Expert Speaks: In Conversation with Joe Howard, Founder of WP Buffs

Last updated - February 24, 2020

Today, on ‘Expert Speaks‘, we have Joe Howard, the founder of WP Buffs – a popular company offering WordPress maintenance services around the globe. Joe also runs WPMRR, a video course that helps WordPress businesses increase their revenue.

Let’s hear from Joe more about his work and life…

Give our readers an introduction to your journey so far with WordPress.

Hey, readers! Glad you wanted to learn a bit more about me and what I do with WordPress 🙂

First and foremost, I’m the Head Buff at WP Buffs. We’re a 24/7 WordPress website maintenance services for serious website owners & white-label partners. Whether you’re looking after 1 site or 1000, we’ve got your back!

I also run WPMRR, a robust video course that teaches WordPress professionals how to implement, sell and execute ongoing care plans for their clients and increase their revenue every single month.

Finally I co-host The WPMRR WordPress podcast entirely focused on growing successful WordPress businesses and monthly recurring revenue without taking itself too seriously. Boom!

That pretty much covers it 🙂

What do you love the most about WordPress ecosystem?

The community, no question. Most people live lives of quiet desperation, working a 9-5 they don’t enjoy and living a life that’s not complete. I’m so, so lucky I get to work every day with some of the friendliest and most genuine people around. Can it get much better than that?

As we understand, you have achieved success in multiple business models related to WordPress. How do you go about a new business idea?

Honestly, I’m one of those people who has trouble turning their brain off. I have a few business ideas every day, most of which I write down in my notebook for safe-keeping. Most of my business ideas never come to fruition. The ones that do are usually validated via talking with users or other people in the WordPress space. The one thing that makes me most likely to actually get to work on an idea is when people give me positive feedback repeatedly. Potential customers, partners and WordPress people responded really well to the ideas of WP Buffs and WPMRR so I built them!

Tell us a little more about your experience with WP Buffs.

Honestly, most of my time is spent managing leading our leadership team at WP Buffs. Nick is our COO and Dean is our Head of Customer Success, so they have most of our operations handled at WP Buffs. Caylin is our Head of Marketing and we split most of the marketing responsibilities, although she’s taking over more and more as time goes on.

I spend a lot of my time helping them be better leaders so they can serve the rest of the team, our super talented team of WordPress developers. They are the heart and soul of our business and the ones who go above and beyond for our customers, so they really deserve all the credit.

If I’m not working with the team, I’m probably recording a podcast or speaking at a WordCamp. I love being active in the WordPress community and WordCamps are a great way to do that!

What is your vision behind WPMRR?

WPMRR is a robust video course that teaches WordPress professionals how to implement, sell and execute ongoing care plans for their clients and increase their revenue every single month. I was like plenty of other WordPress freelancers before I started WP Buffs; working on project-based work not knowing how next month would turn out financially. Creating a productized service out of WordPress maintenance gave me a predictable business model and focusing on recurring revenue makes the model much more scalable. That’s why I open-sourced everything we do at WP Buffs to share it through WPMRR!

How do you select the right people to your team?

We’ve learned to focus on attracting the right personalities to WP Buffs and training them to do the technical work we need to go above and beyond for customers. The most important piece of this equation is the fit people have with WP Buffs and the customer-focused culture.

Only a small percentage of applicants ever get to a final round interview through our slow and deliberate recruitment process. That way we can weed out the people who are just looking for a job and recruit the people who are dying to be part of our team.

As LearnWoo is more focused on WooCommerce, our readers would really appreciate if you can provide some insights on maintaining a store.

Sites running any eCommerce plugin, including WooCommerce, take more resources to manage. That means security, speed optimization, updates, website edits and any change you want to make to your site will become more complex. For anybody running a serious eCommerce store, I think having the right technician on hand to handle any troubleshooting or maintenance needs is the way to go.

When it comes to security, here’s a good read: 5 Huge WP eCommerce Security Threats and 12 Powerful Solutions (PDF included).

How do you think WooCommerce, and eCommerce in general, going to evolve?

People are already moving quickly from buying in brick-and-mortar locations and malls to shopping online. eCommece will probably continue to grow as we become closer to technology and our mobile devices.

Amazon is already ahead of the game with their buttons and voice commands, but this will become a big shift in the near future. Instead of shopping and checking out on a desktop or mobile device, people will just order with voice commands. That’s definitely something to look out for!

What keeps you motivated?

I’d really like to see WP Buffs become involved in the global conversation around WordPress support partners. We’re starting to make more of a name for ourselves, but we still have ways to go towards being a household name in the WordPress space.

WordPress powers such a large percentage of the web, which means there are plenty of website owners, agencies and freelancers who we can help manage WordPress websites with. Continuing to push forward in this area so that “WordPress help” and “WP Buffs” become synonyms is what I’d love to see come to fruition 🙂

How do you unwind after a long day or complex project?

I hang out with my wife and dog. You can usually find me after a long day curled up with them and reading. I’m not great at reading one book at a time so you’ll usually find me with 5 books or so open and my notebook. Not the most organized thing in the world, but it works for me!

What advice would you give to newcomers to WordPress and WooCommerce?

Become part of the WordPress space. Go to WordCamps and reach out to people with the sole purpose in mind of adding value to what they’re doing. So many people reach out to me wanting something for themselves so when people reach out asking how they can help me, it’s quite refreshing.

For people new to WooCommerce, read the LearnWoo blog, of course! 🙂

Anything else you want to share?

Thanks for reading this far! You didn’t have to make it all the way down here but since you did, I appreciate it.

Because you did, feel free to get 10% off our Perform Plan Pro with the discount code LEARNWOO. It’s what we manage all WooCommerce websites under. Use on 1 site if you’re a website owner or up to 10 if you’re interested in becoming a white-label partner!

Or you can use the same LEARNWOO discount code at WPMRR for 15% off our yearly membership.



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