But He is Nigerian: The Importance of Relating an Honest Scope with Clients

These points are extracted from my upcoming book The Anxious Entrepreneur.

I can build WordPress websites. It is subject to debate though. I mess around with few easy themes and manipulate them until they look awesome. I cannot really edit CSS (the design code used on WordPress websites).

The only reason I learned WordPress a bit was because I needed a website and I could not afford a web designer. This is back in 2010 or so. I have been doing this since then till 2014.

It was the era of the branding epidemic. All the branding gurus said you need a website to be taken seriously. No you don’t. Stay with this book I will show you.

There is so much bullshit out there of the things you ‘must do’ as an entrepreneur. Good bullshit and bad bullshit. Pick only the BS you want to use and run with it.

Anyway, they story is with this web designer reputation I got going around, a friend of mine, JohnJohn (not his real name), whom before I had build a website for referred me to a Nigerian guy called Jacob (not his real name) who runs a club in Johannesburg Sandton (I am not sure if it is popular or not).

Jacob wanted a website for his online entertainment magazine. We did the whole meeting, briefing and 50% deposit thing. And I am cheap – affordable baby.

This guy is huge hey, muscles and all, 6 to 8 feet. He is Nigerian.

This was good side money, I could not resist. It’s back in 2012, the year I was broker than broke. He chose a theme. I start designing. He is one of those clients that contact you constantly to check progress, annoyingly so.

By the way, do not chat with clients via Whatsapp. The thing with it is people can see you are online and you haven’t replied to their messages. It causes unnecessary tension. At least with emails, you can reply at a time you are ready to revert appropriately. Or even acknowledge receiving a mail and say you will reply in good time. And email leaves a manageable trail.

Of course I gave him timelines and I was sticking to them. All day he kept asking for progress updates via Whatsapp. This one morning I wake up to find these long Whatsapp messages of how lazy I am. He wants his money back and that if I don’t refund him he will find me. Ooooohhh scary!

He is huge, runs a club and he is Nigerian.  That is enough to scare me.

So I call my friends and relate the threats, they all go “he is just bluffing, don’t give nothing back, you did work and that amounts to something”.

I go like, “guys, but he is Nigerian”. Oh gosh I am stereotyping.

I checked the website and he had taken it down. I worked on it the previous night till the morning. I did a bit to the website; I added plugins and changed colour schemes.

Remember I am not a website designer in the technical true sense; I am like a WordPress themes editor.

He didn’t like that I didn’t do what website designers do, which is design to a point of almost changing a given theme.

How did it end, let us say I didn’t pay back all his deposit and my friend who referred me had to get involved.

The lessons

It is ok to make side money or do whatever business. Your experience does not matter more than honesty of what you can deliver.

Since then I have designed WordPress websites for many people, the difference since then is I am upfront from the start as to what my capabilities are and what I can deliver. I play around with themes until they look good, I cannot do deep coding.

These folks I did websites for, I have realised, didn’t want the best website in the world; they just wanted a minimally viable site.

You will find that when you are honest with what you can do, people will use you still.

This is side money for me, hopefully not anymore. I do not market such services but clients keep coming.

I do not want to design websites. But I do, it is fun.