Friday, January 22, 2010

Spawned By The Dozen

Got lots of push back and changes from the clients today.

Changes are the death of a freelancer's margin.

Plain and simple.

Every minute and every hour I spend making changes is time I'm not doing other profitable work or hunting down more money making gigs.

It's a double punch to the to speak.

It's not like I hack out the work either. I do my best on this stuff.

My biggest weakness as an Illustrator: I'm not a mind reader.

I can't look into a client's mind and see exactly what they want. I just give them what I think they want based on what they say

...but that's about as easy as speaking Dolphin.

I never understand when a client hires you for your particular ability or style and than constantly questions that ability and instinct throughout the process. You can try and walk them through it and be the Politico but at some point it's not about customer service. It's about the client needing to show respect for your time and expertise.

Let the artists do what they are capable of doing.

I know clients are not artists and they can't always give you the information you need up front until they see what you have done first. That being said the relationship is really about me helping you achieve your vision. If you don't know what your vision is until you see it than you should be willing to pay for the time it takes for me to find it for you. Often times the client gets it twisted. They project their frustrations with their own inability to describe what they wanted or know what they wanted with your efforts to "give them what they want."

It becomes less about your artistic ability and more about something nobody has. The ability to read minds. Some clients want your vision and those jobs are easy. They hire you because they see what you do and they want that look for their idea. It's like apple pie with ice cream. It just works.

Others hire you on the strength of your ability and they assume that ability can be shaped into something that it's not. Those are the clients that seem to be spawned by the dozen in the cold brutal final circle of hell where all the showing of teeth and baby eating goes on. 

It's truly a balancing act. I sometimes wish I had a buffer. An account rep that would deal with the nut balls and take all the bullets for me. I don't think I'm bad at interfacing with clients in fact over the years I've gotten pretty good at selling my services. I've also learned that it's not okay for a client to run over you. Which is my second worst ability as an Illustrator. I demand respect for my time and ability.

I'm beginning to wonder if this is really the part of the art business I want to be in. I know that almost all art is commercial. If you sell it or it sells something it's commercial art. I'm not going to escape that. I like the business of art I'm just not sure I like being in the "art hands" business.

Maybe I need to become a bartender. I hear they make good money on tips. Plus I want to toss around vodka like Tom Cruise and the guy from FX in Cocktail..

Don't act like you never saw Cocktail!

Time to rest up. Do some personal work this weekend and than get back to the grind next week.


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