Monday, November 16, 2009

Alumni show in Austin -

Wednesday night.

Six Artists...two spectacle sunglasses...

ultimat exhibition

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Running Your Own Business -

1. There is a fine line between building good client relationships and getting too close. Maintain great customer service, because it will bring you more business from that client and others that they may know. If at all possible, DON’T get over acquainted with you client. It will give them a false sense of comfort when it comes time to pay you, and they will almost always expect more for less. It will also make you want to charge less than you normally would. In the end you just lose money.

2. Striving for perfection is always the goal, but it can also hurt you. It’s important to realize that more than likely, you are good at what you do, and that is why people seek your services rather than just doing it themselves. Quality work is always important, but spending too much time making something perfect can hinder you drastically. You’ll end up losing time better spent seeking new clients, marketing, or doing something better worth your time. You be the judge – if you can afford the time, it’s always good to squeeze all the “creative juice” out it, but if there’s more work out there. Go for quality and move on to maximize efficiency. Most often, your client would never know the difference.

3. Never pre-determine a person’s ability to pay for your services. Determining cost is perhaps the most difficult aspect of being a freelancer. Do everything you can to get your client to state their budget prior to you stating your cost. If you must give a cost, give ballpark figures or a range of lowest to highest. Much of your cost, of course, is determined by how bad you need/ or want the work. Be VERY careful of how you speak of costs. The slightest misuse of words can unknowingly suggest that you think your client is incapable of affording your services. Assuming that a person CAN pay the full amount and charging too much will send your clients running for the next available person.

4. Always be professional! In many ways, treat your business like it’s a major corporation. Always take care of the necessary paperwork – Contracts, Invoices, Payment schedules, etc. Not only will it cover your tracks legally, but your clients will take you and your work seriously. They will be most susceptible to pay when and what you ask, and also more likely to return to you for work. It will also make your clients feel more secure when they have documentation of every business encounter.

5. Be punctual. Time is money! This cannot be stressed enough. Respond to emails within 24 hours! Call within 24 hours and have a professional voicemail! Nothing impresses clients more than your ability to work well and work efficiently.

6. Educate your client. Many times, your clients will not fully understand the services you provide. As you work, explain to your client your thought process. Just don’t ramble on about how good you are. A little education shows that you know what you’re are doing and adds value to your work. Your client will feel more comfortable investing their money in you and more appreciative of your services.

7. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Business ALWAYS comes with risks. If your client presents you with a project that you may be only 75-90% familiar with, take the initiative to challenge yourself to learn how to do the other 10-25%. Ask questions. The internet is full of people who have asked the same questions as you, and you can never underestimate a good book. In the end, you’ll be proud of what you’ve done for your client; you will have added a new skill to your repertoire and value to your business.

Submitted by Jeremiah Shepherd