We’ve joined Automattic

Posted on August 16, 2019 by Mike Stott

We’ve got some incredibly exciting news to share in this update. Zero BS CRM has joined Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. With Automattic in our corner, we will go from a team of two, to being part of a team of 900+ incredible individuals. 

This means Zero BS CRM will be getting better through deeper integrations with WordPress and help and support across the board, from product development to usability and design.

THE BIRTH OF ZERO BS CRM

We have built Zero BS CRM to scratch our own itch. For years, we’ve chosen WordPress as the centre of our entrepreneurial business operations. We also use it personally for travel blogs and other projects. We ❤️ WordPress.

When a family member approached us for advice on a CRM solution that would suit his local construction business, we couldn’t find any that would meet his needs and integrate well with his WordPress website. We kept hitting the same issues: too complex. Too expensive. Or just plain bad.

So we built ZBS CRM. We designed it to be simple to use, but powerful. We still use it ourselves every day. Since our initial launch we’ve delivered consistent updates (over 150 in less than three years), and our CRM product has improved week in, week out.

We’ve built extensions to work with WooCommerce and help users connect their eCommerce store to a CRM, all in one place. We’ve developed additional modules to help our users market products and services to their customers based on advanced segments and email targeting.

ALONG CAME AUTOMATTIC

We’ve always admired Automattic as a business, and have modelled our own business practices on remote work, efficacy, and a focus on tools that make an impact. We care about creating a better web.

One day, we received a support ticket asking about Mail Campaigns and how best to set up sequences for customers.

What we didn’t realise was this user was linked to Automattic, and was becoming a strong advocate for our product within the company. What followed was a series of conversations with leaders from different parts of Automattic. The more people we talked to, the more we realised our visions were in alignment. When the opportunity arose to continue to work on our product as part of Automattic, we decided to go for it.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR CUSTOMERS?

Firstly, if you are a paying customer of Zero BS CRM, nothing will change. We’ll still be providing the same service. We still plan to release v3.0 as we’d initially planned (we expect it to come out in late September).

We also won’t be increasing the prices of our bundles once we release v3.0, which we had initially intended to do. With Automattic’s backing, we’ll be able to provide faster support (you may have already noticed some new faces replying to your tickets), and release new features more quickly than before.

CUTTING THE CR*P

We’ve known for a while that our name is like marmite. You either love it, or you hate it.

We’re also aware of the difficulties in having profanity in a product name. So we’ll be using this opportunity to cut the cr*p and profanity from the name and will be looking to rename Zero BS CRM in the future (while preserving everything else, from product features to the quality of customer service).

For those of you who love our product, but have found the name tricky to swallow, you can expect a positive change soon.

THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

If you’ve been with us for a while, you’ll be aware that we’ve been working flat out to deliver as a team of two founders. With the backing and support of Automattic, we’ll be able to bring improvements to the CRM faster than ever.

The main goal of Zero BS CRM has been to streamline complex processes and build products that are easy to use. We want our customers to focus on what matters most to them. We stand by the spirit of our manifesto (which maps very well to Automattic’s creed), and will continue to build and refine high-quality software for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

 

Join the Journey

Join the growing army of entrepreneurs using Zero BS CRM

Buy Now

 


Sick Day Manifesto

Posted on October 01, 2018 by Woody Hayday

TL;DR; Life is short, don’t burn yourself out. Do consistent work for good people.

Sick Day

Today I am ill, it’s that time of year. But as I set about my daily activity at Jetpack CRM this cold morning, something is different.

(In case you don’t know me, my name is Woody and I’m a co-founder here, and I’m recovering from extreme burnout, or chronic fatigue syndrome.)

As Jetpack has grown, so I have made my way back toward ‘normality’, and with it, an amount of ‘productivity’. When I burned out, I was working long hours on almost 10 projects. It wasn’t sustainable, smart, or even that fun. Long story short, I crashed, and all of my ‘productivity’ fell away. I could barely handle any hours at a computer. From 120mph to 10mph, in a week. It’s from this collapse that I’ve started to recover.

Jetpack CRM Feature List

You learn things when all of your capacity is removed. I learned that forcing success is false, and that there needs to be sustainability in the way you ‘work’, if you are to last the course. I’ve learned to prioritise, to cut the crap, and to live far more effectively. I’m still recovering, but Jetpack has actually been a great vehicle to practice what I’ve learned.

Sick days used to be ‘drink coffee, take painkillers, carry on’. Sick days are now, ’do I want to do anything? What fits my capacity?’ It’s changed.

I NEVER take days off…

Contemporary culture tells us lies. These lies, left unchecked, wreak havoc on our relationships, our bodies, and ultimately our lives. It’s just a sick day, sure. But if your business, family, or personal culture prides itself on ‘going no matter what’, sooner or later you’re going to hurt yourself. There’s an art here, balancing overcoming fear (being productive in the face of challenge), vs not overdoing it (and burning yourself out for the sake of meagre gains).

So my message to you, this cold October AM – is to take a break. S l o w  d o w n. Truly good work does not need to be ‘rushed’ or ‘forced’. I’m writing now, rather than forcing myself to write code, so as to take care of my self, and to heal so as to deliver another day.

Jetpack CRM is the Entrepreneurs DIY Hacker CRM

Jetpack is different in these ways. We believe in consistently doing the right work, not forcing ‘all’ work, or ‘profiteering’. We craft software, we don’t force it out of a tube. We want to slay the idea that life is a brutal race. We will make good tools, and we will do it calmly, consistently, and we will not sacrifice our lives for the sake of short-term gains. We believe in this manifesto, and in the long term it will keep us here, serving you, for the course.

Today I write these words instead of code. This may make a feature take an extra day before it’s released. I make that choice, and I trust you to respect it, because overall, we deliver to a very high standard, consistently, and we’re looking after ourselves, which helps you too, ultimately. Look after yourself, health is wealth!

Parting Words…

Here’s a few reminders and a great Tolstoy quote which fit with todays writing:

1. There is ‘time’ – death to the notion that ‘there is not enough time’ – this is a falsehood hiding a lack of prioritisation

2. Life is not a ‘race’ – who can work themselves into a grave first?

3. Love > Fear – after a small amount of wealth, financial gains do almost nothing for your wellbeing. You probably have ‘enough’

4. Craftsmanship cannot be rushed, forced, or faked – True mastery takes time & diligence (consistency)

5. You do not need permission to do things differently – Working less has taught me how to achieve more. It’s not the common cultural dialog, no one says it’s valid, but it’s happening.

6. Sticking to principles may hurt short-term, but long-term the inner-respect and mastery will be worth more

7. Life matters (me, our team, you our customer, your customers, your family, the wider community, the planet) – don’t burnout, we’re all better if you consistently take care!

 

“Work can be unnecessary fussy, impatient, irritating, an encumbrance to others, and ostentatious. Such work is much worse than idleness. Genuine work is always calm, balanced, and unobtrusive.”

Tolstoy (A calendar of Wisdom, September 25th)


The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit

Posted on March 21, 2018 by Mike Stott

50+ hand picked tools for the everyday Entrepreneur

If you are an Entrepreneur who is just starting out, or wanting to take your business to the next level – then this toolkit is for you.

It can often be difficult to know just what makes up an Entrepreneur’s Toolkit and it’s often tempting to think a CRM is the full kit.

In reality, a good CRM is simply a (very important) piece of your overall toolkit. We’ve kept the lists in each section to our favourites and through this list of 50+ hand picked tools, hope to give you the tools you need to make your business a success.

CRM Software

There’s plenty of choice in the market when it comes to choosing a CRM, our CRM of choice is, of course, Jetpack CRM we’ll keep the choice simple here and highly recommend Jetpack CRM as your Entrepreneur’s CRM. Why?

  • It’s free and easy to use
  • It’s modular, only use the features you need
  • It’s self-hosted – keep control of your own data

CRM choices are:-

  1. Jetpack CRM (recommended)

Accounting Software

Accounting software is something which you may not consider as an Entrepreneur, but often it makes sense to get in early with some accounting systems. You can use Jetpack CRM’s invoicing feature, but there’s also tons of other accounting software

  1. Intuit Quickbooks (recommended)
  2. Sage
  3. Quicken
  4. Kashflow

Email Marketing Software

Email marketing software is critical to your growth as an Entrepreneur. Again, there’s so many options here, and the majority of these escalate in cost the more subscribers you add to your list. We’ve put our Jetpack CRM Mail Campaigns extension up on the list here, as it can help you with your email communications and won’t skyrocket as you grow your business.

  1. Zero BS Mail Campaigns
  2. MailChimp
  3. ConvertKit
  4. Mailgun
  5. Mailshake

Landing Page Software

Separate to running a blog about your business (more on that later) you should consider landing page software. This gives you the edge when it comes to creating custom landing pages. Like everything in this toolkit there’s lots of choice here.

  1. Unbounce
  2. Landrr (WordPress Plugin)
  3. Optimizely
  4. Click Funnels
  5. Elementor
  6. Landing Lion

Blogging / Content Management

If you’re not blogging about your business, then you’re missing an opportunity to capture your audiences attention with useful content. Here at Jetpack CRM we love WordPress and would recommend this to anyone running a business (or wanting to start their own side project)

  1. WordPress (recommended)
  2. Drupal
  3. Joomla
  4. Ghost
  5. Medium
  6. Blogger

Social Media Management

Social Media pages for your business is an absolute must. It gives you a place to connect with other people and it helps you get the word out about your brand, your content or any special offers. The networks to use are obvious (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc), the tools to help you may not be

  1. Buffer (recommended)
  2. Hootsuite
  3. Click to Tweet
  4. Dlvr.it
  5. Post 2 Tweet (WordPress Plugin)

Presentation Software

It may come a time where you need to create slides for your business, and share these online. Here’s our tips for which software and systems to use for any presentations you need to create

  1. Keynote (Macbook, recommended)
  2. PowerPoint – the familiar tool
  3. SlideShare (for sharing presentations online)

SEO software

Under the banner of SEO software we cover tools which allow you to check on your web presence as well as how you’re website and competitors are ranking

  1. Google Analytics (recommended)
  2. Ahrefs
  3. Similar Web
  4. SEMrush
  5. Moz

Financial Metrics

Tracking your financial metrics is important as you start out and grow your business. There’s plenty of nice tools to help you do this. Track your revenue per month, how many new customers you generate. Plus much more

  1. Jetpack CRM: Sales Dashboard (recommended)
  2. Baremetrics
  3. Profitwell
  4. Google Spreadsheets

Payment Solutions

You’re up and running. You need to get paid. There’s some great choices here and by far the most popular is PayPal. PayPal gives you the ability to accept payments online, but also via a card reader (using PayPal here). This takes the pain out of accepting card payments in your shop (if you have one) and you can be up and running in no time.

For online payments and subscription type businesses, we recommend Stripe. Stripe is the easiest to use system and accepts both credit and debit cards.

  1. PayPal + PayPal Here (recommended for physical shops)
  2. Stripe (recommended for online)
  3. WooCommerce (has integrations for the above + more)
  4. Payoneer
  5. WorldPay

Lead Generation / Lead Capture

Generating leads and capturing them for your business becomes important as you grow. You could be running your business for years and not capturing your leads and customers. This means you’ll potentially miss out on a lot of opportunities. Just because someone hasn’t purchased from you on their first contact, doesn’t mean they won’t purchase at some point down the line.

If you don’t capture them as a lead, then you’ll never have the chance to convert them into a customer later.

  1. Jetpack CRM Forms
  2. Exit Bee (recommended, free for a single campaign)
  3. Sleeknote
  4. OptinMonster

Product Launch

Launching a product, there’s a number of places you can look to for exposure. We have a list of favourites. Your product doesn’t have to be a digital product. You can launch website articles, participate in discussions and grow your brand through active participation in communities like the ones below

  1. Product Hunt 
  2. Hacker News
  3. Growth Hackers 
  4. Reddit
  5. Quora

 


Our Entrepreneurial Journey

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Mike Stott

We wanted to start writing more about the journey of an Entrepreneur and the lessons learned along the way. The purpose of this area of the blog is to help you, as Entrepreneurs, to keep your focus on your business and not make some of the same mistakes we did along the way.

Continue Reading →