I’m not very good at keeping secrets. Well, not my own anyway. If you tell me something you want kept private, that’s fine, but I’m not that good at concealing my own purposes and thoughts. So, in harmony with that statement, I have a few things I feel driven to share.
Truth is, I have an agenda that drives everything I do for Business Catalyst partners. I have a vision for the future of the platform, and of course its partner community. I’m going to share that vision with you, but I want to start from the beginning, because I’ve learned some very important things along the way that have helped me see BC's true potential.
It all started about seven months ago…snore!
When I started out as a Business Catalyst partner, I had the not-so-original plan to quickly build websites for lots and lots of clients. My goals were centered around fast paychecks and content-centered design, but I didn’t understand BC’s biggest strengths. I saw it as a platform for building websites with module-driven content, and no server-side coding. (This is where you say, “Yeah, that’s what it is,” and I say, “Keep reading.”)
It’s not that that idea is wrong, so much as it is short-sighted. BC is so much more. I’m going to risk a little backlash and tell you that I don’t think you can really take advantage of the business-building, money-making opportunity that BC offers, until you catch on to the bigger vision.
So, about seven months ago...actually it started eleven months ago, because that’s when I created the site that got me thinking, but I digress...I realized that BC’s single most important feature is its site replication ability. It’s the most important because it’s the feature that begins to open your eyes. At that moment, as many others before me, I began to realize that I simply don’t have to start over every time I begin a new project. That’s a crucial bit of understanding, there.
Shortening up what could otherwise become a long story: around that same time, I started getting a bit of a reputation for understanding the platform, and being able to troubleshoot problems for people. I began helping partners, realized that I enjoyed doing so, and quickly ditched the client-oriented business model in favor of full-time partner services. This business model helped me continue on the path toward understanding the nature of the Business Catalyst platform. It introduced me to a perspective of best practices and common site needs, courtesy of my viewing scores of partners’ web projects. In response to this perspective, I started creating tools to solve common issues. Quite honestly, that’s where the BC Plugins began. (I really couldn’t help adding that plug, sorry! Go buy them! Sorry again.)
I hope you catching the takeaways here. They're really important principles, so I’ll reiterate:
- Replication taught me that I don't need to start over every time I begin a new site.
- I figured out some best practices and created tools that solved problems universally on BC sites.
There is power in Business Catalyst that is rarely understood by partners. It's the power of doing something once. BC partners have an opportunity not available on any other platform. WordPress certainly can't provide it. You won't find it with Joomla or Drupal.
BC provides you with the ability to productize your efforts.
Think about it: how often do you have to play the balance game between making money and keeping your clients happy? How many times have you lost money, or at least taken a hit on a project because you weren't able to deliver on time, or because you failed to deliver the results you promised? How often have you been disappointed because you simply didn't perform up to your own expectations and standards?
The answers to those questions are the hard truth about starting from scratch. They are one of the reasons for the feast and famine cycle in the creative professional world. And for a freelancer or small team, they can make it hard to compete.
Business Catalyst makes it possible for a freelancer to deliver like an agency, but only if you take to heart the true nature of the platform. I promise, if you take these principles to heart, you’ll be ready to open your eyes when I reveal in my next post, what Business Catalyst really is.