How to start finding work as a creative

At a glance

Research small businesses in your area

Work on your pitch for small business owners to make sure that your work gets noticed by people who have the authority to approve a freelancer. The more people in a business, the more likely that your pitch gets lost somewhere between the person who reads your email and the person who can authorise your work.

Demonstrate value

When you pitch, don’t just tell them how your work can benefit them, demonstrate it. That means creating something high quality that they can use without having to spend first. This will make you stand out from your competitors.

Meet face-to-face

A cold-calling email is easy to ignore, but someone standing at your desk is much harder to dismiss without at least hearing them out. Get out from your desk and meet people.

Rinse and repeat

Keep following these steps and you WILL land a client – either through word of mouth or directly through one of your pitches. Someone that offers quality work and spends time to build rapports is impossible to ignore for too long.

Let me try starting this article by walking you through a train of thought that has REGULARLY stopped me from moving on from jobs I’ve hated into my dream of freelancing in an industry I find much more appealing.

If you can relate to anything in this next section, then this article is for you. Here goes:

If you’re reading this, then chances are that at some point you’ve been sat at work and thought “screw-diddly-ew this job, I’d so much rather be doing X”.

Then you picture yourself doing X, and you see yourself working confidently on some epic client project, in an industry that has plenty of room for you to grow in. 

That image is great.

Since there are few things that can kill a passion for a subject faster than formal education, X is most definitely not something you studied or have any experience in.

So what tends to immediately follow that thought, is the crippling realisation that if someone were to right now put that client project you’d been visualising on your desk and tell you to crack on, you’d have no idea what to do next.

Uh oh header

That doesn’t quite add up….because you looked confident while you were picturing yourself doing that new work. The kind of confidence that comes from knowing exactly what you’re doing and that what you’re doing is exactly right.

I mean, who realistically daydreams about themselves as they’re JUST starting out in a new job?

You know the drill, where you don’t know what the hell you’re doing and are desperately pretending to look productive in front of your new manager but have no work so you’re just marathoning through random folders in your yet-to-be-filled inbox to simulate productivity.

So then the kind of confidence you pictured at first can only come from having built up a body of experience doing many similar projects beforehand, and there’s no shortcut around that.

If you’re like me, then this makes you feel anxious, and that anxiety is enough to make you resigned to put down your head and get back to working on that job that you decided to screw-diddly-ew in the first place. 

F*ck. That.

The job you can barely stand can wait. We are going to fix that anxiety right here and now, because I’m going to give you a breakdown of exactly what steps you need to follow to build that experience.

First we need to recognise that your anxiety is coming from the fact that you probably don’t know how to get from here* to there**.


Inkbike‘ s contextual dictionary

here

adverb

adverb: here

  1. In, at, or to this place or position
      • Used to describe a time in your life and career whereby you lack the experience or confidence to tackle a project or piece of work in your ultimate career fantasy with a sense of certitude that you know exactly what you are doing throughout (thus leaving you in a position to marvel at your own brilliance and the enjoy the feeling that you are a brilliant part of a brilliant industry that is lucky to have you).

there

adverb

adverb: there

  1. Used to gesture to a place or to an intended point (in time and in your career)
      • The description of a time in your life and career whereby you have the experience, confidence and expertise to be an absolute legend in the field you want to work on.

        You’re about to win awards for your work on this project, and then you’re going to take that award and slap your current manager with it because you’re an absolute unit.

Here’s how you’re going to do it:

What you’re looking for first is businesses where the owner or a senior manager is based on the premises – this is to ensure that when you pitch to them your services, they are able to make a decision themselves rather than have to seek approval from someone else. 

For your first clients, it’s important to avoid looking into business that own multiple premises (especially where they are across multiple cities) – pitching to a larger business presents a bigger challenge, especially when you are just starting out.

When you’ve found a business that looks to be the right size, you’re going to start researching their brand. As part of this, you’ll investigate the following:

  • Their social media platforms
  • Their website
  • Any printed materials they might have on premises (if you are able to access their premises) i.e. for a restaurants or cafe look at their menus, any flyers or posters they have on display

What you’re looking to understand is whether the business has an established tone of voice, visual style and most importantly, whether it looks like an experienced creative has been anywhere near their brand.

If after all of your step 1 research, you feel confident that you are able to create something that the client will love and is either on par pr better than the creative materials they already have then you’re going to design something quality to give to the owner of that business for free.

No matter what your creative discipline, make something for them;

  • If you’re confident in web-design and you feel that your would-be-client could benefit then create for them a holding page.
  • If you’re an illustrator then draw them a poster.
  • If you’re more about social media, head over to Canva and create some graphics which would look like fancy new furniture in their Instagram profile house.
  • Videographer or animator? Make them a 1-minute reel for their social media.

You get the idea. 

The point is, in the beginning you might not have a massive portfolio to show them, or be able to get your name out there through word-of-mouth, so you have to make something quality for them to build their confidence that you can provide value to them and their business.

So create something for them like you’re being paid £1,000 to do it – aim to create the absolute best thing that you possibly can.

Business owners are used to being pitched at all the time by people who think that sending automated or templated messages offering the same deals (think of every 30 day trial you’ve ever read about) is the best way to land new business. 

By including in your initial ‘pitch’ something which is entirely bespoke, quality and free for them to use without any strings attached you are immediately setting yourself apart from the usual noise – you’re letting them know that you’re something different and that’s going to make them take notice.

If you’re like any of the number of people I’ve spoken to about this during the time I’m writing this, your first thought is “great idea genius (I choose not to read this as sarcasm by the way), but what if after all that time I’ve spent crafting the Michael Angelo of whateverImades that I don’t end up with anything? What if they don’t even respond to me?”

I’m not going to lie to you – that’s a very real possibility. Business owners are busy and so they might forget, not have time to or just not be inclined to get back to you. Your question becomes, what can you do to retain the maximum amount of value from this time.

First thing your going to do is add your finished piece to your portfolio, or let it be the first item in a brand-spanking-new one. 

The second thing you’re going to do is factor this idea into your initial contact…we’ll get to that in one second.

Do what your competitors won’t.

Your average competitor will send an email to someone they want to work with/for and let that be the end of it. Your less commonly courageous competitor might even be willing to pick up the phone.

What 99% of your competition isn’t willing to do is head down to speak to the client they want face to face because that takes time and effort and they can’t be bothered to put in either.

The reason why you’ll do it is because speaking directly to someone you want as a client is brilliant experience, and because speaking face to face makes building a rapport much easier.

Still not convinced or feeling like you’re too shy to do anything other than email? Let me put this another way.

Just think about that WhatsApp group chat on your phone with 83 unread messages in it. I mean, those are message you’ve ignored from people you actually know, consider how many fewer f*cks you’d give about reading and responding to those messages if they were from people you’d never even heard of.

Just imagine that the business owner you’re contacting has likely got 83 messages from people they’d never heard of trying to sell them something (because they likely have that many or more), and that by sending an email, your message is just another message amongst the noise regardless of how much value you actually offer.

Get it? Great! Back to rapport…

That rapport, combined with that piece of excellent work you’ve created for them is the reason why they’re going to choose you for their creative project.

What’s also important to remember is that you’re not going down to sell them something –  nobody wants to be hunted down in their workplace to be pitched at. That’d be about as welcome as a Greenpeace street fundraiser walking into your living room unannounced and yelling their pitch at you while you’re trying to watch Netflix.

Instead what you’re going to tell them is that you were researching local businesses and you loved their brand, you think what they are doing is excellent or that you wanted to support a local business. 

Whichever way, you made something for them to have for free to use on their social media/website/on display in their premises because you wanted to support them and because you are trying to build up a portfolio of work for use in your own efforts to find your feet as a freelance creative.

You’ll reiterate that you aren’t looking for any money, but if they do end up using what you made, you’d appreciate it if you could reference them in your portfolio and include the piece you made for them.

That’s it. When you’ve finished explaining who you are, why you’re in their building and what you’re hoping to get out of it you’ll thank them for their time and you’ll leave.

No-one likes a pushy sales person – especially one that’s come unannounced. Also, if you’re new to this sort of hustle then chances are being self-promotional isn’t going to come naturally to you so don’t feel the need to risk all your hard work by throwing yourself in the deep end. 

Be brave enough not to give a pitch, trust that they will see value in you and the work you’ve created.

Do what your competitors won’t.

If you follow these steps and you keep going after your first pitch – I guarantee you, you will land your first client. 

It might not be the first person you create something for, or the second or the third, but if you follow these steps you will eventually land one who’s willing to pay you to create something more for them – either directly or through word of mouth.

After all that hard work, it feels like landing your first client is job done, mission accomplished; time to relax and marvel at the fruits of your hard labour.

Trust me on this one, after about one evening of celebration, the feeling is quickly replaced by a panic that you don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. 

You have the feeling that you should be leading things in this client/creative relationship since you were the one that headed out and brokered this thing in the first place.

Having gone through this process myself both as the hired creative and more recently as the customer – I’ve created templates which you can use to structure your initial meeting as well as present your work. 

Check them out here.


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Fin.

My failed first attempt to collaborate with a business owner

FourThings was an idea I had last year for approaching new businesses that I wanted to collaborate with in some way. I wanted to be able to initiate contact with business owners in a way that offered them immediate value while demonstrating competence.

I hoped to stand out by reaching out that way and give the business owner a reason to either get back in touch or think of me in the future when future opportunities to collaborate popped up.

The idea

I started FourThings because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do with Inkbike yet. I knew I wanted to work with other business owners in some way for personal and professional development, but I honestly didn’t (still don’t) have a clue what service I could offer – free or otherwise.

I came to the realisation that I should just treat collaborative work like I would my day job: if my manager gave me a type of project that I had no experience of working on before, I would just go away and try to figure something out.

Everyone has to start somewhere and there’s not much you can’t figure out on Google right?

Right.

So I decided I would investigate small businesses I wanted to work with, figure out what they were doing, and try to think of realistic ways they could expand their operation in some way.

These would become projects that I would outline, put into a document and send over in my opening email to a business owner. I knew I didn’t want to spend forever doing this for each business, so I decided to limit myself to four projects.

F-four…things – geddit..?

I hoped that by making four projects, I had four chances to come up with something that the business owner might like.

The ideal outcome would that they liked one of the projects, turn around to say;

Inkbike-person, you’re a brilliant curly-haired genius and I love your idea.

I think it could be great for my business but I don’t have the time at the moment to bring it to life – would it be something that you’d be interested in doing for me?

Imagine. the. scenes.


To achieve the desired effect, I wanted to focus on providing the business owner with value (while actively demonstrating the value I could provide), which meant creating something that went one step further than just pitching basic ideas.

I wanted to give a full break-down of what it would take to roll out the idea, costs and all, so they would have a step-by-step guide if they wanted to go ahead with it.

I thought it was a pretty good idea for being proactive about my development and was super excited.

Plan sorted, I went to work.

Execution headerThe company I decided to focus my efforts on was Cha Lounge. It’s a place I love (in case you didn’t already get that impression from the interview), have spent enough time in to have done some indirect research and I felt Mandeep (the owner) would be open to new ideas.

The four ideas I came up with were (*ahem*); Cha Spice, Cha Pots, Cha Classses and Cha Social. You can check them out in the way I presented them below or download a copy of the document by clicking on this link.



First page of the finished Four Things document

Second page of the finished Four Things document

Third page of the finished Four Things document

Fourth page of the finished Four Things document

Fifth page of the finished Four Things document

In the end I think I spent about a month chipping away at this. It worked out as a couple of hours here or there when I found the time in my evenings and weekends. I was pretty proud of how it came together!

Each point was made based on research that (I hoped) was detailed enough to be actionable while being low-risk financially.

Thinking it looked ready, I typed up an introductory email and sent it on over to Cha Lounge.

How I failed

Months passed and I didn’t hear back.

I started to get really paranoid that I might have accidentally over-stepped a boundary by mistake and offended the recipients somehow or that my ideas were so fantastically bad that Mandeep felt too uncomfortable to get back in touch.

In reality, Mandeep enjoyed the document but was busy running a new, growing business and so never found the time to reply.

Ultimately, the projects didn’t end up getting off the ground (although I did end up collaborating with Mandeep on other things), but that wasn’t why I considered my first collaboration attempt a failure.

The reason is because I was put off – I never made another copy of FourThings for other businesses I wanted to collaborate with.ConclusionsI maintain that FourThings was a decent first idea for approaching a new business. It forced me to creatively think in a way that I enjoyed and was a useful exercise  considering my interest in creating/managing something myself.

So it was absolutely no good that I allowed myself to be put off from doing it again just because I didn’t get a pat on the back as quickly as I wanted to.

Realistically, small business owners are likely to be stretched thin for time and won’t always have the time to get back in touch. Or honestly, they just might not like the ideas I pitch in the first place, but that doesn’t mean that no-one ever will or that I should’ve stopped trying.

I’ll finish by being objective and talking about this as if someone else had done it. The worst case scenario is that no-one ever replies, creating several of these would’ve still built up a kick-ass portfolio which for use in job interviews to demonstrate proactivity, research skills, creative design and more.

Even better, you might end up researching an idea that could end up being a business in it’s own right!

The moral of the story, don’t do a me. If you have an idea, don’t be put off by the first set back. Learn from it and keep working.

After all, good things happen to those who hustle (at least according to their Instagram feeds).



If you enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to get my latest posts delivered straight to your inbox?

I post content new issues once every sometimes so adding your email means that you’re being both super supportive (yay!) and avoiding the need to check the website for new content.

Just type your email into the box at the bottom of the page and the job’s a good’un!

Fin.

Further reading

So you finished reading, but let me guess, you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge that hasn’t quite been quenched by this latest, greatest issue of Inkbike.

S’cool fair reader, I’m not offended – in fact, I’ve got some recommendations for you!

Also ironically given the title, there is actually no reading required in any of the below since they’re all videos and podcasts…enjoy!

Tips for creating arresting visual content

This video is unbelievably awesome – every one of their tips can be done by anyone with a camera.

They’ve also just put it together in such a way that you can watch the video once and easily feel like you could go out and recreate any of their tips with little practice.

DEFINITELY give this a watch.

For anyone starting out as a freelance photographer or videographer

This video gives some great tips, and I watched this to help me put together

About turning no money into plenty

The whole 5 video series is well worth a watch for inspiration, if anything just to show you how might be able to make money without having to spend loads on any initial investment.

About making money from money

Another five video series that’s well worth a watch for inspiration; although as the name suggests, this one is suited to people who have a little bit more of an initial investment that they can use.

A podcast for anyone that wants to start a thing but has trouble keeping it up

Claire Tonti, founder of the largest podcast network in Australia discusses starting projects with inspiring, but more importantly relatable people. She then unabashedly focuses on her inability to keep working on her ideas after starting them, something that I know I personally relate to 100%.

The biggest strength of the podcast is in it’s honesty, Claire often seems like she’s laying all of her cards out on the table for listeners to learn from and in an era of us all putting out our highly polished instagram-selves online, this honesty is incredibly refreshing.

Click on the picture to listen to Just Make the thing’s entire backlog.



And those are the best things I’ve found in the last few months, I hope you enjoy! If you have any other suggestions for things that would absolutely make your ‘Further reading’ list then comment them below!

I’m always on the look out and will 100% be reading/watching/listening to anything you link to!

The Nina case study: making the ultimate job application

One of the case studies that has most inspired me in my life is the story of Nina Mufleh – the person behind the stroke-of-genius campaign Nina4airbnb

Her campaign was the result of a single-minded determination to join Airbnb’s team after having joined their community as a host and falling in love with their ethos.

Nina applied to join their team in the traditional way you’d expect; by completing an application and submitting it alongside those of many other hopefuls. 

Unfortunately their response wasn’t what she hoped for.

Nina wasn’t deterred though, and remained dead set on joining the AirBnB team. As it turned out, their rejection inspired one of the most creative modern approaches to demonstrating value to a prospective employer that I’ve ever seen. 

Nina created an online holding page using Airbnb’s branding and on it posted a research-based infographic she’d created from scratch. 

On it she detailed; 

  • Her understanding of Airbnb and its values; 
  • Six areas where she felt she could provide value to the Airbnb team, and;
  • A gap she’d identified in the global tourism market where Airbnb didn’t have extensive presence.

The crown jewel of this report was, of course, her final point and it’s a spectacular piece of work. 

Not only did she identify that Airbnb had only a minor presence in the Middle-East, but she broke down why the market had significant potential value, how Airbnb could begin entering that market and even listed 9 potential partners that Airbnb could collaborate with to get the ball rolling

She spared no detail and created a report as if she intended to present it directly to the company CEO in their boardroom…and she kinda did!

Nina tweeted the report direct to Airbnb, as well as to Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky and CMO, Jonathan Mildenhall

Needless to say that did the trick. 

Ok. You floored me with this brilliance. We’ll set something up for us to meet.
I love your smarts. Very much.
https://t.co/EaIwOHSywo

— Jonathan Mildenhall (@Mildenhall) 21 April 2015

Not only did Nina get the interview that she hoped for from some seriously impressed directors, but her campaign garnered much social media attention.

This led to Nina receiving emails of interest from the tech giants Uber, UpWork and LinkedIn.


That attitude of using creativity to stand out from your competitors in such a bold way is something that always stuck with me.

When I talked about applying for my first communications role in ‘The story behind Inkbike’, I took inspiration from Nina and decided to format my cover letter and CV in the style of our company branding. 

That was one of the best things that I could have done. 

As it turned out, by choosing to format my application in that way, I’d demonstrated that I could perform several of the main responsibilities that the position required (in this case; the ability to recreate company branding, write in the company tone of voice and a level of creativity in delivering messages). 

This meant that they had confidence in me as a candidate before I’d actually spoken to anyone in that room, despite having no significant professional experience in the field.

I feel that there’s such a good lesson to be learned from Nina’s story, and it’s one that isn’t just for creatives. 

The importance is in realising that traditional routes of securing employment aren’t always the most effective. Sometimes finding the courage to try something a little different is the best way to get results. 

When Nina originally applied for a position at Airbnb, her application clearly didn’t do the proper job of demonstrating the level of value she’d be able to add if she were employed.

That isn’t a poor reflection of Nina’s ability to write an application. When you fill one out, you never know who else you’re up against or even how much attention your application is getting from the reviewer after you’ve sent it through.

Sometimes it pays to do something a little extra to get across to an employer that you’re the right person for the job.

You can be damn sure that your competition isn’t going to think of doing anything other than fill in their application; so it just becomes a question of whether you’re willing to invest a little extra time to be certain that you’ll stand out, and whether you recognise that you have the opportunity to do so.

Besides, by giving something like that a try you have absolutely nothing to lose. At worst, you’ll have spend some time creating a report or graphic which you can use as your very own template for impressing future employers.

I also totally appreciate that the execution of Nina’s seems to inherently require extensive creative skills and this can make it seem intimidating to people without a background in design –  but the idea behind it is something that could be executed by anyone. 

What Nina did wouldn’t need to be recreated exactly in order be effective, anyone that doesn’t find the idea of creating and designing a holding page attractive can instead create an infographic for example.

Tools like Canva are free to use and make creative design accessible to anyone with an internet connection. 

Since it offers exactly one metric sh*t ton of infographic templates to help you as well as a drag-and-drop style of design (meaning you don’t need extensive training or skill to create professional quality products), it leaves the design aspect suddenly more achievable.

That way, instead of sending a link for a holding page to your company of choice, you can just send your infographic as an image instead.

The only thing left to do is research – research the business, what they do and what their competitors are doing.

Look at the marketing materials of their competitors – does it look like someone else has recognised an opportunity that the company you want to work for might have missed? 

See what you can come up with after a couple hours of research and you might be amazed with what you find.

The main takeaway that I want you to have is that, without needing to spend a single penny and just with access to the internet, you can create an opportunity to get attention from employers in a way that very few people are taking advantage of. 

Nina’s campaign provides a framework for that.

I personally took inspiration from aspects of Nina’s campaign in applications I’ve submitted, and it was one of the best things I could have done to progress my career. I truly, truly believe that it could do the same for you.

Need a little more inspiration? Great! That just gives me the perfect segue into an interview I’m incredibly excited to present in this issue. 

Bethany Thielen is a brilliant creative from San Fransisco who decided that the traditional model for seeking employment just wasn’t worth the bother – and instead created the Hire Bethany campaign to stop her having to get in touch with businesses, and make them contact her directly instead. 

Read here to learn more about her brilliant journey.

Fin.


5 things I wish I knew as a creative working with my first client

Has everyone here watched 500 Days of Summer? I hope so, because the only way I can think of starting this article is by ripping off that bit where they do the expectation vs. reality type-thing. 

Expectation: When you work with your clients, you’re going to smash the job out in your first try. I mean, why wouldn’t you? The client has presumably seen your style of work and they’ve hired you; so it would make sense for them to trust you to create yet another piece of epic design that they’ll fall in love with.

Harsh, harsh reality…: Delivering creative work can be messy for a number of reasons. Revisions are a given and it’s so easy for things to get wildly complicated during the process of fine-tuning. 


I’ve recently had the pleasure of being on the other end of the client/creative relationship as my team at work commissioned an agency to develop the branding, website and printed materials for a programme.

This process taught me some pretty essential lessons that I wish I knew when I first started working with clients, and guess what! I’m passing them on because CONTENT.

1. Make a delivery Gantt chart

All of you that already know what a Gantt chart is are probably undergoing some sort of PTSD-like symptoms as you get flashbacks to some horrible project that shaved about 7 years off of your total life expectancy. 

To the blissfully uninitiated, Gantt charts are tools used primarily by project  teams (those people in your office with sunken eyes and a vaguely haunted look) to scope out how long each part of a project should take, and when project items should be delivered by.

There are loads of fancy pants software packages available that you could use to create a Gantt chart, but a plain ol’ Google Docs spreadsheet will serve just as well so there’s no need to fork out for this. In fact, they have Gantt chart templates available for you to use so you don’t have to spend time setting one up. 

Why bother?

A couple of reasons; firstly because it forces both you and the client to agree on acceptable timescales for reviewing and delivering content.

It’s important that you set deadlines for clients to submit feedback by, because realistically your client will have other deadlines in their job and so anything they feel isn’t time sensitive will of course just be pushed to the bottom of their to-do list. 

Give them a deadline to submit any feedback so that your project isn’t put on hold and you aren’t sat twiddling your hard-workin’ thumbs. 

Secondly, when you have successfully landed a couple of clients in one go, it helps you to keep track of where every project is at.

It might sound like something that’s easy to keep track of in your head, but trust me…when the project is running and you have emails flying back and forth between you and the client team you’re working with, it’s ridiculously easy to lose track. 

2. Create an amends tracker on Google Docs

If you’re like me then you probably have the idea of taking on as much responsibility for each stage of the project as you can because you want to provide the best customer experience.

Don’t make compiling feedback your job. 

Why bother?

You’re a creative because you want to make a living making things, not because you want to spend an age trolling copy and pasting points from a bunch of emails into a spreadsheet.

Google Docs lets you create a web-based spreadsheet for free that you and your client can both access at the same time. 

Save yourself a boring job; just create the spreadsheet with the proper headers and then leave your client to fill it up for you.

3. Be vigilant with subject lines

I’ve already mentioned it, but over the course of a larger creative project, there can be a lot of emails flying around. 

Most people’s first habit is to just keep hitting reply on the last email they received from someone and start typing, regardless of whether their next emails has anything to do with the last or not.

Why bother?

The scenario you’ll find yourself in as a result, is that in two weeks you’ll be looking back for a specific email that was sent and you’ll find it’s a mission to track it down.

Using the search function in your inbox is out because all the emails have the same subject line and so you’ll end up losing a whole bunch of your time scrolling back.

Your time is worth more than that, so every time it looks like the topic of discussion shifts in an email, change the subject line to something relevant before you click send. 

This also has the benefit of passively demonstrating to your client that you’re focused and on the ball which is no bad thing.

4. Send an early preview of your work

Listen, I get it…when you’re making something, you never want anyone to see it while it’s a work-in-progress.

You’re worried that the people around you will realise that for the first 95% of the time you spend working on it, your design is an awful mess; and you’re terrified that people will think your work sucks because they don’t understand that it only starts to look pretty towards the end.

The fact is that you need to get good at finding ways of demonstrating what the end product will look like before you have to spend all that time and energy finishing it.

Why bother?

Even though you deffo know better than your client what looks cool innit, the truth is that they might disagree for one reason or another (cretin!).

You need to be able to minimise the amount of wasted time spent on designs that won’t be approved, because unless you’re paid by the hour, time spent on doomed projects is time you’re not getting paid for.

Bite the bullet, find a way to get across to them what the end product will look like and get their feedback as early in the creative process as possible. Like I said before, your time is valuable, even if you don’t feel like it is in the beginning, so treat it that way. 

5. Speak on the phone

No-one on the planet likes a long email, because there are very few occasions where a long email doesn’t demand a long reply. 

If you or your client has so much to say that they can’t fit it into two reasonably small paragraphs; pick up the phone.

Why bother?

If either of you has that much to say about anything to do with the work, conveying your points will be much, much easier over the phone. 

Don’t be shy, just pick up the phone and clear things up. There wasn’t a single time that I spoke to someone at the digital agency on the phone and regretted doing so. 


There we have it, five things that I wish I knew before I started working with my first client on a bigger project. 

I know there are a lot of list articles floating around the web and it’s basically a given that 80% of the points listed in any of them are bound to be ignored. 

The thing is, even if you read through them all and didn’t think about it again until you start working, vaguely following just one of the tips listed will save you loads of time and stress; so just aim for that.

Finally, the first project is there to make mistakes on (obv don’t tell you client that, fake it to make it etc.). These tips might work for you or they might not, the important thing to remember is that landing a client in the first place is AWESOME. 

If you get to the stage where you need any of this information then you’re officially a legend in my book – keep on doing what you’re doing.


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Fin.