Flatsome Featured Items – Show Multiple Categories Of Related Featured Items

The WordPress Flatsome eCommerce theme has a really neat feature called Featured Items. Essentially, it’s a custom post type you can use for … well, featuring stuff like portfolio items. Though there is one issue: it will only show related featured items from ONE category, which happens to be the first category it finds for that particular item.

What does this mean? It means if you have two Featured Item categories such as “Branding Projects” and “Web Development” and your item is in both, but since all branding projects and web dev projects are related to this Featured item it all should be shown right? Well, sadly not. It’ll only show the related “Branding Projects”. Kind of a bummer there.

So, I’ve gone ahead and fixed that along with a logical fix / add-on. With the code below you’ll be able to show off multiple categories for the Featured Items that have more than one category. Why only two or more items in the category restriction? Simple: if the category has only one item it’s going to be this specific item only which mean’s there’s no point of showing it twice. We needed this for a client site that needed to show multiple categories for these items, and it works out well enough because each item would only have two categories (one unique, and one shared) so it ends up nicely showing as one row … yey!

There are limits to this code:

  • Since I only fixed up the existing code, it uses the featured_items_slider shortcode which means that if you have two (or more) active categories (each with two or more items in them) then you’ll have multiple related item rows
  • To change the minimum count you’ll have to go into the code to do that
  • It uses the shortcode so it’s limited by the shortcode functionality (for example, I also wanted to cut out the second shared category from showing it’s name. oh well)

Make a copy of the following file and place it into your child theme’s folder. You’ll want to replace this code at the bottom of “single-featured_item.php” around line 50 and below.

Just in case if you don’t want to code, here’s the complete file for you to downloaded (zipped for easy download):

single-featured_item.php.zip

How To Get WooCommerce Featured Video

WooCommerce featured video done right. It’s not too difficult to get this done right though it does take a little bit of work and patience. In this video I show you the 4 (well, 5 really) plugins that can help you do just that and the 2 extra ways you can do this. Check below the video to get the full plugin list.

If you liked this video, please like and share it on Youtube and Facebook.

How To Handle A Customer’s Decline Credit Card

Having a credit card declined sucks already, so it’s imperative that we as business owners handle this gracefully. In this video I go over the tips, tricks and ideas that you can successfully use to navigate the tricky credit card declined situations in your own businesses online and offline.

The WordPress 4.2 & 4.2.1 Update For Business Owners

Understanding The WordPress 4.2 & 4.2.1 Update For Business Owners and made easy! This update features a few main things:

  • critical security update (4.2.1)
  • Improved backend API
  • Non-English character support for Asian languages (this also includes official support for Emoji)
  • Improved plugin management (same-screen install and update)
  • Improved embedding support
  • Slight admin color change (it’s a good change I think)
  • Revamped Press It feature.

And of course some other smaller bug fixes, security bugs squashed and issues resolved and even functionality improved (in the backend).

You can learn more about it on the official WP release page: https://wordpress.org/news/2015/04/powell/

The Hard Truth About Getting Projects From Large Corporations As A Freelancer / Small Business

The Hard Truth About Getting Projects From Large Corporations As A Freelancer / Small Business

The hard truth about getting projects from large corporations as a freelancer / small business is very simple: it’s not easy and an uphill battle though there are some things you can do. First let’s talk about this truth, what it’s really saying and then we’ll go into some tips on how to help get you there.

The hard truth about getting projects from large corporations as a freelancer / small business is that you’re not likely to get it (a contract or project). There are a few simple reasons:

  • Large corporations have a lot of established relations with requiting agencies, direct talent and media firms. (established relations)
  • They usually have teams in place for most things. (existing resources)
  • Their projects tend to be bigger things which require teams of people to make the project happen & a success. (size)
  • What you’re offering (in general) can and will usually be done by someone who’s already there and on a full-time salary. (price)

There are also a few other potential issues:

  • There is always someone better than you, stronger than you, faster than you, smarter than you who can get the job done a lot better than you.
  • On the flip side: there’s also always someone who can do it cheaper (for less money) than you can.
  • Credibility

There’s not much you can do about there being people better than you or cheaper than you. A lot of experts had this to say on the topic:

They won’t get you, you won’t meet their requirements to be approved as a supplier. If you had your own small agency, then that would be different, but freelance? No way – who do they hold accountable and get work done with when you’re sick? How do they know you’re paying your taxes and have been around for a while? How can they trust that you’re doing the work and not outsourcing it – where do they go to for a meeting to see what your company is like and how you work? Your home?

There’s only ONE way you will get them – someone in there refers you and says you are way better than XYZ agency.

Remember in this case cheaper is not better. Marketing teams have a budget, but they want to use up most of that budget so that they have an argument to keep that size budget the next year. If you’re super cheap and get the same job done… They will have a dreadful time asking for more when suddenly they can’t have you one year down the line.

You will most likely not get these big clients you mention if you’re a solo freelancer. They work only with agencies already on their record. Your chance of working on a project related to these companies can only happen if their agency outsourced a project to you. This means you are not directly in communication to the client only to the agency. The client will not know that you were hired by the agency.

Thankfully this isn’t impossible:

That’s not always true. I’ve done lots of work with agencies where they’ve been upfront with my position and our relationship, and more often than not they put me in direct contact with the client. I’ve worked with several national banks, and a few Fortune 500’s. Right now I’m doing a project for GE but no client contact, thankfully.

I never say that I’m a freelancer, though. I own a web development agency or digital marketing firm (or whatever) and we’re a “strategic partner” with the agency.

It’s mostly who you know, rather than what you know. There are thousands of people out there who know what you know, and most will be cheaper than you are and/or closer to the client than you are.

My advice would be to really learn your trade (we’re talking rock-solid skills in whatever your strengths are), build a good looking (and responsive) portfolio, decide to either join an agency or go completely freelance, and keep networking. Keep building those relationships and contacts. I’ve been doing this for 7 years, and I can tell you the biggest clients I have gotten have 100% come from networking/past relationships. Coca-Cola aren’t knocking on my door because they heard I do good WordPress development, but I make the effort to chat to the manager of a local restaurant I like to go to and suddenly he’s asking me to build their new website for them and develop their new marketing strategy.

Is it who you know or what you know? It’s both.

Two ways:

  1. The more difficult and unlikely way: gradually raise the level of your clients and your book, waiting for the big guys to come to you.
  2. The less difficult and more likely way: develop a marketing plan where you’re pitching your skills to agencies that already have such clients. When said agencies get busy or short-staffed they’ll bring you on as a contractor.

Edit: I’ve both worked on large accounts and worked for an agency that hires contractors. Now I work in-house at a large company and we hire contractors all the time. Downvote if you want, but what OP is asking isn’t impossible. It’s doable if you have the chops for it.

Essentially it boils down to a three things you HAVE TO do if you really want those bigger clients:

  1. Have a game plan. Know who you want to work with and how you’ll approach them. The game plan ties in closely with the next two items.
  2. Know their need and solve it. Every company and person in the world needs something solved. Find out what the companies pain points are, offer a viable solution with clear cut steps and results and it’s a good chance they’ll pay attention.
  3. Establish relationships and credibility. Networking! Get to know people in the industry, get to know industry leaders, get to know agencies who work with larger firms … heck, even go as far as going to their events so that they get to know you. This starts building your credibility, though there’s only so far you can go without showing some proof: so have a portfolio to back up your works. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk it.

Agencies:

Believe it or not, but not every agency can do everything by themselves. They do often hire contractors/freelancers or as we like to call them “strategic partners” and “experts” to work on select projects. Get to know these agencies, what they do, who their clientele is and wiggle your way in. But have a plan for this. Don’t just send them generic B.S.. Send them portfolio pieces, articles and letters that’s customized to them. For example, if an agency primarily works with large soda producers creating graphics for them don’t go around sending them the books you’ve written about audio production! Kinda obvious, but not many people go this far. It’s like sending a generic resume when you’re trying to get hired! Customize it and they’ll pay attention more.

Networking:

Find big events (networking events, trade shows, events they run, parties, sponsored events, ect…) where the company (and it’s partners) are and start introducing yourself to staff. Get to know people bit by bit and eventually you’ll form relationships with them. Don’t think networking works? It does, you’ll just have to talk to the right people about the right things. Maybe you’re not at events that work for you (or them)? Test, explore, fail, and repeat until you find something that works.

I used to go to a lot of events with my wife for her wedding related business. For me those things sucked (except for the food and drinks) because I could never relate to anyone. Even after crafting my pitch specifically to that market I never got any bites. So, I started going to events that fit my personality and business better and what-do-ya-know: I made connections, relationships and have been getting great leads from those.

I’m curious, what has worked for you to get the attention of bigger fish?

(One Way Of) Turning Laziness Into Productivity

turning-laziness-into-productivity

I normally try to write about some powerful idea and give actionable advice on it, though this time I’m unable to do that. Partially because I have yet to figure out how to explain this, but also because I have yet to figure out exactly how to turn laziness into productivity on a regular basis. There are many reasons for that, though I have at least figured something out.

Turning laziness into productivity needs two things:

  1. The need to get something done
  2. The unwillingness to have to either do the nitty gritty part of it or to have to redo the work.

There’s a lot that I want to get done, a bit less that I need to get done and very little the needs to get done that I can pull myself to do without support. Therefore I’ve found a few ways to trick myself into getting things done.

My favorite way to do this is to forgo doing the annoying / tedious part of it! I know, that doesn’t work in many things but it does work for many online things. For example:

I’m writing this post on Monday March 2nd, 2014 ~11am … My main goal for this week is a bit daunting and involves a lot of small things to come together very well: launch 4 products online. On top of that, all four need to have tracking, split testing, upsells, cross sells and even support systems put in place. Each one also needs several introductory videos to me recorded, edited and published (to the lead pages) in-order for my marketing campaigns to work.

Though here’s the fun part: I like doing all of that. Except creating the lead pages. Not that I don’t like programming designs, figuring out well converting layouts and all … it’s just that I really don’t want to spend my time messing around with stuff that can be done much much easier and faster than me manually doing it.

And thus: I purchased an account of a service that has many pre-made lead and landing page (and other) designs all ready and all I have to do is pick one of the well performing themes and matches my campaign, plug in my content and PRESTO! It’s done and published with easy A/B split testing at the click of a button (or two).

This is a way of outsourcing and so far, just in playing around with the system, I’ve already saved a lot of time, energy and frustration since all I have to do is use a rather handy interface to customize well converting sales pages NONE of the coding! It’s great! It’s also all auto-responsive, integrates perfectly with Mailchimp and analytics and even has great spots to easily plug in the videos off-site.

A very simple translation: I can focus on getting the high level work done only.

I’m also thinking of doing similar things in other parts of my life as well. For example: ironing and laundry. I can do all that myself, but ironing takes a long while (to do right) and so why not hire a local stay at home mom (or dad) who can do that for a fair rate and do it for me while I focus on higher paying things (such as building sales pages & content)? How about some quick grocery shopping when super busy? Thankfully I live very close to several super markets and I can easily go most of the time, but sometimes both my wife and I are too busy with work and projects to leave so it’s nice to be able to have someone else get some food for us.

And if you think I’m crazy: have you ever order food delivery? Pizza maybe? It’s essentially the same concept. You pay a bit extra money to have prepared food delivered straight to your door. Versus you may a little bit extra to have <insert shopping list here> delivered to your door. There isn’t much of a difference.

For me, it’s starting to get to the point where my time is better spent on higher level things because that’s one of my reasons for laziness: why should I do something so tedious when I can get it done for me and still make a profit on it?

Traits Of A Self Disciplined Person

Traits Of A Self Disciplined Person

What are the traits of a self disciplined person? Good question. It’s a good idea to not compare yourself to others, though by looking at successful people and learning from them you too can learn to be like them: successful, motivated, empowered, ect… All we have to do is take a look at a few people who are “there” already to know the traits of a self disciplined person.

Traits Of A Self Disciplined Person

Have you ever looked at someone and thought “that person really has it together, I wonder how they are so disciplined”? Most people have. In my youth I took that idea to near obsession levels … to unhealthy obsession levels. I was looking at all the ways I was NOT like them and that made things worse. Though now I look at those who are successful and learn from them. One good thing I gained from my youthful habits was my ability to observe and learn.

It’s how I learned the traits of a self disciplined person and how I can be like that too. At first I thought it was near impossible to be like that. But by using the 1% rule I’m getting there.

The 1% rule: Improve by 1% every day and in one year you’ll be a significantly better you.

In order to do that you need to know what to strive for, or at least the general direct of “better”. For this I looked at traits of a self disciplined person and found some great and simple things. Some traits of a self disciplined person include:

  • They do not think about what they’re going to do, they just do it. This is not to say they are thoughtless, just that they take immediate action.
  • They are “conscientiousness”. This is to say they intuitively know what do to and when to do it (at least for common things).
  • Generally being well organized in life, office and even in social circles.
  • Consistently keep up healthy habits and reduce (and eventually remove) bad habits.
  • NOT being afraid to mess up. Failure is part of becoming successful, so they take it in stride and learn from it.
  • They learn constantly. Training to get better, educating themselves about their interests and work: in generally they just always strive to get better and better.
  • If they don’t know something: they go find an answer themselves or go get the necessary help to learn.
  • The make time to get the important things done in life such as spend time with family, work out, eat healthy, keep organized and clean, and to learn. There is no ‘eventually’, they “just do it”(tm).

The secret to becoming self disciplined:

Just start. Pick something you’d like to improve at and just take a step forward. That’s it. One bit at a time. It’s the 1% thing. Better bit by little manageable bit. It’s surprising how much can change when all you have to do is commit to changing bit by easy, simple and small bit day by day.

If you’d like to read more, I highly recommend you read the traits of a self disciplined person thread on reddit here: http://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/2qqkct/question_do_you_know_someone_who_seems_naturally/