The one where we're now on Substack (AMA Edition)
I'm in a constant state of evolving tooling
Hello and welcome to kvlly, but a newsletter: Substack edition!
First off, some housekeeping or whatever:
I’m hiring another freelance Shopify developer for our team at The Taproom. Interested?
I now have a Discord community (very cleverly named kvlly, but on Discord) which is accessible via my (also new) Patreon. Join the party.
I’ve had a really busy week with our Q3/H2 planning session with a couple of team members (in real life!) and prepping to be out of the office from my main squeeze, The Taproom, for the month of July. (Being able to take a 1-month sabbatical from my own company would make for another good email topic… or book.) So I went to Twitter for this week’s newsletter and turned it into an AMA party. (In the future, I may make AMAs a paid perk. Still figuring out the paid version of the newsletter, if you have some ideas!)
Onto the questions!
If you’re new to knowing me, the first thing to know is that I love spaghetti. And I make it all the time. But when it comes to buying spaghetti, I usually don’t get anything fancy - just our local grocery store’s whole wheat thin spaghetti. (I’ve grown to love thin spaghetti over regular spaghetti. I don’t know why. It’s just more satisfying.)
I have made my own pasta before, and it’s a lot of work and generally not worth the effort. It was good, though - the first and only time I ever made spinach fettuccine.
I am THRILLED about this news! Last week, Shopify announced that their one-click checkout functionality known as “Shop Pay” will be available to anyone who wants to use it when selling through Facebook and Google – even if your store isn’t powered by Shopify. This is reaching a whole new group of potential customers and will make the purchasing experience even more seamless from one store to the next, on and off Shopify. Shop Pay allows you to vault (store) your credit cards and addresses and quickly check out without having to re-enter your billing information every time. Plus you get to use the Shop app alongside Shop Pay, which I love using to track my orders. (For what it’s worth, you can already use the Shop app and just connect your email to import your orders.)
I meaaaaan I do love kesha, but my absolute favorite will always and forever be Brand New. Every album is a different mood, so pick your flavor. Some of my favorite songs are Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades, The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows, Jesus Christ, Daisy, Can’t Get It Out, and Play Crak the Sky. (Deja Entendu is clearly my favorite album.)
I’d choose Option B. It’s called passive misery.
I know I’m behind, but I’d love to do a deeper dive into React. I’m still barely scratching the surface with what I can do with React and would love to learn more. It’s a deep, dark rabbit hole I can crawl down with this one.
Our Director of Operations has been with The Taproom for nearly 3 years now (she was our first hire) and is well-versed in how we charge. For project-based pricing, we’re still honestly all coming up with numbers for the most part. The rule is “think about what you might charge and then add more.” Our retainer options are super structured so there’s no creativity when it comes to pricing these client contracts.
Before I started freelancing, I wish I had had the confidence to charge more. I lowballed my rate forever and am only slowly now getting to the point where I’m happy with what I’m charging. And even still, I say my rate is $400/hr for consulting and am told I need to increase that. So who knows.
For starting an agency, I’d hire sooner. I waited a long time to get a project manager onboard out of fear of the whole hiring process (it’s a lot of work), but getting our first PM on board changed everything. I’m really happy with how everything else has panned out through the ups and downs. It’s tough. Running a company is always tough. But meeting more people in the same space going through the same shit gives you someone to commiserate with when things are difficult and celebrate with when things are great.
I was also asked this one after holding my first Twitter Spaces thing and mentioning on there that my consulting rate is $400/hr. I don’t really have a “day-to-day” for this because it’s such a small piece of what I do with the other businesses taking precedence. But for the most part, I’m guiding on decision-making for ecommerce brands, advising on partnerships and integrations, and occasionally coding. (I generally don’t recommend having me code as a consultant because you can get someone much cheaper than $400/hr to do the buildout, while just having me onboard as a strategist will take your money further.) I also do 1-hour consulting sessions on a variety of topics - starting an agency, scaling an agency, reviewing proposals or contracts or workflows, etc. It’s a mixed bag of topics in any area where I have expertise.
This one requires a story. Nearby where I live there’s a covered bridge. This covered bridge is super cute and a fun area to drive through because the roads are nice and twisty and tree-covered.
But this bridge takes SO. MUCH. BEATING. It’s not tall, which means there’s a limit to the height of your vehicle to get through. Semis can’t fit through, and most larger trucks and vans can’t fit through. They warn you about this ahead of time before you reach the bridge because once you get stuck, you are stuck. But people just, I don’t know, forget how tall their vehicle is sometimes and proceed like they’re driving a Toyota Camry or something.
Which is how we got to the Red Bull truck.
It took workers hours to get the truck un-stuck from the bridge. Thankfully the driver escaped unscathed, except for maybe his ego and definitely his wallet. (You get fined for being a bad driver.)
The runaway Amazon truck happened in my neighborhood, knocking out the power for a few hours and damaged a neighbor’s vehicle. I’d probably say the Red Bull truck incident was worse as it impacted more, but the neighbor probably has other opinions.
I saved this one for last because I am VERY excited for Shopify Unite. I can’t tell you my expectations for ~reasons~ but I can say that if you’re interested in becoming a Shopify developer in any capacity – store customizations, building a theme, or building an app – I highly recommend you tune in on Tuesday, June 29th at 1 PM ET. It’s free and online this year. Register here.
We made it to the end! Just a reminder for those who are new to this - I seem to have fallen into a cadence of emailing every Friday, but I can’t guarantee I’ll always stick with that. Whatever happens, happens. This is a no-rules zone. And if there are particular topics you’d like me to cover in a longer format for future emails, please let me know :)
Have a great weekend! ☀️