Fingers crossed and hope I don't jinx myself. But over the last one and a half years of freelancing I haven’t had a single bad client. Perhaps it’s because I am a glass half full kind of guy. Or perhaps it's because I listen to my clients and trust what they have to say. When I show my clients respect they also show me the same respect in return. I’m sure my experience plays a part. But consider this thought.
You are better than Albert Einstein at doing digital design.
WEIRD BUT TRUE
Funny statement right, you are better at doing digital design than one of the smartest men to have ever lived. It’s almost egotistical. But if you think about it of course it’s true. Because Albert Einstein didn't specialise in design, he is a specialist in mathematics and physics. YOU are the specialist in design. Likewise 99% of the time you will know more about design than your clients. You understand the digital space and medium better than they do. So you must act accordingly, do your research and homework. Justify why you make certain decisions but be open to changes and iterations. Because your clients know their business and goals better than you do. So it is your job and role to listen and solve their problems with your solution.
But you also need to remind them that you have been hired not to be a pixel monkey, but someone who is solving a need for them. When they get lost in the process and focus on the unnecessary details. It’s your job to pull them out and remind them their job is to present you the goals that they want achieved. And your job is to deliver on those goals. Be prepared to present the facts and assert your expertise. If you can be better at this one thing than one of the smartest men to have ever lived. Show that same conviction when working with your client, they will appreciate you for it. And if they are not, you have failed to set that expectation early on when they engaged with you. You are the expert in your field and they are the expert in theirs so act accordingly.
Once trust has been built because everyone understands their roles. I’ve found that that is when the best work occurs. I respect their decisions and they respect mine. We discuss and keep iterating based on the work and nothing else. It’s just a shit load of comments on slack, redpen and invision. And jamming out something that will serve to meet user and business objectives, delivered with beautiful form and function.