Welcome to Coded Creative! The two of us are so excited to have you here and to get our blog rolling with our first post.
Krista here! We were tempted to kick it off with a how-to or tutorial post, but what better way to give an introduction than with a behind-the-scenes look at every detail of our launch?! We’re always super excited to learn more about the steps others take so we hope this will be as fun for you to read as it’s been for us to experience.
Let’s start off with the basics, shall we?
Why we started Coded Creative
Coded Creative started out as a passion project and turned into a full-on business venture. Creating WordPress themes was something I had wanted to do for several months. I ran the idea by a few designers, but somehow managed to skip my very best friend!
Then, when a random burst of inspiration struck a night in June, I finally asked Kory, fully prepared to get a “no”. Instead, I got a totally excited “Yes!” And to top it off, Kory already had two pre-made Blogger templates that I started translating to WordPress themes that very night!
After the initial excitement wore off is when the real inspiration hit. We quickly realized two things:
- This would be a great opportunity to make ourselves accessible to those who couldn’t afford to work with us 1:1
- Our knowledge of design and branding + development and blog strategy made the perfect combination for this type of project
Next, came the planning.
How we planned our launch + who did what
It turns out, there’s a whole lot of planning that goes into a business launch – who knew?
First, we decided on exactly what we wanted to launch with as far as our themes were concerned. We decided on 6 themes in 3 tiers. That way we’d be available at different price-points and plan the features of each theme accordingly.
Next came our promotion plan, which is something we didn’t think of originally. At first, the thought of starting brand new Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts was super overwhelming (and something Kory had a few choice words about for me), but we knew it was completely necessary to start getting some eyes on our website. We’ll dive into our marketing plan a bit later in this post.
Speaking of our website, that was something we sort of forgot about until the last minute, since we were so focused on getting out themes ready. We were working on our site up until the night before our launch, but got it done!
Along with our website, a few other things we didn’t consider at first were:
- Customer tutorials
- Installation packages
- Affiliate setup
Luckily, Kory is the bomb and took care of all these things when I got bogged down with client work. (#schedulingfail)
Unfortunately, that wasn’t our only scheduling fail. We both forgot to leave extra time in our schedule throughout the entire project. That means we were working all hours of the day (and night) for about 2 months to get everything done. It wasn’t rare for us to be working from about 7am to 9 or 10pm. It was exhausting, but the excitement carried us through!
We stayed detailed and organized by keeping track of our tasks in Asana. We sorted tasks into groups such as Themes, Our Website, Marketing, and Launch. Most tasks were assigned to one of us and given a due date, which helped keep us on track. Other tasks were left unassigned for one of us to go in and take care of as we had time.
The launch finished up with me flying to Georgia where we took care of last-minute tasks and got some branded photography done! This trip was extremely valuable as we were able to work in the same room during those last few days. It allowed us to bounce ideas off each other and get a quick turnaround if there was something we needed. The launch definitely went more smoothly because of it.
Overall, here’s an idea of who took care of which tasks:
|Design + Branding for our brand + themes||Development for our site + themes|
|Twitter + Facebook|
|Coming soon page design + setup||Email course creation + setup|
With our marketing plan, we wanted to get the word out about our shop, without adding another task that would overwhelm us in preparation for our launch.
The most effective action we took was to advertise a giveaway of one of our themes. It was the perfect incentive for our ideal audience to join our list. We did all advertising of the giveaway through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our personal email lists.
We opened our social media accounts about 3.5 weeks before the launch. Here’s what our posting schedule looked like for each account:
- Twitter: We posted 5 times per day, sharing other people’s posts, giving WordPress tips, and advertising our giveaway
- Instagram: We posted 5 times per week sharing peeks at our themes, a bit about our businesses, WordPress and blogging tips, and other peoples’ content
- Facebook: We posted 2 times per day, using our Twitter and Instagram content to keep everything as easy as possible. We were also sure to tag our page whenever mentioning it in Facebook groups
And last, to gain a little extra exposure we reached out to several of our online friends and supporters and asked them to help spread the word, which was definitely helpful in getting off to a strong start. (Thanks, ladies!)
The actions we took were extremely helpful in building a bit of a following before our launch. Our numbers weren’t huge, but we ended up with about 100 email subscribers on launch day. Much better than the 0 we would have seen if we’d waited until our website was ready to get our accounts going.
Thanks to being able to create our own website, our start-up costs were extremely low. However, we did make a few fun investments to add some extra features to our website and shop.
For our shop specifically, we purchased WooCommerce Add Ons and AffiliateWP. WooCommerce Add Ons allowed us to offer the “Theme with Logo” option on each of our themes to better support customers who don’t already have branding for their website. AffiliateWP was the perfect way to get the word out about our shop, while allowing our supporters to make a commission on the sales they send our way.
Since we wanted to offer three installation options, we knew we’d need the customer’s brand files (think: logo + favicon). To save time, reduce back-and-forth emails, and make the process easier, we purchased Ninja Forms File Uploads for our installation form so clients could easily upload the files we needed right away.
We also knew that our customers would need additional help setting up their themes and support while learning the WordPress basics. To allow us to create a customer-only area, we purchased Restrict Content Pro, which we’re using to store tutorials and additional resources.
And last, but certainly not least, were branded photos! I (Krista) really thought branded photos would bring our website and branding up a notch so we found a local photographer near Kory. During launch week, we took a little break to sneak out and get our photos done! You can see a sneak peek in our sidebar and we’ll have more coming soon.
Overall, we’re extremely happy with how our launch went and the actions we took leading up to it. Launching an entire business all at once is huge and being able to combine our experience and knowledge was extremely helpful.
If we had to do it again, here are a couple things we’d have done differently:
- Work the launch in to our client schedules
- Take a couple hours to sit and think of all the little tasks that ended up sneaking up on us
- Started our social accounts a bit earlier
- Procrastinated a little less in those final weeks
Hopefully, reading through this will help you in any of your future ventures and gave you a nice inside look at our business.
Were there any big lessons you learned launching your first business? Tell us about them in the comments!
And if you’re getting ready to choose a new WordPress theme for your blog, be sure to check out our free 3-day mini series, Choose Your Next WordPress Theme!