Not long after I went independent, a friend who works at a well-known global advertising agency asked if I would be interested in helping out on a high-profile Web site redesign project. I was pretty stoked. He suggested I come in to meet his team. After meeting with the lead developer and project manager, I was told they wanted to bring me on. All I had to do was to meet the creative director.
When he finally got a chance to sit down with me, the first thing he asked was something I wasn’t prepared for: “Can I see your portfolio?”
I hadn’t brought one. “I can give you the URL,” I said. We weren’t near a computer.
His glassy response: “I’m not sure what we have to discuss if I can’t see your work.” And with that he asked that we reschedule for a time when I could come back with my book. Then he left. Read More
Last August, I took the leap into independent consulting after four years of full-time jobs and three years of freelancing on the side. While I thought I was prepared for what lay ahead, I’ve learned many things the hard way in the past year. In my new UXmatters column, Client Matters, I’ll try to give UX professionals an honest look at managing relationships with clients and provide some tips on how to turn unpleasant situations into winning ones.
Let’s start at the beginning: first contact. Oftentimes, when prospective clients get in touch and tell me about a potential project, it’s immediately clear to me that the amount of work is massive, and there’s no way one UX designer could handle it. Usually, they also need visual designers, content strategists, copywriters, programmers—a whole product development team. Such a job is much better suited to an agency with resources in multiple disciplines. Read More
You’ve passed the seduction phase. You’ve made the client fall in love with you. You’ve determined the terms of your engagement. Now, you need to make things official.
When I used to do freelance on the side, while still employed full time, I never got my clients to sign contracts. I didn’t see the point, and I hated the formality. It felt stuffy, and I thought it would be a turnoff to my clients. Instead, I outlined a loose schedule and process in an email message, told them the dollar amount, then got to work while I waited for the check. If I didn’t get things done on time, it was no big deal, because my clients’ expectations of my commitment were pretty low. If the check came later than I was hoping, that was no big deal either, because I had my salary to rely on. All in all, everything was fine.
But once I quit my job to do consulting full time, all of that easy, breezy stuff had to change. I needed protection. And so did my clients. Read More