There are two things I’ve discovered that waste more time than anything in freelance work.
- Doing crappy work
- Starting before you know what the client really wants, leading to crappy work
We all know what doing crappy work is so no need to elucidate here. It goes in the trash.
As to starting a project before you clarify milestones with the client, same things applies. While you may make them the most incredible logo or website ever, if it’s not what they wanted it’s still crap to them. It goes in the trash too.
Now, I know that freelancers in many fields have a tendency to blame the client when things go wrong. And yes, we all know there are tough personalities and clients who don’t pay and such. I’m not saying there aren’t law-breakers and thieves out there, but clients like that are a miniscule minority. The majority of your clients are good people simply looking for a professional product from a professional who knows more about it than they do. Give them what they, they’ll be happy and you’ll get paid.
Be responsible for yourself and your work.That’s my attitude on it at least. Sure I can blame clients for this and that. I can moan about the rare time when a client skips town with a check. But you know, even in those cases, had I trusted my instincts I wouldn’t have even taken the job.
And the few really unbelievably tough clients I had, were tough because I wasn’t getting the job done. And the reason I wasn’t? Because I was new and excited to stun and never tried to find what they really wanted! Once I finally listened, the job was finished in no time.
I guess the moral of the story is to be responsible. Be responsible for yourself and your work. And hey, while you’re at it, why not be responsible for the client too.
This post was inspired in part by a post by David Airey, a fellow graphic designer. It seems unrelated but in his post David mentions ethics and shows how taking a little responsibility can turn the tables in your favor. Even against the inertia of Google.