Too many of us are only showing the best parts of running a business. While watching people’s success online can be inspiring and motivational, it can also make people feel like everyone but them has got their crap together. It can make creatives believe everyone else’s life and business is perfect, but that is never the case. Behind every business owner's success is a trail of mistakes and failures they made along the way.
This week, Kathryn from Savve is taking over the blog to talk about four frustrations clients have with their designers. When I saw what Kathryn wanted to write about, I said a big, fat YES. This is something the design community needs to talk about.
Sometimes, projects don't go wrong because it's the fault of your clients. Sometimes, it's your fault. But there are things you can do to avoid frustrating your clients.
Kathryn, take it away!
Do you ever wish your clients were easier to work with? Do you sometimes get frustrated that they just don’t get it? I do, and I’m betting you do too.
Although I now build websites for clients, not too long ago I used to be a client. And although I like to think I was a pleasure to work with, it’s more likely that I used to frustrate the designers I worked with on a pretty regular basis.
I worked as a marketer for more than 15 years. In that time, I worked with agencies and freelancers, with designers who were incredibly gifted and some that were decidedly average.
I want to share with you four things that I found really frustrate clients when they work with designers.
Remember a while ago when I wrote 5 ugly truths about being a freelance designer?
Well, today's email follows on from that. If you read those truths and thought "I can take that! I can push through those!" then HURRAY- freelancing is the right path for you. (I'm so excited for you!!)
You now know you're cut out to do this freelancing thing. But where do you go from here? How do you get started?
A lot of creatives who want to become freelance designers ask me:
What should be the first thing I do to kickstart my freelance journey?
What should I do before I start freelancing full-time?
How can I prepare to freelance full-time?
How can I give myself the best chance of succeeding at running my own business?
These are the kind of questions I love because it shows me that (A) you're serious about freelancing, and (B) you're SO serious, you want to make sure you have the best possible start.
If you're going to read my blog posts every week, I want you to know who they're from. I want you to know about my past, my journey as a designer and how I can help you.
Basically, I want us to become friends!
So if you have a spare 10 minutes and you're curious about who these emails are from, read on. I'm getting brutally honest about my journey today.
The start of it all
In 2010 I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. One day I wanted to be a teacher, the next day I wanted to be a writer. So, I didn't do anything. I waitressed in Pizza Hut for a while so I could at least bring in a bit of cash, and I worked in telesales for day. (Six hours of cold calling and I was outta there.)
In 2011, I worked in as a shop assistant for Calvin Klein Jeans. It wasn't the most glamorous job but it paid the bills. My boss became seriously ill and had to leave for six months, so I took her place as manager and learned what it takes to manage a department, deal with angry customers, handle employees, work ridiculous hours and hustle towards sales goals (or suffer the wrath of Head Office if I didn't.)
I didn't know it at the time, I was learning what it took to be my own boss.
As all freelance designers and creative entrepreneurs know, contracts are a necessity when working with clients, no matter how big or small the project is.
- Contracts provide you and the client with a description of responsibilities. It helps you both understand who is responsible for what.
- Contracts secure payment.
- Contracts protect you if you encounter problems with your clients.
Most designers do have a contract in place, but it's usually either (A) an unprofessional contract they wrote themselves (B) a contract they created from bits and pieces of other designers contracts, or (C) a template they found on some shady website they can't even remember.