The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Soliticing Services From A Creative

I don’t know about you but for some reason I’ve felt so much positivity around the start of this year. It could be because I’ve been working on 2017 since mid-2016 and I’m excited because the year is finally here, but something definitely feels different for me and I wanted to extend the feeling to you.

I decided that I would revolve my posts around having a new mindset during this first month of 2017. Mindsets are everything because we behave and live our lives based on what we believe. Depending on who you are and what you actually believe, that isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes we believe things that are untrue or not conducive to our growth and other times we can believe in the best and it actually shows up in our lives.

When it comes to being a business owner, what we believe both as owners and consumers plays a huge part in how our businesses and other businesses survive. I’ve found that in the “creative” industries such as blogging or other careers that involve less tangible skills and services, people don’t believe the right things. So as creatives, we are often frustrated, overworked and underpaid. If you’re someone who frequently works with creatives (or plan to in the future), this post is for you.

I’m going to outline a few do’s and don’t’s of contacting us for services in an effort to dispel some of the more popular false beliefs and just to help you prepare to work with someone who cannot offer you a physical product. These came from real creative professionals in a number of industries from graphic design to consulting.

– The Do’s –

Do your research. 

There’s nothing more annoying than having an entire web page full of services and their descriptions just to have someone send you a Facebook message asking you what you do or any other basic information that is readily available at the click of a button. Not doing your research wastes your time and the creative’s time by going back and forth over information that has already been provided. In some cases you may not even get a response because some business owners refuse to communicate business such as pricing information, etc. by way of social media.

Do have an idea of what you want/need.

It’s our job to make it happen but we can’t do that if you aren’t clear on what you actually need or want from us. Try to be as specific as possible as and when inquiring about services or giving instructions on your project because we can only create based on the information you give us.

Do make sure we offer what you want/need.

This goes hand in hand with doing your research. Make sure that the creative actually offers the service that you need. Sometimes I’m contracted to promote someone’s product or event and about 5 minutes into the job, they’re asking me to do things not covered in our agreement. At that point I give them my rates for that service if it’s something that I offer. But let’s say I had no knowledge of it, I wouldn’t be able to help them at all.

Do understand that we are not your employee, we work for ourselves.

This means that we have our own systems, our own processes and our own rules and guidelines. How you operate your business has little to nothing to do with how we operate ours and this line should never be crossed. This also means that there is a possibility, if no exclusivity agreement is signed, that we will work with other brands who may be in the same industry as you are.

Do pay invoices on time.

Seriously. Don’t be that client that doesn’t pay on time. This causes problems for other clients and makes everyone’s life harder. We have bills just like the next person.

– The Don’t’s –

Don’t try to negotiate our prices.

Would you call your electricity provider and ask them to lower their rates because you think they’re too high? Didn’t think so. Pricing is going to be different for different businesses and you should never try to get someone to alter their prices for you. Not only is it disrespectful, it means you don’t value their skill and in that case you shouldn’t be working with them anyway. Because what we offer is not always tangible, much of our cost involves our time. Time is money and everyone values their time differently.

Don’t assume we’ll do extra work without adding an additional fee.

This happens so often, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore. If you’ve retained a creative for a specific service or set of services, understand that anything outside of what you’ve paid for will cost you. This is why knowing what you want and need up front is so important. Be transparent and don’t try to get over thinking they’ll just throw the service in because they’re already working with you. That’s shady business.

Don’t abuse creatives who offer free consultations.

Consultations are for us to get a better understanding of who you are, what your business is all about and what you need. This means, you’ll be doing most of the talking while we take notes and conclude the consultation with recommendations and what we can do for you. Don’t abuse this service, offered free by many creatives, to pick our brains and try to take what we tell you and do it yourself by asking for very specific strategies and ideas. It’s a waste of time, it is extremely disrespectful and it makes you look sketchy.

Don’t ignore our emails.

This is a pet peeve of mine! I send emails to keep a record of everything we discuss and what we’re planning to do. My emails often include client homework so failure to check them or respond to them delays getting things done. We don’t send emails for fun. :)

I hope these guidelines help you as you prepare to hire a creative to handle a certain aspect of your brand. If you’re a creative and theres something here that I missed, share it in the comment section below!

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