Met Some Clients From Hell on my Way To Freedom
You really don’t have to be in hell to feel the heat, just become a designer. An average creative designer experiences hellish inferno at least once a week.
Agents from hell often stroll around our studios with shiny apples in their bags. They offer these apples in exchange for creative solutions. With it, they control any creative mind.
I met a few of them in freelance prison. I couldn’t resist the shiny apple dangling before me. To have a bite I had to surrender my creative powers. I laid it down in total submission to the client.
I soon realized I couldn’t possibly have my freedom if I can’t take my eyes off the shiny apples. Something has got to give.
The struggle to leave a comfort zone is real, and it can be terrifying. First, it’s often hard to let go of people (or things) with whom we have developed an emotional attachment. Secondly, we want the sleeping dog to lie peacefully to avoid attacks.
So we compromise. And let the clients have their way.
I’m often sad when a desire to be different becomes a decision to remain the same.
You see, a status quo can be likened to living within prison walls where you look forward to nothing but freedom. Everything else is meaningless. And you know, living in bondage can eventually lead to death.
The Same fate awaits a creative that resists change, although to a less fatal degree. Nothing exhausts a creative more than spending valuable time on monotonous works — projects that ultimately give the client an exclusive right to dictate the tune of a creative direction.
Accepting such projects puts a wig on the client. He automatically becomes a judge who pronounces your death sentence or orders immediate confinement. It’s suicidal.
Nothing meaningful flows from an imprisoned mind.
Clients from hell are loitering around to interfere and distort a creative process. Some would insist you replicate an idea that has been successfully executed by a competitor. I know, everyone sometimes wants a piece of what belongs to others.
Flee from such clients, or they will drain all your energies in fruitlessly exhaustive and unadventurous ventures.
Taking a new project should be an opportunity to refresh the mind, expand knowledge and deliver a functional result that sells the product and leave potential clients in absolute awe.
Deal with unpleasant clients before they deal with you.
There’s an old saying: “don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.” That quote does not work for clients from hell.
You don’t have to wait until a client bad-mouths and make nonsense of your work before you react. The result is often fatal. A bad client will not only stress your mind; but also strain potentially good relationship with others.
So I say, trouble trouble before trouble troubles you. Sniff troublesome clients from afar and politely decline an offer to work with them — no deal. Trouble trouble before it becomes glaring and insurmountable.
Don’t be tempted by the shiny apple.
You don’t have to take some projects, no matter how attractive the pay. You want projects that inspire creative thoughts and give a sense of fulfillment.
Choose a project that gives a considerable amount of freedom; one that enables you to think disruptively about a conventional process.
A project that doesn’t challenge you won’t help you get better. Ride the waves. Let your ideas set you apart. Disturb status quo. Earn your freedom.