Recently I wrote a guest post for Nesha Woolery all about how you can offer website design when you don’t know how to code. A lot of designers like to start with the second option, to craft your offerings around your coding abilities. For many, that leads them to designing for Squarespace.
The problem with that is you can find yourself having to refer away clients who are set on using WordPress or aren’t the best fit for Squarespace. I don’t know about you, but I never want to refer a dream client away when I don’t have to, which leads many to my third option of partnering with a developer.
Recently, I was able to work with Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox in this way. Before she changed her services to design assistant offerings, she offered branding and Squarespace website design. But when a dream client inquired who was set on using WordPress as a platform, Kaitlyn was ready to team up for the third time for a custom WordPress website.
Instead of telling you about it myself, I’ll let Kaitlyn do the honors!
The Before Picture
I was interested in learning more about any coding experience Kaitlyn had prior to teaming up and what concerns she had before we got started. Here’s what she had to say:
Before starting TheCrownFox I worked as a designer with developers, but it was always a bit different because we were in the same office/space. If there was ever any questions or anything I could just roll my chair over and ask/point to things, etc.
When I was responsible for all the coding it was S.L.O.W. and frustrating. My background in design touched on coding, but I’m not formally trained by any means in that world. Coding would hold me back because while I knew things were possible, it would take me a while to fully understand it and implement it.
Coding also caused projects to run late because it’s difficult to estimate time on projects when you’re not 100% sure of your abilities!
Kaitlyn’s experience touches on one of the most common struggles I see with designers in that she knows a bit of coding through her design background, but only enough to make things even more frustrating. It’s never fun to feel like you only know 25% of something and to watch the missing 75% cause projects to run behind! Luckily, Kaitlyn and I worked together for the perfect solution.
The After Picture
Here’s what Kaitlyn had to say about the process of teaming up to create her client a custom WordPress website:
I was interested in a client but she wanted to work on WordPress, which I don’t develop for. I wanted to work with her because she seemed really excited and like someone who would be good to work with and would appreciate what you and I both did. I thought bringing you on would be a fun and good fit! I like designing websites but actually coding them is something I really, really don’t do and am honestly not that good at so I’m always happy to get a chance to bring you on!
We’ve gotten into a good groove working together where I feel comfortable asking you questions (you’re very accessible) and knowing you’ll get what I mean when I ask weird, convoluted questions! I also know that you are great with clients, quick, and easy to work with!
I loved that I could clarify/ask questions along the way design-wise (to make sure things were possible) and that you were flexible with client’s needs. I like most that I feel we can talk easily and casually, but I know it’s still being handled professionally!
Since having you to hand development off to, I’ve been way more confident and I feel able to design really fun and exciting websites because I know you can make them a reality.
Over our 3 projects together, Kaitlyn and I have figured out the perfect groove of working together and leaving our clients with amazing results. The best part is that we’ve been able to become great friends in the process!
Through our projects, Kaitlyn has found that working with a developer isn’t nearly as intimidating as many think. We usually communicate through Slack where it’s nice and easy to have conversations about certain topics (or just for fun) and I’m always available to answer questions throughout the design process.
So, would she recommend collaborating with a developer to someone else?
I asked Kaitlyn what she’d say to someone who is thinking about collaborating with a developer for the first time:
Essentially – do it. If you don’t love coding then don’t stress yourself out doing it. And I definitely recommend Krista, she’s so great to work with!
What do you think?
From Kaitlyn’s story, I hope you can see that partnering with a WordPress developer can allow you to work with a whole new range of clients. You’ll also find that the experience isn’t nearly as intimidating as many expect it to be. It naturally turns into a very fun and friendly partnership with both parties having the same end-goal in mind.
If you’ve been thinking about teaming up with a developer but aren’t sure where to start, be sure to check out my free course, Get Back To Design. You’ll learn about the benefits, each step of the process, and how to find the perfect developer for you. Or, if you have any specific questions about the process, feel free to reach out.
Working with Krista is a dream. She is organized, efficient, and able to interpret a designer’s vision (and wonderful use of words like “airy” and “light”, oops!). When we started working together I was nervous about passing off a design for a lot of reasons – it feels kind of personal in those first stages, you know? Luckily Krista has been completely understanding of those sorts of feelings and needs. She’s willing to offer advice, feedback, and an understanding for what will actually work versus just look good. I trust her to interact with clients professionally and always excited when we get to tackle a project together!
– Kaitlyn Kessler | The Crown Fox, Designer