There is a lot of talk about the right mix of ingredients needed to run a successful creative services business. But the bottom line is, there are a few things client really want above all else.
When companies go out and look for creative services, either from freelancers or studios, there are taking a risk. The marketing director who has a limited budget to get the job done, it taking a risk with the choice he makes. The guy who is going to approve the checks has one goal in mind when he starts looking for the right team, to minimize risk.
They want to find a team or artist that is going to deliver a great end product, on time and at or below budget. They are not interested in baby sitting a pre-madonna who is such an artist that they can’t be bothered with regular people things like deadlines and budgets.
You really want to make a raving fan out of a client, then be dependable.
What does dependability look like?
- Timely response to emails
- Clear and concise proposals
- Strong and open communication throughout
- High quality deliveries; without obvious errors
- On budget delivery; or a damn clear explanation if you go over budget
- NEVER MISS DEADLINES!!!
Being dependable is the absolute most important aspect of running a creative services business. If you’re unreliable and your word is no good, your all risk and risk is bad.
If a client has to force feed the entire project down your throat, there is a good chance you won’t be getting a second contract. Clients are looking for someone to come in and eagerly ask questions. It’s your job to dig for information.
Ask insightful questions, get to the core of what they really need, and they’ll become a raving fan.
If a client knows that when they call you, they’re going to be getting an eager team member who is bringing energy and inquiry, then you’ll be getting a lot of client calls.
When the project gets the green light, be ready to work. Not just with pixels, but with your initiative. People will pick passion over talent 9 times out of 10.
Passion is important, but so is knowing what you’re doing. Don’t settle for being OK. Find a way to acquire relevant expertise in your field.
If you’re creating video content for the web, it would certainly help to bring some expertise about web video engagement rates to the table.
In the age of the internet there is no excuse not to continually refine your expertise. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, take some time every now again, to learn about your craft and the context of your industry. (A caveat here is the fine arts, but i’m speaking about commercially applied arts here).
If your an editorial illustrator, study the greats. Know the most effective campaigns that have ever run. Fully understand the process of printing so you’re sending compatible files.
Basically, if your client knows as much as you do about your job role, then they probably don’t really need you anyway.
It’s competitive out there, do your homework boys and girls.