024: Finding Clients While Maintaining Professionalism | seanwes podcast

How do you find clients? How do you get work? The common advice says to take what you can get, especially when you’re just starting out. You’ve got to pay bills, right? I explain why this is the wrong mindset, and retort with a pointed approach to avoid setting yourself up for failure when looking for clients, and instead, how to focus on long term professional success.

Show Notes 05:51 “How do you get clients? How do you find work?” First, let’s bring some context to this question by starting with your process as a professional. PROCESS 09:20 Quick Case For Professionalism (Crash Course) 09:45 Professionalism in a Logo Design Project: 10:15 Professionals provide an experience-based solution. 10:47 Professionals do not provide options. They provide a solution. 11:07 Design is not a game of subjectivity. 11:15 You are not designing for your client. 11:36 It is not your job to serve the preferential whim of yourself, or even your client. 11:52 Professionals do not subject their clients to design decisions. 12:32 It is your job to make sure your client fully understands this before you start working together. 12:42 Q: How do you explain this to the client? A: Your process is what explains it. 12:57 Your process and approach should be documented on your website in the form of case studies or a process page. 14:46 Two kinds of processes you need to design: 14:58 General Process Your general process is an overview of how you work. It should contain all stages and steps that are common in every type of project you do. A general process can and should be placed on your website where it is publicly viewable by potential clients. 15:25 Project-Specific Process This process is something you create on a client-by-client basis. You provide this specific overview to the client at the onset of the project. 16:10 A “Process” page is great, but case studies provide a multi-faceted look at how you work for the client. This builds trust. FINDING CLIENTS 17:25 The right type of client comes under your process from the very start 23:12 A client coming under your process is crucial in setting the foundation for a successful project. That is the only way you will be able to establish the kind of relationship that is required to do professional work. 23:31 Your process is everything from the moment the client finds you, to when you hand over the complete work. This experience is something you must design. 23:45 If you can’t write down your process, you don’t have one. 25:38 The problem with cold-calling clients. 26:30 When you cold-call clients, it sets the wrong precedent because of the rule of reciprocity. 31:08 How do you find clients if you value professionalism? 31:16 You DON’T start by saying “Well, I need to pay bills, so I’ll just take on whatever work I can get.” That is compromise, and compromise begets compromise. 31:30 “But what about when you have other people in the boat with you?” (e.g. you have to provide for your family) 33:35 It’s a falsehood that you’re better off doing the “quick fix” to make money. 34:20 Yes, you have to make ends meet, but that does not mean you compromise your professionalism in the business that you have in this industry. It may mean getting a job that you don’t love for a while. 35:11 You cannot start with unprofessional work and expect it to lead to professional work. 35:25 You will only ever have professional relationships with clients if you start by creating an environment that fosters those kinds of relationships. 36:05 You’re either a professional, or you’re a technician. A technician performs tasks as told, and professional provides a solution. These are not two parallel paths. 36:25 Your journey as a professional starts at Square 1 whenever you decide to begin. 36:51 Professionalism is playing the long game. 37:05 Use The Overlap Technique to build your professional portfolio. 37:43 If you ever want to be a professional, you cannot compromise that professionalism to pay bills. 40:22 “How does The Overlap Technique work when your previous work and clients does not match your new professional pursuit?” 40:36 Leap-Frogging 41:19 How I increased my logo design prices. 43:20 Provide GREATER VALUE than mere direct correlation to what you’re being paid. 43:32 Two Prices: Full Price & Free 43:39 You do not discount your rate. People who receive a discounted rate from you will not value your work. 44:27 When you charge someone full price, they pay $1,000, and they value the work at $1,000. 44:40 When you’re doing pro-bono work, there may not be money exchanging hands, but the recipient understands that they are getting $1,000 worth of work, and that is how they value the job. 45:10 The many benefits of pro-bono work and how it can fuel your professionalism. 55:55 Conclusion: Professionals do not provide options. They provide a solution. Professionals do not subject their clients to design decisions. Your client has to be on board with this from the start. They can only be on board if you’ve explained your process. You don’t have a process unless you’ve written it down. The right type of client comes under your process from the very start. Chasing clients instead of letting them come to you starts the relationship off on the wrong foot. Investing in professionalism is playing the long game. You can’t start by saying, “I need to pay the bills, so I’ll take what I can get and be professional later.” It doesn’t work that way. Start now. Start with The Overlap Technique. Build a portfolio with case studies. Two Prices: Full Price & Free

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