When I was a kid, I went through the "Just Say No" drug campaign of the 1980's in school. We were taught how just saying no had power to it. Who knew this campaign would come to mind when I was first starting out in the design industry all those many years ago.
One of the most intimidating tasks of being a creative-for-hire was talking to the client about money. After some good and bad experiences, I learned to set my price, how to convey my knowledge about design, and how to take care of the client. Being prepared helped me to answer any question or be prepared for any emergency that might arise. Now those fears have been laid to rest, and saying no made the difference.
Why You Say Yes
Many young designers/illustrators dread talking to clients about money. You're afraid you'll charge too much and lose the client. The truth is you always charge way too little or the client senses the inexperience and low-balls you. You know the price is way too low, but to avoid sounding difficult, you take the price and start working at the client's behest. That's where the problems start.
Just Say No
The next time the client low-balls you, just say no. I know what you're thinking. "Just say no? I can't do that... they'll never want to work with me". Yeah, that's the idea. Tell them your price and explain what you're offering. One of three things will happen.
1. They'll respond with... "You're out of your mind" and hang up.
2. They'll say "We'll think about it" and never call back.
3. They'll understand and say "Ok, let's get started"
The first two will happen more often. What the power of no allows you to do is gain confidence in yourself and what you offer. It also helps the client to see just how much you value what you do. When they see the value they realize they're working with a professional not hiring a designer. If the client never calls back, that's okay. You saved yourself a headache. Most people and companies have an idea and no real desire to see it come to life. People who really value their idea understand their journey will require a degree of investment. Those are the people and companies that you want to work with.
After saying no a few times you'll find it easier and easier to deal with clients. You'll find that it will help you to choose better clients, and those that value what you do. That's good for both you and the client.
Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)
Want to add to this blog? Do you have questions or concerns on something I didn't tackle? Please, start a conversation in the comments section. I will answer any and all answers. If you disagree with me, please tell us why and explain what works for you. And please, share this post by using the social media icons below and use @salvatier.