Hi friends!! I am working on answering those questions in the previous post. SERIOUSLY Great STUFF!! I am stoked to answer those. Until I finish up… here is a new post for ya.
In light of looking towards the new year… I thought I would share some thoughts on how and why I take on projects. Some projects and clients are draining, some inspiring, and others can just be neutral. No one EVER wants to feel drained with their job. We all want to stay inspired and moving forward. Once you have built your portfolio, and are now getting more work than you can take on, its time to move past the first come fist serve montra and make some decisions about which projects to take on and which projects to pass on. While I wish I could make everyone happy by accepting everything…. I have learned that it’s just not a reality. To maintain a steady work-flow and excitement for the future, I have to protect myself and my time – only choosing the projects that move me forward, keep me fresh, and pay the bills.
After evaluating my business over the last couple of years I developed three categories for which I use to make decisions on which projects to take on. I don’t always stick to these… but they are a helpful guide.
1 // CHOOSING A GOOD OPPORTUNITY
A GOOD opportunity is a client or large company with industry creditbility and a large network of likeminded people. A client with industry creds and a network of likeminded people will help attract more clients AND more clients LIKE THEM. You could view this has a marketing opportunity for your business. A question to ask yourself would be: WOULD I want to work with more clients like this? Or would I want to work with the people that “follow” my client? If your answer is no, then that particular project would not be a good opportunity for you.
2 // CHOOSING AN INSPIRING OPPORTUNITY
An INSPIRING opportunity is a project that revives you, adds to your portfolio, aligns with your artistic aesthetic, or broadens your skill set. This project sends you jumping out of bed in the morning. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Does this client have a really inspiring style? Will this get me out of doing the norm? Will this be a PERFECT addition to my portfolio? Will this showcase the BEST I possibly can do?
3 // CHOOSING A MONEY MAKING OPPORTUNITY
*Sometimes* to get GOOD opportunities and INSPIRING opportunities you have to sacrifice full payment. Sometimes. But that sacrifice is well worth it because you will make up for it with a killer project in your portfolio or a new relationship with a client that will potentially bring you more clients. Therefore, A MONEY MAKING opportunity is just that…. it pays the bills… at top dollar. At times you will come across clients that are not a very good opportunity and are not very inspiring and thats okay. You need to pay the bills as well. And thats where this project fills in the gaps of your business. I am a girl thats definitely NOT about the money…but you do have to make a living. So, if only one category out of the 3 is about money…I am okay with that.
My business has really grown using this filter. An example of a client that wouldn’t fit in any of these categories would be an acquaintance in the real estate industry that wants a custom website at a discounted rate. Why? 1) This would not be a GOOD opportunity for me because I am not looking to cultivate more clientele in the real-estate sector… so even if they had a large network it still wouldn’t help move my business forward in the direction I envision. 2) This would not be an inspiring opportunity for me because, well… I am an inspiration diva looking to work with creative clients, not corporate world clients. and 3) They do not value my work enough to pay the full price… SO I would not be making very much money doing this project. Therefore this particular job is a miss on all 3 categories. If the project hit at least 1 category I would consider taking the project. Are there exceptions? Of course there are! And I often look for those exceptions and take them. But viewing this potential project as a strictly business decision I would take a pass. I would rather do a free project for something I really come alive working on/or for.
pssst…There is a DREAM CLIENT category too!! But I don’t really see it as a category. I see it as a cherry on top. Some clients hit All 3 categories AND are AMAZING to work with… giving me full creative freedom and have very little revisions. THIS IS A HUGE DREAM CLIENT!! Hang on to those clients and always make room for them in your schedule.
A good combination of the above categories gives me a good variety, keeps me inspired, keeps new clients in the queue, and makes the money. Have you thought about how you except work? Even if you are still in the portfolio building stage or doing free work…. there are always instances where you need to make some of these decisions. I think its worth looking at your options now and planning for the future to prevent a burn out.