We talked to Brad Williams of WebDevStudios on how the website design & development agency is providing end-to-end WordPress opportunities to businesses.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Brad Williams: My family is safe and healthy, which is all I can ever ask for.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WebDevStudios.
Brad Williams: My career in web development began over 20 years ago when I joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school. If you can believe it, I was enlisted and trained to be a computer programmer. My military school, and ongoing field training, really taught me the power of building dynamic websites. I absolutely loved it, and this quickly turned into a passion of mine.
Fast forward to 2008, a few years after I completed my service, and I made the decision to move to New Jersey to start my company WebDevStudios. I sold my house in Indiana, packed up my entire life, and moved to New Jersey where my business partner lived. I moved into the loft in his apartment, and we were officially open for business. Failure was not an option; there was no plan B, so I had to make it work. Diving in headfirst with no safety net was the main driver. I had to do anything and everything to make WebDevStudios a success.
How does WebDevStudios innovate?
Brad Williams: Being a technology company, innovation is crucial to staying relevant. The web, and associated technologies, are always evolving, growing, and new technologies are emerging daily. Our company must stay current with web trends and technologies to provide our clients with the absolute best online experience for their customers.
Internally we like to experiment with new technologies and concepts. We’re always evaluating new products and services to determine if it is something our clients could benefit from.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Brad Williams: Our company has been a distributed team for over 10 years. This means all of our employees work from home, so it’s not a new concept for us like so many other businesses affected by the pandemic. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have challenges. The most obvious challenge was having children home during working hours. What we quickly realized is everyone, including our clients, we’re in the same situation.
We also knew overall stress levels were high, for a good reason, as we navigated through this unprecedented time. We felt the best way to address that was to be open and transparent with our team. We immediately put out communication, letting them know where we stood, any impactful changes that we planned to implement, and just an overall health check of the company. We also implemented relaxed working hours, giving our team flexibility to adjust their schedules as needed. We also reduced and eliminated calls and canceled all work-related travel.
All of these steps helped reduce stressors with our team members and within our company.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Brad Williams: When the pandemic first hit, we did make some difficult decisions. We had to cancel our annual WDS Camp in-person event, which had been scheduled months in advance. We stopped all travel, discretionary spending, and paused other internal initiatives, primarily to keep our spending in check until we really understood the impact this would have on our business.
We have been extremely fortunate in that the pandemic did not severely impact the majority of our clients.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and WebDevStudios in the future?
Brad Williams: Owning a business is always stressful. Now introduce a pandemic on top of that, and the levels and stress and anxiety go through the roof. For me, a good way to relieve stress is to hit the gym. When you are in the middle of a grueling workout, there’s nothing else you can think about. The mind is solely focused on making it through the session. There’s nothing quite like a tough workout to help lower stress and anxiety as well as reset your focus.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Brad Williams: Our focus is on client success. If our clients are successful, and our team is successful, our company will be successful.
We have built a company full of top WordPress experts. Clients seek us out, knowing they are hiring the best of the best when it comes to powerful online web platforms powered by open-source software.
Your final thoughts?
Brad Williams: It’s important to remember that everyone is going through a challenging time right now. It may not always be transparent that a team member or a client is having a rough time. Be compassionate, be thoughtful, and be flexible.