You Deserve Dream Projects That Pay

11-Dec-2013

Last week I talked a bit about being your own number one dream customer by investing time, money, and resources in growing your creative business. But this week I want to chat a little bit about how to turn the client projects you’ve been getting – into dream projects that result in getting paid and getting enthusiastic approval for your work. 

1. Set Expectations.
I’ve recently realized that anytime I get a little uncomfortable with a client project it’s when our mutual expectations aren’t communicated or aligned. How do you resolve this? It starts by being clear about exactly what your customer should expect to receive and for how much. This can and should be communicated at least three times: 
• verbally (talk to your customer like a human about what they can expect to get from you); 
• in an email (bullets and lists make it easy to digest); and 
• in a contract (just so everyone is covered). 

2. Talk Money. 
If you’re a creative entrepreneur talking money might be uncomfortable you. Probably because you get caught up in your head thinking a variation of the following: 
• I’m lucky to be a creative for a living. I don’t deserve a lot of money. OR
• My customer thinks I’m lucky to be a creative for a living. They probably don’t think I deserve a lot of money. OR 
• My customer can’t afford my services. OR 
• If my client pays me $X for my services they won’t be able to buy themselves ______. 


I’m going to say it loud and clear here: you deserve to get paid for what you do, no matter how cool and fabulous that work is (or appears to be … because we all know how unglamorous late night designing and editing can feel). If you’ve been subscribing to our Letters for Creatives you may have read my thoughts on money as energy. If not, check that out here. 

Pep talk aside, it’s important to talk about money throughout the life of a project. Don’t wait until your third conversation with a potential client to sneak in the cost like you’re apologizing for having to charge them. Tell them upfront what your fees typically look like, even if it’s a ballpark range before you’re able to nail down the scope of the project. And know that it takes practice to be confident talking money. But what it does is establish boundaries, expectations, and it’s what makes you a professional. 

4. Listen to your client. 
This one is pretty obvious. It’s a given that you’re going to provide good customer service by listening to your client. But what I’d like you to consider is this: how do you prove it to them that you’ve listened? We’ve found that regular check-ins, mood boarding, and sharing the work-in-progress along the way is what makes the creative process collaborative and comfortable for our clients. Because of that comfort level and confidence we’ve instilled in them along the way, we can typically pitch just one logo and get enthusiastic approval – not just because we listened but because we let the client join along for the ride. 

5. Be a trusted guide. 
A job gone bad can typically go one of two ways. Either you become super reactive and will do anything just to get the job done. Or your ego gets the best of you and you break ties, burn bridges, and set fire to the project and the client relationship. I’ve experienced both and neither feel so dreamy. That’s when I take off my “designer” hat and put on my “consultant / coach” hat. When the designer in me can detach from my own fear of disapproval and the consultant in me can ask questions, get curious, and share my own expertise, I am then able to guide my client (who is probably just as freaked out that things aren’t going just right) real answers and problem-solving can happen. 

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Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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