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Since 2013, I've been helping small businesses look as good as the work they do. This is where I post tips, new work, studio news, and all things branding and design. Take a look around and don't forget to say "hi!". 

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Why I won’t just work with anyone

Now, before you all think I am being a grade-A snob or before you ask, “Who do you think you are?” let me assure you that I have come to this conclusion after years of saying YES too much. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one I am still escaping from. My point is that when you are a creative professional, working for yourself, you should be picky. You should say no. You should turn people away if they aren’t a good fit. When I get a client inquiry, I assess the potential client’s existing site, their work, their blog and the way they ask about working with me. If someone writes me and just says, “Need a site and logo as soon as possible. What are your rates?” My red flags immediately go up. This person isn’t looking for a branding experience, they are looking for an quick update to their design. That’s totally fine! It’s just not what I do. I typically point these potential clients to other directions that might suit their needs better or when I tell them my schedule, it just isn’t soon enough for them. I love to work with creative people like photographers because they ARE their brand. The live it and breathe it and want it to be a true reflection. That stuff takes time. Now, I consider myself to be pretty quick on schedules and I thrive on timelines. But the person who doesn’t want to spend the time upfront, isn’t going to get what they want in the end anyway. That’s a situation that I’d rather stay away from. So…it’s ok to turn some people down, yes it is money but is that the only reason you are building your own business? If so, you might want to reassess. The more you take on clients that aren’t a good fit, the deeper a hole you dig for yourself. Take it from me – I’ve been there and am happy to be freeing myself! 

comments +

  1. Angel Y. says:

    I love this! I agree wholeheartedly. I think we all start out wanting to work with whoever we can get our hands on; but as we have different experiences, we begin to develop our perfect client wish list. There’s no such thing as a perfect client, of course, but there are people who you just prefer to work with. I love working with business owners, like you said, who believe they are their brand. Certain personality traits are assets in building a working relationship and I believe it’s ok to say no. 🙂

  2. Ann Parker says:

    Thanks, Angel! I think it takes a little time to get used to the idea. And it’s not to discredit the beginning stages of working for yourself. The clients I said yes to taught me something and I appreciate that just as much!