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It was fun while it lasted. Or, maybe it wasn't. Either way, ending relationships with your graphic design clients is part of the job.If you've been at this long enough you've probably come across a client or two that just rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe they were too demanding. Maybe their personality clashed with yours. Maybe they took forever to pay their bills. Or maybe they wanted you to do something you weren't comfortable with. Any number of these or more can lead you to ending, relationships with said clients.
Although you should try everything you can to nurture and continue your dealings, sometimes ending relationships is what's best for everyone involved.
In this episode of Resourceful Designer, my graphic design podcast. I touch on various reasons why ending relationships with clients is the best option for your business. Here's a summary of what I talk about.
Ending relationships before they start.
Sometimes, when you meet a new potential client for the first time, you get a certain feeling in your gut that tells you this isn't for you. Maybe the client is giving you bad vibes or has a way about them that grates on you. No matter the reason, there's something about the situation that's telling you not to proceed any further.
You need to remember, this is your business. You are in charge and you get to decide who you want to work with. There is no shame in politely telling a potential client that the project they're describing isn't for you. Or that their budget is too small for you to consider the project.
Turning down work is not the same as ending your relationship.
Keep in mind that you can turn down work from new or existing clients without ending your relationship with them. Being too busy, leaving on holiday, too small a budget and conflict of interests are just a few viable reasons for turning down work. As long as you do it diplomatically your relationship with the client should remain intact.
Ending existing relationships
This one is obviously harder. After all the time and effort put into building a relationship with a client it seems a shame to part ways. You should do your best to save the relationship. Unfortunately, it's sometimes best for both of you to walk away.
Money is often the number one reason for ending relationships with clients. Face it, you're running a business. If a client isn't paying their bills there's no reason to keep them around. But there are many other reasons for ending relationships as well. Only you can be the judge on wether or not the situation has escalated to that point.
Bowing out gracefully
Regardless if it's a new client or an existing one, you should never burn any bridges when parting ways. You never know when things may change in the future and your paths may cross again. Not to mention that we often deal with one contact person when designing for a company. You may have issues with that contact, but they may not always be the face of that company. Don't give the company a reason to not want to work with you when it's the individual who is the problem.
How have you dealt with ending relationships with your clients?
Leave a comment and let me know how you handled this situation when you encountered it.
Questions of the Week
I'm introducing a Question Of The Week section to the podcast. If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.
This week's question comes from Jessica,
I currently do in-house print design work for an insurance company. I am approaching the idea of starting my own business, and I'd like to offer web design. However, I've never done any web design in the past. I'm wondering if you could advise where to start in the learning process? I'm looking at Lynda videos, but I don't even know what I should focus on- WordPress, HTML, CSS? Or should I work on the front-end design of a webpage and partner with a web developer to handle the coding and backend design? I have never grasped writing code and am not sure if it's necessary to do myself.
To find out what I told Jessica you'll have to listen to the podcast.
Links mentioned in my answer.
Resource of the week is TextExpander
TextExpander is a huge timesaver in allowing you to create text shortcuts for longer pieces of type you use on a regular basis. I've created shortcuts for all my email addresses to save me time when typing them out and to make sure I don't make any errors. TextExpander is also a huge help for web designers. I've used it to store often used bits of HTML and CSS that I can call up with just a few keystrokes.
At the time i'm releasing this podcast episode, TextExpander is on sale through MightyDeals for $22. That's half off! The sale only lasts a few days so get it now.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org