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Graphic Designer: Codementor Increased Our Revenue by 150 Percent

–  Sep 13, 2014

Dhruv Patel is a graphic and UX designer. As co-founder of web design Dhruv Patelfirm Omazing Creations, he’s spent five years honing his skills in conversion optimization and user experience.

When his work started to demand JavaScript and backend expertise, Dhruv needed a way to expand his company’s capabilities while e learned the necessary skills. Thanks to Codementor, he’s been able to take on a much wider array of projects, turn them around more quickly, and boost his revenue by 150 percent.

Omazing’s newest project, Convrrt, is a landing page creation tool that helps even the least tech-savvy users create marketing campaigns for the web.

 

How’d you come to need Codementor?

When you’re coding something, it’s more logical thinking than creative – it’s a left brain/right brain issue. I can be creative, and put blocks and pieces together, but when it comes to coding it in a certain way, it doesn’t come naturally to me. I tried a few online learning programs, which taught me the basics, but when it came to implementing what I’d learned I was still clueless.

One of the latest websites I did the frontend and UI for was Higgle.com, an e-commerce site which was just featured on TechCrunch. In March, I found out about Codementor and set up my first mentorship session. I got help from a gentleman based in Delhi who was really resourceful – he helped me solve a JavaScript issue that wasn’t working the way I was planning, and I picked up some really cool techniques to fix what I’d been doing wrong.

I liked the service immediately. After a few sessions, I learned to browse the mentors and pick the exact one with the skills I was looking for.

You’ve used Codementor extensively over the past few months – are there any mentors you’ve formed a close working relationship with?

Sam Saccone and I have had about 20-plus mentorship sessions. Once a week, for an hour or two, he helps me with Convrrt, because it requires a high level of JavaScript manipulation. It required some expert-level skill – just one hour of Sam’s time would save me four or five hours of figuring it out on my own.

Now, any time I need a session, I ping him through Codementor’s matchmaking system and we start our session the next time our schedules line up, which is a week at most.

My relationship with Sam has even gotten me work. He’d seen my design work, my principles of user experience, so it was a no-brainer for him to have me to do some work for his company – they actually hired me to do a design guide and style guide for a new frontend JavaScript testing tool they’re coming out with.

What are some specific challenges that Sam has helped you solve?

Convrrt LogoSam helped us build Convrrt, a landing page creation tool, which helps create marketing campaigns for the web. It’s made to be simple, so it’s usable even by people who don’t know anything about technology.

The project required me to learn more about frontend coding. so I started to teach myself frontend design and began moving towards a new role as a frontend developer. I already knew everything there was to know about HTML and CSS, but JavaScript was something I lacked.

What I wanted was for everything to auto-save, so that we could remove the manual “save” button from the interface. It was great to get Sam’s understanding of how it’s done, which took just forty minutes. It would have taken me another four hours to get it implemented and figured out, or more, if I ran into errors. Once I understood it, I was able to implement that same principle in four or five parts of my interface.

Another place where Sam’s mentorship really shined: inside our interface there were a lot of popups. But for mobile apps, popups are a really bad practice. I had an idea how I wanted those screens to look, and I needed help implementing them.

Because our app is built in Coffeescript, it uses things like require.js and backbone.js. Because whatever you see in code drops is basic JavaScript, the implementation is completely different when it’s implemented inside an app. I had no clue how to do it. But if you asked me now, I could tell you exactly how to do it, and I could teach ten other people, because of Sam’s help.

We’ve seen a 150% increase in revenue overall … We have a lot more opportunities now, because we have this whole new set of capabilities we can provide to companies. Now that we can also do front-end engineering, we’ve added a third big piece to our business.

Has your revenue increased?

Big time – I’d say we’ve seen a 150% increase in revenue overall. Until now, our core business was in two places: conversion optimization and user experience. We were self-limiting because of our expertise in only certain things…there was decreasing demand for design experts, because of increasing use of browser-based tools.

We have a lot more opportunities now, because we have this whole new set of capabilities we can provide to companies. Now that we can also do front-end engineering, we’ve added a third big piece to our business.

The cost of the Codementor sessions was always baked into the hourly rate I charge my customers. I’m always very transparent with my customers – I just explain, “This is something I’m stuck at, this is the service i’m using to help, this is how much it costs.”

It helped me reduce the time i was spending on something, and getting mentored on something makes you an expert and helps reduce the time you spend on it later. I was able to wrap up things much faster. Over the last few months I’ve been moving from project to project on a monthly basis, instead of spending three months on a single project.

How do your sessions with Sam usually go?

Often, I’ll wake up with an idea to improve something, and I write it down. When I have a few, I’ll share them with Sam, and he tells me which things he can help me with immediately. He explains in a screenshare session how it could be done, and then I spend my time working toward it. When I need help, I reach out to him for another session. Because we’ve worked together so much, he knows exactly what I’m looking for and how he can help.

What would you have done without Codementor?

We have a developer who we’ve hired locally, but we can only use him for about 15 hours a week, and I didn’t want to disturb his workflow. I knew I had the ability to get these things taken care of myself if I could get some help, but I didn’t know any route to get that help. I needed someone who could help me learn how it’s done, instead of just doing the work for me.

If I’d simply hired someone, I wouldn’t have learned anything – I would have ended up spending more money and more time, and probably not gotten it right.

You’ve also signed up as a mentor. What led to that decision?

I’m already an expert at UX, HTML, and CSS, and I’m actually teaching a class on UX and frontend September 29 for a local bootcamp called Phoenix RockIT. So I signed up as a mentor myself. More than earning money, it’s a great opportunity to give back.



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