The WP Agency Journey with D’nelle Dowis of Berry Interesting Productions— Post Status Draft 132

D’nelle Dowis has been a part of WordPress for more than a decade. Her passion for genuine, sustained relationships informs how she leads her agency. D’nelle talks about her experiences meeting clients where they are and helping them leverage technology to solve the challenges of today while making room for future opportunities. She shares why she values support, her thoughts on DIY, and how she makes room for her clients to ask the weird questions.

Estimated reading time: 31 minutes


In this episode of Post Status Draft, Cory is joined by D’nelle Dowis, CEO of Berry Interesting Productions. She and her husband have worked in WordPress for over a decade and run a small, consultative agency. D’nelle shares truly helpful insights about centering relationships in work and life. From being invested in clients for the long haul to being intentionally curious about knowing others and how they spend their days, D’nelle invites us to let connection be the fuel that informs and inspires who we are and how we work.

Top Takeaways:

  • Build Long-Term Client Relationships: Building long-term relationships enables you to advise clients from a big-picture perspective, as opposed to just building technical solutions.
  • Support is Serious Business: Doing what we do best should give our client’s peace of mind that their sites will perform as needed when needed.
  • Look Beyond a Client’s Ask to Unseen Opportunities: As clearly reflected in D’nelle’s experience share about her yoga studio client, leaning into hard seasons with clients to bring unique solutions with technology can transform the future trajectory of their business.

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Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Post Status Draft. This is another interview in our agency journey series where we’re talking to agency owners and getting their backstory and their story, and sharing a little bit about their passions and the work and the world of WordPress. So today I have someone I’ve known for a very long time, D’nelle and I’m gonna let her introduce herself in a second.

But, um, we’ve been, I’ve known D’nelle for, let’s see. Gosh, 10 years. I’m trying to think at least. Oh yeah. Yeah. And um, so we’ve got to meet a couple times and I was just hearing a little bit about her story and I’m excited for you to hear that too. So, D’nelle, would you mind in, uh, introducing yourself and sharing, uh, what your agency is?

D’nelle Dowis: Yeah. Um, so my name is D’nelle Dallas. I own an agency named Berry interesting productions. We’re very small. Um, it’s owned by me and my husband. Um, and then we have a developer who we rely on heavily, but she is still contract with us. We primarily provide WordPress support. That’s what we get really excited about.

Um, but we also build WordPress [00:01:00] websites. And depending on what the client’s needs are, we will either say, Hey, maybe you should be on Squarespace, or, Hey, maybe you need a bigger agency. So a lot of. Is very, take a very consultative approach. And, um, yeah, so been in WordPress since 2010 now. Um, it’s, it’s been a, a hot minute since all of that started.

Um, and yeah, we’ve seen a lot happen. It’s, there’s a lot has happened over the last 15, 17 years.

Cory Miller: No kidding. Tell me a little bit about, okay, so that’s where you are now, and we’re going to dive into parts of the in a minute, but tell us how you got there. So you started with WordPress in 2010?

D’nelle Dowis: Yeah, so I started writing HTML websites.

I mean, I don’t go quite far enough back to have written, um, themes for MySpace. But that is, that’s the kind of era that we’re talking about is write your own HTML website era. Um, and I, so I, I came from a print background, um, [00:02:00] primarily in journalism. I thought that I was gonna go and like lay out. Uh, newspapers for a living.

So I had a lot of experience with type setting, a lot of experience with, um, graphic design in the sense of like user experience design. Like I kind of, um, during Covid, I, I dabbled a little bit in UX and it very much lined up with the ba like, like career background of having worked in print journalism and um, print design.

Um, and then, um, in 2000 and. 10, 2011. Um, I went through career change where I was let go after a reorg and I was like, I really don’t know what I’m gonna do. Um, and was hired as a webmaster just because I happened to be tech savvy, was hired as a webmaster at a little company in Nashville and that company was building themselves a website.

And so I was tasked with. Basically liaising with the agency that was building this site so that I knew as much about it as possible so that I could be a good [00:03:00] webmaster for ongoing upkeep. Um, and that’s really where I started to see the power of WordPress and what it can do for you and the ways that it can be used to do all kinds of different things.

Um, and it was. After encountering WordPress that it really made sense for me to move into doing it, um, as a like long term business. Um, in 2012, I quit doing anything for anybody else and started doing this full time. Um, I’ve definitely like kind of dabbled in other agents. Um, that was really like from a, a like supplement my own income as I built my business kind of thing.

I would do project management and like low level development for other agencies, um, which really has formed the way that I run. Very interesting today because you, you see that man behind the curtain, you see where. Those cracks are in the fascia and you wanna, I mean, at least I wanna fix it. Um, I didn’t want it to be like that for the people who are working at agencies, and I don’t want it to be like that for clients.

Um, so that’s kind of how we ended up here with the [00:04:00] goal of making sure that we have clients that we are in long-term relationships with, that we can advise from a big picture perspective as opposed to just building. That’s not what we want. Do we wanna be in the long term relationship business? Um, and so kind of as a result, we are in the website development business.

Um, but it really is all about the support, all about the kind of holistic business advice from a, I was writing a blog the other day about, um, tech stacks and really like tech stacks come from the world of application building where you think about all of the languages and tools that you’re using to build an application.

I really like to think about that from a business perspective. There’s a lot of like tech stack advice that I will give to clients. Like, you shouldn’t be, you know, uh, registering your domain over here, or maybe we should think about different hosting, or you might wanna think about a different calendar booking tool that integrates with your website.

Those kinds of things that aren’t just about web development, but are more about the overall business operations. [00:05:00] Those are the kind of relationships that I wanna have with our clients, and that is what I wanna establish with our agency, which is a space where people are not just like coming to you saying, Hey, could you build this website for me?

But they might come to you with weird questions. I wanna have the kind of relationship with our clients where we can answer those weird questions and if we can’t answer them, we can help them find somebody that they, we know that they can trust.

Cory Miller: Tell me a little bit about support. You mentioned like, okay, there’s building this side, but there’s this ongoing thing, and I think that’s one of the beauties of WordPress that can do so much more for businesses.

But could you talk about from that angle, um, the support, what it, what you’re intending to do and what you see from some of the types of clients that you have that you do for?

D’nelle Dowis: Um, so at the very basis of it, um, I mean I’m kind of coming from the, uh, space where I’m influenced by like Troy Dean and also like, let’s not forget to mention Nathan Ingram, who is like an absolute genius in this space.

Um, talking about like Nathan’s scope document where he [00:06:00] talks about how you talk to clients when you are meeting them for the first time and evaluating what their needs are. Inevitably, people think they are coming to you because they wanna buy something from you. They wanna buy a product, they wanna buy this website.

What they don’t understand about buying that website. And I find myself in a situation where I’m often kind of like educating people about what it’s like to own and use a website is that it’s not something where you can just set it and forget it. You’re not going to buy a car. You’re thinking about the ongoing mainten.

That is going to have to happen. So I mean, we, we take a little bit of a kitchy approach with it. Very interesting productions like we are, we have this kind of like garden, like tending your garden sort of theme. That’s really where that support comes from, is that, You can’t just go out there and throw some seeds in the ground and then expect that you’re gonna get the harvest that you want.

You really need to be paying attention to your site long term. That being said, there’s so many things about website maintenance that really should not be on [00:07:00] mind of a business owner. Like it’s I, I’m kind of in a weird position because we build websites and we provide website support. So I think about this for our own website as well.

But, you know, we serve a lot of yoga studios, a lot of wellness businesses, a lot of, um, like, you know, independent musicians. And I don’t want, you know, the musician to be laying awake at night thinking about, is my website gonna break? Um, are, are people gonna be able to access those tour dates? Is the thing that we have set up for people to enter this raffle so that they could potentially win?

Like VIP experience, is that gonna work after we put out the marketing for it? Those kinds of things. Those worries of, is this gonna work for me? Am I gonna be able to use this tool in the way that I need it when I need to? They shouldn’t be having to think about those things. Um, you know, last year we bought a house, um, out here in Denver, Colorado.

Um, it was the second house that we purchased, but this really is like our forever home and. Thinking about the like long term [00:08:00] things that you need to do to keep this house healthy, to keep it safe, to keep everything working properly. Like I kind of wish that I had the budget to hire somebody who would come out here and do a property walk once a month to see if my gutters are sagging or to see if there’s something that’s gone wrong on the roof.

Those are the kinds of things that I don’t have the knowledge of in my own head because I’m not spending the time thinking about it every day. So from a support perspective, We want to be that resource that is the expert on this particular niche so that you can trust us to handle it for you. And you could be thinking about, okay, what am I gonna create next?

Like, what is my next tour gonna look like? Um, what do does the, you know, brick and mortar expansion to a second location of our yoga studio look like? It really is a situation where I want to be the trusted space that they can outsource those sorts of things so that they’re not having to worry about them so that they’re not spooked when somebody goes on their website and, you know, puts in a, I notice that your site’s SEO is terrible.

You should contact us, you know, like through your [00:09:00] contact forum. Like I don’t want people to be spooked by that. I want them to know that if they’re gonna, they have a question about anything, they got a phishing email that they can call. And we’re gonna give them that the advice that they need so that they don’t have to like, learn a whole new set of domain knowledge.

And so that if they don’t wanna deal with it that day, they can out, they can just offload it to us. That’s, that’s really what needs to happen. You don’t wanna worry about looking into this like you have copyright infringement images on your site. I got that for you. I will let you know whether or not you need to pay attention to this.

And meanwhile, we’re gonna make sure that your site has not actually been. So, um, it really is more about being that, that support source of support for clients, almost from an emotional perspective, more than a practical perspective. We have done the property walks around your site. We know everything is working fine.

This one really important page that is tied to your marketing is working. There’s nothing broken on it. You can confidently move forward with your marketing without worrying about whether or not your [00:10:00] site is gonna, you know, crack under the.

Cory Miller: And when you go to these types of experts, you want them worrying about their craft, what they do best.

Like the musicians for instance, like Right. You know, hey, if you’re a fan of a big band, I want them thinking about their next song. Not necessarily worrying about, okay, what is this fishing like you said to that fishing email part. And I think that’s the beauty of WordPress too. You can do so much with it, but as these businesses, organizations grow, they need more complexity that WordPress gives ’em.

And that’s where I, I see you all coming in to say, we’re gonna take this load off you so that you can focus on what you do best.

D’nelle Dowis: That’s exactly right because I am so passionate just about artists in general. I mean, when I was in college, like one of my majors was creative writing. Like I definitely come from a creative space, but what I came away from college with and what has has happened during my career over the intervening years is that I find myself time and time again wanting to.

People to [00:11:00] do the thing that they are really passionate about, and there are plenty of times that I have just, you know, sat head in hand being like, I do not wanna think about whether or not I should buy this new garage door or have it fixed. I don’t wanna think about like why my water bill is so high. I just wanna hire somebody to come out here and make sure that it’s okay.

With their expertise. I don’t wanna have to develop that expertise myself, and I don’t want my clients to have to develop that expertise cuz I want ’em to spend that time creating new and amazing things that they’re excited about. Like it’s really hard to get excited about dns. Like really hard, like I have a hard time getting excited about dns.

I don’t want ’em to have to worry about it. If there’s a term that they don’t know, they don’t know, that they don’t understand, I want ’em to be able to come to me and me to be able to be trusted enough to give them the answer. That doesn’t seem like I’m coming from a place of trying to get ’em to.

Spend more money or come from a place of trying to, you know, change the nature of our relationship in some way. Like my whole thing has always been like, I don’t wanna hold people hostage. And I [00:12:00] really, really don’t want artists to feel held hostage by this need to engage in something that really, like, they don’t wanna spend their time thinking about.

Like, there’s plenty of people who are like, oh, I’ll just DIY that website myself. Awesome. I wanna support you in DIYing it, but first let’s have a conversation about the complexity of it so that you can make an informed decision about what you wanna learn in DIY versus what it really makes sense for you to outsource.

So that. You can spend the time thinking about the things that you’re really excited about, whether that is the book that you wrote or the next tour that’s coming up, or you know, the expansion of your studio. So it, it really is like, I mean it’s, it’s very much like comes from a mothering instinct in me.

I think. Like I’ve got dogs, but we don’t have kids really, like my clients and the business really take up a lot of that energy of me thinking about how can we best take care of our clients so that they are enabled to do the thing that they’re really excited about.

Cory Miller: Well, you mentioned artists and I wanna talk about that part of your business.

Um, I [00:13:00] think it’s so interesting working with, with artists and musicians and things like that, but, uh, that, and also the yoga and the wellness industry you talked about too, seemed like, um, we, we were talking before we started this interview, you’re mentioning like during Covid helping some of these people that didn’t have a lot of support infrastructure that I, I think about as like, uh, analog almost in the sense of they’re meeting.

People, um, in person and, uh, you know, whether it’s a band playing a venue or it’s a yoga instructor, and I’d love to you to share a little bit about that, that work with those types that I think Covid, uh, helped, uh, open an opportunity, I think for a lot of businesses like. To kind of go, okay, now we can use leverage web and online to build and grow our business.

D’nelle Dowis: Well, I mean, for a lot of people it really was a smack in the face. I mean, if you think about yoga studios, that is a very in person [00:14:00] thing. I mean, we definitely have like online classes that we can take, but I mean, if you’re anything like me, like it is not the same. And it’s, it’s the same for like, um, for musician.

Um, my, my favorite story that I like to tell about Vibe is that in October of 2020, uh, we went to a show in South Central Tennessee. It’s a place called The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. And they normally have bluegrass underground in their caverns, but because everything was, we can only do outdoor. Um, they set up a stage above their caverns.

They like brought in a stage and we, our favorite artist was playing a show on this stage. And we were like, partially it was a personal thing, like, we have got to get out of this house and, and do something, or we’re gonna absolutely drive each other mad. And the other part of it, especially for me, was a deep curiosity about how they were gonna pull this off, because it really was, I mean, you know, to use a very tired word, it was unprecedented for all of.

[00:15:00] So what is this gonna look like with all of these new restrictions and all of these unknowns? And so we went down to the caverns and I was incredibly impressed with the operations of how they had turned this thing that they normally have, like in a, in a enclosed space. Into doing this outdoors. Um, which I think that they’ve continued to do.

They definitely had more shows outdoors after this first one. But the notable thing about this show was that we are sitting in like our little six foot square and they have, they’re using an app that you can order, um, concessions off of that’ll be delivered. And it was all very interesting. And then the show started and the vibe of everyone in.

In that audience was so subdued, it was unnerving to watch the way that we had all clearly been affected by being in our houses for six, seven months at that point. And I think about that a lot in terms of these in person things. That in person is incredibly important and we’re never, [00:16:00] I don’t think we are ever really going to be able to replicate that in an online, in a virtual environment, but a lot of us were forced.

And one of the people that was forced to do that was a, um, client of ours, um, named no Novo Fitness studio. They’re out of Midland, Georgia. We absolutely adore them. They are like, they’re just our favorite to work with. Like they really get our vibe. We really get their vibe. And we’re in a position where the yoga studio owners, it’s a two sisters, they don’t have to think.

Their website because they know that they can come to us and be like, Hey, we wanna do this, can you make it happen? And we can give them good advice about whether or not they should make it happen. And so with them, what we did is, this was very early on, I think this like started in April of 2020. They are like, we are absolutely bleeding money.

We are paying. Rent on a brick and mortar that we can’t use. Like the sisters would go in there and like do yoga in the studio themselves, but you can’t have other people coming in, right? [00:17:00] Like it’s, this is, we’re all in lockdown. What do we do to maintain the, the vibe of the community that we have built.

Now, whether that is. A music, like a touring musician or whether that is, uh, a yoga studio or an acupuncturist or any kind of like wellness. Any, any of the people who are kind of in the, the verticals that we tend to work in. Um, how can we retain the magic that is that in person stuff while we are all stuck inside?

And so with Novo, what we did is we built them like a little OnDemand, uh, video portal. So it’s got gated content. The content is served up through Vimeo, but you can only access it if you’re logged into their website. It was a relatively simple thing. We hadn’t built anything like that before, but we had used all of these tools before the, um, the content gate tools.

We’d used Vimeo before. Um, and really like we were all stuck inside. Nobody really knew what to do, so we built this really quickly. I mean, it definitely, I think there’s a case study out on. About the, [00:18:00] the process of it. It was definitely daunting because this was completely new for them and they weren’t really sure how they wanted to use it.

What they ended up with is a thing that’s gonna do two things for them. First, it helped them keep a revenue stream going. Which was really, really important. But that, like during Covid, but that turned into an additional revenue stream now that we are all back in person and they are, you know, having their five, six classes a day in their brick and mortar.

Um, so having that additional kind of passive revenue stream, really, you upload one video and it’s. Going to serve up, you know, infinite number of times for infinite number of people. Um, you know, I think about that a lot with my business. What is recurring revenue? Like, how does that help us to be able to make long-term decisions?

They now have a line item in their budget that is recurring revenue in a way that is almost passive, that’s not dependent upon being present in the real world. But the thing is, is I don’t think that that really is the end of it. I think that now we’ve got this on demand. [00:19:00] Tool that they can use as a revenue booster, but it is helping them to maintain that those in person relationships, like they’ve got one person who, um, right prior to c she and her, she had moved to Italy because of her partner’s job.

And so she wasn’t able to come into these yoga classes anymore. And when she found out that Novo was offering on demand video, she was like, please, can you figure out a way that I can. Um, get to these videos because I miss attending these classes. I miss these instructors. I miss the community of the people that I was with.

And at this point, that’s what I wanna see out of virtual. I wanna see virtual providing this kind of like steam release valve. Like there is no telling what’s gonna come our way, is another pandemic gonna come our way? Like, who knows what’s happening? Like right now with like, I think I read something the other day about like avian flu making things like really.

Like difficult for, uh, the, the poultry industry. Like there’s just all of these variables that we don’t know what’s gonna come at us, but if we [00:20:00] have a really strong virtual presence that’s supporting our in-person presence, it’s gonna make us more resilient all around. If you know one of the artists that we’re working with right now, Has the flu and if she were not feeling as bad as she is, the conversation that we would be having right now is, okay, well I can’t go do this show this weekend, but I still want to connect with the people who are gonna be there.

I still wanna make sure that they’re gonna have an amazing. Friday night. What does that look like from a digital perspective? Do we have the infrastructure on our site to have this membership portal set up so that we can gate this content and make sure that we’re still capturing that revenue so that we can keep doing what we’re doing?

Right? Like that really is what I want. I want our yoga studios. I want our artists to be able to keep doing the work that they’re really, really passionate about, and if they have a digital infrastructure, Stable. They’re gonna be able to rely on that to be able to create a, a more holistic approach to, well, I, I can’t go out this weekend for whatever reason.

I’m tested positive for Covid, but I feel [00:21:00] fine. I’d love to do something this weekend. Okay, well we can move into digital for that. But primarily we are still invested in being in the real world. Um, which is honestly, like Covid taught me that, like, I don’t think I really appreciated the value of those real world connections and being in the same room as people until you weren’t allowed to be.

Cory Miller: Well, I, I think you’ve really illustrated great, uh, case study too, which is having a backup when you’re in person, whatever that is, and you just can’t happen. But also I think you’re showcasing too, where they can use that, not just in those bad times, but good times to continue to grow and support their businesses.

Like when you talked about the Exactly. The yoga fitness studio, um, it’s an extension. They record those videos once. And then they get to share that with whoever they want in their, uh, in their business. Uh, and it’s up there. That’s the beauty of the web. That’s 24 7, 365, especially if they’re supported by [00:22:00] very interesting productions.

But like, you know, to extend the service and things that you do. Websites, web’s always been, I love this because you can do so much more with little.

D’nelle Dowis: Exactly, exactly like these, the, the yoga studio like Nova, uh, fitness is not focused on their website, and I don’t want them to be focused on their website.

I want them to focus on the real world, brick and mortar, making the vibe in that yoga studio exactly what their community needs. I don’t want them to be thinking about like, oh, well, I need to go do this on my website now. No, no, no. You’ve got somebody who’s gonna handle that for you. They’re gonna take care of it, and they’re gonna provide you with the advice that you need about whether you should be doing it or not.

Like there’s a lot of people who I’m like, no, I, I really don’t think you wanna like, Spend part of your budget on that. Um, we have that conversation when it comes to design a lot that the, the level of client that we work with doesn’t necessarily need custom design. What they need is [00:23:00] graphic design support.

And use existing design templates or, you know, like we, we really love to work with Divvy a lot, and Divvy has a really great library of, um, page templates and like kind of starter designs that really serve our clients. But I don’t want them to be spending their time and their money on something that they could otherwise have turned to really growing their business and cultivating the, the, what they’re really passionate about.

Which, you know, for Novo it’s really about being in person and. You know, cultivating that community that they have built up. I mean, that was the scary part of Covid, is you think I have spent all of this time building up this community of people who are willing to get out of their houses to come see me every day.

And what is going to happen now? Everybody’s gonna be out of the habit of it. And are people gonna also forget about me? Um, I don’t want, I, I. To be able to create the kind of stability that like helps businesses thrive. And so having this in an [00:24:00] emergency is great, but also having it as a part of the overall plan for growing your business is really huge.

Because I mean, if they had already had on demanded place, they could have spent their time in their money marketing that on demand to people who are not. Already their students. Um, so I, I want our clients to be able to make really smart decisions and decisions that are gonna keep their business as stable as possible, even in the face of something like Covid.

Cory Miller: Well, you, you very much, you know what I’ve heard resonates with me because you’ve talked about a web presence can be a chore. Or the two words you used were, uh, cultivating community. So using it as a channel to reach your customers, reach your prospective customers, and build and cultivate that community.

Like the musician we were talking about is like, right, she can’t be there Friday night, but her website can be there in some shape, manner, or form to help cultivate that interest in community. Right. [00:25:00] Um, Okay. So the last question I want to ask, uh, is tips for people starting out as an agency wanting to do, uh, use WordPress as a, as a tool to build, uh, and, and, uh, client websites and things like that.

What, what advice would you give looking back as you’ve shared your story? I

D’nelle Dowis: I wish that I had listened harder and more intently to the things that Nathan Ingram was saying from the very beginning. Um, you know, it took me a really long time to build up, um, not necessarily automated processes, but processes that I’m really comfortable with.

Um, you know, whether that is the task management system that we are using or the way that we onboard clients, what those discovery calls look like, what our road mappings look like, kind of vetting those clients to see what the relationship between us and that client is like. I wish that I had, I could like just magically go back in time and tell [00:26:00] myself.

Focus on those relationships with your clients because that’s what’s gonna feel the best for you. So anybody that’s starting out, I mean, first of all, like just meet as many people as you possibly can. I feel like Covid has kind of done that for like the kids that are graduating college right now. I’ve had some really cool conversations with kids that are like, I am graduating.

I don’t know how to get into this industry. What do I do? My answer is always meet and talk to as many people as you possibly can who are already doing the kind of thing that you wanna do or that you think you wanna do. Like you may think that you wanna build websites, but you get five years down the road and you realize what your talent actually is, is project management.

I mean, I’m calling myself out on that. Like I am first and foremost a project or a production manager. I am super good at that. It, my brain works that way. I really should not have my hands deeply in code because it takes me longer to do that than it would somebody who is really focused on that. So the more people that you can meet [00:27:00] to find out what it is that they do, what is their day like?

Like what do they get really excited about when it comes to the work that they do is gonna help you identify the best. For you and I mean if it, if you are, are like already hell bent on starting your own agency. The advice there is, is kind of the same, get to know people as much as possible. I mean, I, there was a a point in 2015 where I made a, well 2016, where I made a huge mistake.

I hired a couple people who I thought that I had a good relationship with. And it went very south very quickly. I think it ended up costing me a little under $20,000 when it all came down to it. I mean, I was really lucky that I had the ability to be financially resilient in that way and we’re still here.

Um, but. The relationships that you’re gonna build with clients and the relationships that you’re gonna build with other people in the community are what are going to support you and help you be resilient. I could not be as resilient I as I am if it [00:28:00] weren’t for the people at Ithe who are providing part of the engine to run my business.

The people in the post status community who, if I need a specific type of developer, I can go out there and it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. You can. Five people who are gonna be the exact person that you need to do this work for your client. The relationships that we have are above all the thing that are sustaining us and helping us be resilient, and I did not.

I couldn’t really wrap my head around that until probably five years into doing my, into doing my business. I mean, I grew up in a situation where it was very much like, shut your work is the proof of the actual, like work product is the proof of whether you’re good or not, and. As I moved through kind of owning my own thing, it became obvious that there’s a lot of people out there who are doing really, really quality work.

It is more about how you resonate with the people who you are working with and, and the maintenance. And the cultivation of those [00:29:00] relationships that is going to provide you with the stability you need to build whatever it is you’re wanting to build. Whether that is a web development agency or a a, you know, content marketing business, or, you know, if you wanna start a yoga studio, think about the people who you have in your network who are gonna be able to support you in that, and how much do you trust them.

And it takes time to build up trust. It takes experimentation. It. You know, a lot of, um, hit a lot of, you know, mishits really, you know, just like the people that I hired in 2016 who it didn’t work out. I mean, there are definitely like plenty of situations I found myself in where I didn’t do all of the work I needed to do to really establish that Right.

Kind of trust. I mean, and I take responsibility for that too. Like I really dove into that relationship in a very naive way. Um, whereas I think that if it happened to me now, I don’t think I would’ve ended up in a situation that was as scary as that was for me, a sort of. Gigantic fail that it took me a couple months to recover from emotionally.

Um, just because I went into it thinking [00:30:00] more about the work than I was about the relationships, which is why I focus so hard on relationships now because that really is where the best stuff is.

Cory Miller: I love your energy and your approach. It really resonates with me relationship. So key. When you really get that aligned, you’re, you’re doing your best work, you’re helping someone else, getting rewarded for it, and um, it makes everything better, doesn’t it?

D’nelle Dowis: It really, really does. I mean, that is why I’m focused on support instead of website development. Like it’s almost like you go anywhere and get anybody to build a website for you. Like you can hop out on Upwork or you can outsource it to a team in India. But the long relationship provides so many dividends over the years of knowing that person’s business of understanding really where they are.

Like we have one client right now. Her mother just passed away. She needs some time. That changes the project. The, like, the, the arc of our project build. It [00:31:00] changes, you know, the, when I’m gonna need to bring in a, um, a developer for something versus when I’m gonna need to bring in the SEO specialist. It changes a lot.

But having known this client now since 2012, I know what I’m gonna be able to expect from her, what she’s gonna be capable of. And she knows that in a situation where she’s kind of like in a personal crisis, she knows that she can offload and delegate more work to us that is gonna make it possible for her to do what she needs to do for herself personally.

And those are the kind of relationships that I want to. I wanna be in a situation where somebody knows that they can call me up and say, Hey, I’m gonna need more help this month. In the same fashion that they can call me up and be like, Hey, I’ve gotta go with this other agency for X, Y, Z. Can you help me offboard myself from you?

I don’t ever want people to felt, feel like they’re held hostage. I want people to feel like if they need a hand, they’re handheld, that we are right here to grab.

Cory Miller: Hostage to an ally you want.

D’nelle Dowis: Exactly.

Cory Miller: Pardon me.

D’nelle Dowis: Exactly. Yes.

Cory Miller: Well, Daniel, thank you so [00:32:00] much for sharing your story and also your passion and what you’re doing in WordPress for your clients and making a difference in the world.

Um, tell us where we can find more about you and, and your work.

D’nelle Dowis: Um, so if you are interested in primarily the digital side of our business, we do have some in-person stuff that we do with live events, um, that we are, uh, kind of weaving in and out. But um, for the website support, go to web dot berry

Um, I did the other day just get the domain that doesn’t have the hyphen in it, and I’m all excited, but, Switched over yet. Um, so yeah, web dot barry and all of the information is out there. Um, we also have kind of upped our presence on social media. Um, I’m doing a lot more on LinkedIn than I used to do, um, and we’re pushing a bunch more content out to our business, LinkedIn as well.

Um, but all of those links are out on our website. And, um, if you wanna find me anywhere on social media, um, I’m primarily on Instagram. D underscore, n e l l e. [00:33:00] Um, I post a lot of dog photos and, uh, and stuff from when I am actually traveling. So it’s that, that is not really, uh, professionally focused, but it’s fun.

Um, and I, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. It was a wonderful way to come back from the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cory Miller: You bet. Thanks D’nelle.

D’nelle Dowis: Awesome. Thanks.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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