There is something about the Client vs Web Developer that really bothers me. If I could pin one word in the precarious relationship between client and “web person”, that word would be TRUST. In this business you hear some real horrific stories about web developers/designers leaving the client hanging out to dry. They either didn’t complete the project, or gave the client no means of communication after the project was over. Those kinds of stories leave potential new clients already on guard when you or I come walking through the door.
But’s what’s the other side of the story? Is there personal responsibility for the Client to do some homework when asking a developer to create their website? I say “yes”. So my message to potential clients/customers is to make sure you are part of the process the whole way through your project. My message to Web Developers is understand the business so well, that you are willing to let a client go for the sake of doing quality work that you yourself can be proud of. It does you no good if a client doesn’t want to take a part in the creative process only to tell you later (after hours of design and coding) “I don’t like it”. Make sure your client is going to take an active role in the building of their site. An active role can be defined as: Handing over all relevant content in a timely manner. If you are copying and pasting content from another source just to create content to fill gaps, you client is NOT taking an active role.
Which leads to most important piece of advise I could give you. Have a CONTRACT. The contract should define every step of the process. Even “Dispute Resolution”. Let’s face it, being good at something doesn’t alleviate you from criticism.
Believe In And Be Yourself
Another powerful bit of advice is to always believe in and be yourself. Given people’s tendency to aim for the throat when “critiquing,” these words of wisdom are especially potent. Allowing negative words and disparaging character assessments to lower your opinion of yourself and your abilities will deflate your momentum.
Always be true to your personal voice. Don’t compromise it while finding your way. You want to carve out a truly individual path, and that includes your voice, too. So, don’t try to imitate others who have found success. As noted below, never try to be someone else, because that never works the way you hope. Being inspired by others is fine, but don’t lose your identity and voice in the process.
- Believe in your qualities. Never try to be somebody else. Life is too short for that.
- Don’t quit! Hang on! Everything will work out fine.
And finally: Choose wisely. Have the guts to say “NO” to a client who neither understands how much time is involved in creating a site that reflects their brand. Especially when they don’t know themselves. I know that is hard to do when newbies are grasping at every job they can get. However, saying no will give you peace of mind and teach a potential client that you are unwilling to compromise for the sake of a project. Don’t cheapen who you are and how hard you work.
Sometimes building trust is the art of saying “No Thank You”. Then you will see how powerful being true to yourself.