Talk Me Off This Damn Ledge

A “web designer” is sub-contracting work to me. She needs her PSD turned into a WP theme. I’m happy to have the work.

As I’ve worked with her it’s come to my attention that she isn’t a web designer. I actually don’t know what she does but she tells me she has lots of work on her plate (“too much”). I find that annoying because I’m positive she told she’s a “web designer” but she actually isn’t. I want to scream because I’m pretty much unemployed and know much more than her. She doesn’t understand what “font-family” is in CSS. It seems as though she only uses WYSIWYGs.

I sort of want to just steal her clients away and tell her to go read some books. I’m just so irritated right now. I’ve spent the past couple of days considering moving back with my mother because I can’t find work… and then I meet this person who’s been faking it rather successfully.

Frustrating and irritating for sure. Many in web type work use one tool succesfully a time or three and consider themselves “experts”. I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know the why, only that it’s common.

Some people are more “business” minded. They can organize a project, subcontract and delgate well enough to get the job done while not being as knowledeable in certain things as those that do the actual work. IMHO the title should not be “designer” but project manager or something that more accurately describes their role.

As irritating as it may be that she is calling herself something that she is not, you can take advantage of the skills and talents she does possess. If she can get work for you and you both make a reasonable profit it may be better to bite your tongue until you learn enough about the business side of things to go off on your own.

It also sounds like you may want to check the contract closely to make sure she isn’t taking credit for your work unless you’re getting adequately compensated for it.


i will likely have to bite my tongue… until i can take her clients away.

I had a similiar issue when a client hired a graphic designer to do some changes on a site I did for them, i dont mind that, it’s their site afterall…BUT…she sent me jpg’s, i was then asked by the client to edit them, of course I couldnt do it properly without the source files as there was text overlapping the images so I contacted her…and she is like…whats a source file? i gave you the source file :expressionless: im like …right :expressionless: idiot…plus the images she eh…“created” were actually taken from a stock photography website, i knew i saw them somewhere before so I had to check…and the license agreement stated not for electronic purposes…the client knows this now…and she has mysteriously disappeared from the equation! :shifty:

But yeah, some ppl talk the talk but cant back it up, i hate that…and they are so successful and even ppl look up to them more when they make out oh they are sooo busy and couldnt possibly meet at that time or their workload is soo overwhelming u should get someone else to do it! Omg, I better stop, it infuriates me :confused2 :lol:

I’m glad I don’t work with you. She may call herself a web designer and be more a project manager but you do have a business relationship with her… and the only thing you can think of is how to steal her customers?

Business is about trust, and sorry to say this… you can’t be trusted!

Instead, you should consider and ponder why she’s successful and have clients but you don’t seem to manage to do it on your own. You could learn from her skills and then get your own clients and not steal the hand that’s “feeding” you for the moment, even if those bits are not much or enough to keep your independence.

I agree with Mittineague: better check your contract and make sure that you’re properly paid.

If you can’t work with her, then try to find someone else and brake the relationship when you have something better in your hand. But stealing her customers should not be an option, in my opinion, of course.

I’m in a situation where I’m not even sure if I can pay rent. It’s either I pack my bags and move states away to live my mom or I find some clients somehow. You’re lucky you’ve never been in my situation.

I agree with both Molona but also rpeg, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures!

Stealing customers is not a nice way to do business I agree with Molona’s point but if ur situation is very difficult, sometimes you have to step on a few ppl to get to where you wanna be :confused2

I’m frustrated because I hate being in this situation. I would hate to turn a blind eye and go home a failure. I would also hate to be this machiavellian in business. However I’ve made no decision nor do I have any new game plan outside still hustling.

Why do you have to ‘steal’ clients from her, how are you even going to do that anyway? Why not develop a relationship with her by being useful, if she can make money through you then she has the incentive to do it. I’m not great at marketing myself so I build relationships with people who are good at getting work, you have to play to your strengths.

Network, try to meet more people, don’t try to sell to them but make a good impression and then when someone they know needs a webdesigner they might recommend you. Once you have a few jobs under your belt you’ve started the ball rolling.

I don’t have to “steal” and I have no idea how that would be done. All I know is I’m running out of time and she only knows how to use WYSIWYGs.

This is only partially correct

She also knows how to attract/get clients, delegate the workload to subcontractors and sell the finished product.

And hopefully she’s selling more than design, i.e. design is only a part of the package. Otherwise I’d be concerned that she is only using others to promote her own image and reputation as a designer, which she isn’t.

Best to make sure she isn’t just taking your work, slapping her name on it, and writing you out if the picture - unless she’s paying you to do so.

If you’re thinking you might be going on your own some day you may want to use some of the work as part of your portfolio. So it would be important that your name stays attached to it somehow. And having a good reference would help too, which you won’t get by taking her clients.

You don’t know what I’ve been through. Moving with your parents maybe annoying but things can get much tougher.

You still need to do some analysis and be blunty honest with yourself. Why is it not working? what are you doing wrong?

Then, write down an action plan and go for it. If your analysis is correct, it will work.

You also need to think that at the end of the day you need to live with yourself and your conscience… doing something morally wrong may help you at the beggining but get you enemies and that will pay in the end.

If you’re underpaid…have you considered talking to her and tell her that you simply can’t keep the price so low as you’re not convering your costs? (yes, if you work from home your office is your home, and that’s part of your costs).

If you’re not good at getting customers… have you considered to contact other “designers” like her that will get the work flowing for you?

How about if you promote yourself. Sometimes, a good ad in a local newspaper can do wonders and it is not expensive! Even better, get yourfriends talking about you… or get you own cards and distribute them (I don’t know if vistaprint delivers to US, but they offer 250 business cards for free, so it can get you started

'm frustrated because I hate being in this situation. I would hate to turn a blind eye and go home a failure. I would also hate to be this machiavellian in business. However I’ve made no decision nor do I have any new game plan outside still hustling.

Everybody hate to be in a situation like that. But you’re wrong on two things

  • Returning home a failure: That’s not true. Getting bankrupt because you couldn’t cut your losses short would.

  • You’re far away from being the only one in this situation. In situations like this is when you show what you’re made off.

Fair enough but I hope you read the rest of my post and not just that first sentence and I hope you read the rest of the posts that people have been kind enough to spend considerable time writing for your benefit, there’s a LOT of very useful advice in them.

It can be very frustrating working for people that we perceive has less knowledge about something than we do and yet claim the same job title for themselves.

Personally I’d keep quiet and keep taking the money!

Thankfully she seems to know enough to know that she needs to bring you in to do the job for her (so many don’t seem to have this level of self-knowledge) and you’re earning money thanks to her lack of skills.

My guess is that one of three things might happen:

  1. You find you develop a better working relationship with her as she learns of your skills and her own lack of said skills.

  2. She asks you to do something that you’re not willing to do (ie compromising your professional principles such as poor coding or inaccessible design elements etc) and you part company

  3. Your own client-base expands such that you can no longer find the time to do her sub-contract work and you part company.

I would be looking at what you are doing wrong. You might complain but she’s the successful one (even with her lack of skills), perhaps you should consider how you could better represent yourself and your skills and then you might be able to avoid the need to work through someone else and work independently for yourself. Not saying you don’t know your job, but obviously you must be doing something wrong for a skilled contractor not to be able to go it alone or find a business to work for in preference to working through an unskilled third party. I say it’s time to take stock and re-evaluate your business skills. :slight_smile:

As has been hinted at, I’d say the problem here is simply perception. You have a golden opportunity rather than a frustration. Your weakness - getting clients. Her weakness - producing work - seems like a perfect fit to me. I think you have a great opportunity to harvest a relationship and look towards forming some sort of partnership where you both play to your strengths and benefit each other!

Good luck man, played right this could be your ticket out of Kipperville!