We were lucky to catch up with Foster D. Coburn III recently and have shared our conversation below.
Foster D., thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
My most meaningful project has earned that title for a number of reasons. It was a complete makeover of the Cave Creek Olive Oil Company’s Web site (https://cavecreekoliveoil.com). Their previous design had e-commerce functionality, but it was very hidden and produced few online sales. The first year after the makeover got sales started. In the second year, sales increased more than 116% over the first year. There was an additional 80% increase in the third year driven largely by COVID since fewer customers could shop in-store. While the gain of 18% more in the fourth year was more modest, it still represents much higher sales than where they were before the makeover. I love it when my work can help a client succeed like this. There was also a personal reason why this project is so meaningful as I met my now-fiancée who was working in the store. She has since started her own digital marketing company and we often work with the same clients on projects. Through that connection, I was hired to do a makeover of the Web site for Olive the Best Oils & Vinegars of Flagstaff (https://olivethebest.com/). As of this interview, the initial phase of the makeover has launched and more phases will follow in the future. They have a solid plan to really grow their online sales and I’m excited about helping them to achieve and hopefully exceed those goals.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
The first phase of my professional life revolved around teaching people around the world how to use the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite through books, seminars, magazine articles and related products. Our second year of business was in 1995 and the Internet was starting to be a popular way to promote your company and products online. This led to the creation of the first Web site for my business. It wasn’t long before I took on a few more sites for clients, though the primary business still revolved around CorelDRAW. There were some other related niches we entered via contacts in the world of graphics. The most successful nice is working with MR Clipart of Germany in selling vehicle templates to those designing vehicle wraps via our Web site at https://vehicle-templates-unleashed.com . Another niche is selling our own line of seamless textures at https://seamless-textures-unleashed.com . Building out these two sites provided us with more experience with WordPress and the world of e-commerce. In 2013 it had become obvious that the demand for CorelDRAW training was in decline and it would be best if I pivoted the business in another direction. While I didn’t know the exact direction, I found I was spending more and more of my time learning WordPress and working on my own sites. Thanks to my existing contacts from my time in the world of graphics, I soon had work doing sites for more clients. A defining moment came when I first discovered the Divi theme for WordPress. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan simply because it did some things differently than what I knew from using other themes. Divi continued to evolve with new versions and my expertise in using it grew on a daily basis. Soon I began adding tools that worked with Divi to give it even more power. All of these tools combined to allow me to deliver even better Web sites for clients in less time. WordPress Web design is an ever-evolving discipline as there are updates to WordPress, the Divi theme, various plugins and simply more efficient ways to accomplish a task. I dedicate time each day to making sure updates are installed on sites and improving my skills via various methods of training.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
Given that the business was already up and running for nearly twenty years when we transitioned to WordPress Web design, we already had a base of clients working in small businesses around the world. Many of our early WordPress projects came from those existing clients. I was also active in the Cave Creek / Carefree Chamber of Commerce and that allowed me to build relationships with some of the local businesses. After we had been building sites for a couple of years, we had a nice portfolio to use as a reference and we had clients who could spread the word about us. While we are active on social media and regularly send out email newsletters, the majority of new clients come to us because they have either been referred or have seen our work. As we specialize in the Divi theme, we have also had other WordPress Web Designers refer Divi projects to us as they work in other themes.
If you have multiple revenue streams in your business, would you mind opening up about what those streams are and how they fit together?
Since the start of the business, we’ve always had multiple streams of income. In the early days it was book sales and seminars as the main sources. Now there are three main sources: product sales, affiliate sales and services (Web design). Each of these three can fluctuate over time, but this also means that if one wanes a bit then another can pick up the slack. While affiliate sales are included, they are only a small percentage these days. The product sales include things like the vehicle templates and seamless textures mentioned earlier as well as older CorelDRAW training products. At times I also have writing projects or speaking engagements to bring in extra income. They haven’t had as much of an impact on the bottom line in the years since I started focusing on WordPress.
- Website: https://web-design-solutions-unleashed.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/graphicsunleashed
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fostercoburn/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/fostercoburn
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/UnleashedGraphics
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/unleashed-productions-new-river
- Other: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/graphicsunleashed/