I can sit here for hours just venting away about freelance clients. Sure, some clients are cool. And yeah, they are spending money on you. So I can completely understand why they want everything to be perfect. It is their company, after all.
…now that all that politically correct bullshit is out of the way, I can finally get to the bread and butter of what I want to say: clients suck.
Working with a client should be a two-way relationship. There needs to be an open line of communication in which we work together to get the job done. Case and point: I need to know as much information about the company as humanly possible in a short amount of time. The more I know, the more strategic and relevant my work is going to be. And I don’t like to waste time, so when I ask a specific question, I expect a specific answer. So when I ask who your target market is, don’t look at me dumbfounded and say ‘well…everybody!’
And what does that say about how well you run your company when you can’t definitively express who your target market is, what they expect, and what image you want your company to have and what direction you want to take it? Don’t they have a vision or mission statement? Don’t they have a 5 year plan? How are they still in business?
As much as I’d like to, I can’t tell the client what to do. I’ve done that before, and most of the time the long-term outcome is less than favourable for the client. And that all stems back to the fact that I don’t know the company; and I’m in no position to tell them how to run it. My job is to help the client attain a certain objective. They need to tell me the who, what, where, when, how, and why; and only then will I be able to create work that will be strategic, relevant and creative.