February 2016

HOW to win

Like most designers, I do my best to accommodate my clients – but almost all my design quotes include 2 rounds of revisions. I have found this to be typical among designers, and reasonable if used correctly.

So, how can you make sure this works for you?

Here are my tips:

Make sure text is written the way you want it before you hand it over.

This means, for example, if something should be alphabetized, it is best to do that before you send your file.  Some other common things to look out for – date order, date format (M/D/Y vs D-M-Y), capitalization, spelling, url formatting…

Make sure every stakeholder reviews the file.

I have seen situations where I go through 2 rounds of revisions with a point of contact before it goes to the decision makers. This can be costly to the client, and at times, can even result in starting over. Get text approved prior to handover – and upon receiving a first draft, involve all stakeholders.  It will save you time and money.

Make sure to include as much info as you can going in.

Though a good designer will do their best to cover all the basics, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you are covering them as well. Confirm with the designer that all the specs are in order prior to beginning a job – this includes file type, size, format, previous projects that it needs to align with, etc. It is better to give too much info than too little.

Are there any other common handover mistakes that you can think of?

WHOAREYOU?

As the caterpillar says to Alice in Wonderland…Who Are You?

There’s been a lot of heavy debate lately about how to introduce oneself to potential clients. I consider myself a range of things – an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a design studio… The most controversial of these labels seems to be another term I use for my business – freelancer.

Is there a stigma attached to the term freelancer?

From my discussion with fellow designers and freelancers, it seems the majority say yes.

To those unfamiliar with freelancing the term freelance brings to mind “between jobs” or “work-for-hire.”  For most of the freelancers I know, this couldn’t be less true.

This stigma is particularly interesting, since freelancing has become a significant part of the workforce in recent years. One would think that people would have a better understanding of what freelance can be, since according to this article from Inc., as of October 2015 more than a third of US workers were freelancers.

A consultant is essentially a freelancer – so why does that term elicit a positive response, while freelance does not?  A small business owner or one man shop is a freelancer too. To be a freelancer requires an array of business skills, as well as exceptional skills in your own profession. No junior or entry level services would cover the range of skills needed to keep a business running in this way.

According to an article by Freelancers Union, the term freelancer comes from “a medieval mercenary that would offer their combat skills and weapons to the highest bidder.” That sounds pretty bad ass to me.

For those of us who have done it, we speak the term freelancer proudly. We love it. We wouldn’t do anything else.  I say, we bring the glory back to freelancing.  Who’s with me?