If you've been on the internet for some time, you've probably read a client from hell story. While some clients are just that impossible to work for, I sometimes look at the stories and wonder how often it was communication that sent things off the rails.
For a number of years. I never put much stock into joining professional networking groups. Starting out in my career, I knew just enough people in my hometown to make things work and find a job after I graduated from school. However, as my career progressed, I realized I couldn't keep relying on the same people all the time. I needed to stretch my wings and find new people and other designers.
Once upon a time, I made the big decision to move away from where I grew up. Leading up to this, I had a decent job at a studio, but I was looking to move to a larger city and bigger opportunities. Naturally, my boss didn't take it the best when I told him that I was leaving. Not that many would. Rather than wishing me luck and being done with it, he did something a bit different. He asked if I'd consider working as a remote freelance designer, continuing to do the work I was doing as an...
Anytime you start working with a client, it's pretty obvious that both parties want the project and the relationship to succeed. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way every once in a while. In (hopefully) rare instances, you might be forced to re-examine working on the project. If things are going south, it could mean cancelling the project and not working with them again.
Adobe won't relinquish its grip on our industry anytime soon, but already there's a few apps out there worth giving a look to. In the past, Inkscape and GIMP have tried, and Pixelmator had a moment of glory a few years ago too. Sketch and Figma are really popular in the web and UI design circles. I tried Sketch in the past, but I don't do enough web work to have a solid opinion. But for this trial, Affinity caught my attention.
Most of the topics on this show revolve around designers who are working in an agency or as a freelancer. This time, I want to flip that around and talk about what it's like to work in an in house design role.
One of the most frustrating things when you're a young designer starting out or you're beginning your freelance business, is getting clients to take you seriously. It can be difficult trying to figure out your career and how you want to work with people on top of getting respect from them all at the same time.
At some point in your design career or owning a freelance business, you're going to run into a client that doesn't want to get back to you right away. They might be lagging on agreeing to a contract or getting assets to you. No matter what the case is, it's super frustrating to be in that position of having to wait. There's nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over the situation.
I remember the first job at the first agency that I had ever worked for. After I graduated, we were working for a local restaurant. They were going through a branding phase as they were building their business up.
One of the benefits of being in school is it's easy to find a mentor. Often a school has these for you. We just call them teachers. Whether its a teacher, teacher assistant, or a student, there's always somebody invested in making you a better graphic designer. Once you switch out of school and into the real world, it's more difficult to find somebody who can do that.
One of the most exciting parts about working with a client is when they trust you to do a lot of things. If this is your business model, it's great because you might become that one stop shop for them. But in most cases, you don't want to be that one stop shop. And more often than not, you want to be your own boss and not someone else's employee.
When I was starting my freelance business, one of the most exciting things was spelling out my creative process. This mostly included what would happen once a client had signed with me and we got to the “fun part” of my job.
In the past, I've equated interviewing potential clients like dating. Unfortunately, as graphic designers, we don't have any Tinder apps for figuring out if we're going to be a good fit based on a swipe of a screen.
Once upon a time, elevators moved slow enough that the people who got on them actually wanted to have a conversation with the others who were sharing the ride. At some point, somebody got crafty and coined the phrase “elevator statement” for the mythical time when the CEO of a large company would be standing next to you, eager to hear about who you were and what you did.
Unlike a lot of good stories, I started my freelance business, not because I wanted to move, but because I had to. Looking back, I have a few things that I would have done different. Things that would have made my first few years a little easier and set the business up better for success.
“Just one more thing.” When Steve Jobs mentioned those words, for the first time, we didn't know how they would change the world. Fast forward a few years, when your clients said it, you had a sense of dread that almost made you go running for the hills.
For many people, freelancing starts by juggling side work while maintaining a full time job. While it looks super easy, especially for those who share their process on Instagram, or Twitter, or Dribbble, you'll begin to quickly realize it's a lot of work to juggle.