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This category contains 11 posts

Nine warning signs of a difficult design client

Most designers will, at some point, work with a client who is difficult to please. Even if you work through all the challenges and frustrations and somehow manage to satisfy the client, the final design often ends up being worse due to the client’s micromanagement or ill-advised preferences. What if you knew in advance that […]

Are you acting in the best interests of your clients?

One frustration I have with our industry is that some designers don’t always act in their clients’ best interests. There are several notable ways in which this problem manifests itself: Not addressing the client’s business needs. Designers take pride in the fact that they aren’t merely artists; they solve problems for their clients. All too […]

How clients attempt to take over the design process (and what to do about it)

Throughout my career I’ve never had to fire a client, but looking back, there are several times I probably should have. And in every case, in one way or another, it’s because the client attempted to take over the design process.

Keep clients and foster trust by downselling

A few days ago, I met with a prospective client, and during the course of our discussion I found myself repeatedly trying to convince them to abandon many of the plans they had for their new website. The client had some interesting ideas: a new e-commerce system, a custom video upload tool, and a mobile […]

Work-life balance starts with setting boundaries

One of the challenges in managing your own design business is setting boundaries, especially if you work from home. If left unchecked, work has a tendency to overflow into your personal life, which can undermine the benefit of owning a business and having a flexible work schedule.

What to cover in a web design contract

Before providing web design and development services to a client, or even accepting payment from them, it’s important to have a contract in place for the protection of both parties. Although you should always consult an attorney when drafting a document like this, here are some key points that you might want to cover in […]

When to say no to new business

Although learning how to deal with difficult clients can provide a wealth of valuable business experience, sometimes it’s better to identify these clients in advance and avoid them. Here are some warning signs.

The biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in the design business

One surefire indicator of success in business is how you deal with mistakes. I’ve made a lot of them in 10+ years as a business owner. Fortunately, I’ve learned more about how to manage a design business from my mistakes than from my successes. Here’s a list of my “best” mistakes: 10. Letting projects get […]

How to get your proposal accepted (almost) every time

If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a salesman. But as the owner of a small design agency, it’s part of my job. Without being able to close a sale, I’d never get to move on to the fun stuff—building websites and building relationships. There’s a seemingly endless supply of books, seminars, and websites devoted […]

How (and Why) to Dress for Success in the Design Business

I can vividly remember my first meeting with a new client, back in the spring of 2000. I wore a cobalt blue tie, fastened to a powder blue shirt by a tie tack depicting a Mercury dime. The client wore sweatpants.