If I told you what I really did during the winter holidays, you might feel inclined to sigh and pity me. But, the reality is, working on business—specifically revising processes, implementing new structures, and powering through the necessary systematization efforts—brings me more joy than it probably should. There are actually very few times, other than extended holiday breaks, where things get quiet enough around the studio for me to concentrate and actually get those necessary tasks done. (That may be how and where the joy seeps in.)

Truth is: Twenty-twenty really work me up to the importance of strong systems and the power that comes from wielding that knowledge for myself. It also showed me how fortunate I am to live and work in my own metaphorical test kitchen, making the recipe development and tasting process all that much sweeter. This is really the core of what we do around here. Sure, we build powerful and stunning brands and digital properties, but none of that matters if the websites aren’t serving the business on the backend. And, it’s time to drink our own champaign.

This process—or rather the start-up process—of systematizing my studio practice wasn’t easy though. I had to physically outline all of our service areas, how they communicate with each other, which have the opportunity and ability to be truly autonomous and which will require a little more hand-holding from the team and I. Then, from the list of things with the potential to actually become a virtual or autonomous system, I had to prioritize their development based on whether or not there was true demand/need for that system (amongst existing and forthcoming clients) and what the capabilities would be off the bat.

Digital property development is the lifeblood of our business. These long-lead projects can span anywhere from 2-4 weeks for “the most together” clients and 6-9 months for those in which we take a more integrated approach. Depending on the client and need we could be at the helm of everything from custom content (photography and videography and copy) to backend software and systems implementation to the actual design and build of the site. This work is meaningful to the organization and therefore requires a lot of time and attention on the backend, increasing both investments and turnaround times. When this dries up, we dry up.

Perhaps I was always washed away in the excitement of incoming projects or, perhaps, it was just something that needed to be fleshed out in due time. However, historically, I have only ever Managed and Maintained approximately 10% of the sites I’ve built. (There are many factors here, namely the relationship between the studio and the client; the intentions, needs, abilities, and so-on.) The properties I did hold onto were based almost solely on the relationship I shared with the client, either other agencies or young entrepreneurs who needed a more hands-on approach to the technological side of having a website.

We thrived, as an agency, with nearly forty-some-odd hosted digital properties and a healthy roster of recurring work before I terminated the offering approximately two years ago. During this time I was experiencing a painful intolerance for the growing pains, stemming from my decision to evolve my freelance practice into a full-fledged agency venture. The prices and inclusions needed to be both elevated and restructured and, the truth is, that revised offering would take some clarity to design and implement. Clarity that could only come with time.

Eighteen months was all the time I needed before I was able to regain the perspective necessary to reframe, redesign, and begin the process of reimplementing what would become the new framework for an entirely new department we’re calling EM&A Managed Digital and the subsequent plug-and-play subscription model, ‘Park + Prime + Power’ that would support it.

About the system and subscriptions:

Park + Prime + Power by EM&A Managed Digital makes the taxing process of registering, hosting, securing, licensing, and promoting your website easier (we think!) than ever. By offering scalable retainers and inclusions we’ve been able to curate and deliver á la carte options that support (almost) every organization through equally comprehensive service and fee.

Starting at $99 USD per-month, Parked by EM&A is a month-to-month Managed Hosting subscription model that works to reserve and maintain domain and security socket licensure as well as unlimited digital property storage and bandwidth allowances. By parking with us, clients also receive Google Search Console & Analytics data captured and reported automatically, along with the autonomous monitoring of the entire system, security gateways, and end-user performance. Clients are also welcomed to ‘drop-in’ to weekly Office Hours to share needs, feedback, or just join in the conversation of best practices for building and growing your site.

Eric Michael & Associates presents Primed as a first-of-its-kind, hybrid month-to-month subscription model pulling balance between Managed Hosting and Managed Maintenance needs. Covered by the $199 USD monthly retainer (or discounted to $289 USD when bundled with ‘Parked’ plan), themes, plugins, and ancillary softwares are given automatic updates as well as manual quarterly check-ups (site) and one-on-one check-ins (with the client) for review of comprehensive, quarterly reports. Or, bundle Park + Primed together and save.

Powered by EM&A takes the convenience, control, and transparency one step further, for clients. Covering the costs associated with setup and management of search and social SEO and PPC needs, this extends a clear cut for the general ledger. By subscribing to this month-to-month model, clients receive a stronger (more hands-on) understanding of how their digital property is being presented on the world wide web and the various action items/steps that could work to improve ranking and, ultimately, end-user engagement. Pay-Per-Click advertising setup and management costs are also covered (for up to three campaigns) in this one, competitive monthly retailer ($2,499); supported with monthly check-ins, reviewing each.

A twelve-month commitment is required to activate both Parked and Primed models and a six-month commitment for the activation of Powered, all subscriptions go month-to-month after those terms.

Because I know many accountants and CPAs will advise their clients to shy away from our primary vendor in this initiative, I’d just like to say this to clear the air: PayPal has been an incredible partner of ours for the better part of the last two decades and we work diligently to educate and train our clients and partners on how the system (really) works. We value their commitment to serving our shared clients (you!) while also working to ensure transactions are processed and handled in a timely and most efficient manner. It’s important, from your perspective, to understand the vast and multi-dimensional nature of the PayPal system and what it does for B2C and B2B organizations and consumers; it’s more than a payment gateway, as you’ll come to see. Our favorite aspect of the PayPal service suite is the wildly accessible and user-friendly interface it extends to our shared clients. When setup properly, through the single site, PayPal.com, you’re able to subscribe and manage your subscriptions all in one place with total control at your fingertips. The reason most CPAs and accountants shy away from gateways like PayPal, because I know you’re wondering, is, frankly, because they don’t understand them—although more are becoming more-and-more educated.

‘Park + Prime + Power’ by EM&A Managed Digital is a truly exciting return to endeavor for us and I’ve, personally, never been more excited for a product launch in years. This, I know for sure, is the slice-and-dice option the entrepreneurial (and solopreneurial) communities have needed for quite some time and it’s been an honor to introduce you to it.

Feel free to explore the new ‘Park + Prime + Power’ page on the site. You’re also welcomed to my personal calendar to open a larger discussion around capabilities, add-ons, and other inclusions.