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October 19, 2016

Ben Seigel (@versastudiollc) is a web designer and developer, and head of Versa Studio. In addition to managing projects and writing the necessary code for client sites, Ben has examined and written about the underlaying value of design, how small businesses and design agencies can work together toward successful ends.

In this conversation, we dig into content management systems on websites, discuss managing remote teams, remark on transitioning from a pure developer to a business owner, and share some common ailments of working with small businesses on their brand and web design projects.

Website Planning for Small Business

Grab Ben’s eBook, Website Planning for Small Business, and catch up with him via the website for Versa Studio.


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    Show Notes & Links
  • Versa Studio is a distrubuted team, building websites & brands for small business and non-profits
  • Ben previously ran a lawn service and worked internally in the insurance industry
  • HAM Radio
  • Commodore 64, Prescott’s first computer
  • The Internet of Things
  • Versa Studio works with ExpressionEngine and Craft, exclusively
  • WordPress
  • Nick Spriggs, previous guest on The Busy Creator Podcast
  • Vector Media hosts the New York City Craft Meetup
  • Register for a temporary live installation of Craft
  • Ben manages projects, but also still writes code and works on the sites
  • Ben runs the Madison Web Design/Development Meetup
  • Big Data
  • Periscope
  • Ben’s eBook, Website Planning for Small Business
  • "If someone wants to spend $20k on a project, but won't take 2 hours to read a plan ... they're not going to be a good client."

    —Ben Seigel

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  • Prescott’s eBook, Building Brands
  • "You need a 'minimum viable brand' before any website."

    —Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • Prescott wants the “power of suggestion” as his business superpower. Ben prefers a version of ESP.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP)
  • "(an RFP) is a really great way to waste a whole bunch of peoples' time."

    —Ben Seigel

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  • Brennan Dunn, Roadmapping
  • A “Warm RFP” has a higher chance to succeed
  • "You can read four proposals. You probably can't read 19."

    —Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • Current (October 2016) Facebook image guidelines
  • Full Employment Act
  • Bespoke aka custom-built
  • Tim Ferriss
  • "We're not built to sit all day. We're also not built to stand. We gotta move."

    —Ben Seigel

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  • Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin
  • Graceland by Paul Simon on Amazon
  • Derek Sivers
  • — what Ben is doing now
  •  Versa Studio
  •  Versa Studio on Twitter
  •  Versa Studio on Facebook
  •  Ben Seigel on LinkedIn
  • Tools
  • ExpressionEngine
  • Craft CMS
  • Photoshop
  • Sketch
  • HeartMath
  • Techniques
  • If given the opportunity, build a new platform fresh without links to the past ten years of legacy code
  • Connect with people in person rather than social
  • Break a project into steps/phases, so you can learn about the client as you go
  • Build a “Helvetica-Vanilla” version of your website while you test-and-iterate on brand, content, visual styles
  • Counter an RFP with an honest, candid phone call or conversation
  • Ask about the competition for proposals/pitches/tenders
  • Review a project through a post-mortem
  • Auto-answer common email questions
  • Pomodoro Method
  • Habits
  • Create a “framework” for your projects; share it with clients and industry
  • Start projects with an “assembly line” for beginning a project
  • Call Templates “Starting Documents”
  • Be flexible on your standards and workflow
  • Save code snippets and text macros as you work on projects; you’ll likely need to use them again.
  • Always move during the day
  • Work toward your daily practices
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