Freelance Success For Artists #4: How to Become a Client-Whisperer & Attract Even More Clients | Kristen Palana | Skillshare

Freelance Success For Artists #4: How to Become a Client-Whisperer & Attract Even More Clients

Kristen Palana, Professor, Award-Winning Artist, Digital Do-Gooder

Freelance Success For Artists #4: How to Become a Client-Whisperer & Attract Even More Clients

Kristen Palana, Professor, Award-Winning Artist, Digital Do-Gooder

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8 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Welcome and Introduction to Freelance Masterclass For Artists (Part 4)

    • 2. How To Get Inside Your Client’s Head So That You Start Off Well.

    • 3. Use This Trick to Make Better Work and Get Happier Clients

    • 4. The Joys and Sorrows of Presenting Work in Progress.

    • 5. Presenting the "Final" Work, Making Final Tweaks, and Finding the Right Balance

    • 6. Finish Up Your Project With a Positive Bang. Tips and Tricks.

    • 7. Don't Forget to Do This For Attracting Even More Clients

    • 8. Thank Your For Taking This Course. Please Review

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About This Class

Are you a designer, filmmaker, illustrator, or multimedia artist looking for simple and effective ways to earn money and build your reputation doing what you love?

I'll show you tried and true best practices for finding and keeping happy, repeat clients, and how you can best build your portfolio, reputation, experience, and income the quick and easy way.

This course (divided into several smaller courses) will help you create a successful and sustainable freelance business built on a simple but powerful mantra, "Respect Yourself. Respect Your Client."

By the end of this course (Part 4) you'll confidently be able to:

  • Become a client-whisperer who listens to and communicates well to deliver the projects clients want, need, and love.
  • Utilize a simple trick for making better work and happier clients.
  • Know the most effective ways to find new clients and turn them into happy repeat customers.

I'm a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media and the Program Director of Film & Digital Media at The American University of Rome in Italy and a practicing award-winning multimedia artist. As of July 2016, I'm currently based in Yangon, Myanmar and serving as a Visiting Associate Professor of Digital Media at American University Myanmar.

I have over 15 years of experience teaching students all over the world using my tried and true custom approach (turning complex information into something simple, memorable, easy-to-understand in as short amount of time as possible) to ensure that you get the most important, relevant, and useful information that can be applied immediately to your art, work, and everyday life.

Are you ready to get started learning new skills that can help you move forward more confidently into the future? Enroll today and join our growing learning community. See you inside the course!


Meet Your Teacher

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Kristen Palana

Professor, Award-Winning Artist, Digital Do-Gooder


My goal is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

I'm an award-winning artist and educator helping empower ordinary people around the globe to communicate effectively and tell their own extraordinary stories through a variety of media. I have created dynamic content for clients including UNICEF, The United Nations Population Fund, The World Food Programme, Children International, The Aid Myanmar Society, The B-52s, and The American University of Myanmar.

I have 19+ years of experience teaching digital media and creating innovative programs and courses for secondary, undergraduate, and postgraduate students as well as adults and children with no formal education in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. I've also been teaching tens of thousands of onl... See full profile

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1. Welcome and Introduction to Freelance Masterclass For Artists (Part 4): welcome to this easy to follow best practices course that will help you lunch or jump star a successful business as a freelance designer or multimedia artist. This course is all about boosting your communication skills so you can become a client whisperer. It doesn't mean you'll never encounter another difficult client ever again, but this course will give you the tools you need to best understand all your clients and deliver work that meets their needs and desires. Remember, happy clients turn into repeat clients, so let's get started right away. My name is Kristen Polana. I'm an artist, educator and author, teaching thousands of university students around the world. Since 2000 I've also been teaching online since 2014 to tens of thousands of students. I specialize in helping ordinary people do extraordinary things through simple, clear explanations and baby steps building upto larger things. How can I help you today? 2. How To Get Inside Your Client’s Head So That You Start Off Well.: Okay, This section and this lesson is all about becoming a client whisperer, getting in your client's head in a good way, of course. So this is an important process that requires good communication skills. You'll see that I'm showing you my testimonial page with some of my happy clients, and it's because I asked them lots of really good questions before I started on their projects that they are in fact, so happy. And this is great because having their testimonial and having them having them spread the message about my work enables me to get even more clients. So this is an important process that requires good communication skills. So you know, without a dough what exactly your client wants and needs. So you want to first of all, get the project specifications and details. So if it's ah, animation, how long should it be? If it's an image, how big doesn't need to be? Is it for Web? Is it for print, etcetera? You need to learn what gold the project is supposed to achieve. So is it an advertisement that generates awareness? And then people are supposed to click on a website to learn more or Is it some kind of campaign where you're supposed to make the user the audience feel agitated and then inspired to support worthy cause by clicking on a donation? But so know what the goal is and what the project is supposed to achieve. You also should know who your target audience is as well as your clients Overall tastes. So what colors do they love or hate? What funds to they love or hate? What's their style? So even just asking them the kind of work that they like or work that they hate can give you an insight into their tastes. So this will help you from weeks, days, hours, trying to guess what it is that they want. So remember, a job well begun is a job half done. So by asking the right questions upfront, you are saving yourself in your client many, many headaches, and this is the best part. You force your client toe, work out for themselves what they want, because guess what? Sometimes they don't know what they want. They've kind of jumped the gun and hired you before. They even really thought about what it is that they want her need so trust me. Dealing with clients who don't know what they want is usually a no win situation. So in the next lesson is a simple question here that you can use with your next client. Obviously change it to suit your own needs, but the goal is that everyone will be happy. So go have a look and I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Use This Trick to Make Better Work and Get Happier Clients: Okay. This lesson is all about making multiple versions for your client, whether they ask you to or not. So you can win some amazing brownie points by making multiple versions off your project for the client without significantly spending lots of time. So just to give you an example, these are some images that I made for a website called Hunted Eateries of New England. Spooky right? Um and so you can just see from my files here. I have multiple versions off the design, and usually it's just me moving one element around, maybe changing the color, maybe changing the fund, but then saving all these versions and presenting them to the client. So they feel like they get really a great choice of what, what the final one is going to be that they use. So they might like this fund or that color or that layout better than another. So on one hand, you're coming off as more professional and you're giving Thekla I int more options, and it's usually only a matter of spending a few extra minutes from your end. So I also I also have so these air for book cover you have some no text versions for Facebook, right? And these are J pegs, and they're also the print version PSD files. So maybe they just want something for the web. But I like to make a print version that if they ever want toe put it on a T shirt, they could. So let's have a look anyway, at one of these, so I'm gonna goto version number nine. Okay, so this is a web banner for their website. This is version number nine with the the chandelier in this old fashion eatery in the background. A certain kind of fun and certain colors. Let's look at another version. Okay, so here's an earlier version, and you can see because I have the different layers I can test, you know, is a darker, um you know, what is it gonna look like? So I give myself lots of different options. If you look in the folder of versions that I presented to the client, you'll see that I have several different designs. I have the print resolution, the web resolution, and usually I upload these to Dropbox and then share the link with the client so they can download all of the different versions. So they're getting more than they asked for a print version as well as a Web version. So let's look at another version here. So these are some of the final ones. Okay, so this one has three ghosts, which is a little bit different. It's got more of, like, a cool palette, right? So again you get a sense of the different ones. So she has all of these for her website. So here's the folder for a book cover that I did for the same client. And you can see there's three ghost with the moon. Three ghosts with a fainter moon, three ghosts to fainter, No moon, etcetera. So all these little variation one ghost with the moon. Let's have a look at some of these. I can't remember what these look like. Okay, so this is for a book cover, and this is with some ghosts and no moon. However, she was getting this published with a particular publishing house that always has a moon in their final book covers. So I made her some other versions as well. Okay, So here's another version where you have the moon from the outside through this creepy window and there's no text on this because actually, the publishing house wanted to put the text on themselves. So this was just the background image for book cover where they were gonna have the text. But anyway, I think you get the idea right. So making lots of versions for your client usually takes very little extra time on your end because it also helps you when you make multiple versions of your design. It also helps you work out what the best design will be without stressing over making one perfect image. So you'll see have lots of layers. And I'd like to turn things on and off to see what my final composition is going to be. And then I just ah, save those and send them to the clients so they have a choice as well Win win situation. OK, I hope you found this helpful. See, in the next lesson 4. The Joys and Sorrows of Presenting Work in Progress.: Okay, So this lesson is all about the joys and sorrows of presenting work in progress to the client. So there's some obvious benefits of presenting work in progress. Usually I try to present work that is 50 to 75% completed to the client just to make sure that I'm on the right track and I'm giving them more or less what they want. Now this is there's a delicate balance here because on one hand do you want to present work that is finished enough so that they can see where you're going with it, but not so finished that they're just going to want to change everything from scratch. So just to give you an example, uh, I created a course image for the wonderful share in Rebel. And she told me what she wanted. She wanted Ah, the Earth and the sky and a compass with a body with the different seven chakras. And then she wanted some animal symbolism represented. So this was an early version of just the background, the earth and the compass. And I believe I sent this to her and I said, OK, so far, so good. And she said Yeah, but maybe I believe, she said. Put the compass on the other side. I'd like to see it more to the left. So here's a later version where because I'm working in different layers. If you're Photoshopped person, it's great because you can so easily make changes according to what your client wants. If something needs to be resized or repositioned, its not the end of the world, you just go into that layer and you change it, right? So I moved the compass over, and then I started to make the body with the chakras. And then I sent it to Sharon to see if this was on track, and she said Yes. And then the final version actually ended up looking like this. So she changed her mind again about the compass. But again, because I had that compass on a separate layer, it was easy for me to just move it back, and she wanted a little bit smaller. No problem, because my image wasn't all squished together. It wasn't horrible for me to just move it over and shrink it down a little bit. So this is the final version with a little bit of darkness around the edges leg. So with the animal symbols that she requested and modified compass. So this helped me make her very, very happy because I also listened to her. People love to be listened to, and they like to give feedback on things. So as long as this is a beneficial thing for your design process, I highly recommend you do share work with your client in progress at least four, especially if you're doing multiple images for someone, at least for the first image, so that you can get a sense of what it is that they want. You check in with them before calling it a day right now. When can this? Sometimes this can be a problem when you do a lot of work and you do everything that they asked you to. But then after like, for example, of Sharon said, after this, well, actually, maybe I don't want a compass. Maybe I want an hourglass. Maybe I don't want you know, uh, Cheetah and Eagle. Maybe I want I don't know, like a bowl of silly putty. Okay, then that's just asking for a totally different image, right? So do be careful. Do not allow yourself to become exploited. So yes, take feedback, but only to ah certain degree. If you followed my steps earlier with the contract and already discussed with the client what it is that you were going to do All your bases should already be covered. If the client really wants something totally 100% different than what you agreed to Dio just set up a new project with them and have you pay. Have them pay you for it, right? So let me show you just one other thing that I'm working on at the moment. So this is a video. This is the draft video for the American University of Myanmar, and it's 90 seconds long. And this was the first draft of the video footage that I gave them, and I'll play it for you. And then I'll just tell you what their feedback waas and then in a later less and I'll show you the final version. My name's Amanda. I'm, uh, a 19 year old Burmese student, And I just recently graduated from American University of Mammal. I think a lot of Burmese people don't have the privilege to go to school to have a proper education. A lot of the kids have low self esteem. They don't know how to think for themselves. The American University of Myanmar was incorporated in Delaware with a joint American and me and our board of trustees to build, maintain and run a nonprofit, not sectarian and political university in Myanmar for the benefit of the man more people as Mia Mars Onley nonprofit university and on Lee University operating high American standards , it is uniquely positioned to help educate people that me Amar needs to advance its economy and to ensure that its newfound democracy continues. I learned that what all I was in school, I was allowed to speak for myself. I was allowed to raise my own ideas and my teachers were not someone that I was scared off . They were my friends. They were they were my partners and everything that I did who were trying to guide me. Okay, so that was the first draft. And actually that's pretty much of finished video. So in some cases you may have to be 99% finished with something before you can even show it to the clients. I couldn't show them you know, video with big gaps in it without the video footage, etcetera. So that was a first draft, and I sent it to them. And the feedback that I got was that they were happy with most of it, but that they wanted actually less footage of the university itself and more footage of life in Myanmar, which is great because I was actually holding back because most institutions want lots of footage of the school. So that was fine. Um, And then there were a couple of, um, things about the music, the text, the wording, etcetera. So I went back and I made another version. And now I'm in the process of finalizing that video. So I hope this lesson waas insightful and I will see in the next lesson. 5. Presenting the "Final" Work, Making Final Tweaks, and Finding the Right Balance: Okay, So here we are with the final final version of the video that I created recently for the American University of Myanmar. So in the earlier lesson, I showed you a work in progress slash draft that I submitted and they gave me their feedback. And then I went back in and I was able to make the changes. This was actually a bit of a tricky job in the sense that I had not one but two clients that we're not always an agreement with each other. So this was really tricky because one would give me their feedback and then the other one would give me their feedback and it wouldn't match the other person. So all I can say is you can't please everyone if you have to choose between clients, I guess choose the one that's actually going to pay you. But I really did make a sincere effort to address all of their wishes and concerns. There were some things that were asked of me that were not things I recommended. Ah, wording, choices or, you know, making ah a couple of shots very similar. They wanted the shots to match but myself as a video professional recommended. You actually don't want them all to look the same. You want to have a bit of shot variety, so try to balance giving your clients what they want. But also give them your best advice. And if it's not clear to them why you're advising that you have to explain. So anyway, I'll show you the final version, or this is a version actually gave them for final versions with different variations, and so they can always change their mind later. So if you're dealing with someone who's either very micromanage E or someone that just can't stop asking for tweaks, my suggestion is just give them lots of versions when you submit the final work. And then hopefully that's enough to make them happy. So I do believe they're happy. I have been paid, and I'm happy with the work as well. So this is what's up on their you tube page at the moment. We haven't done much with it yet, but so this is the final version you can compare with the earlier one. My name's Amanda, and I just recently graduated from American University of Man. I think a lot of Burmese people don't have the privilege to go to school to have a proper education. A lot of the kids have low self esteem. They don't know how to think for themselves. The American University of Myanmar was incorporated in Delaware with a joint American and me and our board of trustees to build, maintain and run a nonprofit, not sectarian, and on political university in Myanmar for the benefit of the media. More people. As Myanmar's Onley Nonprofit University and Onley University operating high American standards, it is uniquely positioned to help educate people that me and my needs to advance its economy and to ensure that its newfound democracy. I learned that what all I was in school, I was allowed to speak for myself. I was allowed to raise my own ideas, and my teachers were not someone that I was scared off. They were my friends. They were they were my partners and everything that I did who were trying to guide me. Okay, so that was the version that they chose to put upon the YouTube page. So because they gave me feedback, I'm happier with the final result. They're happier with the final result And so it's a true collaboration when you're able to listen to your client, give them many choices and do make them feel like they are listened to. And, yeah, so that's the final one. And I hope you found this helpful, see in the next lesson. 6. Finish Up Your Project With a Positive Bang. Tips and Tricks.: Okay, So this lesson is all about wrapping things up in a nice way. So the screen is my inbox, and it illustrates what happens when you submit all the final work to the client. They received the invoice, so basically, you give them everything afterwards, you send them an invoice. They see the invoice, they pay the invoice and everyone is happy. So in a perfect world, that's how it goes. So here's an example of that. So when things go well, they go like this. So, um, this is my message. They are ready and in your dropbox, and then you'll see that my invoice system tells me that this invoice was viewed, then tells me that it was paid. So they paid it right after viewing it, which is the best kind of client there is. And then also a confirmation of that from PayPal and then response and feedback and everything else. So let's have a look at the final message that a typical final message that I will send to a client. Okay, so basically, it's the rep up message. So you want to basically send them a little message and I'll just read it for you So, dear uh, many Thanks for the extra time. All 20 images air in your dropbox. Now, I sincerely hope there what you wanted. And, as always, I'm happy to make any tweaks or changes. For example, in the group shots, if you need more sky to put over text etcetera just let me know. So that's, um, in the first paragraph, you thank them and you let them know what you're delivering and where they can find it. Right in the second paragraph. I've enjoyed this project very much, and you have been a pleasure to work with. Boy, was he ever such a pleasure to work with. He was one of those dream clients. I also hope you are relaxing on your trip blubber blood. This is like some personal stuff. Um, OK, so in the second paragraph usually reiterate that I've enjoyed doing the project. If they've told you some information about things going on in their life, that's a good place to address what's going on with them. What's going on with you, etcetera? And then this line If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to ask. Just know I might be a little slower than normal. That's because I was going through my big Trans Condon Continental move at the time. Finally, there's absolutely no rush to pay for the final 10 images, But so I don't forget. I'm sending your invoice today. So, um, he paid me. This was one of those jobs where he paid me half at the beginning and then was to pay half for the final 10 images. So he got 20 images he paid for the 1st 10 and this is me asking very nicely for him to pay the final 10. So Ah, As you can see, I'm not rushing him. I'm not asking him. I'm just putting it out there. Here's the invoice. Pay me when you have a chance. I usually tell them that they have 30 days to pay after they've gotten their work. That's it. Best wishes and things again, Kristen and then blubber blood on my signature. So that's a typical ah thank you and farewell farewell type of message. And you're welcome to borrow this format for your clients as well. So then the next step after this, of course, send this message first. Don't send your invoice before sending the nice message. You want your client to see the nice message first. Then they see the invoice. And then hopefully they pay the invoice sooner rather than later. So I hope this is helpful. See in the next lesson. 7. Don't Forget to Do This For Attracting Even More Clients: Okay, so one last thing before you walk away with a big smile on your face after getting paid. Just one more thing you should think about. And we talked about this earlier as well. So don't forget to make the most out of your successful client experience by a asking nicely for a review or testimonial of your work and be taking that work that you've done and making sure that is visible for others to see what you've done. Now I am guilty of falling behind on this, Um, especially since I just moved to Myanmar and had a lot on my mind with a big move. But the's in the less lists, and I showed you my farewell message to my wonderful Dream client. And here are some of the images that I did for him. So this is a series of 20 images for a language learning website, and he basically had asked me for characters meant to be iconic and stylized from a language website. I'm creating artwork for throw May. The client client kindly gives permission to share my website and Facebook Page gallery, so I have a Facebook page that also has a gallery on it. And what I really need to do is take the best of this work and put it on my own website where all the portfolio work is. So I still have to do that. But just to give you a glimpse of some of the work Oh, good. There. Loading faster now. Okay, so I'll just click through these as I'm talking. Hopefully they're looting faster. So you get a sense of some of the work that I did over a long period of time? Well, actually, just ah, the month of May. But, um, what I need to do now is just make sure that this is available. What was nice is, every time I finished a new image, I would put it in my gallery. And then I get all these people liking on liking it, commenting. So that was also a bit of ah, um boost To help increase my mo mentum for doing all of these many images. So that is my best advice. Make the most of your work and make sure that you put it up for people to see. And then before you know it, you will be getting not only repeat clients, but new clients as well. By the way, you can see all of these by coming to my Facebook page. It's just my name. Kristin Polona. All right, thanks. I hope this was helpful seeing the next lesson. 8. Thank Your For Taking This Course. Please Review: thank you for taking this course. I hope you found my tips and tricks helpful, clear and easy to use for yourself. Please remember, you can always ask me a question by starting a discussion or by contacting me through my website or Facebook page. If you did find value in this course, please do take a moment to leave a rating or review. Your feedback helps me best provide a high quality course experience for you and your online classmates. I also look forward to giving you personal feedback on your project. Click the project, but and under the video lessons to start. Thanks so much for being a student in my online classroom. I hope to see you again soon.