The 1 Year Anniversary (of a HUGE mistake)

They say mistakes are like assholes, everyone’s got one but no one likes to talk about it. Well… today I am going to. Wait, wait… my mistake… not my, um… Carry on. …

Published:

Filed Under:

Client Management, Processes, Strategy

Kyle Van Deusen

The Admin Bar

Born in California and raised in Texas, Kyle is a husband and proud father of three. After spending 15 years as a graphic designer and earning a business degree, he launched OGAL Web Design in 2017, The Admin Bar community with Matt Sebert in 2018, and Docket WP with Andre Gagnon in 2020.

kyle looking very worried
This content contains affiliate links. View our affiliate disclaimer.

They say mistakes are like assholes, everyone's got one but no one likes to talk about it. Well… today I am going to.

Wait, wait… my mistake… not my, um…

Carry on.

April has gotten here and one of those Facebook memory posts caught my attention— my first “business trip” to Granbury. A memory I don't really want to be reminded of.

One year ago I was living in Gainesville, TX hoping to one day move to Granbury (where I currently live). I had begun marketing in Granbury hoping to get a head start on the eventual move back in January of 2018. Late March I got my first good lead, and headed 2 hours down the road to meet with this prospect in person.

The meeting went fantastic. I remember talking to my buddy Matt from the parking lot of Starbucks just after it wrapped up. I was telling him how I “totally nailed it” and will “definitely get the job”.

Got home, wrote up the proposal and sent it off sure that it would be promptly signed and work would begin shortly.

Unfortunately I got a response back that I didn't expect.

Her startup company was low on cash, and while a website was a pretty important part of her new business (an ONLINE business) she hadn't quite accounted for, you know, paying for it.

She had asked me to finance the website— something I had never done nor considered before.

Another phone call with Matt (that I remember SO vividly— strange how these wrong turns can stick in your mind) to discuss this arrangement and if it was a good idea or not. I also asked for feedback from Lee Jackson and his group.

The consensus from Lee, Matt and the group was just about unanimous— no way. “Bad idea” I heard. “You'll never get paid” another said. And the quote I remember most: “Are you a bank?”. Jeez, those words are stinging again.

So, as an anxious, go-getting, hard working, wanting-to-please business owner, what did I do?

I financed the site, of course!

Well, not all of it. I actually countered her offer with one of my own.

She would pay 50% down and then finance the remaining balance over the next 12 months (cue April of 2019!).

If the fact that she all of a sudden didn't budget a website for her online business wasn't a big enough red flag— after the contract was signed and the deposit was made she casually mentioned in conversation “we have the money, we just don't feel comfortable spending it”. Really? I'm going to carry the risk of this because YOU don't feel like it?

Red flag #2.

The website construction begins… Site is pretty and shaping up in no time. We're damn near ready to launch the thing when I just stop getting a response from her. First a week goes by, then 2 weeks, then a month. At this point I'm getting a bit nervous.

Finally, word back— “I'm so sorry I have not responded, my husband and I split and we're getting a divorce and I had to move”.

Well, that sucks… but what am I supposed to say? Being the nice guy I am, I told her that I was “so sorry” and if she “needed some time” I could “put the project on hold”.

Over the next 11 months I heard from her about 3 times. After faithfully sending invoices each month (that were going unpaid) she finally reach out and wanted to “catch up”.

A month or so later I got the voicemail that her “business model had changed” and she would “need to make some tweaks” to the website. Again, we get caught up on payments and again she goes silent.

So— April 2019 marks one year from when we signed the contract. I still lack 3 months worth of payment.

I'll probably never get it. And you know what? I hope I never do. If I never hear from her again that will be a blessing.

The other blessing I received from this is a BIG amendment to my contract. Essentially it states that if the client should go silent for a specific (and measurable!) period of time I will consider the project completed, bill it in full, and a new job will have to be quoted to begin any more work.

Boy, would that have saved my ass from this year-long mistake I made.

Share this article!

Kyle Van Deusen

The Admin Bar

Born in California and raised in Texas, Kyle is a husband and proud father of three. After spending 15 years as a graphic designer and earning a business degree, he launched OGAL Web Design in 2017, The Admin Bar community with Matt Sebert in 2018, and Docket WP with Andre Gagnon in 2020.

Come Join Us!

Join the #1 WordPress Community and dive into conversations covering every aspect of running an agency!

Kyle Van Deusen

Community Manager

The Friday Chaser

Wash down the week with the best of The Admin Bar! News, tips, and the best conversations delivered straight to your inbox every Friday!

Latest Events

September 16th, 2022

Kevin Powell Talks WordPress!

What we can learn from a master front end developer

August 19th, 2022

Optimizing Live with Perfmatters

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Brian uses Perfmatters on live websites!

July 8th, 2022

New TAB Site Teardown

How any why I rebuilt The Admin Bar website with GenerateBlocks (Featuring Dave Foy)
Vertical Banner

More Articles

navigations

Most (and Least) Popular Agency Website Navigation Items

Your navigation is arguably one of the most essential parts of your website… but is yours what your customer’s are expecting?

selective focus of human and robot hands typing on laptop at wor

How to write a blog post that ranks on Google (with some blogging freebies!)

My best tips and techniques of the trade to make sure that your next blog post (whether lovingly-handcrafted or AI-based) is built to convert (and rank on Google). 

Post Feat Im

Performance Implications of GenerateBlocks New Features

I put the new accordion and tabs blocks from GenerateBlocks to the test to find out how they will impact your website’s performance.