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episode 22

The Beauty of Collaborations for Web Designers

As women, we have been conditioned to compete against each other for clients. Once we realize the power of collaborations with other web designers and adjacent service providers, that is when the real success comes.

Today Sam & Karyn discuss the benefits of collaborations for web designers and steps you can take to work WITH other women, build your network and thrive as a whole.

Show Notes:

Reframing relationships with other web designers and industry professionals as opportunities for collaborations instead of competition.
Collaborating to expand your creativity beyond your own inner bubble to offer more value and higher quality work to your clients.
Why you might send clients to other professionals in the first place and the value in building that roster of trustworthy professionals who would do the same for you.
Living in an abundance mindset to lift other women up while finding success in the industry as a whole.

Episode Transcript:

Karyn Paige, Sam Munoz

Sam Munoz 00:00
It’s really, really interesting because we now have a community of like, we have a space and a group of women, web designers, and the environment that we foster there is not about competition, it’s like every single woman in this space could be a potential collaborator for you. You work on a particular type of software or platform, awesome. She doesn’t, so you guys can connect in that way. And it’s like, if you stopped seeing people as they’re against me, and like, they’re gonna take money from me. And instead think of like, when I talk to this person, I now have access to a network that I didn’t have before. And they might be getting inquiries that are from people that they don’t actually really want to work with. Right? Like they’re receiving inquiries from someone that’s my dream client. And if we create that relationship, and if you get really clear on like, who you work with what you offer, there’s so much to dig into there. Like you can show up as a better collaborator if you know your business better. Welcome to making website magic where we empower women to step boldly into their web design, businesses follow their intuition and claim the success they’re worthy of. I’m Sam Munoz.

Karyn Paige 01:06
And I’m Karyn page, where the tech wizards behind Sam Munoz consulting on the making website Magic School of Business. We’re two women here to talk about what it actually takes to run a web design business that’s aligned with your vision.

Sam Munoz 01:19
Spoiler alert, it probably isn’t what you think it is ready to hear about everything from refining your business vision, networking with intention and creating a magical client experience. Let’s do it. Well, hello there, Karyn. Hey, Sam, how’s it going? It is going great. We are talking today about the beauty of collaborations for web designers. And I’m so excited because I feel like this is fundamental to how SMC kind of came to be and really blossomed and grew. And oh, gosh, I can’t wait to talk about it. I feel like it kind of contradicts some feelings a lot of people might experience about other service providers, other web designers and things like that. But before we get into it, I know we want to read a review. So go ahead.

Karyn Paige 02:04
Yeah, so this review came in, and it’s called power to women in web development. It says, I love that you too, are supporting and promoting women in tech, you’re putting out such valuable content that can help and support so many women Keep up the good work. So thank you so much for that review, in honor of supporting so many women, if you want to leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you listen to, that actually helps us reach more women, web designers, so that we can continue to support more women and really keep these conversations going. So thanks for that review. And we invite you to leave one yourself if you haven’t already done so. And I feel like that really kind of touches on the topic today of like the beauty of collaboration, because it really is like being able to reach more like minded women.

Sam Munoz 02:56
And Karyn always goes through and picks a review that kind of fits the topic. And I love that you do that. Because yes, this one literally says like promoting women in tech. And I feel like that is so essential to what we’re talking about. Because I think that people often see other web designers or even other people that are like tangential, kind of related to the web designer space as competition to them, instead of seeing them as potential collaborators, potential people in their network. And I really want to squash that myth and talk about how we can reframe these relationships into not competition, but into collaborations into opportunities into network expanding. And it really it’s a beautiful thing, the idea of collaborations and flipping this idea of competition, and I know it’s trendy community over competition and blah, blah, blah. But let’s talk about like the meat of it, the juice of it, the depth of it. And let’s first start with this idea of like, what does it mean to collaborate versus, you know, obviously, competition is like you’re against each other, you’re working against each other, you’re trying to hustle for clients, they’re trying to hustle for those same clients, like only one person will win survivor last woman standing. But what does it mean to collaborate?

Karyn Paige 04:04
collaboration very simply, is just like working with someone to create something new, right? It’s like you’re bringing your gifts to the table, they’re bringing their gifts to the table and you create something that is a combination of that, that honestly, maybe you couldn’t have created separately, right? So it’s beneficial. And the end result is like something amazing comes out of it.

Sam Munoz 04:26
And I feel like we’re kind of taking this from two angles on this episode. And so definitely, we can probably come back to another one in the future and like, dive deeper into both of them. But we’re taking this from two angles. We’re talking about networking with other web designers and like kind of collaborating with them on the front end of things of like marketing and getting clients and like finding opportunities. And then also there’s collaborations that can happen kind of like with what you said and how you defined it with like people that are in branding people that do photography, people that you work with collaboratively to create something new that like because Cuz maybe you’re not skilled at branding, you couldn’t have made that great of a product. And so I think we’re like, we’re talking about both things. And they’re, they’re both very related. And so it’s important because you again, you could compete technically, with all these people, you could like, kind of offer branding, because you don’t want to work with a branding person you want to collaborate, right, you’re just like thinking, I mean, going back to Episode 14, about offering everything, as a web designer, you feel like you have to offer all these things. But in reality, you could technically be collaborating with someone and create something amazing. So I do want to say we’re kind of like touching on it from two angles. But I think they’re really related. And really, really important for like a mindset shift. And even just like a tactical, like how you approach your marketing, and like finding and acquiring clients and prospects can do it as a team instead of us versus them.

Karyn Paige 05:47
Yeah. And also, even outside of the idea of like a team project, maybe it’s also just a way to generate new ideas, right? Because if we’re only always working with ourselves, we are our own team, our own editor, this kind of bubble of ideas just lives within us. And so collaboration can even just be like a word for conversation that can generate something new. And the thing that something new is the idea.

Sam Munoz 06:15
Yes, totally. And it’s interesting, because like I said, at the top of this SMC really got its roots in a lot of collaborations for a long time, I would collaborate with a good friend of mine, and she was extremely talented at branding. And I was like, from the beginning, I was like, I do not want to offer branding. And so we would work on like mock ups, she taught me a lot of stuff about design. And I fully incorporated that into like how we do web design now. But it was so interesting to create things together. And like you said, Get out of my own ideas. And like, what would you do with this? Or like, how would you display this button? Or like, what do unique things could we bring to this project together? You know, I’d bring the function she’d bring the form. And it was such good collaboration. And I really, I think for this particular episode, I really want to focus also on like that front facing side of things like she brought clients, I brought clients like so it was no longer like a solo effort there. And that’s big, because I think a lot of women that are listening to this podcast are not necessarily not confident in their skills, but it may be like the sales and marketing side of things. It’s like how do I find clients? Like they’re not coming or you know, whatever. That’s, I say that because women that have listened to this podcast, I’ve literally said this to us. And so collaborations and not seeing people as competition, surprisingly, can actually bring you more work than you might expect. You might think, no, I have to like be out there and like be assertive and aggressive and like against everybody else. But in reality, you could work with people to book more clients. Yep. And so, you know, you’re like,

Karyn Paige 07:42
I don’t want to talk about the idea of like, you know, this trendy thing of like community over collaboration or over competition, but like what you just said made me think of the old like African proverb like, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together, you know what I mean? Like, it’s totally possible to completely do your own thing. But like, when you think about how much more enriched your end result can be, or your journey can be, or your project can be, if it’s not just you. There’s benefits, right? There’s just benefits. And it also makes me think of just like, literally, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone. It’s not the competition of there’s only one person who’s going to get one project, like there are literally millions of websites on the internet. People need websites every day, there’s a lot of opportunities like I don’t know, if you listen, Hamilton, but there’s a song called the world was wide enough. And it’s just like, I didn’t mean to fight you at all, because there was enough space for both of us to do our own thing and like succeed, right? But also, again, in the spirit of collaboration, it’s like it just enriches everybody’s experiences, right?

Sam Munoz 08:41
It’s interesting, this idea of like there being opportunities for everyone. It’s like this, maybe the fear there might be fear. And that’s why you might gravitate towards competition of like the fear of lack of abundance. But truly there is enough for everyone. I was just on a collaboration, networking call recently with someone who does WordPress membership sites, who also does WordPress membership sites, SMC, and we were talking about it. And I was like, even if everyone in the world that wanted a membership site came to us, I couldn’t even do it. Like we could not grow a team big enough to support every single person. And so if you think of it that way, there’s no reason not to join forces with someone collaborate with them, network with them, even if they offer what you offer because they might be at capacity. We just talked about this on the burnout Episode Episode 20. about like, there is a point where you reach capacity and if you take on another client you might burn out and so if this client has a deadline that you know you do not have the capacity for how great would it be how good would it be for your business for your friends business to say I can’t do this I don’t have the ability to do this like within my availability, but I’ve got a friend who would be perfect for you what a great professional courtesy to say I’ve got an awesome very well equipped fellow web designer and that puts out positive energy right and you know, your girl is gonna To bring you back later when she doesn’t have availability and send it back your way, like it’s going to happen.

Karyn Paige 10:05
Yes. And we talked about this again, like, definitely go back and listen to Episode 14 about like not offering everything right, because there’s a lot of juice in there, we kind of dig a little bit deeper, but it makes me think of, maybe you don’t have the capacity. But also, maybe you just don’t offer the thing, right. And so if somebody comes to you, the professional courtesy, if you don’t offer what they need is to point them in the right direction of the person who does the thing that they need. Somebody references, I call it the Miracle on 34th Street thing, right? Like, Macy’s didn’t have the toy train. But gimbels did. And so the Santa Claus from Macy’s sent them over to gimbels. And then the lady was so happy that she was like, I’m always going to shop at Macy’s. Thank you, Santa, you know what I mean? So it’s like, but here’s the thing, but like how sorry, I don’t know why I just said, here’s the thing. Here’s the thing, if you are thinking of everything as a competition, and so you don’t allow yourself to meet other women in the web design industry, or the development industry, or the branding, copywriting, all these things, right, because you’re like, I want to do it all for myself, I want to hoard all the opportunities for myself, you wouldn’t even have a like mental Rolodex of people that you could send that person to,

Sam Munoz 11:16
and like, send them and know that they’re actually good, not just be like, Oh, let me Google someone and like, send them your way, in terms of like, the professional courtesy side of things like fully knowing that the people that you’re making references to are skilled or qualified, they have a good client experience, you won’t know that unless you start collaborating and connecting with these people, you could just like, I think that that’s really, really important like to, in integrity, provide a good, awesome referral to someone and you want them to do the same for you. Right? Like you want them to know that you know what you’re doing. And one great way to do that is to actually talk to them and like start collaborating, start connecting with them. So yes, Karyn. Exactly.

Karyn Paige 11:52
Yeah, I’ve gotten on on so many, just kind of like coffee chats getting to know you chats with other con like, like service providers, you know, because it’s just like, Hey, you do this thing. I do this thing you want to talk shop, you want to like talk about, like the stuff that we do, like, oh, what would you use? Oh, kinda, I’m just thinking about nerds like when nerds get together, and they just start hanging out about the thing that they love, right? Like, if only for that reason, this might be a motivation to get out and have like, a collaborative conversation with somebody, right? Just so that you can be in community and like talk shop with somebody who knows exactly the language that you speak.

Sam Munoz 12:29
Yes. And I have to say something about this. Because when we started our mentorship, I had a lot of people in my life, non business people, but people in my life who were like, why would someone hire your company, if you have all these other people that they could hire to. And I’m like, there’s opportunity for everyone, obviously, like, it’s really, really interesting, because we now have a community of like, we have a space and a group of women, web designers, and the environment that we foster there is not about competition, it’s like every single woman in this space, could be a potential collaborator for you, you work on a particular type of software or platform, awesome, she doesn’t. So you guys can connect in that way. And it’s like, if you stopped seeing people as they’re against me, and like, they’re gonna take money from me. And instead think of like, when I talk to this person, I now have access to a network that I didn’t have before. And they might be getting inquiries that are from people that they don’t actually really want to work with. Right? Like they’re receiving inquiries from someone that’s my dream client. And if we create that relationship, and if you get really clear on like, who you work with what you offer, there’s so much to dig into there. Like you can show up as a better collaborator, if you know your business better. There you go, we can spin on another episode about that. Yes,

Karyn Paige 13:42
it makes me think of the episode we did like owning the space equals confidence, right. And so the underlying thing that we’re talking about in this episode, and also that episode is really like just standing in, like your expertise, really being confident about what you do, where you shine, and also trusting that there are an abundance of opportunities when you get really clear on that stuff. And you start just positioning yourself and owning the space, right. So like, again, collaboration, opportunities can come more easily once you let go have the scarcity that you have to say yes to everything. And you have to hoard all the opportunities that come to you. Because you will get to a point where you’re like, you know what, I charge five figures for this really one specific thing that I do so when somebody comes to me, and they need a brand new like four page website, they don’t have any content, they don’t have anything to promote, they don’t have a shot, like I don’t do that work, because I’m over here doing this other work, but I know like five people who can do that work. So let me send you over to them and more specifically, you have a specific industry or you have a specific aesthetic, and that’s not what I do either. So out of the five people that I know who do the thing that you need, let me actually just send you to like this one person because she’s perfect for you. Yes. So it kind of is really tied into like a confidence he’s and really like owning

your space. piece.

Sam Munoz 15:01
So it’s really interesting because something that I’ve observed, and you probably have to Karyn, when we’ve been speaking to women in our mentorship and just like people who listen to the podcast and other women web designers is one of the questions we ask is often, where are you finding clients, our clients coming to you. And I would say, almost everyone, one of the bullet points they say, is referrals. And I think that we often think referrals have to come from other clients, but your referral network is not just prospective clients, past clients, etc. It can also be people that are also in your industry. And so thinking about your referral network, beyond just clients beyond just potential clients, and all you know, also including those collaborators, those other web designers, the branding experts, etc. Like, without question, referrals are a part of the system here, like we have this whole concept of the dream client feedback loop that works because you get referrals, because you’re so good at what you do, because you you know, sell your services, well, all of these things. And so the referral network is related to the collaborations that you’re creating. And putting effort into that is really, really important. Like if we’re talking about where we should be spending our time spending your time making connections with other people might feel like, again, like if you had the mindset of their potential competition, you might be thinking about it and saying, like, is this really worth my time? Maybe I should just go like, make an Instagram post. But what if instead, you had one really powerful 30 minute call with a potential collaborator, and now they know, you do Squarespace and they do WordPress, and now you they have you as a reference, you know, or you have this like one specific service that you offer, like you said, now they know if someone comes to them and asks for that. They’re gonna send them your way. And so they’re a part of the referral network. They’re a part of indirect business activities that will generate revenue for you.

Karyn Paige 16:50
Okay, this is so random, but I’m gonna go off on a little bit of a tangent because it makes me think of this thing that I saw, which to me, like really sums up so far, everything that we talked about, okay. There’s this documentary concert film called Dave Chappelle block party, and he gets like all these like hip hop and r&b and he also artists to do this concert. And there’s really only two women who are on the roster. One is Erykah Badu, and one is Joe Scott. And it’s really interesting because I don’t really remember the film crew like asking any of the men like hey, like common How do you feel when Kanye West is rapid into that, but for some reason, they asked Joe Scott so Do you ever feel like threatened by Erykah Badu? Oh, I see where you’re going with this. Joe Scott looked dead in the camera and was like I could never do it. Erykah? Badu does that she could never do it. I do. And let’s be real here just got actually wrote a song for Erykah Badu that was a hit, right? You know what I mean? So it’s like, she gave her this thing that like, put her on. And then all of a sudden, it’s like, again, this whole collaboration, but also like this confidence of like, I’m not over here worried, because I’m so confident about the thing that I do. And now we’re both here. And we’re both like working together, putting each other on, like doing all of these things, creating opportunities, right. I also think, too, that there’s a piece in there maybe a little bit as women where we’re like, there has only been space for one of us in the room sometimes. That’s right. So we are fighting this like false thing of like, I’m the token woman in the room, so I can’t let any other ladies in here because she’s gonna knock me off the pedestal. But hey, there’s room enough for everybody. Right? Like, I just can’t stress it enough. I can’t and who says there can only be one pedestal?

Sam Munoz 18:32
Yes. Oh, I love that. Right? Because there’s like there is societal things that make us maybe more inclined towards competition because we feel like we have to be first or the only like you said that is so interesting. Thank you for sharing that. What did you say was an era

Karyn Paige 18:50
Yeah, is a documentary called Dave Chappelle his block party really fun, really fun piecework as people of marginalized groups, that literally has been the thing. So,

Sam Munoz 18:58
so interesting. And so like, let’s go against that, right, like, let’s work together, because they don’t want to see women working together. Right. patriarchy doesn’t want to see women working together, they want to see us tearing each other apart, when in reality, they want to take all those other ones, you know, we’re so hyper focused on this one that they’re like, well, we’ll just take all the other ones. But we’re not going to let that happen. Why should we

Karyn Paige 19:20
do that part? That part right there? Yeah, it’s like, ladies go fight over there. Go have a cat fight in the ladies room. We’re over here doing 95% of the websites on the internet by

Sam Munoz 19:30
right. So we don’t have to do that. So and then, and then pulling it back to this other idea of collaborating is like, what if we drop our own egos a bit and say, you know, I’m not that great at branding. And she’s really good at branding and we can work together and make something that will knock that guy out of the water and it’s high quality. It’s rich, it’s a high price point because it’s so you know, amazing. So let’s talk a little bit like tactics, actionable steps in terms of like okay, so How to start collaborating. Obviously, we talked about like a lot of the mindset stuff, and just in general, like how to flip the idea of competition into collaboration, and really shifting the way that we look at other people who are in our space. And obviously, like, I will just say that there is sometimes it can be hard, because your ego is a powerful force. And so sometimes you’re like, I don’t want to work with that person, because for whatever reason, they’re too good. They’re not good enough, like, et cetera, et cetera. But if we own this idea of like, I’m going to find collaborators I’m going to find other people to connect with, I think that that’s the first step is just like start making connections with other web designers stop like hiding them, stop hiding from them, and just go out and start taking like networking calls, have conversations, just like what do you do? Well, this is what I do. Interesting. Well, now I can send someone your way. If you know, like, very natural, it’s a win win. Getting on networking causes the easiest possible type of call you can get on.

Karyn Paige 20:55
Yes, and also very fun and very low pressure, right, like, so if you’re someone who isn’t really getting on a lot of calls, maybe they feel really intimidating to you, because you associate getting on a call with booking a client, have some fun, get on a call with somebody and just talk to them, like he would talk to any new friend that you might be making, or that he will feel scary is really about like asking questions in the spirit of community in the spirit of all of these things. And it’s like you mentioned being intimidated, because maybe they’re better than you or something like that. Well, what’s wrong with you getting better by being around people who are better than you? Again, in the spirit of ideas? It’s like, how does it benefit you to make this connection? Today? We have these conversations with women who are like, my designs aren’t good enough? My designs aren’t good enough. My designs aren’t good enough. Well, how do you get good? How do you get good at your designs? Or what if the person that you get on the chat with is the person who is at capacity and needs to pass off work? That’s right, and they pass it off to you

Sam Munoz 22:01
like that is valuable? Like is there I mean, like huge, and I think I really, really, really want to mention this, about this idea of like not being good at web design, I think it’s really important to remember that like, I think we talked about this, I just cannot remember which episode or maybe it was a behind the scenes conversation. But like, there is no number one, this is not the Olympics, there is no supreme winner of web design in terms of like, this person is the best in the world. And there’s like a stratification and like you have a number and you’re ranked, it’s design. It’s artistic, it’s also broad. And whether you’re on the design or development end, there is no number one. And so wherever you are is good. We talked about this before I know we did about this idea of like you are good enough. And if you can build a website, and you want to increase your skills, please, by all means go for it. Learn from people, like you said, Karyn, like collaborate with people. But also understand that like, if you can build a website, you’re leaps and bounds beyond the clients who want to hire you to build a website. And so that’s important to remember going into those conversations, like you’re probably better than you think you are. And when you talk to someone and you like you vibe and you connect, it is a collaborative relationship. I think that that whole idea to have like, I’m not as good as them is coming from a competition space, it’s coming from a space of like, one of us has to be better, but like, what if we’re both just good?

Karyn Paige 23:24
And what if we’re both just good at the things that we do you know what I mean? Like, again, back to the idea of specifically around like things like design and branding, which are very artistic and very subjective, right? What if you are the soft color palette, script, font Queen, that is where you live? Everything is like impressionistic watercolors, you know what I mean? That is your aesthetic, and you live in that. And then you meet the person who is the modern art, pop art, contrast in colors with black borders Queen, and you’re like, I need you in my life because I live over here in the Impressionism world and you live over here in the like modern art, you know, Lichtenstein world, let’s collab or let’s even be on each other’s referral list because there may come a client across my calendar one day who’s looking for the aesthetic that I don’t offer. I want to know the shadows Queen I want to know the animation Queen I want to know the Shopify query.

Sam Munoz 24:34
So it’s like go make it go start making a list of like potential people that you might be like on the hunt for almost, you know, like, Do I have a Squarespace reference? Yeah, do I have a Wix reference yet? Do I have you know, Shopify and e commerce person? Like that’s a very tactical actionable thing that any listener can go do right now is like start making a list and if you don’t have someone to fill that spot, go find them.

Karyn Paige 24:55
Do I know anyone who does photos because turns out every client needs photos. My wheels are just like turning burning, burning, burning, I know,

Sam Munoz 25:01
and the thing about those collaborations and the referrals, and all of that is like, I love thinking about how it benefits potential clients too, because like making that really good reference is going to be so nice for them, they don’t have to keep searching for someone to build their website, like they’ve got a solid reference, that feels really good. If you’re collaborating, you know, on a team, you know, like, maybe you make like a small collaboration team, like, okay, she does photos, she does branding, she does websites, like we get a project, and then we all work together, that’s a great client experience, because all they have to do is come to you, and they get to do all the things, there’s so many positives to collaborating.

Karyn Paige 25:34
So I feel like this is a really good place that kind of wrap up this conversation. But like one final thought that I have is really the side effects of competition, and the side effects of doing it all on your own, versus being in community. Having a network of people and collaborating. The side effects of competition is loneliness. It’s feeling like all the pressure is always on you all the time. And we have seen that actually a lot recently in other competitive areas like sports and things where you get to a point where it’s all riding on you, and there’s a lot of pressure. And that’s not a good place to live, it doesn’t feel good. It’s not good for our mental and our emotional and our physicals. Right. So in honor of like collaboration over competition and the benefits that it can bring you in the abundance is really not feeling alone in the work that you do, which is a very sustainable practice for running your business.

Sam Munoz 26:29
I love that, Karyn Yeah, because like, there’s that whole idea of like being a solopreneur, and all of that stuff. But like, just because you are working, you know, maybe you are the only employee, the only person in the business, that doesn’t mean that you can’t collaborate. That doesn’t mean you can’t create these like foe co workers and things like that, like there’s so many ways to do it. And I definitely wanted to say that we dig very, very deeply into this idea of collaborating in the mentorship. And if you think about it, the mentorship is also a group of other web designers. So it’s like built in that there are other people that you could potentially connect with, like you might find your writer die, collaborator within the mentorship. Like that’s a possibility that’s available to you. And if nothing else, you’re simply not doing business alone. You’re not doing you know all of that. So this isn’t like an advertisement for the mentorship. But I do love that like what we’ve created. Not only do we talk about the tactics, but also we have created a space where there are those common connections in terms of what we do. So I think that’s really valuable. And obviously, after this episode, if you’re interested in the mentorship you can hear more of the details following this episode. Yeah.

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