, “Hey, I did it.”, and get their pay check. I think that works. It works really well all round.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s great, I mean it clearly works for you, so I think it’s brilliant. You’re right, it’s how any business works, isn’t it? You get a person who’s good at this and prefers doing this and get a few more people like that and collectively, it’s a good team and you help the business to grow. Ultimately, your clients are happy and that’s the most important thing. They get what they want.
Jaime Slutzky: Exactly, yeah. The clients they want and the clients can do the referral. I’m not going to sugar coat it, you want that referral.
Ahmed Khalifa: Yeah, who are you to complain about that?
Jaime Slutzky: Exactly.
Ahmed Khalifa: So then if we twist it round then, what is your biggest weakness and how do you overcome it?
Jaime Slutzky: Biggest weakness is giving up control.
Ahmed Khalifa: How did I know that?
Jaime Slutzky: Didn’t we just talk about this? Yeah, no, definitely giving up control. I think the biggest thing is when I actually document it. When I know the person I’m giving this task to is actually following my script and they’re not going off their own thought processes or anything like that, that helps me stay in control of the project, but not in control of the details. That’s probably what I’ve been working on the most in the past year.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s good that you’ve kind of clarified that a bit more because I wanted to ask you what is the best way to deal with working with other people? Passing on that task and giving them a task and making sure they get the job done.
It’s something that a lot of people don’t know how to do, because the first time you give something away to another person, it’s like, “What do I do? Do I micromanage him? Do I just have a call every hour and stuff like that?” It’s hard to know really isn’t it?
Jaime Slutzky: It is hard and you know I think I lean a little bit on my corporate experience is that we … I would have a meeting once a week with my manager and we would just go through everything that I had done and everything that’s coming up in the next week. So it’s that kind of thing there.
Then when it’s the actual work it’s whether I’m using a project management tool and just assigning it and leaving it in there, or if I’m giving them the step by step, I’ll have that documented.
Sometimes the easiest way to give step-by-step is to throw your screen capture on and do it once, record it and then not do it again and let the person that you’re contracting actually document it from your video, which is something that I’ve been instructed to do many times, and it’s been very successful, which is like a…I have a certain way of installing WordPress and getting the WordPress environment set up. I throw my screen cap on once and I documented that.
Basically it was going through and making sure that we set up the homepage and the blog page and changing those settings inside the permalinks and all those little details that I just kind of do, because it was just capturing my screen and I was talking it through as I was doing it, I now know that that script is done because it’s been documented by somebody else after watching my video.
It’s just a task now. Okay, someone needs to install WordPress. Okay, I’m assigning it to this person or that person. I can feel confident because it’s been tested. The first time somebody does it maybe I’ll be watching over their shoulder, or virtually watching over their shoulder, but the second, third and twentieth times, no, you don’t need to.
Ahmed Khalifa: Just like anybody isn’t it? Just like any new employees in any situation, the first time, the first day it might be a bit shaky, but then after a while they also get the hang of it and they tried it a few more times, it will get to be a smooth process.
I think your example of using a video on how to do a certain task and pass it on to them, I think that’s brilliant. You can’t fail with that. If you copy second by second of how to do a certain task, where it’s your video, your way and your style, how can you go wrong with that? I think it’s great.
Jaime Slutzky: Exactly. Nowadays there’s so many tools out there that you don’t even have to have screen software on your computer. You can use web-based tools to do short videos and things like that as well. You don’t even need to have a complicated screen capture.
You don’t have to produce those videos. I mean I’m a geek. I told you that. I’m a techie. I like to produce the videos. I like to put the highlight on the cursor so that you can see where the cursor is and stuff like that, but it’s not necessary. It’s just not. I’m trying my best. It’s fun. It’s fun, it really is.
Ahmed Khalifa: You’re doing a good job, don’t worry. You sound like you’re doing well.
Jaime Slutzky: I am. I’m really happy. I’ve honed in on where I need to be, what I need to be doing and how to grow and scale, because I wanted to get out of that freelance mindset. That was … Again, I mean you need a really good time where I’m no longer feeling like I’m a freelancer, I’m really like a business owner. That was an interesting transition.
It took a while to feel like it, but it’s a matter of not taking on a job because you can do it, taking on a job because it makes sense. Again, I’m going back to those Facebook groups. Someone’s like, “Hey, I need someone who can help me installa plugin.”
Back the freelancer days, I’m sure everybody in the audience is a freelancer, it’s like, “Yeah, I’m raising my hand right now.” Because they know they can do it, and that’s the freelancer mindset. I can do it, but I know I shouldn’t do it, so I’m no longer raising my hand.
Ahmed Khalifa: Okay, you’ve gone past that stage now. You’re a whole new level so that’s really impressive. Here’s a next point, and is to round up the whole interview, and we got sentimental about it is, what are you most proud about with your business?
Jaime Slutzky: Definitely the transition. Definitely transitioning from freelancer to CEO. That’s kind of what I call it. It’s like taking something that I’m good at, which is the WordPress and the integration and all of those things and finding a nice tidy package to produce. When I produce summits, it’s a 12-week engaging long process with the client, and it’s intense.
So being able to focus on one client for that and being able to really use my skills in a way that is tangible for the client and I don’t find that now I have website, that I create a website for a client, they’re using that website. Back when I was a freelancers, someone might hire me to do a website and then they didn’t have any strategy, so they never used it. So I feel like I’m doing a lot of good for my clients and their audiences.
Ahmed Khalifa: That’s brilliant. I love that. I love that, it’s really cool. It’s so obvious that you’re passionate about it, that you love what you’re doing and you’ve gone through a lot of steps in your life career to get to where you are right now and it’s brilliant.
I think it’s really cool. I think there’s a lot of things that even I’m learning from you. I’m sure even the listeners are learning from you as well. I think it’s brilliant, so well done. It is brilliant I really like that.
Jaime Slutzky: Thank you, I’m excited to stay in touch with you and your listeners and stuff. I love the podcasting environment and the podcasting communities, so this has just been a true honour to be able to share my journey. Being that I’ve been in this space for seven years, kind of feels like a long time. I won’t lie, it feels like a long time but it’s a good space to be in.
Ahmed Khalifa: I appreciate you sharing the story and the journey. It’s brilliant because there’s a lot of things that people can pick up on that, However small it is or big it is, there’s something there. I think it’s brilliant. Just to round it up and everything, I really appreciate your time and effort to being here. If anyone wants to connect with you, where can they find you?
Jaime Slutzky: Well I’m not creative, so my website is virtualsummittech.com. I didn’t beat around the bush with that, and with my name being Jaime, I wanted to go away from actually having my name in my domain, because there’s so many different ways to spell it.
So, yeah, virtualsummittech.com. I’m on Facebook at Virtual Summit Tech. My Twitter is still simply Jaime, and Jaime spelled J-A-I-M-E. Yeah, that’s my Twitter handle. That’s my first website was simply Jaime. It’s just my … What you see is what you get. So you can find me there.
Ahmed Khalifa: I’ll make it easy for the listener, I’ll put the link in the show notes. If they want to find you, they can find it from there and then I’ll connect you, and hopefully they can connect with you as well. It won’t be [crosstalk 00:44:31]
Jaime Slutzky: Perfect. Yes, absolutely.
Ahmed Khalifa: Again, and thanks for your time again. I appreciate it and hopefully we can talk again soon.
Jaime Slutzky: I’d love that. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast.
Ahmed Khalifa: Thank you for listening to the Ignite Rock podcast. I hope we have enjoyed the show. If you want the show notes, all you have to do is visit igniterock.com/podcast.
Don’t forget also to leave a review on iTunes if you have enjoyed the show. It would make me a very happy guy and I would really, really appreciate it.
In the meantime, let’s rock with WordPress.
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