After spending many years building online businesses using WordPress, Kevin Koskella wanted to create a service that handled all these often annoying tasks, so that businesses could easily move things forward and stop wasting their time with the technical headaches.
Using his years of experience building teams, he created Work Hero. Work Hero is a technical partner for marketing agencies. It works as a subscription-based flat fee service, offering WordPress development, support, proactive maintenance and white label. They are currently managing 600+ websites for more than 40 digital agencies across the US.
You can find out more here: http://useworkhero.com
Where did the idea for Work Hero come from?
After spending many years selling information products online and using WordPress websites, I wanted to help other entrepreneurs with what comes down to a time sink and often headache of maintaining and updating your websites. The two areas that entrepreneurs often struggle the most with are development and design. I started with an agency that offered to handle both of these, plus marketing funnels. While there was a good amount of demand for this, after two years, it was clear that our strength was development, so we dropped everything and started over with just offering WordPress development on a monthly subscription basis.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Not to sound cliché, but there is no typical day. However, I try to have somewhat of a normalized routine, when dealing with a lot of ongoing changes in work. When I’m in the US, it’s something like this:
-I walk every day first thing in the morning.
-I schedule calls between 9:30-12:00
-Mondays are typical no call days
-I work from my home office in the mornings, or until I’m finished with calls
-Then go out to a coffee shop and work on whatever else needs to be done (writing, returning messages, scheduling, updating our website, planning, etc.)
-Then I will either go to the gym, do yoga, or some other activity that’s non-work related.
Productivity is sort of a trap. I try to stay away from “tricks” to make myself more productive. I also make sure I get enough sleep and exercise. Being sick and unhealthy is not good for business, or life!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Everything is an experiment at Work Hero. Anyone can just start working on an idea. If I have an idea, I typically will just start seeing how to make it happen myself, or I will run it by my partner. I originally named the business “Work Hero” rather than “Work Hero WP” because I wanted to be open to supporting other platforms, after we became very good at WordPress. So now, we are about to offer Webflow support as well- an idea that came up after talking to many customers and prospects about their biggest needs.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Probably the growing popularity of Webflow. To me, as much as I like WordPress, there is always room for more players in the field. For some businesses, Webflow makes more sense as the design is a bit more straightforward and easy compared to WordPress. But other businesses need the robustness and the vast array of plugins WordPress has to offer. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all here, and I’m excited to be one of the few agencies that support development in both platforms.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Consistently making adjustments as new information arises. For example, several “hot leads” failed to close, and instead of blaming them, I read a book called Gap Selling and realized many of the things I was doing wrong in the sales process, and started changing how I approached calls with leads.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t chase money!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Morning routines don’t matter.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Talk to customers!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Copying other successful businesses in our niche just enough, but not too much. There’s no reason to try to reinvent the wheel, when you can read stories about other successful entrepreneurs, and take the things they do well, while adding your own unique offering or way of doing things that will appeal to a similar, but different audience. For example, there were many other companies offering WordPress support when we started. Our offer was a bit more unique in that it’s a subscription instead of per project or per hour service. Then, we started getting good at helping agencies- so we fit nicely into this niche. We got a TON of value from understanding how our original competitors did things well, but are now unique enough to easily distinguish ourselves, and be able to target a more narrow niche.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Our first two years, we were either breaking even or losing money every month. It was painful, as I knew we had a good idea, but it just didn’t seem to be finding traction. Our small wins, including one amazing customer, gave me the fuel to keep going. But I knew things had to change, so I registered for an entrepreneur conference on the other side of the world to hopefully get some ideas and inspiration to help the business succeed. And that’s where I got the idea about narrowing down to WordPress only- from one simple conversation with another business owner with a productized service! Turned everything around and 6 months later, we were profitable and growing steadily.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
AI as a service. There is so much that AI can do and it’s just getting started. It’s very difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up on what actually works and what is just hype. Some business could save companies a ton of money and make their lives easier by offering AI packages. For example, design, content, customer service…so much can be done, but most people are so busy that they don’t see what’s available!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It wasn’t super recent but I got a Roost Stand for my laptop a while ago, and it’s been amazing to save my neck, as I can look straight at my screen without having to crane!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Zapier. Our business runs on processes, and having all the necessary systems connected is vital.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Probably the book I recently read on sales, Gap Selling. If you’re selling anything that involves getting on the phone, the info is super helpful, even just generally understanding the concepts will probably save a lot of deals for you.
What is your favorite quote?
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
- Running a business is an ever-evolving endeavor, not a fixed project that has a clear “do this and you will get that” linear logic.
- Overnight sensations are extremely rare, not not really worth trying to emulate. Expect that things will take much longer than they seemed at first.
- Always be open to change. The best ideas have come to us when we were at our lowest points, but still open to new ideas and ways of looking at things.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.