In trying to pick a designer, Sam Steffans had some trouble deciding. We have been friends for a long time and her business partner Naomi, is my best friend so you would think it would be a no-brainer.  However, working with friends has its own set of challenges and as does working in a small town.  She confessed to me after we finished the project,

“I really sat with it for a couple of days, until it was clear in my heart that working with you would be the best choice… I’m really glad I made that choice. I would recommend you to anyone. This has been a wonderful experience!”

I knew Sam as a very organized and professional person, and so treated her with the same process and procedure I would any client, even though we were friends. We discussed her business needs, her priorities, her budget and her timeline and came up with a Statement of Work that outlined what Venture Out could offer to do for her within the agreed upon time and budget constraints.  She was pleasantly surprised with the offering and the professional nature of a contract and was happy to sign and hand me the retainer to kickoff the sprint.

I had already set up her project in my project management app and so we began using the communication tool right away – adding tasks, risks, milestones, and assets to the project. I like to convey to clients that…

this is a collaborative process where transparency and clear communication are imperative to success.

She jumped right in, logging in to TeamworkPM and commenting, messaging, and checking off tasks as they were completed.  At some point I remember her saying, ‘I love this tool so much, I want to keep using it for my business after we are through.”

We had agreed that she would be responsible for all the content, product info and images and I would focus on designing the site and setting up the systems for everything to work correctly.  We divided up features into ‘Must Haves’ and ‘Nice to Haves’ and prioritized them so that the most important things got done in the proper order as to not hold up launch.  Her ideal site would be both informative with interesting blog articles and stories, as well as useful with an online store, a schedule of upcoming workshops and events and ways to sign up to attend classes or join the CSA Apothecary.  We were able to do all that and more, within her budget and before her big seasonal show.

The thing I really love about working with local people here in Floyd, is that they are passionate about what they do, you have to be to make a living in this small town; and they know how to get their hands dirty and bootstrap their ideas.  The challenge is keeping communication clear and priorities strait so there is not any misunderstandings.  I’m glad that my friend Sam was willing to venture out, guided by her own intuition and collaborate on creating with Venture Out Creative Agency.

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