This is a great video demonstrating what it can be like to work with clients. Well worth the watch!
All kidding aside, it can be a challenge to work with clients. Many of them don’t really understand the process and, no matter what we say or how we say it, they still don’t understand. The hardest thing for me has been coming up with policies that support my business and my clients so we are all honored in the process. I have a great network around me and some of the instructors at MSB have been wonderful about giving suggestions on how to handle various situations as well and all of this helps and still….every client is different.
The best advice I can give someone considering freelancing is to develop good, healthy boundaries from the start and stick to them. Use a resource like the handbook the Graphic Artists Guild puts out annually. This is full of sample contracts, current standards, suggestions for policies, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming but the content is valuable beyond measure. You will save yourself much time and headache if you take the time to set up your business right.
Remind yourself that this is a business and you are worth being compensated for your time, your knowledge, your skills, and your energy. I recently had a client tell me they weren’t ready to move forward at this time and they wanted to cancel the contract that had been in place for several months and delayed by them along the way. I have multiple ties to the client and they are a local organization with a good member base. I made special payment arrangements because I believed I could trust them. The reality is, it isn’t about trust. It’s about business.
Do I regret what I did? No. I learned a valuable lesson and one that I am now able to share with you. There are times you will do more for a client than you normally would and you may choose to vary from your standard policies but be clear about why you are doing it and do it for the right reasons and make sure you take care of yourself so you can continue to do what you love and support yourself while doing it.