Solopreneurs Bringing Pride, Experience and Business Smarts to the WooCommerce Space

Do the Woo - WooCommerce Podcast, Community and News
Do the Woo - WooCommerce Podcast, Community and News
Solopreneurs Bringing Pride, Experience and Business Smarts to the WooCommerce Space
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Being a solopreneur comes with a lot of pride, experience and business smarts. Not everyone is wanting to grow into an agency. Cami MacNamara, owner of WebCami.com, loves her business and she is starting to move more and more into the WooCommerce ecosystem. This conversation is filled with insights and stories about what it truly means to be a business owner. Whether you are just starting the solo ride into your business or have been doing it for a while, this is a must-listen-to-show.

A Chat with Cami MacNamara from WebCami

In episode 86, Jonathan and I talk with Cami about:

  • How her clients’ needs have her moving more and more into WooCommerce
  • What it means to be a solopreneur and why all business owners do not want to grow into agencies
  • Reasons to be a solopreneur and the perceptions around it
  • Why it is important to know your limitations
  • What stands out in the WooCommerce/eCommerce world for Cami
  • The variety of ecosystems and platforms Cami uses and how she has focused her new growth around Beaver Builder and WooCommerce
  • The approach she takes as a single business owner in learning new skills
  • Building relationships as a solopreneur
  • Why she avoids the shiny buttons in WordPress and WooCommerce
  • What Cami feels could be improved with WooCommerce to help her in her business

Connect with Cami

The Conversation

Jonathan: Welcome to Do The Woo, Episode 86. Bob, the year's almost over. How are you doing?

Bob: Good. Yeah, it is. I think we have one or two... Two more shows. No, one. One more show. Just one more show and then we're back in January.

Jonathan: So I think you haven't missed a week, I don't think.

Bob: No, I haven't. In fact, I missed Thursday of Thanksgiving for the regular Do The Woo, but we did a Woo Perspective that week earlier, so one way or another, I'll show up. Me and somebody else will show up on the airwaves, so people just can't get away from us.

Jonathan: Right, it's been fantastic. It's been great to see all the folks who've come on this year. The WooCommerce community is already big and growing. It's been fun to see it growing over the course of the year. We've got a great guest coming up today, but first.

Bob: We have some sponsors to thank, and these are our community sponsors, they'll be moving in to 2021 with us. PayPal, with the holidays fast approaching, those buy-now-pay-later options. There's still time to get them in there and all you have to do is go get the PayPal checkout extension, install it, make sure everything's connected, toggle is on. It's as simple. So, it might be a good time to pop that in there and see how things go.

Then of course WooCommerce, 4.8 was released on Tuesday. Yeah. Minor update, mostly around compatibility with PA WordPress 5.6 and the new default theme coming out. And there was a couple other features, I think two of the features that they got pointed out was, on the home screen you can now choose between one and two columns, and there is now a screen for analytics for variation, variable products. So you're able to track those sales a bit more.

So, yes. Good. WooCommerce, 4.8. we're ready to hit the holidays with that. So yeah, I think that's it then. Why don't we go ahead and get into the show?

Jonathan: Fantastic. And on the WooCommerce 4.8, it's been great to see us keeping up the release cadence as well, this has been a big year on that side with a new release. Earlier this year we switched to monthly and the team has been keeping that up and running, so, so far so good and it's been great to see the progress.

So we have a fantastic guest today. Cami, I'm going to have you pronounce your last name for us.

Cami: It's McNamara.

Jonathan: McNamara, Cami McNamara.

Cami: Yeah.

Jonathan: Cami, it's great to have you joining us, you've been a part of this community for a while. And would you just kind of open up and tell us, how do you Do the Woo? Where did you sort of first get started in this world of WooCommerce?

How does Cami do the Woo?

Cami: Well, my very first introduction to WooCommerce was I believe in 2013 or 2014. And Bob was hosting a WordPress meetup in West Seattle, which is where I live. And at the time I had been using, I started using WordPress in around 2007, just as kind of a blog add on to the websites that I was building or the old school way with HTML and CSS.

And around 2010 it was like, wow, I can do my entire business with WordPress and then slowly but surely people started wanting shopping carts. So that's when I kind of started doing some research and it seemed like the best one, to me it's the best options still.

And I am a solopreneur, so the scale of shopping carts that I set up for clients are small. I pass along business for large carts just because I don't have the bandwidth to put a 500 SKU website together for someone. So, anyway, I find that it is just incredibly easy for my clients to figure out how to use because they're usually working in concert with me and setting things up. So that's how I ended up finding it through a WordPress meetup that Bob did.

Jonathan: So you've been consistently busy over the years. You've had quite a bit of experience doing client service work. How has this year in particular with COVID and folks being stuck in doors and all this stuff. You live on the West coast, how has that affected your business, and particular interests in or not for eCommerce?

2020 for Cami

Cami: Well, I will say that I was a little concerned in April and May, I had a big drop in new business. I offer care plan services though, and I have like 150 clients in my care plan service package, and that was still going just fine. Right? And that really helped me get through that couple of months of not getting new business.

But by the time we ended up in September or later, I feel like I'm in the year slightly down from last year, but it's been pretty good in terms of new business. And a lot of my existing clients came to me and said, Hey... for instance, I've had a couple aestheticians say, "I want to sell my products online, and I just got a Woo cart to their website.

Jonathan: Nice.

Cami: So, and most of the time we're using Stripe or PayPal, the setup's been pretty easy for both part. I really have my clients help me with the setup usually at WordPress, because there's a lot of things about shipping and taxes and I utilize the WP101 plugin.

Jonathan: Oh, cool.

Cami: Pay premium for that and I turn on the Woo tutorials. And that's a huge help to me as well. And also Zoom has been great because it's much easier than trying to get an appointment, meeting them in person. I got them all trained now for me to help them with some of the setup that I'm asking for their help with a shared screen. So that's been great too.

So I don't think COVID, I mean, it's certainly, it's been tough to see my clients struggle, and most of my clients are on the West Coast. And just today I took down all the patio, we have this beautiful patio that my clients set up down in California, because they shut all outdoor dining down there and stuff like that. So it's been tough.

But more and more of my clients want to sell something, whether it be a gift card or a download, just there's a lot of options for them now.

Being a soloprenuer and growing

Jonathan: One more thing I'm curious about. So you're a solopreneur. I'm curious to know more about your thinking there, because I'm a big fan of it, sometimes we have this, Oh, you got to grow and you got to get bigger, you got to do these other things. How do you think about that? You've been doing this for a long time, you built up a steady practice.

Cami: Right. I'm passionate about the thing that, making it okay for somebody to just do it themselves. And I did a little something with GoDaddy a couple of weeks ago about that, and so many times people make you feel like you're not successful if you're not growing and you're not an agency. And when you go to word camp, a lot of times you're in these talks and they're always for agencies most of the time.

But you can do it by yourself. And I've been doing it alone for 18 years, if I work incredibly hard, but I've done a lot of great trainings on how to onboard properly. Like with Jennifer Bourne, her profitable project plan training is great. WPElevation with Troy Dean. The two of those combined made me realize that I can have the mindset of an agency and just have it be me doing the work.

So I'm usually working on about 20 new websites at one time, plus I have my care plan business. So, as long as you have systems and habits and you're very regimented, you can totally do it by yourself if you want to. You can outsource other things, you can have, make sure somebody is doing your accounting, get your house cleaned every now and then, have your groceries delivered. There's quite a bit of things that you can do with automation. I feel like I have a whole virtual assistant team just with the automation that I have set up.

Jonathan: It was about, I think two years ago or so I read, a guy named Paul Jarvis wrote a book called Company of One.

Cami: Yes, I read that book too. It's a great book.

Jonathan: There's so much, like you said, there's a bit of a stigma, Oh, you're not growing. And it's, well, yeah, I am growing as I'm learning more things, I'm getting better at what I do, but I don't need to just continue to increase my overhead. And it doesn't mean that if you were to just add more full-time staff and grow, you're not necessarily providing a better product to your clients.

Cami: And you're also not necessarily making more profit.

Jonathan: Yes, that's the key.

Cami: And in my previous life, I worked as an allocation analyst for J. Jacobs and Eddie Bauer, two Northwest companies. And I became a mom and that was a really busy job, so there were three of us that came up with our own polo and trophy gift business. And there were five of us. And when you divided everything by five, it made no sense to do it. I mean, it was okay, but when you become an agency you're going to split the profits. So, I don't do that.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Being a business owner or a entrepreneur

Cami: And that's one other advantage, but I feel like there are certain people that are entrepreneurs. And I think that's a different mindset than a business owner, right? My business name is WebCami, Site Design. And I'm never going to sell that. I have plans in the retirement community to be the one that helps all the people. I'm always going to be WebCami.

So I feel like being a solopreneur, it's been great for me and I really want to encourage other people that feel inferior to really embrace what they're doing. And just like the book of Company of One, you can have tremendous success at it.

Jonathan: I'm really glad to hear you say that. I agree wholeheartedly. I think that's a big part of a healthy ecosystem, is a lot of diversity. Agencies are fantastic, they're going to do their thing, you're going to have small agencies and big agencies.

Solopreneurs, people who have, it's very reputation based, right? And you build a reputation, people know what they're going to get and you eventually get into the waiting list territory. There's so much value there. So that's great to hear and I agree, I want to see more of that, I'm a big fan, having experienced both.

I've done a little micro agency, I've done my own thing, I've been in the big agency. They all do different things and they provide value, one's not better than the other, and it's important to people.

Knowing your limitations

Cami: No, yeah, exactly. I mean, I really admire my friends who run agencies here in Seattle and I send referrals to them a lot. Right? I do have a limit of what I know I can take on and still produce quality work. Right. So I don't hesitate to send them on. But I do wish that there was a little bit more representation at WordCamps and when we get to go to WordCamp again.

Bob: Yeah. It's interesting because I think of pre WordPress for me and 17 years running and marketing design business, and Judy and I basically ran that for 17 years, and we would bring in specialty people when we needed, but we didn't have any desire to make it a big marketing agency.

And when you were talking about, and I think both of you were mentioning when you have a, you want to learn something new, I was always into photography, my entire life I've been into photography.

So I started doing my own photo shoots for our business. And I did a little bit more of this, and I started doing, I did it at a mall once, photo shoots, we got some models and stuff and I did that instead of hiring a photographer, because it was something I love doing, so I thought I'd bring it in, and I brought it into the business and it was actually part of the business. It was an additional thing, it didn't take up more time.

I would just say, okay, I have these photo type jobs, they were tied into it, and they actually led to a very interesting job. I was hired by a company here on the West side of Washington State in Kent, it's a smaller city outside of Seattle. To go in for one week and take pictures of every one of their auto parts. They sold NAPA Auto Parts.

So I set up this table with lighting and everything, and these two or three people would bring over one part at a time and I do two or three angles. They take it away. That's what I did for five days straight. I think it was, maybe it was even longer than five days. It was the most tedious work I've ever done, I ended up getting a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome when I did it, because of my camera constantly, but it was something I thought I would have never done.

And I didn't pursue jobs like that, nor did I get anything compared to that, but I did carry that through and that's how I've even going into BobWP, it was, okay, there's a brand again, I'm going to do this again. And that's kind of just how I roll and it's just the comfort zone we both have my wife and I.

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Thanks for PayPal for being a community sponsor at Do the Woo. And now back the conversation.

You don't have to do everything

Jonathan: Let's talk about the solopreneurship just a little bit more.

Cami: Sure.

Jonathan: So from my perspective, when I think about, well... so there's a lot of good resources out there, I like this thread of encouraging folks listening, one's not better than the other, right? So thinking about what plays to your strengths, and the thing that stands out to me is like, yes, you does not mean you do all the things. And you made that point, but I just want to really kind of pull that out further.

And Company of One talks about this, but this idea of, all right, have someone who does your accounting for you, have someone who does housekeeping for you, if you want that abstracted out, right? And that's a big aspect of making this work, where it's, play to your strengths and where you provide the most value for your clients. For most cases, that's not doing your own accounting.

Sometimes it's really useful, it's important to understand those things. But I think that's a part of what makes this work, is that you're like, okay, where can I provide the value for my clients? Where's my interest lies as well? And there's often an intersection there, where can I provide the value? And then for everything that's important, but not aligned. You don't have to do all those things. And in fact, you're better served by connecting with someone over here who can do the bookkeeping. Connecting to some over here who can do something more abstract and part in terms of your delivery. So I'm curious if you have any other thoughts on that, but I think that's an important aspect?

Cami: I do. So I am a tenure member of BNI, Business Networking International, right? So I'm in a networking group and there was a graphic designer in that networking group that we call ourselves Laverne and Shirley. Okay. Because we share so many client... I mean, we are a team, she's my agency without us being an agency.

So if a customer comes to me and they need a logo, I have a person. If a customer comes to me and they need copywriting, I have a couple people for them to choose from. I have social media contacts. And so I'm constantly filling in the agency gaps with my partners. Right? And I just, I give them referrals, it's totally giving with no expectation of receiving anything back. It's just, I know the best person for you to go to for this.

And what ends up is I end up having these people I work with routinely, so we have routines. And I know it's going to go smooth, and that makes my whole part of the process smooth as well. So if you build out your network, then you're also enabling yourself, I'm focusing on what I'm best at and that's building websites with WordPress.

It's very true that you can really build that kind of comradery with other people and not necessarily, you're not in business together, you're just supporting each other's businesses.

Bob: Yeah, and I think to know your limits too, I mean, I even go back to my previous business, even with the photography, there was times when I would look at a photography job, okay. I can't do this.

Cami: Right. Exactly.

Bob: This is time to bring somebody in that I know. Marketing, I mean, we were a marketing agency, but I brought in other marketing agencies a lot of times. For example we worked with the mall, and it was a really huge, super mall, and we got somebody to come in and help us with some of that because her expertise in marketing was malls.

So it's learning those new things and using them, but at the same time, knowing when you got to step back and say, Whoa, that photo job is not going to... that's not my piece of cake, I know somebody that can do this without any hassle, so there's that knowing that. And that's building these, like you said, partnerships, people you're working with and it still gives you that independence, but you're just asking for help in getting the right people in there to make sure it all works out for your client.

Cami: Right. You also become the person that your clients turn to when they need something and they're not sure where they're going to go. Right. So you kind of become a Rolodex, in old terms for those people of what photographer or, I routinely have clients send me selfies with their headshots and I'll just be like, "I do, I have this photographer. And even though we're in COVID, I know they could come in and take uniform photos for your website team page safely."

And I'll share a link to a website that the photographers worked with and it's almost always a slam dunk to get them. So my product ends up being better and they're better served than just me not having that resource to share with them.

What has stood out for Cami in the eCommerce world

Jonathan: That's fantastic. So you've been in the world of ecommerce for a bit now, and sounds that you've focused on fairly basic projects and if bigger things would come up, you can work with others on them. One of the things I'm curious about, I was encouraged to hear you talk about WooCommerce being easy. It is though, it's fairly complex when you get into ecommerce, there's a lot of different parts and pieces, right?

So I'm curious about just your experience over the years. What's it been like doing the projects here and watching WooCommerce grow in the ecosystem, anything that stands out to you from the experience that you've had?

Beaver Builder and WooCommerce

Cami: When WooCommerce was its own, I remember back when I first experienced it, they only had one or two themes that worked with it, right? It was, I'm going way, way back. And so I am most intrigued and the place I want to grow with is figuring out how to use Beaver Themer and WooCommerce.

So, the theme building portion of Beaver Builder, which I used StudioPress Genesis themes for eight years, I know this is where Bob and I overlap too, because he was also in that ecosystem. And I switched to Beaver Builder in 2016, I'm consistently learning more and more about it. And the Themer portion of it I know is incredibly powerful and I know interacts with WooCommerce.

So that's something that I really want to explore because I feel like I could take on more, if I can get my own system down with it. But I do use it very, for instance I've got a home cleaner that developed her own cleaning products to sell to her clients that she services here in Seattle.

And so I'm usually really selling that physical product that the customer, my customer is going to pack up and ship on their own, that type of thing. Although I did reach out to Bob, one client recently wanted to drop ship. And so I just went to the Woo add-ons area and found what the client needed, emailed Bob and said, Hey, do you know anything about this? And she ended up installing it and it's working great.

Jonathan: Awesome. So one of the things I'm curious about is, is it a bit about your learning process? Because as a solopreneur, you have to prioritize what you focus on and how you focus on it. So if you take something, on the one hand, yes, you can take e-commerce and boil it down to some pretty simple things, right? It's not overly complex at the high level, it's your customer, one of your clients, they want to sell something and you're helping facilitate that through the web.

Cami's approach on her learning process

Jonathan: But on the other hand, there are so many different routes that you can go with that, and it's growing all the time. So I'm curious, in the agency world, you might have specialists pretty quickly, right? Okay, this person's going to just focus on this, this person's going to focus on this, which has pros and it also has cons.

So I'm curious how you approach your learning process, where it's like, you see the interest increase and more of your clients are asking about ecommerce. And you've chosen some sub ecosystems, right? You've chosen Beaver Builder, you could also be working in say Elementor or StudioPress, there's a number of different things.

So do you sort of focus on just sort of staying within an ecosystem and maximizing it? Do you continue to kind of look at what's happening elsewhere, because you also have Gutenberg growing and sort of native themes that don't make use. How do you navigate just the ever-increasing volume of more inputs and ways of doing things with finite time?

Cami: Okay. So I've been a member, well, I used to be a paying member of lynda.com, right? And now you can get it for free through the library. That is something that is my go-to and in the beginning of COVID, when I started getting all of the interest from my clients, I thought, you know I better brush up on this a little bit, I'm going to go back where I did original Woo training and rewatch some of those videos. And I did that.

I am somebody who definitely works in my own system. I do not have clients come to me and say, Hey, I found this cool theme on theme forest and will you build me? And answer is Nope, I won't. So you're going to get my assistant because that's what I'm an expert at, and you're going to get the best product for me that way.

So in terms of what I'm doing now and everything I am doing is small, I can see all the things, you could just be a WooCommerce developer designer and just have that be your whole, I mean, it's huge, it's huge and overwhelming. But my focus is to narrow that to fit the clients in the system that I use.

So, but I put training in my calendar. I know I need to stay on top of things and I do, I will pay attention to what's happening with Gutenberg, because I know that perhaps I'll be moving on to something else. I was in the Genesis in StudioPress arena for eight years. I really only built using that, and when I started with Beaver Builder, I used it with Genesis and then I eventually started using it with the Beaver Builder theme. And then I went to Themer.

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Changing from one ecosystem to another

Jonathan: I'm curious about that, can you talk a little bit about, because from my point of view, I look fairly agnostically at a lot of different ecosystems, they all have different values and different strengths. How did you make that transition? So you were in one ecosystem for a long time, you knew it, you had a system there. What was your trigger for saying, okay, I'm going to change my system?

Cami: Okay. So there is a web designer in Duvall, her name is Anne Marie Gill, and she and I run incredibly similar businesses. Okay. And we've known each other for years. I resisted page builders because I thought it was cheating, right? Because I would code everything and I was in the PHP file and I was on all of the Genesis tutorial sites, memberships, had everything had .....

Jonathan: Hooks, filters, everything, yeah.

Cami: Yeah. The whole deal. And she kept saying, "Cami, you got to change. You have to take a look at this, they're having the black Friday sale." This is in 2016. So I just trusted her and said, "Okay, I'm just going to buy it." So, I went for the agency level and we met at a coffee shop, she gave me kind of the run through with Beaver Builder and it was really hard to get used to because I was so... But then I found out, well, Hey, there was a place for me to put my own code here.

And then when I showed it first to a client, here, we built your website with this, they're like, I love this, I love being able to drag and drop. And I had dabbled in Divi and a couple other things along the way, this was just a slam dunk with the customer.

So that was in my mind, it's like, okay, I'm going to switch everything. I'm going to change everything that I do and switch to this.

Jonathan: I want to take that point, because I think that's part of the key there. What I see, I guess a concern for folks, especially if you're solo, is that you can get stuck in a certain way for a long time, because it's really important to play to that strength of systems and processes. That's part of what makes it work.

Adding in the relationship component

So the question becomes, how do you stay with the times? Or how do you reevaluate? I'm hearing a few things from you, there's the training aspect, scheduling time to learn, to just understand more. But the other big factor here is this sort of relationship component, being part of a community where someone else who is like, "Hey, Cami, you got to take a look at this."

If you could talk a bit about that. As a member of the community, you talk about a bit of what that's meant to you or what advice do you have? Especially for people who are new, who are like, I think I want to do this. There's so many resources out there, it can be really overwhelming and in my experience, and it sounds like in yours, relationships and being a part of a community is a key way to navigate that. I'm curious for your thoughts on that.

Cami: Well, because I've been in BNI for 10 years and that is totally relationship marketing. I think I went to my first WordCamp in 2013, and that kind of introduced me to the local WordPress community. I didn't really get very involved in the WordPress community until a couple of years ago though, just time constraint, other than helping it work.

I am on the pro expert panel for GoDaddy, I've been doing that since 2016. Basically because I was a squeaky wheel, and I was having problems after they merged with ManageWP. Well, that led me to be a pro ambassador for them, and they sent me to WordCampUS. So once I got into that arena, and I'm meeting all these people that I know on Twitter, and meeting the various customers that come in the booth. So I'm in the booth at GoDaddy talking to other customers about the products that they have or web developers. And I felt very comfortable doing that because managed WP is the tool I use to manage my care plan.

I just started to see, so I see Bob there, I'm like, "Hey, I know you." Right? In Nashville. And that exposed me, so now I'm paying attention to what all the people I admire do. Right? So I think that you can take cues from all the people around you and so many people in the WordPress community are doing trainings, from Amy Hall is somebody who does trainings with MailChimp, and I met her at WordCamp. And I would consider her a great friend. Jocelyn Mozak, another really great friend.

And so I've just been exposed to learning how other people do their, are running their business, and it's helped me just pick little tidbits that I utilize myself.

Navigation the world of so many shiny buttons in WordPress

Jonathan: One of my... not frustration, I won't call it. One of the challenges I see with just how much growth we've had in the WordPress and WooCommerce ecosystem is how many options, there's more and more options all the time for doing things, right? A plugin for this, plugin for that, how do you navigate?

And I personally am optimistic that we're going to do a better job as a whole of curating and guiding people towards better options. In the meantime, what makes it work from my perspective, and I think this will always be key, is there's that sense of community and people who are willing to share what they've learned to put their guidance out there, to write tutorials, to create video courses, et cetera, where they're putting that expertise out there. And that's a big part I think of what makes this ecosystem special, and you still have to reach out.

You're clearly interested and curious to your following folks on Twitter, you're looking to see what others are doing. But it's not that hard to satisfy that curiosity and be exposed to more things and develop your trusted sources of input.

Cami: Yeah. I think reaching out to even, I can't remember exactly when, but I was upset about something, I just shot off this random email to GoDaddy, and ended up in Mendel’s inbox. Right?

And so that interaction led to me being on this customer panel that led to me being part of their traveling team and all of those things wouldn't have happened if I had hesitated at all to reach out to somebody. Right? And I think that there was an openness in the WordPress community that is just waiting for people to reach out to.

So I have a little Facebook group, it's called WebCami Cafe and a website to go along with it, and I'm not offering courses, I'm not doing anything like that because I'm a solopreneur and I don't have time. But I have this little community growing that it's a bunch of web designers and we're just all there helping each other and sharing information. And that has just been a really wonderful thing that has happened over the last couple of years. So I don't know if I'll ever do anything with it, but for right now it just serves its purpose of being a place where people can reach out for help.

Jonathan: Well, it sounds like you're already doing the thing to do with it, which is creating a space.

Cami: Yes, exactly.

Jonathan: Sometimes that's all that you need to do. Right. Just creating a space, a trusted space where you can bring people together where community happens.

Cami: Where community happens. And I know there's a lot of, but again, in that same vein that people say, you have to be an agency, a lot of people are like, okay, you got to do courses, you have to do this, you have to do that.

But the solopreneur knows when they should not do, I can't take away from my client work. So, it's as balanced, but everybody can just find their own balance, right?

Bob: Yeah, and I think it's interesting how you mentioned about so much stuff being out there and how do you... with the platform plugins and I look back at 13 years of this and I think everything that, I've tried, yeah, I've built plugins on, I try this and that, but the ones that have stuck with me, the platforms, I went to my Genesis for many years, I went through my Beaver Builder for many years, I've been in Woo many years. I could probably go, this is a very odd way of looking at it, but I could go into the, my plugin page on my dashboard and look at my site anytime and think of the people behind each one of those plugins, how long I've known them, what I've developed as far as relationship with them.

Because I probably know, especially the ones that are fairly solid in there, been in there for over the years. I know the company and the people behind this thing as much as I know the plugin. And that's part of the reason, it's got to be a good plugin. I mean, it's got to function. It's got to be good, but it's also the reason that I probably stuck with a lot of this because I mean, WooCommerce, it was WooThemes back in 2008 or 2009 is when I first started there, even got to know the people there.

So when WooCommerce was released in 2011, it was a no brainer to me, because I'd already been working with this company. I said, these people know what they're doing. I got to look at this thing. So I'm going to get into this, I'm going to start dabbling in this and it was a natural.

So that, I think a lot of times we don't realize maybe not for everybody, but a lot of us realize how much the community part of it plays in that whole scheme of things, how you run your business, the tools you use and stuff, and it's not a bias, just not whatever, it's what works for you and where you're the most comfortable.

Cami: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

What Cami feels could be improved about WooCommerce for her business

Jonathan: Cami, so as you're seeing the interest in eCommerce and Woo particularly grow in what you're doing, as you think about the future and sort of what you're doing, the clients that you're, is there anything that you're interested in seeing more of in the WooCommerce ecosystem or are areas that WooCommerce might improve that align with things that are important to you, and the way that you do business?

Cami: Well, maybe you guys can help me figure out if this even exists already, but I am a checklist person, and I have been trying to come up with a way, and this is something that I think will help me in onboarding my Woo clients. Right?

So the customers that are coming to me and need a shopping cart, I would love to have the development of having some sort of checklist that is like the, something I can share with them to say, okay, we're ready to put your products on, and here's this quick checklist of things that I need you to supply for me. And I've been searching all over for a simple one or just anything in that arena and I haven't found it yet. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but I'm saying more of help for the designer who's working with the client.

So we all know that, Woo, there's training on how to use the plugin itself, but how can I better onboard my client to provide what I need to implement the plugin for them? Right.

Jonathan: Cami, is it more about best practices and process? More from the business perspective of if you're going to upload products you want to have a product description and the photos and here's some best practices, that doesn't-

Cami: Exactly. But it's also, I use Loom a lot, and so I'm considering just making my own little video of walking them through the settings in Woo, and showing them the places where I need them to fill in the information. Because a lot of times there's things that only are customer driven. They've got the product, they're doing the weights and all this stuff. And it comes back to, this is going to sound odd, but when I first started my business to kind of fill in time, when before I was starting to get a lot of web design clients, I sold things on eBay.

Anyway, I had a whole checklist of everything that person that was sending me something to sell. So I am definitely a checklist person. And it just makes the process of building their website go better if I've got a checklist of what they need to send me.

Jonathan: So we've got a couple of thoughts. So we earlier this year published on the WooCommerce blog. We did one earlier this year and then last year, a prelaunch checklist for... there was one that's focused on the essentials, and then we did one earlier this year that was focused on membership sites.

What I'm just curious about, that might be interesting for folks listening. I know that was fairly exhausted. It was more through the lens of the store owner themselves, but I would be really curious for your feedback, because I agree, and that's ultimately an area where I think we've been thinking more at WooCommerce about what kind of education can we provide that's helpful to folks?

Where we can take the insights that we learn across the ecosystem and aggregate them and bring them together and say, Hey, here's a set of best practices that's going to get you most of the way there. And you're going to then... you'll adapt it further for what your clients need specifically. But I'd be curious for your feedback on those, that was our starting point.

Cami: I would be happy to review this and see if I can take it down to what I'm talking about, not necessarily the setup for my end, but just communicating the setup to the customer and getting them to fill in the needed blanks.

Jonathan: Yeah. And I think it'd be awesome if it's helpful for you. And I think this is not unique, this is one of the areas where there's a lot of knowledge in the open source ecosystems that is unintentionally secret knowledge, right? Or it's like someone's worked out best practices. No one's trying to hide it, but it's like the work has to be done to get it out in the open to bring together the best practices from this person and this person and this experience. So yeah, I think, I'd love to see more of that.

Cami: Yeah. And I think best practices can easily be translated into it. I think what is the most important thing for the business owner like myself, which is the customer onboarding with the product that I'm using.

Jonathan: Yes.

Cami: So that any help in helping me onboard my client to, and making the most of this plugin that I've put on their website, the more successful the use of that plugin is.

Jonathan: And that's ultimately what we're after. With WooCommerce, the mission is democratizing commerce, and that's helping more people have success in eCommerce. And frankly that's whether they use WooCommerce the software or not, the mission goes beyond that. Obviously we love the software, but at the end of the day, we want to see more people have success. And a lot of it is, education is a big factor of that. What do we learn? It's not just the software, it's the education around it and it's the community of support and sort of connection that you get from being able to share those experiences with others.

Cami: Right. And also helping your customer not go down the rabbit hole. I've had a lot of clients that they'll start playing around themselves and they're like, but I found this and then I ended up here and I couldn't find my way back. That's where I like to guide them to just specifically with what I want them to do and what's most beneficial for them now, knowing that they can grow, right? They can always add more features later.

Bob: Right. Excellent. Well, I like to always end the show when the co-host gives guests some homework. So, that's always good to do, it's a good place to kind of fade out into the sunset, but no, seriously.

Cami: I will do it Bob, I will do the homework.

Bob: Yeah, I know you will. I know you will.

So why don't we go ahead and, I'm going to mention the sponsors one more time here.

First,WooCommerce. I talked about WooCommerce 4.8, but also check out their site, check out our site. Some little news around a male poet and Moo Commerce, a new partnership and some exciting stuff there. So I think you're going to see a lot, you can kind of just read it and dream about what's in the future.

And then of course with PayPal do check out their PayPal checkout extension on the WooCommerce marketplace, it's a free plugin, it's not going to cost you anything, plug it in, it not only gives you the buy now pay later, but also gives you the module to put checkout on your sign in, says sending them to PayPal. So you will definitely want to check that out.

And Cami, this has been great. As we told you, you never know where the conversation is going to go, it always goes in incredible directions and yeah, we love this work.

Where can people connect with you?

Connect with Cami

Cami: They can find me at webcami.com. That's my business website, but webcamicafe.com is where you could hookup and check out my Facebook group. If you're a freelancer and you're just looking for a supportive team of other web designers across the United States, there's some great people in there and it's a very supportive community to go if you're having issues with a website you're developing or you just want to share some information.

Bob: Excellent. All right. Well, everyone do visit dothewoo.io. It's more than this podcast, I have news on there, I have jobs on there, I have, man, I have everything on there. I have a blog on there with all sorts of good stuff on it. So do check that out.

And again, we'd just like to thank you to Cami for taking the time to join us today.

Cami: Thanks. I had a great time.

Bob: Very cool. Well, everyone, till the next time, Do the Woo.