Doing Business as a Designer: Setting Expectations

Posted on July 20, 2010


Cameron (my client) did two shows (he’s a DJ): one on Friday and Saturday. On both days he was relying on two freelancers, a photographer and another DJ for the bar room. The photographer’s job is to capture the moment of club goers while the second DJ plays other types of music other than Top 40’s hip-hop because Cameron is playing that genre in the main room.

On both days, both were late and both did not do a good job. The DJ played the same music as Cameron and the photographer kept taking pictures in the same spot versus taking pictures all around the club.

On Sunday, Cameron came to visit me.

“I had to micro manage them to the very inch and still, they cannot get their jobs done!” furiously explaining.

I calmly said “Well it seems that you did not set expectations prior to soliciting their help. Did you explain to them the horrible consequences of past events? Did you set the terms on a contract? Did you set the results for breaking those terms?”

Looking at the ground, Cameron said “I should have.”

In the design world, there are parallels to Cameron’s experience.

While in the sales process, set the expectations of your client so that they provide all the requirements needed to get your job done with fewer hassles. That way you’ll get more repeat business from them because they love the experience of working with you. This is a hidden value that will make your design business much more successful.