Note: Elance and oDesk, which are both recommended in this episode, have merged to form the company Upwork.
AskPat 200 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Are we here? Is this really it? It is. It's Episode 200 of AskPat. I cannot believe we are already here. I just want to thank all of you, whether this is the first episode you've listened to or one of the many who have listened to every single episode. I appreciate it so much. Thank you for the inspiration and a here's to the next 200 episodes.
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Let's get to today's question from Joel.
Joel: Hi, Pat, my name is Joel. In SPI Episode 158, you mentioned hiring a UI/UX designer for your apps and your other properties in your brand. And I wanted to see if you had any guidance for somebody who is looking to hire somebody like that. It's just kind of starting out. It's just kind of getting your personal brand and small business brand off the ground. Any advice you would have for someone in that position would be great. Thanks a lot.
Pat Flynn: Joel, thank you so much for the question. Actually, since starting to build by team, a lot of people have been asking who the members are and when I mentioned that I had a UX or UI, an user experience or a user interface designer, they ask a lot of questions about it because, it's more that just a person who designs stuff. This is somebody who has the navigation through a website or the actual experience that someone has through a particular product in mind. And to begin to answering this question for you, I would like to introduce my UX designer. I was actually in Columbus, Ohio to meet with a bunch of my team members and my UX designer, Dustin, was there and I decided to turn on the recorder and ask him a few questions. So here is Dustin, and you might hear some other voices in the background, including Matt, Mindy, and the ambiance of the lunch we were having at North Market in Columbus, Ohio.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Dustin what's up?
Dustin: Nothing much. What about you?
Pat: Not much. Just chilling here at lunch. Where are we right now?
Dustin: We are in Columbus, Ohio at North Market, which is an awesome vendor-based community restaurant.
Dustin: Yeah, market.
Pat: It's awesome. What did you have for lunch?
Dustin: I had chicken and waffles from the Taste of Belgium. Probably one of the best chicken and waffles that I've had in my life. With hot sauce.
Pat: Awesome. And Mindy, what did you have?
Mindy: Why, I had the chicken and waffles too because they're Belgium street waffles, which are amazing.
Pat: They are awesome. Dustin, what is it that you do for Team Flynn?
Dustin: I help with the UX and UI, user interaction and user design, for Pat Flynn products.
Pat: What are some of the things that when people go on the website or they experience some of our products . . . what are some of the things that you have direct influence on in terms of design?
Dustin: Some of the bigger items would be the FoodTruckr landing page and Smart Podcast Player, and SPI and Apple ISF.
Pat: Those are three good ones. They're huge. You live here right?
Dustin: I do.
Pat: Have you lived here all your life?
Dustin: I have not. I’ve only lived here for two years. I am from . . . born and raised in Iowa.
Pat: Corn fed.
Dustin: Yes sir, corn fed.
Pat: I've gotten a lot of compliments from people about the design on things that you actually designed for SPI. What would you like to say to everybody out there who is giving you all of the these compliments?
Dustin: I think it’s awesome, and I love to hear from the community what's working and what's not. I mean it’s awesome to be able to affect someone's experience when they are engaging in a product or software. And it's amazing that I get to do that and make people’s lives a lot easier, which is pretty amazing.
Pat: Thanks, Dustin.
Pat: So, as you can hear, Dustin loves what he does, and I think that's the main thing that you have to look out for when you are hiring a UX designer. Obviously, when you are hiring anybody, you want them to love what they do, but loving the purpose of making things easier for your audience is really the key there. It's not just design, it’s not what looks good. It’s what looks good and also what functions; design and function. There has to be a balance. Because you probably come across things that look great, but don't function very well. You probably come across things that function fine, or kind of work or maybe there's content on the site but they don't actually look very appealing. There's that balance that has to happen and the first thing you want to do if you're finding other people and I'll tell you can find people, in a second. But you want to look at their portfolio, what have they done before. Not just look at them. But, like I said, you have to experience them yourself to see what that flow is like through their work.
If you're going to hire someone, for example, on a site like Elance.com or Odesk.com, both of those sites work similarly. I worked with both in the past, mostly Elance, I have had a better experiences with Elance. What you can do is post a job description up and people who fit that job description who want to do that work for you, will reply with a bid on how much it cost to work with them. Now Elance and Odesk are great for both one-off projects and you can find UX designers there as well. There is potential to work with them for other projects down the road.
The big thing there is you want to look at their portfolios. Find their profiles when people begin to come at you with a price and interest in your projects, look at their portfolio, see what they done, but also see if you can go though them as well. Perhaps there are URLs on previous sites that they've worked on that you can go through and find and just see for yourself what that experience is like. Are there any roadblocks? Is there anything confusing? Is there anything that doesn't make sense to you or do you not have to think about it when you are going through that site.
That's what great user experience is all about and you know this. When you are going through a site, and not even thinking about what you are doing, you just kind of naturally going through and finding your way though the most important parts of the site, that's how you know that person who designed that did a great job. Same thing through an iPhone application as well. Dustin had done both design for iPhone apps and wells as website and software types things for me. Again, going through their portfolio, seeing the work they've done before, also going though it seeing what its like and see if there's any hick ups or if you aren't thinking about it because it is so good. That is going to the first thing you want to do, go through their portfolio.
The second thing you want to do is see if you can get feedback from other clients that they've worked with before. References. You might go to their portfolio and see who else they worked with and then contact those people directly to see what it was like with this person who could potentially work on your stuff. You want to ask questions like: “How is it working with this person? Is there anything you wish was done differently? Would you recommend this person to work on another project of yours?” Those are great questions. Really quick honest feedback because a lot of people have many things to do. Just that feedback would really be important to help you decide on whether or not you want to work with this person.
The third thing is you also want to know what it’s like to communicate with them. Communication between you and your UX designer is extremely, extremely important. You want things to flow. You don't want people to misinterpret things, and so one thing you can do really easily even on Odesk and Elance is you can communicate with these people directly. Better yet, you may want to get on a Skype call with them if that's possible just to have a chat to see if there is a vibe there. If there is, that's a good person that you can potentially work with. If it seems kind of weird or that person just seems off a little bit, then you might want to find somebody else or look at the other people who have asked to work with you for that particular project.
Those things do matter and I do think that part of what I said in that last part of just finding that connection is really important because with Dustin specifically, he knows my brand. He knows why I do what I do. He knows the other team members. He is somebody who know the value of what I'm trying to provide for my audience, and will use his talents to take what I have and what I want to do and shape it in a way that is easy for my audience to go through. He's done an amazing job. Like I said, or like you heard him say, he did the design for the Smart Podcast Player at SmartPodcastPlayer.com, and also AskPat.com. He also did the sales page for the FoodTruckr book. If you go to FoodTruckr.com/book, you'll see his work there as well. He also did the design for the AskPat t-shirt. Actually, that was the first thing we did with him.
Let's talk about this really quick. The AskPat t-shirt is a great design, but that was also purposefully done. That was the first project that we gave Dustin because we wanted to see what it was like to work with him. It was an extremely small project. It wasn't anything that was going to be put on the web in terms of how people use it. Just to see what that workflow was like, what the communication was like through that project, and he was quick to get that done, but it was also done very well. That was a good thing and something that you can potentially do for those who are out there who are looking to get a UX designer. If you have and it make sense to do a small project with this person before you sort of hire them full time, that would be a great thing to do.
I mention Elance and Odesk for finding places. If you go to AskPat.com/elance or AskPat.com/odesk, those are going to be affiliate links so I do get a commission if you go through those links. You don't have to go through those links. Before that, if you have, and if you were looking to find somebody full time, go through your existing network first. There might be people you know, who are online, who have UX/UI designers as well, and perhaps they might have some extra time to work with you. Obviously, going through a friend is going to be a better recommendation than finding somebody sort of cold, who is recommending themselves on a site like Elance or Odesk. Although that's not to say you can't find somebody great there, but going through your existing network, your existing friends, that's where I would start.
I was actually very lucky because through my producer Matt we found Dustin. Dustin and Matt were friends who actually worked together in the past before, and so when we were looking for a UX designer we decided to test out Dustin and see how he did. We did this little project with the AskPat t-shirt, then he started to do a few more projects on the websites and he’s just awesome. He's the guy I go to when new things are coming out and we need it to be brand and cohesively make sense with everything else that we're doing.
That was the big thing that came out of Columbus was that Dustin was going to be there to help put everything together in a cohesive language and cohesive experience for the SPI audience. Right now, a lot of it is sort of chucked and as most of us do, we sort of throw things online and things change and we hired different people and we sort of build our brand over time without going back to the things—even the things that continue to work for us and having them catch up to where we are at now.
For example, Ebooks The Smart Way, which is a free ebook giveaway that I have at EbooksTheSmartWay.com, is kind of . . . it’s not outdated in terms of content but the brand, the way the book is designed, it just doesn't really make sense with everything that is going on now. It is great on its own but when you look at it, with a lot of the other things with my brand, it kind of stands out. It doesn't make sense, and that's just one of the several pieces of the brand that need work design-wise and experience-wise, so Dustin is going to help with that.
Now, Joel, I hope that helped answer your question. I'm so glad we were able to get that recording for you from Dustin over at lunch in Columbus for you and everybody else listening. I hope that was pretty cool. I'd like to know if all of you think, about having sort of a raw recording in there. It’s a little inspiration from NPR radio and Alex Blumberg from the Startup Podcast, there for you. If you like it, I would love to know what you think. Just use the AskPat hashtag #AskPat200 so I know. Just let me know, let me know what you think and if you want to say, happy 200th episode whatever. I love to hear from you. Thanks so much, Joel. An AskPat t-shirt, design by Dustin, is going to be headed your way very soon. You'll get an email from my assistant in the next week or two.
For those who are listening, if you have a question that you would like potentially featured on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. I also would like to thank once again, Flippa.com. The world's number one marketplace for buying and selling websites over a 130 million has been traded on Flippa. Part of that was from me. I actually had purchase a website on Flippa, having talked about it much and the past, but I will in the future. There's a lot of people, buying and selling website every day and starting not from scratch, but from where somebody else left off. So, if you want to learn more from buying and selling a website, head on over to Flippa.com and get started now.
Thank so much, as always. I love to end with a quote and today's quote comes from Allen Cohen, and he says, “Busiest is not a reason for not getting other things done, it is an excuse for not cleaning your true priorities.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Here's to the next 200.
Flippa is the number one marketplace for buying and selling websites. Check it out at Flippa.com.