Freelancing: Spot Red Flags and Manage (or Avoid) Nightmare Clients | Annica Lydenberg | Skillshare

Freelancing: Spot Red Flags and Manage (or Avoid) Nightmare Clients

Annica Lydenberg, Bad Ass Typographer

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9 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Project Description

    • 3. Red Flags - Communication

    • 4. Writing Your Potential Client Survey

    • 5. Red Flags - Great Expectations

    • 6. Writing a Simple Process Description

    • 7. Red Flags - Mo' Money

    • 8. Compile a Sample Fee Guide

    • 9. Hey Thanks!


About This Class

Join me, Annica Lydenberg, a freelance designer and illustrator, as I talk about common red flags that I have seen come up with many clients during my 20 years of freelance experience.

This class will help you spot potential difficulties and put in place methods to keep jobs from going sideways. The goal of this class is to prevent students from wasting precious time on managing difficult client relationships instead of being free to do their job. 

This is the perfect class for freelancers in any creative field who are already engaged in their craft and fielding job requests from clients. It'll help you spot the good ones and avoid the bad ones! 


1. Class Intro: Hello and welcome. My name is Annica Lydenberg. I'm a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I've been fortunate enough to work with some really fantastic clients, like Time Out, Away, Nike, Scholastic, and HarperCollins. I do work under the name Dirty Bandits. If you want to Internet stock me, you can do it there. I never actually intended to be a freelancer. I didn't even own my own computer when I graduated college. I went straight from school to a full-time job and I loved it. But the economy was having a rough period and we were all laid off. So I found myself forced into a freelance life way before I was prepared for it. But since becoming a freelancer, I really have time to absolutely love the other things that this lifestyle has provided me with. So I've now been a freelancer for 20 years. In this time, I've had some fantastic clients and some really lousy clients. That cost of a bad client is always so much more than just an unpaid invoice. The cost is mental as well. The amount of time that I spent agonizing over e-mails and all of that, it takes a toll on you as well. I'm teaching this class because no matter what kind of creative industry you're in, we all have clients that are failing us in the same ways. It's not personal, but it is up to us to gently and kindly teach clients how to be better communicators, how to be better clients, because as better clients, they're going to be getting better projects. Sometimes we'll not be so easily steered in the right direction. So they're going to be times where you need to say, "Hey, I don't think this is the best job for me. I don't think this is the right fit." This class is perfect for someone who is already underway in their freelance career. Someone who is clear about what it is that they are providing, and they're already getting job requests coming in. We're going to talk about common red flags that you're going to see, and I'm going to give you a bunch of tips to address them easily and readily. Then you're going to go ahead and develop a few documents that are going to help you have more efficient client communication early on. After this class, I hope that you will spend a lot less time on client correspondence. I hope you'll be able to pick the good ones, skip the bad ones, and get straight to the creative part a lot quicker, because that's what we're good at, and that's the part that we want to be doing. 2. Project Description: Over the years I've found that when a client says, I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it. What they mean is that I will make your life happen. I have taken my most dreaded red flags and group them into three main categories. There's communication, expectation, and of course, money. After we talk about red flags related to communication, we're going to put together a potential client survey. This is something that I love to find out if there is an incomplete job request that comes in and it should be able to return to you all of the information you need to decide, is this the right job for you? Is this the right client for you? Help you figure out pricing? If a client is unable to return the potential clients survey this also speaks volumes of their abilities to be professional. Next, we're going to talk about expectations. It's really important that you and your client are on the same page, and having understanding of both the process and the outcome. Something that we'll do together after talking about these red flags as well, put together a clear description of what your process is. This is super helpful and can also be done and use in your contract. The last group of red flags we are going to talk about is, of course, money. Everyone is bad at talking about money. I'm going to walk you through putting together really simple document which will include samples of projects that you've done along with what you would charge for each one. This can be super helpful and will guide conversations a lot more smoothly with potential clients about what to expect to what our industry standards and what makes sense giving your level of experience. The goal of all of these projects is to help you minimize the amount of time you spend corresponding with clients when it's not going to end up being the right job. These are meant to help you move through this initial part a lot more quickly so you can get to actually beginning your creative endeavor, so join me as we start talking about the first set of red flags. 3. Red Flags - Communication: We're ready to get started. The first group of red flags we're going to talk about is communication. Big red flag is when there are just too many people involved in your project, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This could take two different forms. If you're working with an agency, there may be five or six people cc'd on that first email. Or if it's the case of a small business owner, they may be looking for advice from all people that are not directly involved in the project. I had a client once who was telling me how she showed this first round of packaging concepts I had done for her to a focus group. I was asking her all these questions to figure out, what was the demographic? How was the discussion conducted? All this stuff. Finally, it turns out she had just shown her mother. Now, your mother is not a focus group. Some tips for figuring out how to best handle this situation of too many cooks in the kitchen. Be sure you have only one point of contact. Even if they're going to be five or six people cc'd on every single email. That's fine. Make sure that you have one person who is in charge of giving you all of the feedback. That way you're not worried that, who has already seen these comments? Who hasn't seen these comments? Everything should be filtered through a single person. You also want to ask a lot of questions early on about what the final decision-making process is going to be. Who is going to be giving final approval? Are there people that this is going to be shown to who aren't even cc'd on this. You're going to use this information then to determine how many rounds of revisions you're going to offer. Because the more people involved, the more rounds of revisions you should expect to be receiving. You also may want to be sure to identify what cost additional concepts would have. In the scenario of someone is getting personal opinions from other people that they know, you really want to force your client to own that feedback that they're giving you. When your client says, "Oh, I showed my brother and they really didn't think that X, Y, or Z was working." Do you fully agree with that? Because it's important that your client be able to identify what's just something that they've heard that now they're nervous about versus an opinion that they personally share. Next red flag when it comes to communication, is a client who has no professional boundaries. You want to make sure that you establish the boundaries early on or else you can find yourself in some really unpleasant working scenarios. People are expecting you to work at all hours, work on the weekends, just because you're freelance. That's always a really big one. I made a mistake really early on. I invited a client to come by my apartment to go over some design concepts. After showing the concepts, she's giving me all her feedback and then she gets up and goes to use the bathroom and just leaves the door open so she can pee with the door open and still continue to give me feedback. Some tips for how to make sure you are establishing really good boundaries with your clients. Do not accept Monday deadlines. This implies that you are spending the weekend working. Don't respond to emails at all hours. It's okay if you're working at all hours, but you don't need to be responding to emails. Leave them in your outbox, hit send first thing in the morning. Or you can use Gmail's feature in order to schedule your emails to go out at a particular time. As I mentioned before, do not invite clients to your house. If you happen to work from home, make sure that you conduct your meetings either in a coffee shop nearby or see if you can find a co-working space where you could maybe rent a conference room for an hour or so. Some place where there's a little bit less distraction. It helps give off a feeling of professionalism when you're not meeting in your house or in a coffee shop. You can always schedule a time after the project is over to be social with your client. A lot of your clients will in fact become your friends. Next, you want to be really wary of someone who says, "Hey, we started this project with another designer and it's not working, so we'd like to hire you instead." It's super flattering and you want to think, "Yes, I can come in and save the day and everything's going to be great. I got this." But you really want to ask a bunch of questions before you get started. You have to be wary. Was this someone who simply hired the wrong kind of person? Did they hire a web designer for a job that required a lot of illustration? Or do they hire someone who simply was not qualified enough because they wanted to save money. They didn't want to put in the money to hire a professional of the level that they would need? Or is this someone who is having some more fundamental problems with communication than perhaps they realize. A couple of ways that we're going to tackle this. First thing you're going to say is, "Sounds great. So excited. Please send me over the original brief as well as the first round from your last designer." This will give you a very clear picture of what is going on. First you'll be able to see what was communicated to the first designer and then what did that designer turn around and do? You can see, is it just a problem of bad design? If so, awesome. You got this. The next thing that I'll ask is what do you think went wrong? This gives you a sense of if your client has some sense of culpability in this, do they see the role that they play in the success of their final project? Or do they just assume it's up to the designer, it's up to the creative to just figure out what it is that they have in their mind and make it be a reality? Or are they conscious of how important their engagement is in order to get a successful project that they're happy with. Now, you may find that in fact, the client will only send you the first round design concepts and not send you the brief because perhaps there was actually no brief. This brings me directly into our next red flag, which is, there's no brief. You wouldn't believe how common it is for me to get an email that just says, "How much for a logo or how much for a mural?" Without providing any additional information. I'm always super wary of these emails. They are often people who haven't worked with creatives before, so it can mean a lot of hand holding a lot of explaining. It can mean sometimes that there's not going to be much of a budget. Maybe they aren't prepared for what something might cost. They're not going to be familiar with industry standards. You're really going to have to share a lot of information with them right from the beginning. The way that I would advise tackling something like this, a client like this, is going to be with the potential clients survey. Which is what I'm going to walk you through in the next video. Join me in the next lesson when we work on developing your potential clients survey. 4. Writing Your Potential Client Survey: Welcome to your first class project. In this class project, we are going to put together a brief potential client questionnaire that will go out to anyone who has sent you in incomplete brief or does not have a brief at all. This will help you gather all the information that you need in order to decide if this is the right project for you and also help you determine pricing. I like to start with asking simply what is the project overview? Get a sense of what is the scope of the project and what are the final deliverables. You will notice here, I actually went ahead and said what a deliverable is just in case I am sending this to someone who isn't used to working with creatives. Then I will ask a little bit about the company. How would you describe your business? What is your 30 second pitch? Then go on to ask a little bit about the brand itself. Even if this is a brand that I can research, it is always really nice to hear from someone who works for the company, how the company sees itself. Then what is your mission moving forward? Is this is a company that is in the middle of repositioning themselves? Do they have different priorities? Do they have a different mission? Next, I go on to ask about their customers, so who is your ideal customer and what pin point do you solve for your customers? Why is your accompany important for these people? Then how do you want people to feel when they connects with your company? Then I go on to ask more specifically about the project, who is the audience for the project? Is this something that is going out to new customers? Is it going to old customers or is this something that is going to be used internally for people that work for the company. Next, I may ask a bit about what point of differentiation they feel that they have, so who is your competition and how are you different? Since I am a visual creative, I will go on and ask questions about the visual direction. What type of personality does your brand have? Then I will ask if they have a specific visual direction already in mind and if so, can they provide reference materials? I'm going to use this in order to help build out more detailed mood boards that I'm going to use for the job. I find it super helpful to even ask, was there anything in my portfolio that drew you to wanting to work with me? Then something super important to ask is are there themes or styles that they want to steer clear of? Is there a visual direction they have explored in the past that they know that they don't want to do again or is there something there competition is doing that they want to make sure they stay really far away from. Then I'm going to go on to ask questions about budget, you will notice that I put in here in parentheses required because nothing makes me crazier than when a client won't share with you what their budget is. If they say they don't have a budget in mind, what is the range that they are expecting to pay? Same thing goes for timeline. Is their final due date and is it flexible? Do you have a arranges to when you'd like to achieve this project? A lot of time there can be a little bit of back and forth in negotiation around timeline and budget, so if one is fixed and one is flexible, then there are ways to help work around things. Finally, I will ask about usage, so what is the final the application of this? It is really important to know what the final application of your work is going to be. Because there is both the importance of what it is that you are charges an hourly rate and how long something is going to take you, but also the value that something holds to the company as well because it is not just your time, it is your creative product that is going to be a value to them. I will also ask, is this something that they want to own the artwork outright in perpetuity, meaning forever? Or is this something where it is very clear, ''Hey, we are doing this campaign is only going to be for social, it is going to be done in the month of May and then it's over.'' You are going to charge more if someone wants to buy something outright and you can also build this out as a separate thing and you say, ''This is what I would charge for the project,'' in order to own the artwork outright it's an additional x. I have something in here, please note, I do not work is work for hire unless specified, meaning all work not part of final deliverables remains Intellectual property of dirty vendors. A lot of large companies will ask you to do work for hire and if the price is right, then that is fine with me, but I don't typically tend to do it and I do try to stay away from it. Then the last little section that I like to have in here is just a quick bolded list of what I need in order to get started. I hope that this was helpful for you and that this gives you a good starting point to work on your own potential client questionnaire, when you are done please posted in the project section so that we can all take a look. I think it's super helpful to see what other things people are thinking to ask of clients. You may have very different needs in terms of what goes in your questionnaire, if you are say, a photographer or a writer. I think it is super helpful for other creatives to see what information people are gathering before they can properly quote on a job. 5. Red Flags - Great Expectations: Welcome to the next section of this class where we are going to talk about red flags related to expectation. A red flag for me is when a client can't really seem to decide on what it is that they want and they are using opposing adjectives in their project description. Don't let someone ask you for something that is both whimsical and edgy because this doesn't exist. Chances are they are not super clear on what it is that they actually want, and in essence, they're setting you up for failure. Some tips for how you can handle a client that is not super clear on what it is that they want and they seem to be in fact asking for conflicting things, you can ask them to define the terms that they're using a little bit more. A lot of words can be extremely subjective, so make sure that you really get your clients to pin down specifically what it is that they need. Then one of the most important things you can do, especially in a situation like this, is if this is a visual projects, make sure you're using mood boards. Always use mood boards. Good news, your client actually has a brief, but bad news, the brief basically includes ripping off someone else's work. This is something that's going to happen often, and this is really not something that we as creative should ever engage in. Let's say a client comes to you and they are referencing an illustrator who has very clear defined style and they want the characters to look just like this illustrator's characters look, they want the same color palette, the same pattern styles, stuff like this. The first thing that I typically do is ask, have you approach this illustrator? Clearly, that's who they should be hiring since that's whose style they want. Then the question is have they approached this illustrators, is this Illustrator not available, or were they too expensive, or did it simply not even occurred to this client to approach that particular illustrator? Another thing that you can do to help steer these clients away from simply ripping off someone else's work is offered to do a brainstorming session with them. This can be super beneficial for both of you. It gives you a chance to be more involved in the creative process and help steer them away from this idea of just co-opting someone else's work and calling it their own. The biggest thing you really want to be doing here is encourage your client to pursue originality. This is going to be best for the longevity of their brand, and this is going to be best for any creative that they're working with. Sometimes it can be really difficult to get a client to move away from their original idea. No matter how much you do brainstorming, even if you develop new mood boards for them, anything like this, they still might have in their mind that original piece of artwork that they saw that they want to emulate. If that's the case, I would really just strongly encourage them to hire that illustrator directly or that artists directly. This next red flag is a big one, and perhaps one of the biggest problems that I had early on in my career, and that is someone who has a micro manager. Getting design feedback is great, but getting very specific art direction is not always for the best. What are you supposed to do if the design direction that they're offering is terrible? What do you do if it's just a really bad idea and you know it's not going to work? There are a bunch of questions you want to ask yourself. Is this someone that you really want to be working with again in the future? If so, you got to trade really carefully. Is this someone who doesn't have a lot of experience working with creatives and maybe can't distinguish between a personal opinion versus a problem with a design solution? Alternatively, the question is, are you getting this very specific art direction from an art director? If so, you should just do what they're asking. Or, is it possible that this design direction is coming from someone other than your point person on the job, is this coming from this CEO and the head of marketing or sales, whatever it may be? You can't expect your point person to fight your battles for you, so you may not want to push back on some of these comments. If your client is not an art director, then you want to encourage them to not give you specific design comments, but more to talk about ways in which your design solution isn't fulfilling the ultimate aim or whatever the case, maybe. My buddy Ben used to hire me to do a lot of design work for him. But to him, I was just glorified special Photoshop plug-in where you could just tell me what it is that you wanted me to be doing in the files. He liked to sit next to me while I was doing work and give constant feedback throughout the whole thing. Once I figured out that this was the method that worked for him, this was how he preferred to work with a designer, I just started billing hourly and it was fine for both of us. A few tips for how to handle the micro manager. Firstly, you want to make sure that you don't take the feedback personally. This is their project, it's going to mean a lot more to them and they have a lot more invested in it. If the feedback is terrible and they are not an art director, do not do what they have asked you to do because they will pick it every time. You want to find a way to offer up another solution where you let them know that you've heard them, but you're not going to do exactly what it is that they asked. For example, you can say, I understand that you don't like the color orange, I'm happy to explore different options, but I don't think that green is going to be the answer. There are also a lot of times where people are going to make some really terrible request comes to logos. Sometimes people think that the logo needs to tell the entire story. It's something that I find myself saying often is, I understand that you'd like the Brooklyn Bridge in here because this is a Brooklyn based company, but maybe there's another place for it elsewhere in your branding system. I don't think it necessarily needs to be in your logo. You're offering to include it, you're saying I'm just not going to put it in the logo. Lastly, I would say if what they're requesting really violate some basic design or creative principles, you can always try and point them to articles written by other industry professionals. That can be a nice way to let someone else explain to your client why what they're asking for is not a good idea. The last red flag we're going to talk about when it comes to expectations is the unrealistic deadline. A lot of people don't understand how long something is going to take or that you may have other jobs. No one's going to be able to know already how far out in advance you typically tend to book. As freelancers, it's expected that we pretty much never stop working, and also clients don't always understand that as a freelancer, you have many clients. I had a client once who said, "I need this ASAP." I feel like ASAP could mean a lot of different things to different people. That could mean later today or that could mean this week. I have no idea. I wrote back to the client and I said, "No problem. What does asap mean to you?" They replied that it means as soon as possible. Thanks. Regardless, you can't expect anyone to know what your schedule looks like. Here are some tips for how to handle a unrealistic deadline. You can always charge rush fees. There is a price at which you can do it and happily. You can explain your process a little bit more. The client may be thinking only about how long it takes you to actually execute the final product, not necessarily the time that's going to go into research, and calls, and rounds of revisions, and concepts, things like this. A lot of times clients will have a delay in being able to get you the content or the feedback that you need and they need to then understand how that's going to affect your deadlines. Be sure that your contracts includes deadlines for both parties, not just on your end. In order for you to get started, you're going to need certain materials. You want your client to understand the role that they're going to play and you being able to deliver something ASAP. 6. Writing a Simple Process Description: Welcome to our second class project. Here we are going to do just a brief process description. This is something that you can use when you're putting together your initial contract to which can be very helpful. But also this gives clients and nice clear sense of what role it is that they need to play in the process and what to expect at each step along the way. I've broken it down into five simple steps. First is the exploration and mood boards. I say after the initial discussion, I will put together mood boards for review, they will address visual themes, illustration styles, typographic direction, and overall colors slash vibe. It's nice to not only let them know that they'll be beginning the mood boards, but also what it is that their mood boards are meant to address. Then what I prefer to do in this is tie both a timeline to it and also if there are any client deliverable that need to happen at that same time. Next step for me is often going to be round one sketches. For this, I feel like it's super important to let people know what's can be happening around once. I prefer to start with just pencil sketches. If you always want to do more, you can and the client will be thrilled to see something that's more developed than what it is that they were expecting. But make sure you set reasonable expectations. I say three to four directions with notes and defined visual reference as needed to go along with my pencil sketches. Again, I set the timeline and again something like when I need final feedback from the client, I'm going to put that in as well. I also prefer to show my concepts first till I talk through my concepts with a client, rather than simply sending them a PDF blind without any description. First, I have the call, I show them the PDF will do a screen share whatever it may be, and I send the PDF afterwards for them to really sit with and think on more. But I like to at least set them up for a basic understanding of why this that they're getting the concepts that they're getting. Then you simply go through with round two, you're going to see color, you're going to see final image treatment. Again, timelines, client expectations. Round three is going to be when you see the final piece. It's just nice to have this little step-by-step so people know what to expect when. If you are say a photographer, you're going to have very different details in here, but someone should know are you going to do a sample test shot first? Do you allow clients onset or do you want to be sending them stuff throughout the day while you're shooting. It's really great to have him here what role you will play, what role the client will play, and then again to have the timelines linked to each deliverable is very helpful. This can also be super helpful if you want to price out kill fees or if you want to break down your pricing little bit more, let's say you're not comfortable just giving one flat number for the full project, and you want to say round one exploration and round one is going to cost X. Then final application, round two and round three is going to cost something else, and then here's your final buyout or whatever it may be. It's nice to have this broken down process in order for someone to better understand why things cost, what they cost, and what it is that they are actually getting besides just the final application. I'm eager to see your own process descriptions, so be sure to post those in the class section below so that we can all check it out. I think we are ready now to move on to talk about red flags related to money. So I will see you in the next lesson. 7. Red Flags - Mo' Money: No matter how much you love what you do, it's still your livelihood and you need to get paid. Money can be really hard to talk about. I struggled so much at the beginning of my career and probably still now. I had a tendency to ask for what I thought someone could pay, not what I thought that something was worth. You can always run numbers past colleagues, friends, other freelancers that you know, whatever the case may be, don't be scared to talk about money. I was working with the marketing company years ago and the owner was giving me some advice on my business and he said to me, ''How often does someone come back to you and say that price was too high?'' I said, never. Obviously this means you are not charging enough. It's okay if someone says no to a number, so long as you're asking for what's appropriate and relative to industry standards. That's better than asking for what you think that someone can pay. Here I'm going to share with you a bunch of red flags that you're going to see come up a lot when it comes to money. The first one is when a client asks for spec work. Spec work means that they are asking you to go ahead and start the design process or creative process without agreeing to pay you for it. I'll work including treatments, sketches, concepts. It all has a value and it all needs to be paid for. Sometimes larger companies will have to get three bids from different creatives and present them all and sometimes they may ask for work done initially, but they should still expect to be paying for that. That should not be considered work done on spec. What should you do if your approach to do spec work? One thing you could do is ask what the final budget is going to be once the project is awarded and you want to see, is this in line with industry standards? You could then suggests that a portion of that money goes towards paying for these initial concepts. I strongly suggest that you say, ''Hey, this project sounds really exciting to me and I would love to be involved. I cannot do work for free. Here's what I would charge for that initial round of concepts. Let me know if that will work for you.'' Sometimes I reply and say, ''Hey, I'm not able to do any work on spec for this, but I'd be happy to put together some mood boards based on your project and you can use those as well as other samples from my portfolio.'' Don't ever do work for a client for free. Reserve all free work for yourself. There are always going to be these clients that come to you. They have either no budget or a lousy budget, but they offer you exposure. This is going to happen to you often and it will happen at all stages of your career. I had a client who asked me to come and paint something on the windows of their SoHo based jewelry store. They said, ''Well, it's for breast cancer awareness and we don't have a budget for it, but it would be great exposure for you.'' I looked up the company, the company is worth millions of $, and they have a store in SoHo. It's still a marketing effort and I know you have a marketing budget and this is what I would charge for the job, I would be thrilled to be involved. I've never heard back from them. One way you could respond if you're given the offer of great exposure as part of your form of payment is to ask someone to be specific. I've never done this, but I would love to see what happens. Say, ''Okay, if you think that posting my work a common or tagging me in something on your Instagram feed is going to result in how many new followers am I going to get? Tell me.'' Then say, ''And if you aren't able to reach those numbers, can you then pay me for the work that I did?'' I feel like that would just make people go away. Think realistically about what else you could ask for that's more tangible than just the idea of exposure. Is this a company that you want a long and lasting relationship with that you haven't worked with before. Then maybe you're able to secure some sort of contract for another type of work with them which would be paid better and with actual money? You can still say yes, but I would be clear when you send your invoice. That you are offering a what I like to call professional courtesy discount. This way you are establishing A: That you understand what you're worth. You are familiar with industry standards. You're making sure your client is familiar with industry standards. Then if they go to hire you again later down the road, they're not like, this is this person we've worked with them before. She only charges $500 for this. No, they know that you charge 1000 for it, but that you've agreed to do it this one time for less. This also means then if this client recommends you to someone else, they're not recommending you at the price that they paid. They know what it is that you would normally charge for something. I mean, the easiest way to respond to any of these is just to say, no. That's not something that I can do for you. I don't work for exposure and just have a very simple, easy canned response that you can just copy paste and hit sense so you don't waste a lot of time even thinking about it. It's not usually worth engaging with clients that start offering things like exposure. It's just a really bad sign if that's how they start off trying to spin it as though they're doing something for you other than ask them for a giant favor. The worse is when a client writes to you and says, ''Well, it's not going to take you that long.'' Please don't tell me how long my job takes. Nothing makes me crazier. Well, an hourly rate is a great way to help you figure out the price for a job. It's not the only factor. You're still going to need to think about what is the usage for the final products? What is the size of the company that you're working with? What is the design process going to be like? How many rounds of revisions is someone's going to be expecting. There's a lot of other things to consider besides just how long does it take you to execute the final piece? I had a potential client once push-back on a price for a job and they said, ''Well, it's really not going to take you that long, so I don't really want to pay for more than a couple hours of your time.'' I explained that, you know, while I understood that the final piece wouldn't take me that long, I spent eight years learning how to do that skill and I wasn't going to charge them for any of that time. This one is super easy to handle. Number 1, don't take it personally, because it's probably not personal. They just don't know. All you need to do is just refer to industry standards. It drives me crazy when a client says that they don't know what the budget is and they just want a number from you. Everyone has a budget in mind. Even if it's just a range, everyone has a budget in mind. Unfortunately, ours is an industry where there can be just such a tremendous amount of variation in pricing. I find it really challenging when clients refuse to disclose what their budget is. When asked point-blank what someone's budget is, if they aren't able to share a number or even a range with you. This could result in a lot of wasted time. Maybe someone doesn't know what your work is actually worth. Maybe they're hoping you don't know what your work is actually worth, or they're hoping to see how low you might go. A couple of tips for how to tackle someone who will not give you about it. Rather than asking, what is your budget, you could ask what do you expect to pay for this? That then gives you a sense of what their understanding is of industry standards and not just their current financial situation of their company. Next, you could always float a really wide range. Pass someone if they're asking you for numbers without enough information. You could always just say, ''Look, I could do a mural for you for 2 grand, or I could do one for 20 grand. It depends on the size of the mural. It depends on how detailed it is, how many colors it is. Do I need to hire assistance? Do I need to book a lift in order to reach the top part of the wall? There's no way for me to be able to tell you what this mural is going to cost that I haven't even designed yet, so help me work within your budget.'' You can ask if they are talking to any other artists about the job. Then you think, are these artists above your pay grade? Are they on the same level as you? You could always just then send quick reference materials. This is exactly what we're going to discuss in the class projects for this. Where you're showing samples of work along with what they cost. It's a really easy way to help give someone a ballpark when they can't provide you with enough information. Join me in the next lesson, while we put together your sample project piece. 8. Compile a Sample Fee Guide: On your final class projects, we're going to work on a little document that has sampled project pricing. The one that I'm going to show you here is a simple document that I need for a mural request that I get in. In my sample documents, I like to have a wide range of pricing and also other details that are important to me in terms of how I price out a job. This first page, I have an example of a mural I did inside some friends office. At the wall itself was eight feet wide, eight feet high, the top four feet was the usable space. I specified it. This is interior, step stool and paint are provided. Also that the wall is primed and the timing was flexible. These are things that are super important to me in terms of doing a mural. Into your wall is going to be a lot smoother, a lot better to paint on, and it's a lot more pleasant painting condition. The dimensions are really important because if I am doing a mural that's on a ladder, it takes a lot longer to go up and down and up and down and move the ladder around. I also specify in here that the wall is primed. This mural was meant to be done on a blue background and the wall is not primed blue for me. I'm going to lose the first half-day to taping off and painting this wall blue. Any details that would help you determine pricing are going to go in here. Then I also specify how the design process was handled. In terms of how you specify the cost, you can also put this as a range as well. You do not have to put the cost of what you actually build this client. Like you do not have to put in what you were paid for it you need to put in what it's worth. All of the details that you outline in here are going to help explain the cost that it is that you have associated with this. Next, a mural I did for the away store in Boston. For this client, I ended up doing three design concepts and then two rounds of revisions. There were a lot of people that were involved in the approval process, and so this required more than simply my friend's studio with one concept and one round of revisions. For usage, I have neural only and in-store Boston location only. Again you don't have to put a specific dollar amount that you were paid. You could put a range for something like this. Then finally, I have an example of an outdoor application. Again, that's going to factor and largely as to how I quote on it and something like this, the dimensions, again, will help me figure out if I'm going to need a lift, if I'm gonna need ladders. This was also a live event so part of what I was doing was providing live painting. I was both entertainment and art and it's important that a potential client will see how it is that you determine your pricing. Anything that's going to be a factor for you, you should make sure you're outlining in your sample project document. I hope that this is a helpful place for you to get started. You may want to do something. If you do logo design, you might want to do three different logos and the different details that you include are how many concepts, how many rounds of revisions and like what is the size of the company? I would love it if you could share your sample pricing documents below in the class project section, everyone can take a look. It's super helpful to see what factors other people are considering and what range people are showing in something like this. You do not need to include numbers if you're not comfortable with that, that's entirely up to you. I hope that this was helpful as were the other two class projects. Hopefully with these three class projects together, you're able to feel all the different e-mails and correspondence that you're going to have with new clients moving forward, addressing all issues even before they come up with clients. 9. Hey Thanks!: Thank you so much for joining me for this class. I hope that some of the information that I've shared has been really helpful. I hope that you are able to avoid a few nightmare clients after seeing this and maybe managed some of your current ones a little bit better. I would love to see what you've gotten out of this class. If you're able to share your potential client survey, your process description, and your sample pricing documents below. I think it'd be great for the group to see how other people, especially different creatives conducts themselves and do their process. Hopefully this is a learning experience, not just from what I've been able to do, but also from what the other students are working on. Thank you again, and I look forward to connecting with you guys online.