Job Title: Director of Business Development
Years at WebDevStudios: 5
The alarm goes off at 6 a.m. I fell asleep the night before with a determination and will to change my life in a way I have never done before. The second alarm then goes off. I glance at the clock and say to myself, “We can start changing our life tomorrow.”
That is my usual morning routine. I like sleep.
Nas said, “Sleep is the cousin of death,” but I always felt that sleep was really the grandmother that hugged you hard. I like my eight hours of sleep.
I will, however, admit to bouts of insomnia that will appear out of the blue. It wakes me up at the witching hour simply reminding me that I am, in fact, a terrible sleeper who at some point should address that issue.
When I do finally decide it’s time to roll out of bed, the first task of the day is to give my two pups a healthy dose of belly rubs. If that doesn’t happen, the whole day will be off. At this point, they are usually standing on my face or jumping at my feet letting me know that it’s time for breakfast.
Now, I’m awake. It’s time for my morning routine, which consists of meditation, staring out the window, some movement, and silent time. I check on my plants, make a cup of coffee, feed the pups, and then try to journal. Although some mornings, I just scroll on TikTok. It all depends on how I’m feeling. Today is a bones day though so it’s going to be a great day. (That is a TikTok reference. If you got it, can we be friends?)
I continue getting ready for the day. I try to do my hair, put on some makeup, and throw on a decent shirt because my calendar is always full of Zoom calls. Then I make another cup of coffee and head into my office to start my day as the Director of Business Development for WebDevStudios (WDS).
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I also think breakfast for dinner is an essential part of life. Generally speaking, I like breakfast foods.
My office is full of things I love: plants, books, pillows, blankets, music, incense and candles. I need my space to be a whole vibe in order for me to be truly effective. I have put energy into my space because I spend a lot of time there and I think it is important. I even have two dog beds for the pups. If you’re like me, you have that breed of dog that only barks on Zoom calls. They are special and unique.
Because I’m nosey and like to keep on top of what is happening with all the clients, my first step is to go through Slack. It’s a big task because I’m in every room. I manage my Slack usage with status updates, the mute button, and also by limiting the use of it on my phone.
When it comes to email, I try to make inbox zero a goal. At the very least, I want my inbox to be less than 10. I know what you’re thinking, “Jodie, how are you so organized?”
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. My email management style is not because I like to be organized. I do it because if I don’t, I will look at my inbox and my anxiety will immediately grab a hold of me. Then in true Gen X fashion, I will be forced to drink more coffee to soothe my anxiety. This will in turn make me more anxious.
As you can see, there is no way out at this point. Instead of getting caught on the hamster wheel of caffeine and guilt, I must limit my exposure to chaos. This means one thing, and David Allen said it best, “If you can do something in under two minutes, do it now.” Therefore, I respond to emails as quickly as possible. Then it either gets filed, deleted, or I set a reminder/task for next steps.
At 9:30 a.m. every day, I have the pleasure of doing a quick standup with our Business Development Administrator, Tara Rickaby. The goal is to talk about the meetings we had the day before, what’s on deck for the current day, and what tasks we need to prioritize.
Essential Duties of WDS Business Development
- Identify new business opportunities
- Manage partnerships
- Handle incoming leads
- Create proposals, contracts, and SOWs
- Onboard new clients to the PMO department
- And if time allows, focus on outbound efforts
I should also mention that it is a lot of work for two people to do and we are hiring!
The most fulfilling part of my job as Director of Business Development is talking with clients. This is especially true for new clients, who may be unsure of WDS or maybe they have some outdated views on WordPress.
My job allows me the privilege to brag about the amazing work we do and the people who do it. At the end of the day, that is what clients respond to—the people of WDS.
It should be no surprise that my calendar is full of calls. I try to minimize the amount of calls I do on Friday so that I can do admin work and catch up on things.
In recent years, I have become better at scheduling appointments. I like to schedule calls for 30 or 45 minutes long. This allows for some buffer between calls to record notes, drink water, etc.
I also try to block off time in the afternoon to walk the pups. They need it and so do I. I have a standing desk that allows me to move while working. I have a sitting desk that allows me to focus on tasks. I also use my air pods to pace when I’m on calls because repetitive movement helps me concentrate.
My biggest challenge is limiting distractions during a call. That is a constant work in progress for me. I’m trying to be present when I engage with a client because that is the absolute bare minimum I can do for them. I recognize that I talk to very busy and important people. I want to provide the best experience for them.
On any client call, I’m trying to learn the following things:
- Why did they reach out to WDS?
- What is the main goal of their business?
- Who are their current users?
- Who are they trying to reach?
- What are their current challenges?
- And, of course, everyone’s favorite questions… time and budget.
Gathering all this information makes me feel like an investigator for a moment. There is a problem that needs to be solved. There is a solution that needs to be created. There is an answer waiting to be developed.
I went to college in the hopes of being the next Barbara Walters. Little did I know all that interpersonal communications studying would lead to this.
Every day I am welcomed with the opportunity to speak with industry leaders, people who are pushing the boundaries of tech. At WDS, we don’t just build websites. We create engines that allow creators to push information to the world allowing for the continuous sharing of knowledge.The gravity of that is never lost on me.
Outside of talking to clients, I also regularly meet with our internal team. We are either reviewing estimates or doing a knowledge transfer about a client.
Remember that game “telephone” you played as a child? You would whisper a phrase into someone’s ear and then they would do it to the next person and so on. By the time you get to the last person, something simple like “I love dogs” turned into “Elephants can’t cry.”
Transferring knowledge from the sales team to strategy to project management to developers often reminds me of that. It’s not that information gets skewed but new information is always coming to light. Projects are an ever-evolving experience and, quite frankly, they should be.
Usually, after talking with a client, the goal is to get enough information to create a proposal or SOW. It is a delicate dance between getting enough information without it being a full strategy session.
Then, we have to organize that information into a beautiful document—one that conveys our message to the prospective client. I believe proposals are a constant work in progress. We are always updating ours.
I love getting feedback from clients on what they found helpful and what they didn’t. I’m a firm believer that a proposal should be short and concise and contain almost no fluff. We have had a lot of positive feedback on our proposals over the years. It’s a team effort, from design to marketing to engineering. Each department has contributed. I love that we get to do these things together.
I also have the pleasure of working with a number of partners. Partnerships are an essential part of business development. I get to work with some of the best including WP Engine, WordPress VIP, and Pagely.
We have regular meetings to ensure that we are working together to provide a top tier experience to our clients. The WordPress community is an ecosystem. Every piece moving together yet remaining independent all to provide a complete service to clients.
A day of talking on virtual calls can often feel like being on stage for eight hours. I’m animated and try to keep the energy up on every call.
When the clock winds down for the day, so do I. Thats not to say that some days don’t require late hours, but for the most part, I’ve been successful in creating a definitive end to my day.
It’s important that I give myself time to recharge so I can do it all again tomorrow. In the evenings, when the world is quiet, I often get inspired. This is a great time for me to do some work that leans more creative. For example, that is the best time for me to make adjustments to the proposal or jot down ideas for our marketing department.
I also like to light a candle, read a book, curl up with a cup of tea and feel gratitude that this is my life. When I was in college, the internet was just becoming a thing and now it’s my career. The world is wild.
My Golden Rule
Although it has nothing to do with business development, it has everything to do with people. I try to use The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz as my guide for life as much as possible. Here are some excerpts.
Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.