Being A Designer
Being a designer can be tough. If you own your own business, you have to keep a steady stream of clients flowing in. If you’re an in-house designer, you are constantly churning out project after project. We are constantly tapping into our creativity, and are constantly on the move. We have to learn new skills, keep up with trends, and more. Honestly, all of this is doable. I, as many other designers, have been doing this for years. None of these are the hardest part of being a designer. The toughest part about being a designer is gaining trust and proving your worth.
Let Me Explain
You see, being creative is what we do. We are expected to deliver, and we are expected to perform. That’s fine. I believe that if clients pay good money, they deserve a quality design solution. There’s no doubt about that. The part of being a designer that is tough is going in and trying to fix and rectify the damage that other designers have done. There are a lot of people out there that call themselves designers. The problem is that they aren’t, and they prey on people who don’t know any better.
The Small Business Owner
I can’t tell you how many times in the past 10 years that I’ve had to pick up the pieces from the wreckage that bad designers have left behind. Clients feel devastated, jaded and just plain ripped off. The worst case I ever encountered was a client who needed a website built for their sleep therapy business. They were the best in the region, and hired a designer to build the website. They butted heads a lot, and didn’t work well together. It happens.
Where I Came In
I was hired to pick up the project. It just needed to be brought live and have some adjustments and changes made. They were told that the site was functional, and were handed a disk. They handed the CD to me, where I booted it up. Where there was supposed to be a functional website, there was a Photoshop file. Of course I asked if there were any other files, and there weren’t. When contacted via phone, the number had been disconnected.
How Can Someone Do This?
I don’t know how people like this find work. It has taken me years to build up my career and get work. Most of my new clients come from word of mouth. I’d have a tough time making money without those referrals.
Why is this the toughest part about being a designer?
This makes things tough for everyone. People are leery about working with designers, and it can be tough to build trust. Small business owners are less likely to hire small firms or solo designers because of this. It’s also harder for us to negotiate our rates. People don’t want to pay us what were are worth.
Reinforcing Value is Important to Our Industry
If we can’t prove and reinforce the value of our skills, people are less likely to pay us what we deserve. Prices tend to drop drastically, making it difficult to keep prices competitive.
What Can We Do?
The best thing we can do is to provide quality service for each and every client. Our services should be top-notch and to the best of our abilities. We can take care of our clients, walking them step-by-step through the process. We can make things as easy and painless as possible. We can do everything that is laid out in our contracts, and go the extra mile.
Have you had to take over fora project where a client has had a bad experience? How did you handle the situation? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to leave your story in the comments section below.