Are you familiar with the quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”?
It’s an old Chinese proverb, one that is applicable to the way we work here at Blue Sun.
When you work with friends or family, you want to help. You want to see them be the best they can be. This doesn’t always mean doing the work for them. The best way to help is to teach people how to do for themselves, a lesson every parent knows well and probably one of the hardest lessons to teach.
I remember as a kid, Mom teaching us how to make our beds. If they weren’t right, she’d point out where we went wrong, then tear them apart and make us do it over until we got it right. I thought she was the meanest mom in the world back then, but now I understand. She could have easily done it for us, but we wouldn’t have learned a thing…except how to give up and let others do our work for us.
Make Your Own Bed
This is how Blue Sun works, too. We’ve had many clients tell us they have a website, and have had it for years, but have no idea how to manage it. A lot of it isn’t their fault. Their sites may have been built before WordPress became popular and required a lot of coding knowledge and special programs to update it.
Does this story sound familiar to you:
Client: We have a website and it’s not working for us. We paid (insert exorbitant amount of money here), the site isn’t doing what we wanted it to do, we can’t get to any of our files, the “webmaster” has to do everything for us and frankly, it sucks.
Ok, maybe none have them actually said it sucks, but we know that’s what they’re thinking. They feel taken. They feel like their website accounts are being held hostage. Every time they need an update, it’s more money. Plus, they are kept waiting.
Nobody likes feeling helpless. We don’t like our clients feeling that way either.
With content management systems like WordPress out there, there is no reason at all why even the most inexperienced web user can’t manage their own sites. Webmasters are slowly becoming obsolete.
Never Stop Learning
An educated client is a happy client. Even if you end up hiring a VA to manage your site, it’s still a good idea to know how your site works, where to find your files and how to add a page or post when you need to.
So many clients come to us with poorly designed websites and themes they don’t like using. They may have used an all-inclusive company that sets up the site and gives a few do it yourself options. These companies claim to have a great “do it yourself” program, yet the monthly website bill keeps adding up with nothing done.
Many of our clients are our friends, too and it hurts to see them so upset. This is where we step in and give them their wings.
A Price or a Plan?
Not too long ago I was watching an episode of Hollywood Treasure. This is a show about an auction broker who seeks out rare memorabilia from Hollywood movies and shows and actions them off.
They had one client with an amazing collection from practically every popular movie ever made. The collection cost millions. The owner of the collection asked the brokers to give him a quote on how much it would be to action off the whole thing.
And they only had an hour or so to do it.
After consulting with his partner, the broker decided it was an impossible task to put a number on all this in such a short amount of time.
So what did he do? He told his client flat out “What you need is a plan, not a price.”
Throwing money at a project just to get it done isn’t always the answer. A plan is often much more valuable in the long run. A plan will teach you what to do next and how to get to the next step.
We do the same thing. I can think of many occasions where we end up trying to talk a client out of a project and into a plan that fits them better. Then we show them the tools and teach them how to use them.
How do you help your clients? Do you teach them to fly? Or has someone taught you to fly in the past? Tell us about your experiences.