There are times when passion takes a definite backseat to financial desperation as a deciding factor in choosing which projects to take on. I’ve been in such a financial bind, I begrudgingly took on projects that were highly underpaid. Sometimes, I modified prices to fit someone else’s budget, or worked for clients who completely disregard my creative process in favor of their own last minute deadline. I’ve done work before collecting a deposit, only to find that when payment was required at the end of a project, I couldn’t get anyone to return an email or voicemail. I’ve definitely been burned—and much to my chagrin—because I didn’t stick to my guns.
I’m guilty, but I’m not alone. If you are like me, every minute devoted to someone else’s project is one minute loss to spending time with my family. After a string of bad client experiences, I redefined my ideal client from “anyone who is paying” to one who will respect my creative process and design expertise. There are also key words and phrases I’ve identified that raise red flags indicating this “potential client” doesn’t fit the mold of my “ideal client” in which case, I reject the opportunity. Bad clients kill inspiration and passion, and lead me to create pieces that are meagerly effective. Choosing the “ideal” client keeps my work “enjoyable” and I work best when I enjoy what I’m doing. I encourage you to do the same.