How to handle tough client conversations and save the relationship

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Being a solopreneur is a lot of fun. You almost always get to make your own schedule, wear whatever you want, reject projects that aren’t a good fit, not drive during rush hour…it’s an all-around pretty amazing job. Except when it’s not, like when you have to have a tough conversation with a client because: What they want to do is going to cost them more money They’re unhappy with the bill They don’t like your proofs You’re not going

4 Major mistakes you should never make when designing a website

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We all make mistakes; it’s learning and improving upon those mistakes that make us better, both as professionals and as human beings. But with any heavily technology-reliant career, our mistakes can cost us a lot of business. In a time where most organizations are almost subservient to technology, mistakes can cripple – if not completely destroy – a business. One seemingly small website design oversight or mistake can bring a website crumbling to its knees, cutting a client off from their current

How to negotiate with clients (or anyone) like a pro this year

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Negotiations always give me the jitters. Am I proposing a fair deal? Am I about to get swindled? Should I look elsewhere? Am I going to lose this project? Is this client going to be more stress than they’re worth? Etc. etc. I think partly that’s because I’ve never been good at reading people; maybe I’m too honest, naive, or just plain oblivious. But I also believe it’s because the art of negotiation is rarely taught in school (no matter

Why repeatedly bending over backwards for a client can actually hurt your relationship

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Do you have that one client (okay, maybe three?!) that’s habitually totally unorganized and needing something big last week? The one that asks for an entire PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow’s 8am meeting? (Just 20 slides, I swear! 85 slides later…) Or that calls on Friday at 4:30pm to request a “quick” icon set for Monday morning’s software upgrade? I’m talking about the client that always exhibits this behavior, not the client with one rare instance when they dropped the ball.

The no-tears formula for dealing with an unhappy client

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Before we go any further, let’s be clear: no matter how good you, your product, or your services are, sooner or later one of your clients is going to be unhappy with you. It’s better if we just accept that now. Though unhappy clients are inevitable, it’s never fun or easy to deal with an unhappy client. You may want to curl up in a corner and cry or get a nervous tick at the sound of every phone ring, but your

8 Quick tips to improve client relationships overnight

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Y’know that guy – one of your peers who always seems to get the very best clients? He who: Never has a problem with late payments. Doesn’t have to haggle pricing on rush projects. Makes handling a client misunderstanding sound like a stroll in the park. That guy may very well have good luck in finding clients, but chances are he’s great at forming relationships with them, too. He knows how to become more than just a Photoshop guru or

How to skip entry-level and find your dream job right out of college

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If you are like I was as a University Junior or Senior, you’re chomping at the bit to get out of school. It’s all you can do to keep completing your assignments (especially the ones that feel like busy work). You’re ready to get out there and show the world what you’re made of. You’re ready to get your first “real” job. I’ve been there. (PS: Here at GDB we believe every freelancer should put in a little time at a

4 Simple ways to win clients – even if you’re new to the design game

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There’s a great line from Oscar-winning movie writer (including Moneyball and The West Wing) Aaron Sorkin’s 2012 commencement address at Syracuse. He said, Decisions are made by those who show up. I love the overly simplistic nature of this statement, and the fact that it’s so very true. We all know that the world is swarming with graphic designers (and would-be graphic designers). What is going to set you apart from them? Your willingness to show up. By that I mean