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What do Spiritual People want?

I created a research project to answer the question “What do Spiritual people want?” by looking at the websites of the Spiritual Masters of our time and specifically the section “above the fold” (what do you see when you land on the page.)

To get a more balanced idea, I chose a sample from people I know and resonate with, and from teachers that I don’t know or don’t resonate with. 

I will share my conclusions at the end.

1. Deepak Chopra


At the top, his website features a slider with three options:

 – meditations

 – book about meditations

 – book about Metahuman 

What stands out to me is that the design feels fresh and up to date. There is a clear thing for me to do once I land on the page: either look into meditations or get one of Deepak’s books. Otherwise, I can dive into the top menu or scroll down for more. 

The words that jump out are meditation, Metahuman, infinite potential.

2. Eckhart Tolle


As soon as you land on the page, you are greeted with a pop-up inviting you to join the Private Membership Community. I believe the target audience is people who already know Eckhart and would love to connect with a community around his teachings. I say this because except for using the word “FREE,” there is no other incentive to click the “Learn More” button. And it also uses a photo of the teacher. 

Once you close the pop-up, the entire top section is filled with a call to signup for a free audio miniseries. I like that you can’t miss what it is about: “liberation from the pain-body.” Even if you don’t know what the “pain-body” is, you still have a pretty good idea of what it may be like. And as you read more, it is about negative emotions, energetic blockages, and so on.

The website does an excellent job of communicating quickly what it is about and for whom clearly. 

My only concern is with using the pop-up. I believe the page is trying to solve a problem that I also have: how do you respond to new people landing on the site that are maybe looking for a pain-free life but at the same time also offer something for long-time fans that might be looking for a deeper connection? Right now, there is no harmony between the two, and I believe it causes some distractions and visitors bouncing off. 

What jumps off the page: clear messaging, pain-body, free, emotions, presence. It is clear what you have to do. 

3. Gabby Bernstein


So far, this is the most focused website. It has an obvious purpose for the visitors who land on the page: promote the “Dear Gabby” podcast. A pop-up jumps out, giving rewards for those to subscribe and review the podcast—an effective way to generate engagement. I notice here that both the pop-up and the top section are aligned in purpose; there is no disconnect. Well done. 

What jumps out at me from the page: 

  • the use of bold colors – a departure from the softer palette on Deepack or Tolle’s site
  • Gabby is the clear image of the brand with a full-body shot
  • they use jagged distortions in the pop-up – which is interesting! – it suggests disharmony, but at the same time, it makes it stand out amongst spiritually oriented sites. I wonder if this is used because of user testing or they have another reason behind it.
  • words: “become the happiest person you know” – I like this tag line a lot

What is hidden but still at the very top is: “New? Start Here” – which is an excellent way to solve the problem I mentioned earlier: catering to both new and regular visitors.

4. Dr. Joe Vitale


The design choice for this website feels incredibly dated to me. That being said, I suspect there is a good reason for this design. Maybe the target audience is older people who remember how the web used to look back in the 90s. 

But one thing we can know for sure: if this website did not work for Joe Vitale, he would change it!

What jumps off the page:

  •  the very distinct look of the page
  •  words like: life mastery, zero limits, personal revolution, the wealth within

5. Dr. Joe Dispenza


What I love about this webpage is the video at the top, with very inspiring images, music, and titles. It helps to create an immediate emotional connection. Unfortunately, all that is wasted because there is no call to action that I can see. As a visitor, I am left wondering what I am supposed to do next? 

What jumps at me:

  • happy and emotional people
  • powerful words – unlimited, magnificent, empowered, whole, supernatural
  • at the top, there is a small call to action that says: “Get Started with the Formula.”

6. Michael Roads


I have a performance comment to make here: as soon as I try to load this page, I am greeted with white space for a while, then a spinning animation, and I need to wait a bit for the page to load: in my book that is way too long to wait for one picture and a bunch of text. 

Ignoring the performance issues, here is what I observe: this is a personal brand website. It features a large photo of the author (which takes up the whole screen on a mobile device) and then a text block that starts with “Introducing myself…”

Maybe the purpose of this site is to be a greeting card, in which case it does a good job. But if it has have a different purpose, I don’t know what that is from glancing at the top of the page. There are no visible buttons or other calls to action. 

What jumps at me:

  • Michael’s image is just beautiful – full disclosure: I love his books, and based just on that, I think he is an amazing human being. So I am biased. 
  • The logo with the infinite and the heart merged into one symbol: simple, clear message, brilliant design! 
  • Unfortunately, no words are jumping at me from the page. If I cheat and scroll down, I see the following section starting with “What is Life?”. Now, that is a powerful question, and maybe that should have been the top section. 

Digging deeper into the introduction, I find things like: modern mystic, spiritual teacher, the illusion of separation, realms of consciousness. Good stuff, but hidden in the text. 

As with Joe Vitale above, if this site would not work for Michael, I believe he would change it. So I have to conclude that it meets the purpose for which it was created.

7. David Icke


The feeling of this page is that of an online newspaper. I immediately noticed that even though the site is called “davidike.com”, there is no picture of the man in the top section. This lack of personal photos is different from all the websites I’ve looked at so far. 

What jumps at me: 

  • the use of labels for articles and videos (green and yellow) that overpower the titles of the articles which should get a higher priority. 
  • the image at the top was not click-able – you have to click the text to open the article – which is not obvious
  • it is clear that it is a news website, and unless you already know David Icke, you will not know what kind of news until you read the titles

8. Ickonic


The first impression is that it looks like Netflix. The top banner clarifies that it is a video site by using the familiar “play” button as the image. This website is a paid service since they offer a free trial. And once you read the small text, you get a better idea of what this is about: videos that will empower you to take control of your life, health, and wellbeing. 

I believe that using “Welcome to Iconic” as the big title is a wasted opportunity to communicate something more meaningful. If I didn’t already know what kind of videos I would find here, I would have a hard time understanding that at a glance from the top banner. 

Under the top banner is a gallery of available videos. That feels a bit crowded and busy, making it harder to focus on the items. But you can see David Icke, words like “magic,” “healthy,” “fasting” so you begin to get an idea. 

9. The Dalai Lama


Again this looks like a personal brand site where visitors already know what to expect, so there is no need to inform them. You do have a big title to clarify what you are looking at, and then a big picture of the Dalai Lama with the call to action to look at the photos. The imagery is beautiful, but I wonder if looking at the pictures is what most people visit the website for.

I believe most people landing on the home page would find the next section with the “Latest News” and “Upcoming Schedule” more valuable. 

What jumps at me is the lack of any explanation. It is assumed that you know about everything on the website already. So maybe this is more of a news hub and less of a teaching site. 

10. Thich Nhat Hanh


Once the webpage loads, you are greeted with a pop-up inviting you to subscribe to the newsletter. The imagery is beautiful and cursive, the signup button is evident with high contrast, and the title is very inviting: “Bring Inspiration to Your Inbox!” Who doesn’t want that? You don’t need to know anything about this monk to decide if you want inspiration in your inbox or not. I believe they did an excellent job here. What is missing from the pop-up is a place to type in your email address. That will happen on the next page, adding more friction. I don’t understand the reason behind that.

Closing the pop-up, you will see a slider with beautiful images of community and uplifting messages. 

There is no button to click, so my eyes wander around and land on the “Donate” button at the top and then on the message “planting seeds of compassion” with the beautiful cursive writing.

I believe the design does a good job setting the mood with the warm images and cursive text sparingly, but it then fails to have a clear call to action. However, the images and text are interesting enough that invite you to explore more and eventually find some actions you can take on the site.

What jumps at me:

  • words like: compassion, humanity, generosity, giving, mindfulness
  • beautiful images focused on community
  • text overlay is sometimes hard to read, but the font is big enough, so I will be ok with that
  • the scriptwriting of the tag line is very beautiful and softens the sharpness of screen fonts

11. Celestine Vision – James Redfield


The top section is an invitation to join the Celestine Community. And even if you don’t know what that is, the sub-text explains it clearly. What is missing is the clear indication that you need to tap/click the image to open the community page. 

And a fun fact: as you hover the mouse over the image, a small box shows up informing us that this is the “SALES PAGE BANNER.” This slipup is why you need to have image titles that make sense for your audience, not your developers. 

What I like here is the clear focus. There is not much you can do, and it is clear from the design what you are expected to do on this page. Using “ALL CAPS” almost everywhere is not something that I would do, but the text is easy to read, so it works in this case. 

What jumps at me:

  • the words: celestine, community, books

12. Don Miguel Ruiz


At the top, the part that draws your attention is a beautiful image talking about: “Reflections: a path to authenticity.” Unfortunately, you cannot click on the image, and there is no button that I can find. I find this strange because the subtext says: “an apprenticeship program with…”, so the implication is that you are invited to join this program.

What I like about this page is that it is so elegant and straightforward. However, it is too simple as it lacks a call to action button. 

I don’t know the purpose of the site, so I cannot comment if it is working. It has a store, and one of the products is the program, so it is puzzling that the top banner does not link to it. I am sure that once this becomes a problem, they will update the site. 

What jumps at me: 

  • the beautiful image
  • words like: authenticity, apprenticeship, spiritual teacher

13. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


This has the feeling of a modern website. The top banner has smooth transitions. Each slide has a clear call to action. And there is a tiny bouncing arrow at the bottom that gently instructs you to scroll down for more. 

The message is also clear: a vision of a stress-free and violence-free world—a voice for peace and human values. 

What jumps at me:

  • all the slides feature a picture of the Guru
  • the call to action is easy to understand, so you immediately know what this site is about what you can do here

14. Rhonda Byrne


She has a very simple and streamlined website. The title of it is “Feel Good” with short teaching under it. I like this a lot! The first thing this website does is to create value for you by teaching something really simple that you can apply immediately. It also sets the tone for what to expect from the rest of the experience. You either are intrigued, or you bounce off. There is no call to action in this top section, and I believe this is by design. 

What jumps at me:

  • the words “feel good” – they immediately draw you it – it’s like a command that feels good 🙂
  • the close-up images for Rhonda Byrne – provide a nice counterbalance for the text section

15. Paulo Coelho


The site for Paule Coelho is a blog site, and I think he makes that very clear from the top banner that has his name, his picture, and the words “Stories and Reflections.” 

What jumps at me: 

  • the very simple design
  • a sideways look – instead of a front-facing image


At the end of this research project, I realized that my premise was flawed. You can’t learn what spiritual people want by visiting the website of the spiritual leaders of the time.

Some websites focus on providing teachings and tools, while others focus more on the personal brand. 

The common thread that I noticed was the writings around human nature and expanding of our consciousness. Things like being free of pain and fear or mindfulness or infinite potential. 

I did not learn what spiritual people want, but I did learn about various ways our spiritual teachers make themselves and their message available to the world.

The people who use mentors and coaches advance 4x faster

As a lone wolf, I take great pride in doing things by myself. But since I became a father, the stupidity of that was obvious. While it can be fun and challenging, it is also very slow and inefficient. We don’t have unlimited time, so the choices we make on spending time matter!

Learning from other people’s mistakes and hiring coaches and mentors makes a lot of sense if you want to progress fasters.

But how do you choose a good coach or mentor?

I used to believe that you need to go for world-class coaching. Because you can advance the fastest if you learn from the best of the best:

  • They’ve tried it all.
  • They know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Since they are world-class, you won’t find this knowledge anywhere else.

But there is a serious flaw in my thinking! And that is: I am asking a word-class coach to teach me how to most effectively swim across the wide canal, without ever once entering a swimming pool. 

Simply put: there is absolutely no way for me to apply the advice they give me, and it is a high chance I may not even understand it.

I realized that you need to start at the beginning, not at the end. Meaning: if you want to beat the world record at swimming across the canal, you will need to start with learning how to swim in the first place!

So my revised definition of a good coach or mentor is someone who is way ahead of you so they can challenge you and point out your mistakes, but not someone who is so ahead of you that what they are saying makes no sense!

Think about this for a moment: even if you can afford a one-hour call with the best swimming coach on the planet, you don’t know what to ask. It is improbable that you will ask the questions that would get you the most value. 

It is the same when building your online presence. Trying to do it alone is slow. But trying to hire the best team to make you a mega-website as your first project is not the best idea either. 

Using WordPress the wrong way

I have been using WordPress the wrong way, and I have just realized it. 

I often wondered why anyone would want a website built with WebFlow or with SquareSpace when WordPress gives you the power to customize everything you want.

The answer is so simple and evident that it is a little embarrassing that I have not seen it before.

Most people don’t want that power. 

Most people want a website that will help them get closer to their business or personal goals. And if you are not a web developer, those goals do not include customizing every aspect of your site. 

I have watched a video presentation with a project hand-over where the client could only add new items on their site: new beer flavors. I am looking at this, and I am thinking: “wow, that customer is powerless. He is so limited in what he can do with the site. For every little change, he will need to hire the developer again.” 

But I was wrong. The client was not into doing minor changes on the site. He wanted a professional website that he could be proud of, and he only wanted to add more beer flavors. Being so limited in what he could do also meant there was no way he could make a mistake or break the site. He could relax into doing what was important to him. 

When delivering a website built in WordPress, it may not be a good idea to hand over the admin account. The administrator account can feel overwhelming with all the buttons available, and it is also very easy to break the site. 

What you should do instead is to create custom post types, custom fields, and custom capabilities and then set up an account that can only work with those and hand over only that account. This way, the client cannot break the site, and they can only customize and update the items they need to. 

Of course, you have to discuss a maintenance plan for the cases where admin access is needed, but that is a different discussion.

Would you be offended not to have administrative access to your site? Or would you be relieved? 

Design is Not Everything

When building a website, you may think that all you need is the web design, which is all you may be willing to buy.  

And this is understandable because it is what you see and what your customers see. 

It is also why page builders like Divi and Elementor are so popular with WordPress. You can quickly and visually set up how your website will look. 

But once traffic this your site and the business takes off, you realize other things are just as important if not more important than design:

  1. Is the site functional? Does it do what it is supposed to do for the user? Is the sales process working smoothly? Does the contact form send you all the messages? 
  2. Is it fast? With the Google update in May 2021, site speed is a factor in their ranking system, which means that slow sites will get a penalty and fast sites will get a boost. But that is not all. From a user experience point of view, if they have to wait 10 seconds for the cart page to load, they will abandon the purchase process. 
  3. Is it clear? This item is where design can shine when it focuses on clarity first and aesthetics seconds. It doesn’t matter if your site is beautiful if your users have no clue how to navigate it or what they should do on the page that just loaded. 
  4. Is it responsive? Does it work perfectly on mobile? Today’s data suggest that you should develop the site on a mobile view first and then check the desktop view. 
  5. Does it handle well spikes in traffic? You don’t want to have your site crash in the middle of a successful marketing campaign. 
  6. Is it secure? Is your customers’ data safe? Is your site well insulated against hacking attempts? Are you using the best security practices?
  7. Do you have a recovery plan in place? What happens in case of a hardware failure? Or if you get kicked out by the hosting company?

If you still think your site needs a stellar design to bring in revenue, look at Google.com or Amazon.com. Most designers would argue they can do a much better job. But how many can create a much better revenue stream? Or handle that level of traffic? 

I suggest you start your website by investing in a solid foundation, don’t just buy a “pretty picture” of a website.  

Lack of Clarity leads to poor results

While it is common sense, it is not common practice to ask “WHY” when doing something. 

Building your new website, or revamping the old one, needs to have a strong “why” behind it. 

If you are doing it because everybody else is doing it, or because your competition is doing it, that is not good enough. 

Drilling deep with the “why-questions” can help you uncover clear, measurable goals. When you have clear, measurable goals, not only do you know what to ask from your vendors, but it is effortless to see where you are headed and when you have reached your destination. 

Clear, measurable goals also cut to the clutter of questions like: “what colors should I use?” “what size should the logo be?”, “what layout should my home page have?” The answer is very straightforward: choose the option that gets you closer to your goals

If you don’t know which one gets you closer, you can either default to what works in your space or A/B test it if you have a large enough audience. 

Getting clarity is hard but is the step that has the most impact on the project’s success. I’d rather delay something until I get crystal clear than building a solution that brings me to the wrong place. 

The Spiritual Software Engineer’s Guide to building your Online Presence

START HERE – Build an audience

Connect with people around you (online or offline) that share some of your values and interests. You need to build a bridge between “i/me/myself” and how it assists “we/us/ourselves.”

Contribute to what they post and share online. Build a conversation with them. First and foremost, try to understand them. You aim to create a community.


Pay attention and take notes:

– what do they ask?

– where do they need help?

– what inspires them?

– what is the problem they have?

Create content generously answering these questions: meaning for free and with the best quality you can (don’t try to be “perfect” that is just hiding from posting the work. Just do your best)

Save this content in a library (folder with documents in GDrive, Dropbox, local PC). You will thank yourself later!


Once you get a feel of your audience, get them to subscribe to a newsletter. Use a free landing pages feature from AWeber, MailChimp, or some such.

By now, you should have a list of topics of interest that you can write about:

– full newsletters – best

– a weekly or monthly update where you send the best posts from Social Media – OK

– curated content – where you recommend other people’s work that relates to your audience – lazy, but it can save you in an emergency when you don’t have something scheduled.


At some point, you should be getting inquiries about private consultations or help with a specific problem. The way to respond is to send them to the appropriate post or article that talks about possible solutions and, at the end, let them know that you are available for a one-on-one session for this price.

People will likely choose the free alternative initially, but eventually, some will pay for the “one-on-one.” Regardless, take important notes of these questions as they are ideas for valuable content or a potential product.


Continue the discussion with your audience.

When you have collected some 4-5 excellent questions to address, announce a free Zoom call where you will talk about those. Invite your audience to participate. At the end of the call, be sure to mention your one-on-one offering for those who need to get specific details. As a reward for giving you their attention so far, you can discount that price just for the live participants.

Be OK with the fact that this first call will not be so great. Things will not work; you will forget to mention something important. All that matters now is to practice. You cannot get to “mastery” by skipping over “beginner.”


Continue the conversation with your audience.

Look for collaboration opportunities.

The WRONG way to do this: “Hey, can you feature me on your blog/podcast/FB page?

The RIGHT way to do this: “Hey, your work is awesome! Do you mind if I feature you on my blog/FB page/newsletter?

Continue the conversation with your audience.


Based on your work so far and the community’s interaction, get an idea for a product or a premium service. Before you start working on it, ask your community what do they think? Are they interested? Would they pay for it? Bounce some numbers off of them. If you get a YES, then it’s great! If you get a NO, then also great! Ask what would need to change for the product to be more useful? (and it may not be the price!)


– you have a much better idea of the name of the site – in some cases, it makes sense to use your own name, in some cases the name of the solution, in some cases the name of the problem.

– you have a massive content library

– you know what your audience wants, so you know how the home page should look like

– you know if you will sell a physical product, or if you will teach or if you will do coaching

If you will sell a physical product, check out Etsy or Shopify. (there is a difference between the two, but that’s a story for later)

If you sell teaching or coaching, have a look at Teachable.

If you don’t plan on selling anything, but you want to level up your blogging game: get a WordPress website (you can even start with free hosting at WordPress.com). This will build your brand and authority in your field, but you still need to have some offers to sustain the project.


Continue the conversation with your audience.

You are much better at this now. Collaborations happen more often. You may be invited to podcasts, or live YouTube shows, or even get speaking engagements, if that’s your thing. Always be prepared to say in one line what do you do and who do you help.


At this point, you have some history with your audience:

– you know what works and how well

– you know how many people become customers

– you have a rough idea of a monthly income

You now have a business, and it is at this point when I would suggest you hire a business coach or participate in some business workshops to help you move forward efficiently.


Quick SEO Setup for your WordPress website

SEO is a large and complicated subject. And it can feel challenging and overwhelming to get everything right.

However, it is essential to get it right because it affects the “first” impression that your potential customers have when they are about to click a link on Google or Facebook that sends them to you. Not to mention the amount of organic traffic that you will get.

The easiest way I know to add this to your WordPress site in a technically correct way, but a breeze to configure, is to use the YOAST SEO plugin.

I am not associated with them in any way, but I do recommend them as I used them on all my WordPress websites.

After the initial plugin install, it will guide you through a configuration wizard. You will answer simple questions, and in the end, everything is configured for you.

Every time you write a new post, or create a new page, take some time to inspect the Yoast block as it will have recommendations about how to improve your SEO for that particular content.

What I like most is the super-easy way to control the image and description that social media platforms will use with links to my websites. It takes the guesswork out of it, and you can even add different images for different platforms if that is important to you.

Subscribing to their free newsletter is another good way to get free SEO training and reminders to keep your website in shape.

Developers like us do things like this…

Developers like us use version control because we understand the value of being able to roll back.

Developers like us do backups because we understand our customer’s need for safety and insurance.

Developers like us have a process because that is key for delivering quality results consistently.

Developers like us ask questions because we understand the pitfalls that come with assumptions.

Developers like us understand business because the perfect solution, delivered too late, is no solution.

Developers like us are good communicators because we don’t expect the client to navigate technical jargon.

Developers like us are honest, simply because honesty is good for business.

Developers like us own our mistakes because it is the way to build trust and get hired again.

Developers like us don’t hide bad news because it shows care for the client to let them know you will not meet the deadline. It gives them time to plan accordingly.

Developers like us value privacy because the client needs to know their private data is safe in your hands.

Developers like us are generous because helping others along the way makes things better.

Developers like us are flexible because it is not always possible for the client to adapt to our workflow.

Developers like us are more expensive because we always deliver more than we got paid for.

Developers like us minimize risk because they understand the client has their reputation to consider when she places it in our hands when we deliver a solution.

Developers like us work fast because we don’t reinvent the wheel and use the best practices available in the field.

Developers like us never stop learning because we know first hand how fast the software world changes.

Developers like us future proof their code because it is never safe to assume how it will be used later on.

Developers like us prioritize customer needs because the final product is for them, not for us.


Note: this is a manifesto based on Seth Godin’s idea of “Tribes”: people like us do things like this.

Automated “downtime” alerts

Do you know that frustrating moment when you realize that your website has been offline for three days? Or that your shopping cart stopped working last week? 

That moment is also valuable because you now know that something is broken, so now you can fix it. But at the same time, you wish you learned of this faster!

On a community website, this may not be an issue, as your users will let you know when the site is broken, but that is not the case for a blog, or an online store, or a landing page that is collecting leads. 

You could set a daily reminder to check things are OK, but that will chip away at your precious time, and it quickly becomes boring, so you will begin to forget to do it or begin to think that you don’t have to monitor the website anymore. 

I am all about automation, so let’s automate this! 

Google Analytics

The easiest way that is also free is to use Custom Alerts from Google Analytics. The logic is simple. You have an expected value of daily traffic (based on historical data), so you create a custom alert to let you know if it drops below that. Of course, you need to have Google Analytics installed on your pages for this to work. 


Another way is to use a tool like Pingdom. I have used them for a long time in the past. They no longer have a free tier, but the value you get from the service I think is well worth the $10/month they ask for it. I like Pingdom because they provide more than just “your web site is down” notifications. They provide performance analytics too, which, as we know, is a factor in how your website ranks in Google searches. 

But the real power of Pingdom is transaction monitoring. Transaction monitoring helps you know if a process is working, not just a page: a process like the signup form, or progressing through making a purchase. These are incredibly difficult things to set up tests by yourself, and you get that for $10/mo.

In House Tools

You can also write mini scripts that load your webpages and inspect the results for clues to determine if the page functions as you intend to. Since I am a software developer, that is what I use today for most of my projects. 

The downside is that you have to write these scripts, test them, and maintain them. Depending on your team composition, that may cost you more than using something like Pingdom. 

The upside is that since it is your code, you can do all sorts of interesting things with it, not just email notifications. You can use that to trigger different processes and even attempt an “auto-fix” by restarting relevant processes or clearing out the caches. 

A more powerful subset of this is writing automated tests for your web apps using a tool like “TestCafe” to simulate a user interacting with your web application going through a purchase or signup process. 

You can create custom monitoring and analytics tools to aggregate data from multiple signal sources that can provide insights not readily available in Google Analytics. For example, you can monitor how a campaign is affecting not only your website but also social media engagement across all the networks you care to track. 

What does the client want?

Some time ago…

Some time ago, the conversation with a potential client would be something along the lines of:

“How can I help you?”

“I want a website to sell my products.”

“OK, great, this is a price and you’ll have in a month.”

A month later…

I’d show her the site, and the reaction would be: “Well, this is not even close to what I had in mind…”

I had to change the game and ask more questions 🙂

“What colors do you like?”

“Red and blue.”

“Great, and font wise?”

“I want something elegant, precise!” 

“For images?”

“Oh, something joyful and warm…”

“Excellent! This is the price; you will have the site in a month”.

A month later…

I’d show her the site, and the feedback is: “This red is not red enough, and now I realize the red and blue are a bad combination! Can we try yellow instead of blue? And the font is too girly for what I have a mind. We are going to need new images as well. The top one is ugly, and the rest don’t match the brant at all.”

Oh, the frustration.

At some point, I’ve spent two weeks back and forth, trying to nail down the shade of blue. That was a waste of my time and the client’s time!

I had come to believe that the clients don’t know how to communicate (I had a much shorter description for this). I had resolved that I would never even discuss with someone who could not write a technical specification that we can agree on, and that I could deliver. 

This decision blocked many customers, but more importantly, blocked important learning. 

The Breakthrough 

I was watching a video from Chris Do. He’s a designer who also teaches business, and I admire his style. To me, it feels like he is talking to me specifically. The kind of decisions you need to make in design apply in software and for anyone who uses creativity to solve a problem. But I digress. 

Back to the video. 

He was taking questions from the audience, and someone asked: “How do you deal with clients who don’t know how to communicate what they want?” Ah! The golden questions! I had the same struggle. I perked up, waiting for the knowledge to be bestowed on me. 

Chris looked into the camera, and you could tell that the question was really testing his patience. Hm… And he said: “How many times do I have to tell you that the good-communication is on you! It is your responsibility to help your client articulate her problem and then discover if you can help her.”

All the pieces began to fall into place in my mind. I suddenly understood that in blaming the client, I was not only asking the wrong questions, but I was not developing a critical communication skill. 

In the present time…

When a client wants to work with me, they better be ready for a ton of questions :). As someone jokingly said, they need to feel like they’ve been to the shrink after the first discovery session. 

Here is how the conversation might look like:

“I want a site that can help me sell my products.”

“Sure, that is something that I specialize in, but out of curiosity, what problem are you trying to solve?”

“Well, I need to increase my revenue, obviously”

“OK, that makes sense. How do you know that having a website is the best way to solve this problem?”

“I don’t know… everybody does it… what other options are there?”

“I am glad you ask. Before I can answer that, I’d need to know more about your business. It’s OK if I ask you a few questions?”


“At the moment, how do you generate your revenue…”

And this would go on for a while. 

In the end, what I need to know is:

– what is the biggest problem that this customer is facing 

– how can I help them discover this problem if they don’t know it

– how can I help them articulate their underlying needs 

– in the end, are we a good fit? Can I help her with what she really needs? Can she afford me? Do we like each other well enough to work together for a few weeks or months? 

And by the end, the client would also need to know

– how do I work

– can she trust me

– what is my price range

– what kind of a solution can she expect

– is hiring me the right choice for her

In Conclusion

Make sure you correctly diagnose the problem before you prescribe a solution. If the solution you’re thinking of is not the right one, you need to find out as soon as possible, not at the end of the process.

If you found value in this article, let me know in the comments below or on Facebook. This feedback will help me understand what to focus on in the following posts. 

Go create the New Paradigm today!