If you’ve been following me on twitter or around the blogosphere you may remember my work from SakitaHolley.com.
It’s been a few months since that site went dark and I’m so excited to finally have a space to tell you what happened!
Thinking of a Master Plan
Around this time last year, I was experiencing blog fatigue because I was unhappy with the overall look and feel of SakitaHolley.com. So I reached out to one of my friends who does amazing design work and asked him if he’d be interested in collaborating with me on the redesign. And he said yes.
So I sent him a brief with all of my ideas and then he went quiet for a few months. After following-up with him a bunch of times, things finally seemed like they were moving forward. But then, after a few more weeks passed and I asked for an update and mock-up of the new site, the truth came out: he hadn’t even gotten started on it because he was so swamped with other projects.
Upset by this, I sent a nice little note explaining that while I completely understand having priorities, much of this could have been avoided, had he just told me ‘No,’ when I first approached him (Make sure you remember this part of the story for later).
On to the Next One
Moving on, I immediately put out an A.P.B. for new designers and even met with a few of them but couldn’t find anyone that was a good fit. So then, I took to my twitter account thinking that maybe this would be a good way to find someone who wasn’t already on my radar. Didn’t help.
But surprisingly, I got a private message from the guy who flaked on me a few paragraphs ago, saying that he was still really excited about the project and that if I was open to giving him another shot, he’d take it.
Isn’t this all starting to sound like a bad romance?
Backtracking Like an Idiot
When my search for a new designer didn’t yield any results, I decided (like a nut) to restart the process with my “friend.”
Initially, I was very optimistic about the whole thing because he’s the person I wanted to work with in the first place, and this time around he was much more proactive and present. So we got the ball rolling on the project and had several meetings to discuss progress when alllll of a sudden…SakitaHolley.com (was one of many WP-based sites that) got hacked!!!
At first I was distraught, but when I realized that I’d be able to salvage the three years worth of content that I created (SakitaHolley.com launched in 2009) I felt better about having to take the site down because in my mind my NEW and IMPROVED site design was only a month or so away from being completed.
Or so I thought…
When I received the first mock-up of the site design, I was elated; everything looked great. So naturally, after I approved the mock-ups, I thought he would get started on building the site, because I was under the impression that he had the capability of designing and developing…which is something that he led me to believe.
I didn’t realize that this wasn’t the case until I received an invoice from a design firm that was based “overseas.”
I use quotation marks around the word “overseas” because apparently this design firm was based in India, Europe or Pluto and my “friend” was using google translate to decipher their emails before forwarding them to me. I STILL haven’t gotten a straight answer on WHO these people were…probably because he doesn’t even know.
This may have been a red flag to most but I decided to keep the project moving forward because at this point, I felt that we were in too deep and could already see what the finished product would look like.
From Bad to Worst
By this point, my blog had been down for a couple of months and I was starting to get a little worried. So the next time I checked-in with him on the progress, he started giving me attitude and this whole spiel about how “this wasn’t a top priority” for him and that I shouldn’t expect him to “drop everything,” just because I have a question about MY website, that I was PAYING him to develop.
After that conversation, I knew I was in trouble because it was starting to turn into what happened the first time we tried to work together. He started blowing off meetings, ignoring calls to send a text, preferring to communicate only by e-mail…
Super frustrating and unprofessional.
And then it went from baddddddd to worst.
When I got the files for the website and uploaded them into the backend THE. SITE. DID. NOT. WORK. AT. ALL.
It had ZERO functionality and was essentially just a pretty PDF because the foreign firm he hired hard-coded everything onto one page. THE. SHIT. JUST. DID. NOT. WORK.
I was livid. And he went ghost. I didn’t hear from him for about a full week or two after he said he would “try to have it fixed.”
So I went and called everyone I knew that might have a connection to a GOOD team of designers and ended up hiring these two amazing guys to try and fix what my “friend” screwed up. They were great. They worked on the site for months (yes, it has been months on months on months at this point) but ultimately realized that it was like trying to “plug holes in a sinking ship” (their words not mine).
So at that point, I did what I always seem to end up doing:
I started over from scratch and built the site myself.
And here we are…