As a creative professional, you take pride in your work. You create outstanding web designs that can grab attention and inspire action. You are the best at what you do. Wouldn’t be nice if that was enough to succeed?
In addition to your creativity, you need clients. In particular, you need to form warm, mutually beneficial client relationships. After all, clients are assets that you need to build a thriving business.
Unfortunately, some clients may not understand your business or respect your expertise and become hard to please. To make all your client relationships as smooth as possible, use the following tips.
#1 Choose your clients carefully
Creative professionals want to stay busy in the gig economy. Consequently, they often try to accommodate every client that comes their way. To avoid this trap, you should carefully vet your clients, accepting only those who are a good fit.
Your clients must be compatible with you as well as your mission, values, andgoals. If they’re not, you could experience conflicts. Lucrative fees or promises of steady work can’t make up for the headaches that come with incompatible clients.
If you’re still starting your business, you should focus on getting to the point where you choose your clients. As you build your portfolio and gain experience in your trade, you can become increasingly selective.
Ultimately, your goal is to only work for people with whom you can have healthy, productive and thriving relationships.
#2 Ensure they understand you are the expert
Make sure that every client you work with understands that you are the expert. It’s up to you to help your clients achieve their objectives. So, learn how to assert yourself when they get pushy.
When clients encroach on your responsibilities as a creative professional, stay calm. Rather than ordering them to stop minding your business, explain to them why some of their ideas may not work. When possible, provide them with data to help them understand.
By taking the necessary time to discuss this type of issue, you make your clients feel valued and appreciated. Also, you gain an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. Inform your clients about the latest trends so they understand what approach you will be taking. By demonstrating your knowledge and expertise, you reassure clients that they can depend on you, and it helps you persuade them to abandon their bad ideas in favor of yours.
#3 Working remotely helps create boundaries
Creative professionals need time to achieve the proper state of mind for their work. After getting to work, you need a solid block of time to get things done. If you frequently have to start and stop your work, you can waste a lot of time getting readjusted while losing your focus.
Fortunately, you can do your job as a web designer from almost anywhere. Therefore, you can leverage telecommuting to create some ground rules. These will help you set boundaries between you and your clients. When you do this, be sure to explain to your clients how to contact you and when to expect status updates.
Train your customers to avoid interrupting you every time they have a question or concern. Instead, have them create a running list of items to discuss during your routine virtual meetings.
Managing your creativity by avoiding interruptions can help you develop consistent work habits. It can also help you create and maintain a healthy balance between your personal and professional life.
#4 Know how to handle feedback
Even with the best clients, you can expect to occasionally receive negative feedback. For instance, they may not like some of the features of their web design. Always accept feedback graciously, and work with your clients to find a satisfactory resolution.
Remember, the websites you create belong to your clients. So, it’s their happiness, not yours that counts. Of course, you need to ensure that any rework you do stays within the scope of the original project.
Needless to say, some clients may try to impose drastic requirements that may place too much strain on your time. When this happens, you must stay firm while avoiding becoming harsh or unfriendly. By approaching your clients with a “can do” attitude, you can improve your chance of maintaining or salvaging client relationships.
#5 Be transparent
As a creative person, your mind can see the end result of every proposal. Often, your clients can’t share your vision. Knowing this, you should provide them with a clear proposal that defines what they want and how you will meet their needs.
Place your terms in a written contract to avoid misunderstandings. That document should include important information such as deadlines, deliverables and licensing.
Other details such as meeting dates and times, your working hours, and project milestones should also be in writing. Most of all, be sure to define your rates and fees as well as how and when you will get paid.
When you insist on transparency, you help guard against accepting gigs that exceed your capabilities. If you overpromise, you can make yourself look bad, damaging your client relationships as well as your reputation.
In conclusion, as a web designer, you need to create smooth client relationships. Although doing this requires you to carefully select your clients, the above tips will pay off in the long-run. By properly responding to feedback, setting boundaries, and insisting on transparency, you can grow your business and enjoy your life.
Jasmine Williams is a writer specialised in business and marketing, who loves to cook and dance and you can find her on Twitter @JazzyWilliams88.