You know the kind of client I’m talking about.
And we’ve all had them before.
In fact, if you’ve ever (like me) found yourself thinking “Where are all the great design clients?” then don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Finding clients is tough…
But finding great clients is even harder.
It’s much easier to settle for mediocre clients, low-paying clients, or rude clients.
It’s time for you to stop settling. There’s a place where all the great design clients are hiding and I’m going to let you in on the secret. I’m going to offer you the secret that not a lot of freelance designers know – one that completely changed my design business when I discovered it.
So where are the great design clients?
If they’re out there, why has it been so hard for you to find them? Because they’re a little bit disguised.
The greatest design clients…drumroll please…
Are hiding in design agencies.
Design agencies, production houses, creative service businesses, and the like.
Let me explain:
If you found yourself having a hard time negotiating prices, methods, deadlines and the like with your freelance clients, then I totally understand where you’re coming from.
I got to a point where I just didn’t want to deal with all the drama.
But I didn’t want to work full time as a designer for someone else either.
What to do? Freelance for a design firm.
They handle all the drama
This whole tactic started when I got an internship as a designer at a local production house. I worked there for a few months, and then I had to go back to school at the University so I had a choice: quit my job or quit school.
But hiding somewhere in the shadows was my third choice: freelance from home for the production house who hired me.
After some negotiations and a little paperwork, I was on my way!
They found the clients, they negotiated price and timing with the clients, they delivered the final product, collected and filtered feedback, and all I had to was design.
Ah, sweet design. Remember when you used to design as much as you dealt with difficult clients? Designing is more fun than client-handling for most of us, right?
But isn’t that just like working for someone else?
When I’ve shared this trick with designers before, I always get the question “But you’re still just working for someone else, right?”
I work for me. I decide which projects I take on, I tell them if I can hit their deadlines or not, I decide how much to charge and I determine my destiny.
But the beauty of it all is: they provide me with steady projects.
The yellow brick road
If you’ve been searching for the hidden emerald city of freelance design stability, this may very well be your yellow brick road.
And the joy of it is, working like this, you’re welcome to add any golden bricks to the road as you go.
Just because one of your clients is a production house doesn’t mean you can’t work with other clients directly (just be sure not to sign a non-compete contract).
Find the perfect balance that works for you between steady projects and steady income via a production house and high-quality additional clients.
So stop searching the world over
The great design clients are production houses and design agencies. Look their first. Here’s a few more reasons why this is such a great set up:
- Design agencies usually having a billing period (15 or 30 days) which means no more fighting clients for a paycheck.
- Design agencies usually understand where you’re coming from as a designer which means no more fighting clients on what looks good or achieves goals visually.
- Design agencies pay higher rates. Because they can up-charge their client for the work you do, they tend to pay more than a small client looking for a good deal.
If you’re tired of looking for “the perfect client” maybe you’re looking in all the wrong places. Try giving an agency or a production house a try.