Every designer ( or creative ) is different when it comes to the clients they work with. Some clearly define their niche + aesthetic while others prefer to work on a variety of projects to keep things fresh. But no matter where you fall on this spectrum ( and I’m somewhere happily in the middle ), it’s important to work with the RIGHT client for you. There are a lot of different client types out there. And by “a lot,” I mean … a LOT. Each project will bring on a new relationship, for better or worse. Let me preface this post by saying that it is not my intention to paint a bad picture of clients. In fact, your working relationship will often times turn into a friendship – that’s the beauty of it all.
So what I want to talk about is avoiding clients that you simply don’t work well with. And this is true in many work environments + life situations. Over time, you will discover who you jive with best … it’s as simple as that. As these individuals become more obvious to you, it will be easier to cut out potential clients that won’t benefit you OR your business. It may sound harsh, but it’s honestly best for everyone involved.
I would encourage you to think about your favorite client relationship ( past and / or present ) and jot down WHY it worked out so well. Similarly, think about a time where things didn’t turn out so hot. If you can make a list of things to avoid, you’ll be able to look for warning signs from the get go.
For example, maybe a past client of yours would go for weeks without getting back to you, which is always difficult when you’re trying to maintain your own schedule. Next time you get an inquiry, see how long it takes for the potential client to get back to your initial response. Is it right away? A week later? This simple observation will be indicative of their future communication patterns. Alternatively, maybe you get an inquiry that sends you five emails in a row, on the daily. In this case, maybe you decide that information overkill isn’t your thing and you move on.
Again, each and every person is different, whether you are the creative professional OR the client. While some projects may sound shiny + promising, make sure that you are taking on work for the right reasons. If you don’t feel good about it from the get go, maybe it’s time to start considering WHO that right client is.