S03 Bonus – Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts

Live In The Feast - Tom McFarlin

Today’s guest is Tom McFarlin. Tom is a WordPress developer, blogger, and guitar player. He operates his own business, Pressware, building custom WordPress applications and products and writes the Practical WordPress Development blog.

Tom is from Atlanta (which, incidentally, is where The Walking Dead is filmed). Tom and I happen to be huge fans of the show (so much so, we created a small, private, and exclusive Slack channel about TWD). Each season, Tom scouts out the places where they filmed the show and then shares his photos online – it’s a fun project.

Tom started blogging back before it was a thing, and grew his audience with consistent, high-quality content (sometimes posting up to five times a week). Beyond writing and teaching, Tom has been doing WordPress consulting, theme development, plugin development, web application development throughout his career.

Part of the journey was learning to lean into his strengths, which, for him, meant focusing on development and partnering with other designers. Tom applied this same process to business, which has lead him to focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs. Being able to work with clients he likes and solve interesting problems, while providing for his family has created a lot of career satisfaction.

Though there has always been a teaching element to Tom’s work, he eventually created a membership site for WordPress developers. He’s currently working on “phase two” of this project.

For me the challenge is always learning, so I try to keep on top of that. It's definitely a struggle sometimes, but at the same time it's what I enjoy doing.Click To Tweet

In this episode Tom talks about:

  • Growing his audience through consistent blogging.
  • Finding the sweet spot for his business and career.
  • Building a business that can sustain itself for the long-term.
  • How having a supportive partner and family can make all the difference when it comes to pursuing your ideal career.

Main Takeaways

  • Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to rely on the strengths of others rather than forcing yourself to do things you’re not good at.
  • Choosing your niche customer isn’t always about the money, it should also be about what you love to do.
  • Every industry has its highs and lows but it is possible to build a business that can withstand those changes.

Important Mentions in this Episode