If you are a graphic designer and have gathered a notable amount of experience as a graphic designer, you most probably encountered a client who was very difficult to work with. Are you looking for help in dealing with that problematic design client? Then welcome to “5 ways to deal with difficult graphic design clients.”
Here I will shed some light on how to deal with those problematic graphic design clients and whether you should continue dealing with them or not!
1. You Are a Freelancer
The most important thing about freelancing that non-freelancers have in mind is that you are your boss, i.e., you make your work hours, and no one controls your freedom because no one employs you.
The most common example of a problematic graphic design client is they think you work for them. But the reality is you work with them. If the client you are currently working with is acting like your boss, you need to remind them they are not your employer and you work with them, not for them.
When a client is acting like they are my boss, I casually bring up an example about my old job and tell them how my former boss treated me like he used to own me. Then I tell them this is why I quit my last day job because I had a bad boss.
Then I tell them how happy I am with the decision to become a freelancer and how you do not have to work for anyone because you work with clients and not for them. You do not need to tell them the same story but tell them your version of why you decided to become a freelancer and tell how empowering being a freelancer is.
After telling all this, the client should get your message, and they will probably start behaving accordingly.
2. Be on Par With Your Client’s Energy
You just showed up at the first meeting with your client, and the meeting went well. You and the client agreed to work with each other.
After shaking hands on that deal, the client says, “I cannot wait for you to knock this logo out of the park! But you reply in a hesitant voice, “I will do what I can within my limits.”
See what you did there? You just made the client doubt you, and that’s a red flag. You do not want the client to question you and make them think, “Did I choose the right man for the job?” Instead, What you should have said is, “Hell yeah! Dude, we are going to knock this logo out of the park!”
The client was aggressive in articulating himself. So, you also should be bold in expressing yourself. But do not be out of line. Be professional, and your tone should duplicate the excitement your client has.
3. Always Write Down All The Specifications Your Client Wants
Freelancers, especially those new on the field, always complain about their clients’ demands. Still, they share the responsibility for this equally. A simple way to deal with this will be to have a fixed scope for all your work.
Create an agreement stating what you will and will not do for them and put everything together in a contract. Before working with a new client, sit down and ask them what they want you to do for their design.
That way, you will know what you should do for them and what you do not need to do. You will then create a written document of the services you provide and get a written confirmation from them.
Clients tend to forget most of the time what they told you before, and sometimes they need some written documents showing them the services you agreed to offer them.
A client might ask you to do something that was not agreed upon beforehand, and in that case, you can always turn to that document and show it to the client. You can tell them what you agreed on before and if they want other services and facilities from you.
You can charge them extra for those services. If they agree, you will update the document stating the changes and send a copy of the papers to the clients. The clients should always have a documentation copy.
Do not be those freelance graphic designers that are not tidy with their work. The key to success for any profession is how organized you are with your respective business. Even when it becomes hard to deal with those nagging clients, be professional and deal with them kindly.
Never behave rudely with them, as they will give reviews to others that will be self-destructive to you. Act like a professional and accordingly towards your clients.
4. Always Focus on the Outcome
I mean, most people blame each other for their own doing. Like things that could have been done right by us, we will blame others for not doing something 100 percent.
Most graphic designers blame their clients for giving them lousy input. Most clients will blame their graphics designers for not listening to their directions appropriately. In this case, what I do is I pay attention to my clients carefully, and I ask some questions that give me a feel about what they would like their design to be.
My primary goal is always about the outcome. No matter how bad your client is nagging you. If you disagree about something, try to find a middle ground and make them feel like you are supporting them and want the best for them.
If the client feels you are not getting their point, ask them politely, “What would they like the final product to be like?” The answer to that question from the client will let you know what the client wants to see from you.
I always prioritize the outcome over anything. Anything the client says should be related to the result of your design. See, if you give the client what they want, you get a happy client, and a satisfied client lets you know you are doing your job right.
Always focus on making the clients happy so that you will build a good relationship with them. Also, if they want any other graphic designs in the future, they will come back to you. They will even recommend you to other people looking for graphic designers.
5. Remember You Have the Power
Remember that you are a freelancer and do not work for anyone. You hold the power to terminate a contract if you want to. Of course, there needs to be a valid reason. The best thing about being a freelancer is you hold all the power.
If a client can decide they do not want to work with you and can fire you, you also have the power to lay your clients off if you feel like you do not want to work with them.
For example, I started my freelancing career working for a company. It is a big company, and the paycheck from that job consisted of half of my income. But my decision to quit that job was because it was dragging me down.
They treated me like an employee, but they forgot I am a freelancer, and they signed a contract with me to work with them, not for them. So, I quit that job, and it took me half a year to get another work like that, but it only took the following day to feel better about myself.
Final Words on Dealing with Difficult Graphic Design Clients
There are many more ways to deal with a client, but I chose to write the 5 most important things about how a graphic designer should deal with their client. I hope “5 ways to deal with a difficult graphics design client helped you!”.