Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman

The end of the year holidays always means one thing: traveling to see family.

Lorena and I recently returned from visiting Connecticut for a couple of weeks to spend Thanksgiving with her sister, parents, and cousins who flew in from Chicago. As always, it was great to see everyone and of course to spend time with our nephew and godchild.

We get a short break in California before hitting the road again to Cincinnati to see my grandfather (who, at 88 years old, isn’t doing so well after his recent hip surgery). We then drive up to Michigan to spend time with my parents for Christmas.

Afterward, we then close out the year by hosting Lorena’s parents and sisters at our place in California for the New Year.

Something that is a bit challenging is that our family is located across two countries and various states. California, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, and Mexico. There are times when I wish we all lived closer. It would certainly make the holiday planning easier and less stressful for all involved.

#personal


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For whatever reason, Choice Juicery Nutrition information for their smoothies is nowhere to be found on their website. Normally, I wouldn’t care. However, I am tracking my macros, so I needed it.

I couldn’t find it when I googled it. I searched in my app (MacroFactor) and there was nothing listed.

So, I asked the staff.

The employee who took my order was really kind, and even let me take a picture of the smoothie nutritional info.

I am including it below in case anyone else out there needs the nutritional information for Choice Juicery’s smoothies. Hopefully this helps!

#personal


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As someone who grew up in Michigan, my favorite thing about living in Southern California is the year-round perfect weather.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the seasons, especially Fall, but there is something about the sunshine and ocean that just can’t be beat — especially in November!

Lorena and I will soon be spending holiday time with family. It will be a busy mix of traveling and having visitors. With this in mind, we wanted to get at least one more beach day in before the end of the year.

Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated!

The sun was out, and the temperature was in the mid to high 70s. We enjoyed the sun (something I very much need considering how pale I am) and appreciated how lucky we were to have casual Sundays on the beach in mid-November.

#personal


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Lorena and I just spent a few days in a cabin in the mountains. The mountain town, Idyllwild, is quite a charming town. Best of all, it’s just a little over two-hours away from home, making it an easy trip to make.

Just like we did when we went to Lake Arrowhead, we spent some time hiking and just being outdoors in the fresh air, walking around the downtown (which has a really great vibe), and relaxing in our cabin with an absolute incredible view of the treetops on the mountain.

We are doing these little long-weekend trips more often now as we make a conscious effort to integrate with nature, and to add a little variety to our daily lives — which is incredibly important when you work from home.

Our remaining trips this year include Connecticut, and then Michigan again. Both trips to see family. At the New Year, we’ll be having Lorena’s family in town.

2023 has been an eventful year. Some highs, some lows. I look forward to writing the recap! Until then, below are some photos from our trip.

#personal


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Through my business career, I’ve had the pleasure to meet so many smart folks. Many of whom I now consider friends.

Matt Medeiros of The WP Minute is one of those people.

Matt and I have known one another for many years, mostly interacting online, but occasionally in person. I respect the hell outta Matt and what he does. He has great perspective on business, life, WordPress, software, and services. Plus, I just think he’s a cool guy.

Earlier this month, Matt invited me to be on his podcast, The WP Minute. At the end of this post, I have included the recording.

Key Takeaways

  • I explain how I am now selling GapScout after running into challenges building complex AI technology and changes to review site terms and conditions.
  • The GapScout experience left me feeling defeated but taught me to focus on what really energizes me in business.
  • I have transitioned to coaching for founders, playing to my strengths in marketing, growth strategies and maximizing profits.
  • I am being selective about who I work with through warm outreach and relationship building vs trying to scale massively.
  • For WordPress entrepreneurs, takeaways are to focus on your strengths, cut out parts of the business you dislike, and be selective about services you realistically can deliver at a high level.
  • I have been using Medium for content marketing and gets great organic reach without having to worry about blogging or SEO.
  • Overall, it’s a story of reinvention, lessons learned from failure, and the importance of playing to your strengths as an entrepreneur.

#entrepreneurship


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For most of 2021 and a big part of 2022, Lorena and I would go to the gym in Austin nearly every day. We lived five minutes away from a Life Time Fitness, and during the pandemic, it became the main event that got us out of our home.

We went to the gym in part to work out, and also to record for Lorena’s fitness IG account, which worked its way up to over 100K followers. However, injuries, among other things, got us out of the gym rhythm.

Our bodies needed a change from the rigorous weight lifting we had been doing for practically a year straight. We remained active in different ways since fizzling out of the gym life. I continued to run and do a lot of body weight exercises along with BJJ. Lorena got into Pilates and does it pretty much daily.

We’ve decided to return to the gym.

After the long break, we’ve decided that we’re feeling well enough (no nagging injuries) to go to the gym again to get back into lifting. We won’t go as much as we did before, or lift as heavy, to avoid injuries.

The point is to just add a bit of variety to our weekly routine. I am looking forward to the change, and to getting back into the “gym life” that we enjoyed for so long while we were in Austin.

If I’ve learned one thing in my life about exercise, it’s that you go in and out of activities — and that’s normal. I’m glad we’re circling back to the gym again.

#personal


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Earlier this week, I published the longest X thread that I’ve ever published. I did this for two reasons:

  1. I had a lot to say.

  2. I wanted to test long content to see how much it’s shared.

The conclusion is that long content does quite well on that platform. The post itself was reposted, saved, and commented more than my shorter ones.

But the way X works, content dies a quick death. As such, I feel it’s a good idea to republish it here on my personal blog:

An Open Letter to WP Product Owners

Let's face it... Selling WP products today is a helluva lot harder than it was just 3 to 5 years ago.

In fact, one could argue that ever since COVID, the entire space has become more crowded, more competitive, and more challenging than ever before.

Your product does great things, yet no one is noticing. You're not growing. Worse, your sales are starting to stagnate. 😑

Here's the blunt truth.

What worked before will no longer work today. You know this, because you can see your company's metrics.

  • It's not Matt or Automattic's fault.
  • It's not because people aren't as “hot” on WP as they were during the pandemic.
  • It's not because of bigger companies like Automattic, AwesomeMotive, and LiquidWeb investing into the WP space, eating up the market share.

The answer is actually more simple than that...

The market is changing, and you're not. Be honest with yourself — Have you really tried to up your game?

When was the last time you did a brand refresh? Or worked on your Inbound Sales Plan (you have one, right?) Adventured into new marketing channels? Leveled up your support experience (things like live chat... actual live chat, weekend hours, etc.)? Or made any kind of investment back INTO your customers with success tools, community building, or the like?

You haven't.

Admitting that you haven’t changed is how you start progressing.

WordPress is a cutthroat space. The competition has more money than ever before — and not just WP solutions, but the SaaS competitors who are snapping away WP users as well.

Your purpose, as a founder, is to stay on top of the market. If possible, to LEAD the market. So let's chat... how do you do that?

It's an exercise of INWARD and OUTWARD data collection.

INWARD... things like:

  • Connecting with your most active users and discussing their pain points and wishes for your product.
  • Listening to feedback on all the review channels, documenting themes devoid of the emotion.
  • Looking at your inbound sales processes and finding the gaps that need to be filled. Optimizations that need to occur. TRAINING FOR YOUR SALES TEAM (support reps ARE NOT sales).
  • Analyzing effectiveness of support in maximizing renewals. Also, strategies for decreasing churn.

This is just scraping the top. Each one of these can branch off into several other subsections for optimizing. New plans, new policies, new ways of measuring...

OUTWARD... things like:

Exploring new content marketing avenues to expand reach. Where are your competitors, and why are you not doing the EXACT same as they are?

Creating a variety of content, not just “helpful content”. Going directly after your competition IN AND OUT of WordPress.

Networking with people in the space with similar interests. Helping others make money, so they return the favor for you. Stop sitting behind your computer and put yourself out there.

Paid Ads... it's time. Do it.

Hack-y isn’t cute anymore.

There was a time when WordPress products had a “grassroots” feel to them.

Not anymore. I mean, you can go that route, but you'll lose to others who show up and put out a PROFESSIONAL, well-polished image and experience.

What do I mean?

Does your demo site just toss someone into the WordPress admin dashboard and have a bare-bones skeleton theme? That's simply not good enough.

Is your website just some cookie cutter template or Blocks Pattern with no real thought around branding? That's not good enough either.

Does your headline speak to the customer's pain points? Or is it still saying something dumb like, “XYZ for WordPress”? Yeah... needs fixing.

Does your website sales copy point back to your unique selling proposition? On every page? Do you have an about page with your face? Are you getting personal? Are you getting CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER in their journey to build real connection?

This shit is hard. But the hard stuff makes you profitable.

I get it. This is hard stuff. These things can't be solved in a week or two. I wish this was easy, too.

Look at your business and determine where your biggest opportunity area lies. Start there. Go DEEP. Really understand the challenge and work towards resolving.

If you need help, get it.

I coach WordPress product owners on this stuff because, well, I've done this stuff. It doesn't have to be me though, there are other people in (and out) of WordPress who can provide direction as well.

The point is: start doing something different if you want to get different results. Light the fire 🔥 and don't stop... in a year from now, you'll thank yourself.

-Justin

PS: If you wanna chat about the pain points in your business, book some time with me. It's free.

#WordPress


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Short and sweet this Friday.

A couple of weeks back, I announced that I was taking on coaching clients. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m working with founders across a variety of industries on their businesses. It has all been moving so quick, and I’m loving every second of it!

Up until now, I’ve just been sending a Google Doc outlining my service. That worked, but I figured it was time that I get a website up to explain everything.

Take a look: BrightGrowth

And If you’re interested in having me on your side to grow your business, then go ahead and book some time!

#entrepreneurship


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Lorena and I just returned from a 10-day trip visiting my family in Ohio and Michigan. First, we stopped by Cincinnati to visit my grandpa. He is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility.

His health is pretty good, but he does have Alzheimer’s, which has become a bit more noticeable. He has 10 or so topics that he loops through in a conversation, but regardless, he is in good spirits and probably the best I have seen him in years (especially since my grandma passed away).

The highlight of that visit was the cookout, where my aunt, uncle, and two of my cousins attended, along with their children. One of my cousins had COVID, so she (and her family) couldn't come, which was a bummer. My brother and his family made the trip from Chicago as well, which gave us an opportunity to all be reunited like when we were kids.

After that long weekend, Lorena and I drove up to Michigan with my parents. We spent the week visiting some friends, enjoying the end-of-summer season in Michigan, and spending some quality time with my parents. After a week there, we came back to California.

I'm back at the grind today, growing my coaching business (which has taken off since recently announcing it). Our next planned trip isn't until Thanksgiving, but that could change!

#personal


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In digital business, every detail, from pixel to prose, matters. Crafting a brand that resonates isn’t an added luxury, it’s the foundation.

From a foray into online education to dabbling in software, my learning has always been clear: Effective branding can be simple.

When I coach founders, I am often asked is which strategies work best to get more customers in a crowded market.

Well, this article will answer that question.

Let’s dive into the actionable tweaks that can deepen your customer connection and enhance your brand’s recall. This isn’t theory, folks. I’ve used these exact strategies for gaining impressive amounts of market share.

The Power of Consistency

Imagine you’re reading a book, and in the story, the protagonist’s personality changes every few chapters. Confusing, right? How could you ever get into a story like that?

I’ve found that founders make this same mistake. Their brands often mirror this inconsistency when their identity keeps shifting. Consistency, I learned early on, isn’t about stubborn rigidity but about establishing reliability across all channels.

In the world of digital products, whether it’s software, an interactive online course, or an ebook, consistency will always be critical to your success. This isn’t just about having a visually appealing visuals. It’s about ensuring that the core of your brand remains the same across every touchpoint. It’s the little things, and these little things add up!

For example, let’s talk visuals (since that what most founders tend to focus on). Colors, designs, and graphics aren’t just artistic choices — they’re statements. Each hue, each gradient, each font choice carries a weight of its own. And consistency ensures that this weight is balanced throughout.

Then there’s the tone. How does your brand sound to your potential customers? Is your tone formal, casual, or somewhere in between? Your brand’s tone should remain recognizable across all channels. From your YouTube videos to the welcome emails.

Keeping track of all these things is tough, so I recommend that you create a brand guideline. Don’t worry, this isn’t a huge document. Keep it simple and focus on specifying your color choices, typography, and tone. This way, whenever you create a new asset for your business, you can pull it up just to make sure it’s all remaining “true to brand”.

The Art of Storytelling

Stories are what make us human. And your brand, beyond its digital facade, is profoundly human. It’s a tapestry of ambition, vision, and journey. Every digital product you see isn’t just a tool, it’s a testament to someone’s dream and determination.

So, what’s your story? It’s essential to articulate it, not just for your audience, but for yourself. Was your brand born out of a gap you observed in the market? Maybe it was a series of events, some eureka moments, and a few sleepless nights? Or perhaps, it was a dream you nurtured over countless cups of coffee?

Once you’ve identified your narrative, the next step is weaving it in a manner that resonates. Not every tale is epic, and that’s its beauty. The little detours, the unexpected roadblocks, the small joys — they add layers of authenticity to your brand narrative. Remember, it’s not the grandiosity of the story, but its genuineness that strikes a chord. An authentic tale, told from the heart, bridges the gap between a brand and its audience.

Engage, Don’t Just Broadcast

Think of the internet like a big, noisy classroom. Everyone’s trying to get a word in, and it often feels like a shouting match. Some people have big voices, so they carry further. Yes, they can be heard, but it’s annoying, right?

Don’t be annoying.

Here’s some advice from someone who’s been through it: instead of shouting louder, try a different approach. Don’t talk at people, talk with them.

You see, there’s a difference between just “shouting” your message and truly engaging with your audience.

For example, let’s say that you walk into a car dealership and without even a hello, the salesperson starts rattling off all the stuff they have, the prices, the discounts, and so on. It’s overwhelming, right? That’s just noise. They are sending out information, whether you need it or even want to hear it. It’s annoying, and you’ll shut down. It’s similar with those annoying chatbots and popups that people use on their websites. What is the first thing you do when you see them? You close it.

Same scenario, but picture this now: you walk into the car dealership and the salesperson greets you and asks for your name. They smile kindly, and simply ask you what you’re looking for, getting to know your needs. At this point, you’re likely to at least share your intentions. It has now become a conversation, a back-and-forth where you get to know each other.

From my experiences with software, online courses and digital products, I’ve found that true engagement is where you find troves of gold. It’s not about diluting what you want to say. It’s about saying it in a way that lines up perfectly with what your audience wants to hear.

Okay, cool — but how do you do that?

Woman at laptop computer with pen in her hand, notebook, and cell phone.

Here’s what I did. It works, you should copy it and put your flavor into the process:

1. Be Curious

Get to know your audience. Who are they? What’s their day like? What challenges are they facing? When you’re genuinely interested in them, you can serve them better.

2. Make It a Two-Way Street

When you post content, invite conversation. Ask questions, encourage replies, start discussions. It’s way more fun and useful when everyone’s involved. Do this in online chat, Facebook Groups, social media, and anywhere your potential customer is “hanging out” online.

3. Hold Interactive Sessions

Live Q&As, webinars, and AMAs (Ask Me Anything sessions) are awesome. They’re live, they’re real, and they give your audience a chance to chat with you directly. I crushed it with webinars. I didn’t do them often, but when I did, they were always a net positive. You can then re-use the content across multiple channels, like email, YouTube, and blog posts.

4. Value The Feedback

Yes, positive feedback feels great. But constructive criticism? That’s where the growth happens. It helps you see where you can do better. Every bit of feedback means someone took time for you and your brand. That’s big. Even the most scathing reviews have some important takeaways and represent an opportunity to demonstrate how you do, in fact, listen.

5. Show the Human Side

People connect with people, not faceless brands. Share a bit about your journey, the ups and downs, the behind-the-scenes stuff. It makes everything more real. When I was growing GapScout, I tried the “Build In Public” route. It was incredibly successful for building a following and list of potential customers. People gravitate towards authenticity and stories. Telling stories is about as human as it gets.

6. Stay Agile

The digital world changes fast. What works today is probably going to be old news tomorrow. Keep an eye out, adjust as you go, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Want a clear example? No one uses Facebook pages anymore for their brands. It’s moved to TikTok. Maybe you haven’t started a TikTok because you think it doesn’t make sense for your business, but I want to challenge you to get out of your own way!

7. Respond and Be Present

Engagement means being there, consistently. If someone drops a comment or sends a message, make sure you get back to them. It shows you care. And don’t carry a different tone between public and private comments. People are savvy, they’ll pick up on that, and it won’t sit well with them.

Small Changes Lead to Big Impact

The internet as a bustling marketplace. You know how some market stalls grab your attention because they have just the right lighting or display? That’s the magic of small details. Small changes, like tweaking how we present things, can make a huge difference.

In the online business world, it’s not enough just to be present. You want your ‘stall’ to be the one people remember and come back to, and you do this one intentional step at a time.

#entrepreneurship


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