Episode Number 01

Managing Transitions

Aug 22, 2013 @ 11AM MT

What better time to talk about transitions than our launch of the new CTRL+CLICK CAST! For our first episode, we discuss the podcast’s transition from EE Podcast to the new brand. From communication to branding to design and dev, we share the decisions we made and the priorities that dictated those decisions. Lea also discusses moving from LeaLea Design to Emily Lewis Design, sharing how she effectively transitioned her brand and clients.

Tags:
self employment
branding
clients
planning
communication
design

Episode Transcript

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CTRL+CLICK CAST is proud to provide transcripts for our audience members who prefer text-based content. However, our episodes are designed for an audio experience, which includes emotion and emphasis that don't always translate to our transcripts. Additionally, our transcripts are generated by human transcribers and may contain errors. If you require clarification, please listen to the audio.

[Music]

Lea Alcantara: You are listening to the very first episode of CTRL+CLICK CAST! We inspect the web for you. Today we’re talking about managing transitions. I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host.

Emily Lewis: Emily Lewis.

Lea Alcantara: This episode is sponsored by Converge Florida. Converge Florida takes place in beautiful Jacksonville, Florida at the historic Florida Theater. Enjoy three days of intense web design and development instruction as well as business and marketing insight and inspiration. Sessions include the build responsibly workshop, Arduino, robot hacking and even home brewing. There’s plenty of opportunities to mingle with speakers and other attendees. Check out convergefl.com.

Emily Lewis: CTRL+CLICK would also like to thank Pixel & Tonic for being our major sponsor of the year.

[Music ends]

Emily Lewis: Hi Lea! Can you believe we made it to this first episode on time with our regular schedule without an interruption in programming!?

Lea Alcantara: No. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: No? [Laughs] I know I can barely believe it myself. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. I mean, I think it really goes to show that if you give yourself a deadline… [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: It just is going to happen when there is a hard date.

Emily Lewis: Well, and especially when you make that date known to other people. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah. Having that type of checks-and-balances I think helped have it launch on time.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Well, and it was a priority for us in the middle of this change to have some consistency for our listeners, and so keeping with our schedule was one thing we could do in that regard.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And that was a big priority for us.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, I mean, I like speaking with you [laughs] on a regular basis.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And having guests on the show on a regular basis too, so I was really interested in making sure that everything continues as planned.

Emily Lewis: Well, between with the official launch of CTRL+CLICK CAST and all of the changes that have been going on with our respective companies, I can’t think of a better time to talk about transitions.

Lea Alcantara: Indeed. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Especially when everything is certainly fresh in our minds.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: So why don’t we just dive right in and start talking about transitions, and how about we start with the podcast.

Emily Lewis: Makes sense. So I guess let’s share with our listeners a little bit more about how we got to the decision about changing the name and format of the podcast. I think, if I recall correctly, it was around October of 2012 when we first thought about expanding our discussions.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. I think, and I’m sure our listeners have already kind of had hints that we were interested in more broader topics based on the topics we were actually providing people on the EE Podcast. For example, we had a lot more business-related guests and a lot more stuff in relation to culture in the industry and interviews and things like that, and I think at that time we felt a little bit constrained over who could be on our show.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Specifically because the only people we asked to be on our show were directly related to ExpressionEngine.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And that was a little bit hard considering if we wanted to have, let’s say, a business topic, well, we had to find someone that was in the EE community.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And not that there’s anything wrong with that because it’s fantastic, the EE community is full of amazing people that know so much and are willing to share so much, but there’s a lot of people out there that have different perspectives on their business or their technical background or how they approach things simply because they use other services and software.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And considering that we were the EE Podcast, we couldn’t really move away from speaking to people of different perspectives because of that.

Emily Lewis: Right, and part of that is because we have a lot of respect for the EE Podcast itself.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: We felt a responsibility to our listeners that if they’re subscribing to the EE Podcast, they want to hear EE information.

Lea Alcantara: Of course.

Emily Lewis: And we didn’t want to dilute that in any way, but I know, especially I think it was around the same time in October, I was doing some really cool stuff with front-end work, and I wanted to talk about it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: But it had nothing to do with EE, much less a CMS.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So it was one of those things where I wanted to talk about something and share what I was learning and talk to other people about it, but it just didn’t fit in. But yet we had this platform…

Lea Alcantara: Absolutely.

Emily Lewis: And so I think that’s when we started thinking about the idea, but really it became real, what, six or eight weeks ago?

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: I mean, it was that short of timeframe from when we pulled the trigger.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. I think it’s one of those things where you know sometimes you keep talking about it over and over and over again, and then at some point, you’re like, “Why are we waiting? What’s the point of just talking about it, especially when nothing happens?” [Laughs] You know?

Emily Lewis: Yeah. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And then I think it’s just the moment you make a decision is really where all the action is.

Emily Lewis: Oh yeah. Well, and that’s what it felt like from the moment we made that decision. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and I mean, it’s been great though because I feel like I’ve always been excited working on the EE Podcast and talking to people about their experiences, but working on this transition kind of I feel re-energized approaching these types of topic and then getting to talk about how we can improve the website.

Emily Lewis: Absolutely.

Lea Alcantara: And our workflows and things like that.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, it’s definitely injected quite a bit of energy, not just on those points, but we’ve had to reach out to all of our partners and sponsors and guests more so than we have at any point before.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And it feels nice having those connections remain as we’re transitioning to CTRL+CLICK, so that’s been exciting too.

Lea Alcantara: And I mean, I think that is actually an important point. When you’re doing a transition like this and you’ve got other people you’re responsible for, which includes sponsors and partners, I think it’s important to make it an early priority if you’re going to make some sort of transition that you reach out to these people because they are, in essence, a minor business partner, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And so you need to make sure that these relationships are solid or if there’s going to be any concerns on how to figure out how to modify these types of relationships or whether or not they’re actually a good fit in moving on in the future.

Emily Lewis: Absolutely. Well, and in fact, not just with sponsors did we take that approach, but I think the very first person we contacted was Ryan Irelan.

Lea Alcantara: Yes.

Emily Lewis: And I think that’s important too because he founded the EE Podcast. While he isn’t involved in the day-to-day and hasn’t been for a long time, he’s always been someone we’ve turned to for advice and guidance, and I felt that … or you and I both felt that we needed to run it by him, first and foremost.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, I would agree, especially because he’s just so knowledgeable about podcasting and the relationship-building and everything like that in the ExpressionEngine community since he’s made that a priority for his identity, I guess. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I think the earlier that you mention that and you kind of get like a sense over how things could move forward, then it gave us a confidence to really like, “Yeah, let’s do this.”

Emily Lewis: Let’s do it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I definitely felt that each time that we reached out, whether it was to Ryan or to Ryan Masuga at Devot:ee or any of our other partners, it gave us a chance to sort of focus our own “elevator pitch” about what CTRL+CLICK was going to be.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And kind of get a sense from people. We didn’t get any of those, “Oh my God, what are you thinking?” [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It was always like…

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: That certainly helped us keep going, and like you said, build confidence that we were making the right decision.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and I think after all those discussions with other people and amongst ourselves, really even though we are broadening our perspective and our topics and guests and things like that, I think at the very core, CTRL+CLICK is about discussing content management systems and everything that surround it still.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Because I don’t know anyone in our industry that doesn’t use a content management system of some sort. Most of the time we’re dealing with transitioning people maybe outside of static page sites to a content management system, but I have never heard of anyone launching the site like a client site that isn’t run by something.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: No matter how small it is.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Well, and that helped us define what CTRL+CLICK would be by remaining true to our own focus on content management systems, but then, like you said, the other topics that touch content management systems like front-end design, branding, business.

Lea Alcantara: Absolutely, absolutely.

Emily Lewis: So I actually wanted to – because you’re the one that came up with the name.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: What inspired you?

Lea Alcantara: Well, I was just thinking about how we’re always diving into the topics deeper and deeper into the topics, and then I tried to think of like, “Well, what is a technical way to convey that idea really quickly?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I was thinking also, “Well, how can we also make sure we choose a name that everyone can relate to?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And then I just thought, “ctrl + click.” It’s really this simple. Because you can ctrl + click on a Mac and a PC, and when you do so, you’re able to have that dropdown menu where you can…

Emily Lewis: More information.

Timestamp: 00:09:51

Lea Alcantara: Get more information, exactly. You can inspect the elements that you are looking at. You could save the element. You could view page source. Essentially everyone decides to ctrl + click in order to find out more about what they’re looking at on the web.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I love the name. I also love the alliteration, CTRL … CLICK … CAST.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: They sound nice.

Lea Alcantara: It’s good for a podcast since this is audio.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So from the name, which we actually had the name, what, December of last year? I think it was around Christmastime.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah. I threw out the name. I was like, “Here, what do you think of this one?” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs] Well, it was so funny because when I said the name to my boyfriend, I said, “What do you think of CTRL+CLICK CAST?” He’s like, “Oh, it sounds like the two of you.” And I’m like, “What?” He’s like, “You guys are both like control freaks.”

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: “You’re a clique of control freaks.” I was like, “No, no, no. [laughs] that’s not what we meant.” But it’s actually true too, so it’s got double meaning.

Lea Alcantara: It’s so true. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. So yeah, that’s the other subtext, I guess, of the name.

Emily Lewis: So I guess once we had the name and then we made the decision to move forward, I think the initial focus after communicating with our sponsors and Ryan and other partners was branding.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And since this is your area of expertise and you made the decisions, while we collaborated … we together made the decision, but you initiated everything with the brand, where did you start from, and what constraints did you put on yourself because of us didn’t want to take on a completely wholly new revamped website everything else?

Lea Alcantara: And I think that last statement you said is that we didn’t really need to.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Because the entire point of CTRL+CLICK CAST is it’s still us.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: We’re still having guests. We still have the same format, it’s just that we broadened our spectrum.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And with that in mind, I thought with our brand, we wanted to make tweaks, so it’s going to be more of that term some people throw out, a “realign” than a “redesign.”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Well, so that means in figuring out the branding transition, we had to decide what stays and what goes.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And a lot of that is based on, well, what’s the priorities of this brand? How can we convey that there is a change, but it’s still us? Right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So based on that, we decided or I initially decided that the best way to move forward is we’ll keep the same layout, keep the same color scheme because all of that still reflected our goals on who we are, but we needed a new logo to reflect our new name.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And we also needed to figure out, well, with the new logo, we couldn’t keep the same typography.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Because the logo has a completely different flavor from the EE Podcast logo. The EE Podcast logo kind of had that retro-radio feel.

Emily Lewis: Right, right, like the mid-50’s.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah, exactly, and so we had that kind of 50’s script typeface and all my choices were based on that, but with CTRL+CLICK, I wanted something more modern because it’s new, it’s shiny, and so I wanted to make sure that the new typefaces that we chose were within that type of direction.

Emily Lewis: So when you work with logo, do you start with typefaces?

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Or in this case, did you start with some typefaces you liked and then developed a logo, or did you developed the logo and you picked the type from the process of making the logo?

Lea Alcantara: I usually make the logo first, and then I find the typefaces that fit within that logo.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And depending on who you talk to sometimes, they’ll disagree with this, but I try to find a typeface that is either exactly the same as what we’re using in the logo because you’ve painstakingly chosen this one for the logo, but other people believe that you need to find something totally contrasting because you want the logo to stand out. In this case, I decided I wanted everything the same because I wanted that sleek, modern look.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I mean, the entire point of like Modernism and like simplicity and everything is symmetry, same-same as long as everything balances out.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: So with the typeface that I chose, it was Avenir Next.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Which is a really friendly typeface when you use the heavy weight.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: In some ways I think you could see that kind of style in say like comedy posters like from movies and things like that because it’s big and friendly, and I wanted to convey something that we are nice and friendly. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But at the same time, it’s modern enough that it still has some weight.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It still has some weight to it, so it isn’t so frivolous, and I think by using the other weights of Avenir, which is like way more modern and sophisticated, that it adds back that seriousness to the brand.

Emily Lewis: Now, as it turned out, Avenir Next is available in a web font and so we were able to carry that through the site. Now, the previous, I guess the accent font that we used, the typeface that we used, it wasn’t available on the web fonts so we did have image replacement, which was a real pain in the ass when it came time, obviously, to updating texts.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis: But is that something that you’d even think of when you’re in the logo design phase? Do you even think about the web fonts, or does that not enter your decision making process for just like the brand, even if knowing it will be part of a website?

Lea Alcantara: You know what, if you asked this question a couple of years ago, I would say it doesn’t really matter. You just choose the typeface that works, and while that is still true. That should still be the priority, that the brand should dictate where you should go, it would be foolish to not consider web fonts these days especially when you’re making branding decisions because down the line when you’re optimizing a website and when you’re also promoting the website and all these kind of things, you want to make sure that everything is consistent, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And so if you choose, even if you chose a typeface that doesn’t have a web font, you’re always going to be looking for an equivalent web font so that if you’re looking at, say, a business card and a website side-by-side, it doesn’t look clashing or incongruent. It’s like it still looks like it’s part of the same package. So definitely now, I definitely think about, “Is there going to be an equivalent web font that goes with this?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And fortunately, there are more high-end web fonts available because I think if again you spoke to me a couple of years ago and even if I was thinking about web fonts, there just wasn’t as much choice.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: It was just like really a Google Web Fonts and the FontSquirrel and things like that, but Avenir is a high-end web font. We’re using the Fonts.com service in order to…

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: What it’s called? Show the typeface and I’m really happy that we’re able to do that because now, our brand is consistent. If we ever do decide to revamp our t-shirts or make some other collateral that isn’t web-based, that the experience is the same.

Emily Lewis: Right. So in a print medium, the quality of the typeface is going to be retained.

Lea Alcantara: Yes.

Emily Lewis: Cool.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So it was a really nice turn of events that Avenir Next happened to be in the Fonts.com subscription I already had purchased. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And that was nice.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. So I mean, and again, like I chose Avenir Next before I knew there was a web font.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But I knew also in my mind that there’s probably going to be some sort of equivalent if we couldn’t find a web font.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So that was the brand decision, the design decisions, and you really didn’t make too many major changes to the site design other than the fonts.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: I do think though, well, by the time anyone is listening to this, they probably won’t be able to reference the old design, but it was a little more linear.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: With sharper edges.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And because Avenir Next is a little on the rounder side, you incorporated the roundness into some of our buttons and tabs.

Lea Alcantara: Yes.

Emily Lewis: And so it gives it a little softer edge to it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. For example like one of the great suggestions that you made was, “Why don’t we make our pagination buttons, they’re traditionally square, why don’t we make them circular?” Right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So those types of things were important too because we have the circle prominently as part of our logo in CTRL+CLICK.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And let’s just make sure that we keep that feel throughout the site, so that again we got that consistency visually, and I think personally it just looks nicer.

Emily Lewis: I agree. I’m a big fan of how, especially with the new font in place, it looks.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: It feels a little more open, a little more spacious, a little friendlier, but still looks very familiar if you’ve been to the site before.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and I mean, we did previously incorporate like some rounder elements in our previous design too like with the dots, horizontal separation, and of course, our like highlight banner, which kind of has that rounded bottom, and so we just added essentially more elements like that.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: I think the biggest layout change that we did do is the incorporation of the tabs.

Emily Lewis: Yes. Well, as part of the expanded topics that we’re going to cover, we felt we needed to introduce some way of organizing these episodes moving forward so it was clear to a visitor whether an episode was going to be about biz… like the main focus was about business versus design versus a content management system, and so we introduced categories into our CMS and then that’s what those tabs are that now display underneath the logo in the masthead, and I like the look of it. I was a little on the fence about it. I tend personally not to like a primary navigation that has like another navigation system underneath it, but I think it works.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. I think it was necessary for our particular needs for the show, and it also is an at-a-glance explanation of what we’re about.

Timestamp: 00:20:01

Emily Lewis: Oh, totally.

Lea Alcantara: You know?

Emily Lewis: And it gives users an at-a-glance, but also it gives us additional keyword exposure on the site for those categories too.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s really win-win.

Emily Lewis: Oh, totally. So the design changes you made were such that I could have taken your Photoshop comp and probably just tweaked around in the CSS a little bit.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Maybe. When I say a little bit, that’s probably like five hours. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: But it occurred to me when I was thinking about the front-end process here, and even the content management system … the ExpressionEngine process, this is a long-term property for us. This is not something that we’re just going to do for another couple of months.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: We wouldn’t have rebranded it if we thought we were only going to go a couple of more months longer. So I felt like it was worth it to take the time to sort of rehaul everything behind the scenes.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: I consider myself a really good HTML developer, but as good as I am, I’m always getting better.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And so this was built two years ago, and there were a lot of things that just looking at it, I was like, “Oh, why did I make that choice? Like I can totally do something better.”

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: I totally rehauled the HTML, and then the same with the CSS, the CSS was pretty weighty. I literally cut it in half for the new site. But in part because I started using Sass, and so I wanted to bring all of the CSS for this site into a Sass environment so that it would just be easier and faster to work with.

Lea Alcantara: Absolutely.

Emily Lewis: That process isn’t fast, but it does set us up for better maintenance down the road. So it was worth the time that it took for me to sort of convert everything that I had into what I wanted it to be today, so bringing two years forward.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: And then the same with the content management system. I mean, not only did we introduce categories, but I built the CMS also two years ago.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah, sure.

Emily Lewis: There are just things that I do better now, and I didn’t want to keep what we had, and I had everything in embedded templates and…

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, sure.

Emily Lewis: Yes.

Lea Alcantara: Of course. I mean, that’s what everyone did.

Emily Lewis: And so it was just one of those things that it wasn’t the priority, but it was a priority. To the users, I could have just made some CSS changes and no one would have known the difference, but I feel like for us.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: For this property, this long-term property, it is a priority for it to have a good foundation.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and I think that was part of the decision making over like, “Well, what do we need to invest our time on?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I mean, the entire point of this process was there were a lot or there’s still a lot of things that we want to do to the site and to the show and all these kind of things, but we needed to figure out, “Well, what make sense in order to actually make it happen?” And then on top of figuring out how to make it happen, well, what time-consuming things make sense to invest in now so that it isn’t time consuming later?

Emily Lewis: So I feel good about those decisions. I’m exhausted from those decisions. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Because it is like 12 hours ago that I stopped. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s all still very fresh in my mind, but it’s a big, big contrast I think to how we handled the transition of you coming on to Emily Lewis Design.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: Because with that, at least with regard to the website, the emilylewisdesign.com site, as much as I hated the HTML and CSS that I had built three or four years ago, it just didn’t make sense from a priority perspective to update it.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: What made more sense was to get your name and brand into the copy and the information and your projects on the site.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: But as far as the site itself, emilylewisdesign.com as it exists today like we’ve discussed it. We think we want to come up with a new company name, a whole new brand, a whole new look, and we can focus on writing better HTML and CSS and getting the CMS … or switching to a new CMS if that makes sense.

Lea Alcantara: Who knows, yeah.

Emily Lewis: Exactly. So that just wasn’t the priority like it was for the podcast site for CTRL+CLICK, making that investment in the front-end or even the back-end. The investment was almost entirely in content.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely, and I mean a lot of that again is due to the priorities and the goals of the site, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And also it had a completely different timeline as well, especially because we wanted to make sure that everyone knew that I was in the fold as soon as possible, and so that affected things. I mean, if it was something that was maybe more long-term or something that wasn’t going to happen, I mean, it is long-term, but I mean if it wasn’t going to happen right away, then we could have invested more time. But it was one of those things where, well, we’ve got to let people know I’m part of Emily Lewis Design as soon as possible.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: And so that definitely affected our decision making in terms of that, and on top of which too, well, despite the fact that we’re web professionals, still the website is a conduit for doing business, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It’s not necessarily the main thing that needs to be there in order to have the business move forward, right?

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And especially because we’re not brand new. We’re not new to the industry or anything like that, so it wasn’t a priority to have everything super updated and everything like that because we have established brands, reputations and things like that.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So it made sense to figure out, well, out of the things that we need to update on this website, what are most people going to be concerned about finding out about this transition?

Emily Lewis: Exactly. So let’s talk a little bit about that transition of you joining my company.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And it’s going to diverge a bit from actually talking about a website and more about having a business and a brand.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And so I’m sure our listeners are curious when you had to let go of LeaLea Design.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: What went through you mind, I mean, not just generally, but also specific about your brand?

Lea Alcantara: Well, generally speaking, I wouldn’t say it was an easy transition in my mind because I’ve really hooked LeaLea Design’s brand with my own personality personally.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So I mean, to the point that some people think my name is not Lea, they think it’s LeaLea. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: They address me as LeaLea or even jokingly or seriously, sometimes people address me as LeaLea, so generally it was one of those things where I had to wrap my mind around, “Am I actually even really letting that go?” You know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I don’t know, like if I really have, to be honest.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Mostly because it is tied to my person like myself, and I just think about other professionals who have moved forward from their original brand building whatever reputation building company, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So there’s a lot of people who have moved forward to like working at Facebook or Google or any of those major brands and things like that, but they built their reputation through their own personal website.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: For example, Scott Boms who ran Wishingline in Toronto and he’s a fantastic designer. He’s fantastic, and he had his own reputation through Wishingline and all these kind of things, and now he works at Facebook. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all the things that he built for Wishingline is suddenly gone. All the things he did with his side projects and everything is gone. It’s just I feel like I’ve brought that with me, you know?

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: So all the things that I built up for with LeaLea Design is now part of Emily Lewis Design.

Emily Lewis: Well, I know myself so I knew that your brand would fit well with mine. I know your personality would fit well with mine, but if you could hypothetically, I guess not hypothetically, but did you have to think about what my company and what I have to have in order for you to feel comfortable about moving your brand to me? Do you know what I’m asking?

Lea Alcantara: Well, I think the point is whether respect is there. Do you know what I mean?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And it is. We both really respect each other, and I think one thing that people forget maybe about deciding to nurture your personal brand or whatever, however, they want to define a personal brand, but it’s also who you associate yourself with, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Like who do you work with, for, who are your clients … all those kinds of things. All these decisions lead to people making assumptions, correct or incorrectly, about you, and when I decided to move forward with working with you, one of the things I was thinking about was, “Well, Emily is awesome. People think she’s awesome, therefore, my association with Emily will make me even more awesome.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And I mean that…

Emily Lewis: I was just going to make some self-deprecating comment. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But I mean, it’s one of those things where that’s really it simplified.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: The bottom line is that simplified. I mean, when you want to really take a step back and think about it in a business-y way, whenever you think about company tie-ins, how sometimes McDonalds has an Iron Man kind of like toy or something like that.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: I mean, the bottom line is trying to say, “Look, I am now associated with this thing and this thing is cool, therefore, I am also cool.” Right?

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And between us, I wanted to be attached with someone who was very technically proficient, very respected in our industry and that I think that our skills are complementary, right?

Timestamp: 00:30:03

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And then on top of which, that we respect each other’s reputation as well as our skills, and so that was my thought process over, “Well, how do I transition working with you and bringing my brand as part of your overall brand?”

Emily Lewis: Now, how did you transition your clients because I don’t think your clients even knew me?

Lea Alcantara: Yes.

Emily Lewis: Much less that I’m awesome.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Well, what’s interesting is the bottom line is build relationships with your clients.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Do good work.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And sometimes, it really is that simple. If you do good work and you have a great relationship with your client, then you don’t really have to worry that much in terms of how the future will move forward, and with that being said, in term of managing my clients, I really wanted to make sure that they were taken care of no matter what ended up happening, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So even though we had talked about going to business together and working together and all those kind of things, I wanted to make sure that we had that solidified before I even communicated anything to my clients.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: We needed to make sure that I gave them solutions way ahead of time. So for example, when we decided to work together, I gave my clients 30-days notice explaining exactly what’s happening, why it’s happening, what we could do with their retainer, how payments will be transitioning, et cetera, and especially because I’m Canadian, whether or not we’re going to have transactions in US dollars or Canadian dollars.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Those types of things, explaining exactly where everything was, so by the time that they reply, they have very little questions and they just want to move forward.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I think because we did all of that, a 100% of my clients moved forward with us.

Emily Lewis: Now, did any of them have a concern or a nonstandard business question about like currency, but a question about, I don’t know, whether the quality of your work would continue?

Lea Alcantara: Actually, no. No one really asked about any of that, like I think the only like questions were like Canadian dollars versus US dollars.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And since we decided we were okay with accepting Canadian dollars, then that really made things really easy, essentially because the terms of moving forward with you was essentially the same as moving forward with me, it’s just that checks went to a different place, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: And they’ve had to sign different agreements, and I had one client that was concerned about some agreements, but it wasn’t necessarily related to me, it was related to a previous vendor that she had used where there was some contract concern that screwed her over or something.

But other than that though, like certain clients of mine were actually very, and this is really quite flattering, very vehement over like, “I want to stay with you, specifically you. It doesn’t matter where the money goes.” It’s just they wanted to continue working with me, and considering that I assured them that I’m still here and that I’m still working with them, and that the quality is not going to change because it’s still me, plus one which is great, that I think I assuage their concerns really.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. At least on my end of things, what I could see happening, it did seem fairly seamless.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Like what your clients were experiencing was just more communication with you that they’d already been used to for a long time, and you started working stuff for them right away the minute you were officially an employee with me, so it just seemed really seamless … like we had done this ten times before. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] I mean, that really goes to show that we really planned it out.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Like we thought about like, “Well, what they possibly could be concerned about? What should we communicate to them?” Well, I think the one client that I had that had a little bit more things to do was based on the fact that we had this huge archive on the Classic Basecamp, and since I was ending my business, I had to close that Basecamp account, and they were the last client with that much like archive, and (hint-hint) Basecamp, you should be able to hand over accounts pretty easily, but they don’t. They really don’t.

What I ended up having to do was I saved an archive for posterity, which is great, like you can actually save archives on. From Basecamp, you just export that, and what I did was I deleted everything like I deleted absolutely everything and just left that particular project for that client, and then once that happened, I changed it to from Basecamp Classic to Basecamp new, and fortunately, even though they already had a Basecamp account, they had never upgraded to new yet, and because of that, and because of that one thing, I was able to transfer a Basecamp new account to them.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: So then, again, everything stayed the same. Everything, like the entire archive is there. We didn’t have to start a new project.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: We did not lose any archives. They are able to take a look at what they need to take a look at, and for other clients, they just needed to email to say like, “Oh, I was looking for this file that was in Basecamp, but it wasn’t there.” Then I just find it.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Because I just keep an archive of everything because why not? Why not just leave it on your hard drive somewhere because eventually there’s always like some random thing you never think about, like some random file that they’ve totally lost, but you have.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: Well, it’s getting to be a long episode, so I want to just ask one last question of you about your decision to let go of LeaLea Design, and I know that there were personal factors in that decision because you were moving to the States and your husband was getting a great new job. But I’m just curious, regardless of who you would have ended up working for or whether you would have continued working, like what was your process about deciding to dissolve LeaLea Design, and did you have specific long-term goals for yourself professionally that you had that made that decision easier?

Lea Alcantara: I don’t know if anything would have made the decision easier because LeaLea Design, that was me for the past eight years.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: In terms of…

Emily Lewis: Or at least knowing that it was worth it…

Lea Alcantara: You know what, I knew it was going to be worth it because I was happy with what I had built.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It was one of those things where I had no regrets and obviously I wanted to continue. That was one of those things, like I knew I was going to continue at some point, but to be frank, running a business by yourself for eight years, it’s hard. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I was talking to a friend of mine who came to visit me in Seattle, and she’s on this three-week vacation-like block, and I was just telling her that I’ve never had a vacation longer than one week in the past eight years.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Literally, like my first vacation was two years ago, and so it was one of those things that that’s part of the reason why it made it a little bit easier no matter what ended up happening, like if I ended up continuing to work, I was happy with that because that’s status quo.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But if I had to take a break, frankly I was happy with that too.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: You know I was like, “You know, if I had to take a break before I had to find a job or whatever…” I was actually even slightly looking forward to that because as I mentioned, really I have never taken a vacation for longer than a week, and that’s just the way it is, I think. I mean, I guess it’s one of those things where like I had better time management, I could have had a two-week vacation or three-week or whatever, and those were my decisions, so I’m not blaming the fact that I’m self employed or I was self employed that I wasn’t able to take a longer vacation but those were the decisions I had made.

And then so when I did decide to move forward, I was content with what I had built so whether or not I would continue that, obviously that was the best case scenario because I wanted to continue that. But if things didn’t “work out” exactly as planned or if I had to take a break before I found another job or something like that, I was okay with that too.

Emily Lewis: I guess that’s the best attitude to have whenever you’re going into a transition of any kind is being okay with whatever the end result is. If it went one way, you’re okay with that. If it went the other, you’re okay with that. I mean, I feel like even with the CTRL+CLICK CAST, there are some unknowns. We don’t know if all of our listeners are going to remain loyal.

Lea Alcantara: Sure.

Emily Lewis: We don’t know if we’ll expand our listenership. We’re very hopeful about those things, but I guess for me, the decision to transition to a new name and brand, it was less about what the end result is going to be in terms of listenership and more about me having energy again about the podcast.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, sure.

Emily Lewis: And I feel like whatever happens, I already got that.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly, exactly, and I think that’s a healthy attitude to take just to anything in life honestly because at the end of the day, we planned a lot. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Oh my God, yeah, we did.

Lea Alcantara: For the podcast and for transitioning to Emily Lewis Design, we planned everything, but no matter how much you planned, we all understand that stuff happens. I could get sick suddenly or there could be some other sort of catastrophe like the server breaks or whatever.

Emily Lewis: Let’s not tempt fate.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I’m knocking on wood right now. Let’s not speak anymore about it.

Lea Alcantara: Knock on wood. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But yeah, like there could be a lot of things, but at the end of the day, it’s that you deal with what life brings you.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I’m happy that I’ve tried my best. I think I would be upset or unhappy if things didn’t turn out because I actually didn’t put my 100% effort.

Timestamp: 00:40:04

Emily Lewis: Right, right.

Lea Alcantara: Then that way I can blame myself.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Because I know I didn’t put my effort in, but every time I put a 100 or to 110% effort and plan my way and I really cared about it and all these kind of things, well, no matter how things turn out, that’s all I can really hope for.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Because beyond, I can’t predict weather patterns or disasters or even great stuff. I can only hope for great things.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: So…

Emily Lewis: Oh, well, I think that’s a great note to end on.

Lea Alcantara: Sure, sure, and I think like in the future, we’ll probably dive in deeper with another episode maybe talking about some HR stuff and document stuff and things like that.

Emily Lewis: Oh yeah, we’ve got tons of knowledge about that now. I never thought I’d know so much about human resources and… [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and what’s interesting is that I think ever since we announced that I was joining, we got so many messages and emails about like, “Okay, how do you hire a Canadian?” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: I think we’ll probably talk about that a little bit later on. We’re going to blog about it eventually too.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, we’ve just, what, had two massive changes happened for the past three months.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. So we’ve got a lot of content to go through.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: All right, [music] but I think that’s all the time we have for today. We’d now like to thank our sponsors for this podcast, Converge Florida and Pixel & Tonic.

Emily Lewis: We also want to thank our partners, Arcustech, Devot:ee and EE Insider.

Lea Alcantara: And thanks to our listeners for tuning in. If you want to know more about CTRL+CLICK, make sure you follow us on Twitter @ctrlclickcast or visit our website, ctrlclickcast.com.

Emily Lewis: Don’t forget to tune in to our next episode when Jae Barclay is joining us to talk about managing events and calendars in ExpressionEngine. Be sure to check out our schedule on our site, ctrlclickcast.com/schedule for some fantastic upcoming topics and guests.

Lea Alcantara: This is Lea Alcantara.

Emily Lewis: And Emily Lewis.

Lea Alcantara: Signing off for CTRL+CLICK CAST. See you next time.

Emily Lewis: Cheers. [Music stops]

Timestamp: 00:42:15