When I stumbled onto Divi, I had no idea of the impact it would have on me. It has become by far the most important tool in my business and one of the most beneficial and life-changing platforms in my professional and personal life.
In this post, I’m going to expand on five ways Divi has changed my business (and life) which will hopefully get you excited if you’re new to Divi, encourage you if you’re looking to reconnect with the community and potentially inspire you to share your own experience if Divi has a been a life-changer for you as well.
1) The Key to Growing my Web Design Business
Before Divi, I did what every other WordPress designer did which was to search through endless WordPress themes when taking on a new site just hoping to find the right fit. Then would come the tedious, time consuming and often very frustrating task of learning the theme options and settings, trying to piece the functionality that my clients wanted together with additional plugins and hoping that the theme author would be around a few months later to support the theme when WordPress and the other plugins update.
Then came Elegant Themes and Divi, an established company with a theme so versatile that, with the page builder, made any design and layout possible without having to search for different themes to achieve a certain look. While it took me a few tries to come around, once I got the hang of it, I never looked back. And it has become one of the biggest keys to growing and scaling my web design business.
When I learned Divi and became familiar with the theme options and builder, my design and development time was literally cut in half. The number of hours saved from scouring through countless themes, learning their settings and limitations was immediately dropped now that I knew Divi and was able to create virtually any type of layout and design. It became, for me, the “one theme to rule them all” and combined with a little CSS and creativity, I was really able to make unique website designs that looked different from the rest.
If you keep an eye on our portfolio today, you’ll see what can be done with Divi, a handful of trusted plugins and a little CSS. I’ve literally not built a website with a theme other than Divi since 2014 when I stumbled onto it.
When I began creating all my websites in Divi, it immediately allowed me to take more projects on and become more profitable because of the amount of time saved during projects. It also gave me the stability and continuity to create a website maintenance plan to be able to troubleshoot sites and update them so much faster and easier opposed to managing a large number of sites with different themes.
To top if off, seeing the growth of Elegant Themes and the customer-minded mission and vision they expanded on after the creation of Divi, I felt comfortable to invest in them for the long haul making Divi the most important tool in my business. At the time of writing this article, it’s been just over 5 years of growth, scale and awesome Divi website builds and I have not looked back.
2) Client Empowerment
Another major reason Divi became one of the most important tools in my business is that it allowed me to empower my clients. Before Divi, training clients who wanted to update their sites, even fairly simple text and image updates, was an absolute nightmare. Sure there are plenty of basic WordPress learning resources out there but I had to not only show them the basics of WordPress but also the main settings and theme options for the particular theme we were using on their site if they wanted to make more advanced changes.
When I started using Divi as my one and only theme, empowering my clients became a revolutionary experience. While yes, even as intuitive as Divi is there is a learning curve and yes, clients still need to know many of the basics of WordPress and some are much more web savvy than others, Divi absolutely changed the game for me. Overall client training became one of the selling points of my business because we were able to use the same set of tools, methods and design options for each website which quickly separated me from other designers because of the level of training and empowerment I was able to provide my clients.
Even today, the training systems and resources I have in place continue to empower my clients. Here’s a recent email from one of my clients who’s loving Divi and other tools we’ve built his site with:
As I’ve written about previously in my Client Documentation Series, one area that really helped save time with training and empowered my clientele was by creating a set of client resources videos that I make available to all of my clients. And to you since you’re reading this article 🙂 That, accompanied with client-specific training videos when needed via custom dashboards and the built-in Divi tutorials allowed me to empower my clients, whether they wanted to make simple text changes to those who wanted more control over their sites.
Because of this, my clients have reached a whole new level of trust in me and empowerment in the tools we’ve set up for them, especially if they came from a more cumbersome platform or had a developer who built a custom site and they had to write HTML or CSS to make a change. In short, it made me look like a rock star with my clients and the client-focused resources I put together was something they had never seen before with other web designers.
3) The Divi Community
Another major factor in Divi changing my life, professionally and personally, was the incredible and unrivaled community (online and in person) that, at the time, I had no idea existed.
Self admittedly always late to the party, I was using Divi for nearly two years before I knew there were a plethora of Facebook support groups for Divi. I got involved in a couple before deciding to start my own Divi Web Designers Facebook Group that has now become one of the fastest growing and most engaged Divi Facebook groups online.
I’ve been astounded at not only the growth of a group that does zero advertising but the amazing culture that has been cultivated. Sure, I laid down the vision, guidelines and tried to lead the way with offering support for members but I’m still amazed at the quality people that join and who are immediately engaged. Both those eager to learn and eager to help. The WordPress ecosystem already seems to be a mix of amazing and overall great, helpful people and the Elegant Themes/Divi customer base might just be the shining example.
This community in particular became an incredible source of inspiration and support for not only me and my business but thousands of web designers around the globe. Friendships have been made, partnerships and collaborations have been formed, questions normally found out the hard way by Googling or in an official support forum were quickly answered and encouragement was found daily due to this amazing community. And if you’ve been in an online group for any amount of time, you know it’s rare to find a group that isn’t full of negativity, spammers and trolls.
And my group is just one of the many Facebook groups out there. I don’t know the exact number of members between all Facebook Divi groups, but between my group, the official Elegant Themes Divi Theme Users Group and others, it’s probably safe to say around 75,000 active members. The online community is expanded by podcasts like Divi Chat and several tutorial and learning sites that keep the community plugged in, engaged and empowered.
And that’s just the online community. Now with Divi Meetups and Wordcamps becoming more and more popular, the chance to network, socialize and connect face to face, the bond of Divi/Wordpress web designers is continuing to grow and shows no signs of slowing down. To me, the community surrounding Divi is worth the investment of an Elegant Themes membership alone. It’s like free support, encouragement and training from perhaps the most passionate and amazing people online when you join.
4) Personal Brand & Audience
The amazing, eager-to-learn Divi community afforded me a very rare opportunity to put one of my passions (helping people and teaching) into practice back in 2017 by creating my personal brand site with tutorials, blogs, courses and other resources sharing what I’ve learned so far in building a successful web design business.
Previously to that, I was involved in a local mentoring program for high school students interested in web and media. I was handed a few students once a month who were interested (or at least said they were interested) in the field and I’d spend all day with them showing them the basics of web, WordPress and graphic design. It was rewarding when there were students who were actually interested, which unfortunately wasn’t often but on the rare occasion a student lit up when learning about web design, it became one of the most rewarding days of the month for me. So when I got involved with the online Divi community and became an author here on the Elegant Themes Blog, I immediately recognized an opportunity to take what I did monthly with one or two students and offer my knowledge and experience via my site to potentially thousands who were eager to learn.
I launched my site and YouTube channel in the late summer of 2017 and began posting tutorials about Divi and WordPress, creating vlogs and blogs sharing my tricks and experience and began building courses for web designers wanting to learn more about Divi, WordPress and the business of web design. At this point a year and a half later, nearly 1/2 million page views of organic traffic, over 10,000 YouTube subscribers, and hundreds of students in my courses, it has become by far the most meaningful endeavor and fulfilling work I’ve ever done.
And while it’s not my full time gig (I still run my web design business and love it) it has absolutely changed my life professionally and personally. Professionally moving from a business that’s primarily service based to product based as a teacher and product creator, and personally from being a bit of a lonely web designer in my home office to a leader, teacher, consultant and influencer connected to web designers all over the world.
I don’t share these stats to boast or brag. The big point here is that I didn’t create a web design community with this personal brand, I was just fortunate to bring a small segment of the already amazing Divi community together. If Elegant Themes had not created Divi and had not set the foundation for such an eager community, my endeavor would’ve taken much longer to cultivate.
5) Hiring & Team Building
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Divi has allowed me to build an absolutely awesome team of remote Divi Web Designer freelancers which has contributed greatly to point #1 in the growth and scaling of my business.
As in every industry but particularly in web design, it’s hard to hire and build a team. Dang hard. I know locally, most of the agencies I’ve spoke with or have relationships with have insanely high turnover. There are plenty of reason for that but one major culprit is there are so many tools, methods and ways to build a website, so many ways to make a design and code, etc that make it really hard to train a team and keep them from burning out or being stuck in several months of training. Divi helped me hire and sub out work very quickly without losing my mind, time or money because it was the common denominator I had with all my freelancers.
When I started hiring, of course I had to do some training, show my process and explain how I prefer sites being built but as long as they knew Divi and could design and develop well, we were off to the races. I can’t understate the importance of being able to hire someone who knows Divi well and with very little direction and training who can jump in quickly to assist with building or working on sites. And with everything stated above, the quality of the community, eagerness to learn and willingness to help, Divi is responsible for bringing me some of the best, trustworthy and most capable freelancers I could ever have dreamed of working with.
To be transparent, this all came at a key time in my life in the beginning of 2018, when I had just released a series on Scaling your Divi Web Design Business, where I was preparing to scale my own business and start growing my team when my wife was pregnant and we found out our baby would likely be coming early. I had even more incentive to scale the business and start hiring work out to get some things off my shoulders when things got even more wild as, those of you who followed me at the time know, we spent 2 months in the NICU when my daughter was born.
Had I not started scaling my business and growing my team shortly beforehand and had I not been able to train them quickly thanks to Divi, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I tried to work as much as I could through that season from the hospital and a coffee shop across the street but creativity and productivity is hard to come by in a season like that. Because of Divi and the community that was already in place, I was able to bring some solid people in, train them quickly and I had help with my workload which literally helped keep my business afloat through that difficult time.
So there are, among others, the main ways Divi has changed my business and life. I’d like to conclude by sharing a message to people in the following categories:
- If you’re new to Divi, welcome and get pumped. You’re about to start an amazing new chapter in your web design journey and very possibly, your life.
- If you’ve been a user for a while but feel disconnected or have fallen away from the community, I’d encourage you to jump back in via any of the Facebook groups mentioned above or at a local meetup.
- If you’re an established web designer, I encourage you to give back where you can. Whether it’s helping out in a Facebook group from time to time, joining or hosting a Divi Meetup or sharing your knowledge through blogs or videos, I encourage you to give back. You never know what doors might open for you when you do. I can attest to that!
So to that end, I say onward Divi friends! See you online, maybe at a Wordcamp or local meetup and hopefully in the comments below 🙂
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Great insight Josh! I can relate to a lot of this, and it’s wonderful of you to share how Divi has changed your life. Awesome story.