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5 Tips to make Working With Freelance Clients Easy

If you’re working in the visual design world, chances are at some point you’ll be working as a freelancer. Working with clients as a freelancer brings a unique set of challenges that can be daunting, especially if you’re just starting out in your career. Here are five tips for making working with freelance clients a breeze.

Professional woman photographer taking outdoor portraits with prime lens at sunset, during a sunny day

  1. Be Open to Collaboration: Think of yourself and your client as a dream team: you’re an expert in design, but they’re an expert in the needs of the project they need you to help them complete. Only together do you both have the combined expertise needed to successfully complete the project at hand. Working with clients should feel like a mutual collaboration effort, with full respect from both parties.
  2. Be Flexible and Open to Change: It’s hard to discard ideas that you completely love, but being open to changing your designs based on your clients’ feedback is an essential skill to develop as a freelance designer. As writers say, you must “kill your darlings” in order to produce the best possible final result. Working as a freelance designer isn’t much different, except that your client might be dictating which darlings to discard. But the end result is the same: letting go can be best for your work, and help you develop as an artist.
  3. Be Accepting of Criticism: Getting criticism hurts, but even the harshest criticism can turn out to be constructive if you approach receiving it in the right way. Remember that every suggestion from a client, no matter how gently or harshly it may be given, is an opportunity to grow as a designer. As with tip #2, being open to criticism might end up pushing you outside your own comfort zone as a designer in order to achieve the look your client wants.
  4. Ask the right questions: It’s possible that your client may have never worked with a designer before, and if that’s the case they may not be comfortable yet with the process. Take some time to think about the guidance you need from your client, and then come up with corresponding questions to ask in order to receive this information. Since communication often happens via email, write out the questions beforehand and make sure that they come across clearly and politely. Asking the right questions in the right way can open up communication with your client in productive ways.
  5. Always Have a Contract: Freelance artists often start out working for their friends and family, and in these instances it often feels superfluous to sign a contract. But it’s in these instances that a contract can be most important, so that important relationships aren’t damaged if the professional relationship goes awry. If you feel uncomfortable asking a client to sign a contract, mention that you’re trying to start off on the right foot with as much professionalism as possible, and you hope that they support you in all aspects of your business.