How to find the ideal client?
Is it possible to select or find the ideal client? Yes and yes. However some things have to match up in order to find the ideal client. You need to have a clear understanding of what your ideal client is. Does your ideal client have to be in your niche? Does your ideal client have to be able to afford your design prices? Does your ideal client have a good understanding of your design process and is able to provide you with all the assets to make the project a success? While all of these could be the baseline for finding an ideal client, my guidelines are a little difference.
Do you like the client?
While that sounds odd. But having a relationship with the client is very important. Was it difficult explaining your design process to the client. Does the client realize that the design is not for them, but their target audience. Does the client have unrealistic expectation? When you see the client’s number on your call id (and we all have that), do you suddenly feel ill. Are you always hesitating to return calls to your client? Does it take a couple of days / weeks to get a return call from your client?
If your client is not ideal, then chances are the project is not going to be ideal. The relationship between client and designer is really important. It can not be just an exchange of money.
Do you like the project?
Are you excited about the project? Are you wanting to play a role in the growth of the organization or services? Do you feel obligated to make sure that the organization’s first impression is a good one? Doing some research outside the scope of the project, on your list of things to accomplish. Do you understand how the project is going to help others?
If you can not get behind the project’s goals and objectives, then this is probably not an ideal client. Being able to separate the client from the project, can be difficult…but if the project does not get you excite, or your design juices flowing. Then it is probably not a good ideal.
Can you parlay the project into future opportunities?
Can you imagine taking on similar projects? Could this project help you to establish your niche? Did you think your niche was one thing and suddenly you realize that your niche was something else. Having built many faith based organization website, it was not until I was contract to create a non profit organization website…that I realize working with an organization with specific purpose or goals, really got my creative juices flowing.
Working on a project that you like / love will present other similar opportunities. Just making sure you understand the industries needs and the feelings of understanding industries standards become apart of your development. You will find yourself an expert within this niche.
Make sure you choose wisely
Money is important. But if that is your main reason for selecting a project, good luck finding the right project / client. Money comes with expectations and sometimes those expectations are just not realistic. Suddenly your time, becomes your client’s time. What about your other projects? What about your personal time and space? Choose wisely…make sure you like the client, the project, and can parlay this project into other work.
Make sure the recommendations is something you can accomplish. Many recommendations might not be an ideal fit. Sometimes you need to ask yourself about why was the project recommended to you. Maybe the client is a boundary pusher. Maybe you should gently turn down the project. Choose your projects wisely.
Image courtesy of Goran Ivos.