extend your knowledge or extend your team

Earlier this year I took on a new client, I’m sure they won’t mind me using them as a case study for this article as I’ve helped them bootstrap a site and given countless hours of WordPress consulting. They’re now very close to launching a site without me actually implementing any code. It’s mostly been a ‘hey, I’d like to do this’ and I explain how to do it, give tips and advice along the way.

This is great, there’s definitely something satisfying about learning some new skills. Especially if it’s going to help your business in the long term. For me it’s really satisfying too, I get some hours under my belt as a WordPress Consultant and also have a short break from sitting in front of InDesign or Coda.

A short while after taking on this client, I had another contact me for some consulting work. This particular client was also wanting to do the same; bootstrap their own online site that sold very high value products. This particular site was quite complicated in it’s build and very ambitious undertaking for a novice. It involved custom split payments for commissions, a front-end product submission area and various other features. I applauded the site owners ambition, they wanted to bootstrap it themselves despite it almost certainly being a job for an experienced web developer.

We had lots of emails back and forth, I’d give some consulting on particular features or parts of the website build in order to achieve what the client wanted. After a while though, the client gave up on most of what they wanted the site to actually do because they couldn’t do it themselves as it was a job for an experienced developer. (I actually helped with some of the development that was a ‘must’ in order for the site to achieve it’s goals.)

If you’re trying to bootstrap your new online idea yourself, you are limited by what you know how to do. I know that sounds fairly obvious, but if you’ve got an ambitious idea that you discount immediately because the required skills, knowledge or technical ability are ‘way over your head’ then how do you expect your website or product to work? If like this particular client, you were selling mega high-value products then why would you discount paying a developer to plug the gaps in your skill-set?

Knowledge is power and if you’re running an online business without a team behind you and don’t know the difference between HTML and PHP, you need to either extend your knowledge or extend your team. Your website is likely to be the lifeblood to your business. I understand there’s other aspects to running a business but the customer facing side; the bit that people actually buy things through, it’s important.

If you are looking for a WordPress Consultant to help you ship your product or build your start-up I’d love to speak to you.