By day, Ben is the mild-mannered drummer for Brad Paisley’s Drama Kings… but his plan is to, by night, be a kick-ass virtual drum teacher/expert/guru. Like many of my clients, I also know Ben on a personal level – my husband works with Ben every day, we’ve happily eaten Ben’s paella and cuddled his dog, and I’ve even let his fiancee destroy me in her yoga classes. Ben has taught drum lessons from his home studio for a while now, and had expanded to also giving lessons via skype, at which point it seemed like the natural next step to expand to offering video drum lessons. When Ben told me he wanted a new eCommerce website, I was really happy to get to help him navigate the process by handling his website project management, in part to protect him from frustrations I’d seen other friends who are also creative types face when they began to expand into eCommerce. It can be a really confusing, arduous process no matter how much you’re used to doing things on your own, and sometimes it’s hard to know how to ask for what you want.
Ben is an amazing drummer. I can’t tell you that because I know much about technical proficiency in percussion or because I’ve ever been a big fan of drummers (I’m sure this will get me in trouble with my husband, also a drummer, but I’ve always been partial to bass players when it came to live music). I can tell you that Ben is amazing because I’ve stood backstage behind his kit while he plays and felt it… and because the many long conversations we’ve had about his website made it utterly obvious how much he loves his craft. His attention to detail is exacting, his analysis of his own performance is exhausting, his attitude toward his own talent is possibly the perfect mix of modest and confident. This is a man who is quite happy being as big of a nerd as possible about drumming because he loves it that much.
You can imagine, then, just how much Ben cares about the look, feel and functionality of his website, this place on the internet that is not just going to represent him as a professional but is going to be a repository and retail outlet for the culmination of everything he’s learned over the years – everything he’s worked hard to create and perfect.
Website project management outside the fold
This is the first website project management client that BIPI has undertaken where very large parts of it have been handled by specialists. For the past 7 years, I’ve really taken pride in the ability to do a variety of things in house, whether it was photo editing, copywriting, web development, etc. It’s great to be able to do everything that needs to be done in-house. But let me tell you, I count myself lucky that I am not playing head cook and bottle washer on this project – we went with John Housholder at Ah So and Terisa Brenna for development and design specifically because they match Ben’s level of expertise. He’s not bootstrapping on this venture; he’s investing his whole self alongside a well-thought-out budget in the process. It’s been fun to be able to hand off large chunks of this project to partners who are as passionate about their niche as Ben is about his drumming, and who we know will meet Ben’s expectations and provide him with the most solid end product possible. Simply put, this project is not a one-man-band operation!
Many of the things that I do daily involve problem solving (the same goes for Daniel & Sarah & Kindell), but generally one minute it could be a email marketing task and the next it could be an SEO problem. But what Ben’s project has done for me (and for BIPI) is allow me to practice what I do best – website project management & problem solving – in a very pure form. It’s allowing me to specialize in a way that I (like most of my clients, actually) don’t often have the pleasure of doing, and it has brought me joy. Actual joy, not just a thank-goodness-that-task-is-done sigh of relief.
At one of our meetings early on (in the discovery phase, as Terisa might put it), Ben was talking about the philosophy behind his approach to teaching lessons, something he hoped he could communicate through his short drum lesson videos. He said, “All practice strives to be creative in the moment.” That struck me then and has stuck with me throughout this project, because I feel that way about what I do every day. It could be a little boring sometimes, doing the same things over and over (step 1 – install WordPress… step 2 – install Theme… step 3 – customize that Theme…), but I do find that I have the desire to always be creating something just a little different, some small new thing, with every new project. And I love that the drive to be creative also affords me the opportunity to keep learning. Usually, to execute something new on a WordPress site, I have to first learn something new, some new bit of code or how to navigate a new plug-in.
Working with Ben somehow allowed this concept to hit home for me in a very clear way. I’ve experienced the drudgery of 9-to-5 corporate factory work (proof HTML, send live proof, make corrections, send live proof to client, get approval, set email to drop… over and over and over until you can’t see straight), where creativity was NOT the goal. Learning was NOT the goal. Production, volume, checking items off a list… that was the goal.
We are still in the middle of working with Ah So on site development, with a projected launch for later this summer, and I can’t wait to share the site with you all. Stay tuned!