First time freelancer (pt. III)
This is the third and final part of a short series on Freelancing. If you haven’t read the previous stories, take some time and do that now.
The first part was about the freelancer, while the second part was about the client. This third and last part is about the synergy between the two. This is probably the most important aspect in your client relations management agenda.
It’s a tough balance to maintain. You need to keep you client happy, your work quality at a high level, while maintaining your sanity. The dynamics can swing either way, so you need keep up…
Plan for the worst
This is the hardest part. Learn to anticipate the unexpected and unforseen. Always plan for the worst, and appreciate the best. This is not about being gloomy, it’s about being one step ahead. Once you can comprehend everything that can go wrong in a client relationship, you will instinctively put more effort to avoid it.
Under promise, over deliver
This is something I’ve been doing for years and continue to do as a freelancer. Surpises have a positive effect on all relationships, including clients. When discussing the project, you need to gauge your strengths and availability, and promise both deliverables and delivery dates which are well within reach. Then, your private goal is to surpass these targets. It’s like when you go out for a run… you always try and go that extra mile, every single time.
Put it in writing
One of the first things I did when I started freelancing was to outline a contract template. Something that would work for myself under any circumstance. I’m no lawyer, but putting things in writing and having your client digitally sign it, is a sign of commitment on their part.
It’s always about the money
Finally, I’ve heard a fair share of crap along the way regarding design ideals and people who want to make the world a better place, but in the end it’s always about the money. Do not get me wrong, I live and breath design just as the next designer, but let’s be clear… you provide a service, and the client is willing to pay for that service. You’re not making the word a better place, your client is. Your just a very important part of the process.
I’m Constantinos Demetriadis, a digital designer based in Athens, Greece. I’ve been designing since 1998. Find out more about me at ohmylovely.com.