Over the next week I will be breaking down my creative process to further explain how it works and why it is so important. I think every creative should develope the creative process that works fror them but I know I would have liked to see examples of this before I started. So here goes.
The word initiate is basically a fancy word for begin. I use this word to describe the beginning of my creative process. Check list items in this section include questionnaires, contracts, proposals, and sometimes meeting the client face to face.
After college I made a (bad) habit of skipping this step all together. I mean, in my head I believed this part simply took too long and that it was a pointless part of the process. I figured that ALL clients are going to love my work. Let's save them the time and money of this process and begin working immediately. This thought came from doing work with tight deadlines and low rates. After eliminating this process for two whole years I started to see the cracks. I had made a mistake.
This is a terrible way to do business. My clients had no idea what I was doing. They didn't know when they would see a proof, they didn't know how many revisions were a comfortable or ethical amount, on some occasions I made the mistake of not even discussing price with my client at all. I was scared to. I knew if I asked for too much or had them do too much or even took too long to start, that I would surely be cast aside in search of a better offer. This insecurity in my own work and low confidence in myself was bad business. And it showed. Because I failed to let my clients in on the process they were forced to pick up where I left gaps. They were kinda forced to guess. This isn't right for many reasons but most important, your clients should not be worrying or doing a bunch of planning. They should be helping YOU do the work. That is why they hire you.
I now have my clients fill out a questionnaire, this is work for them, but it is work that they should already know or that they might want to know when starting their business. These questions are usually designed to provoke thought about the clients business and organize thoughts. Of course this is to help them reach their goals but my goal with the questionarre is to also let them see their goals, maybe even from different angles. It is meant to organize thought for me and the client. When you are thinking of questions for this part keep in mind the most important thing to find out here is how you can help them attain their goal.
There are many obvious questions to ask such as who is your target audience and what is your goal for this project but it is also important to ask indirect questions at times. I sprinkle indirect questions in to figure out a clients personality, quality of work, and even target audience.
I have asked people what equipment they use on a daily basis. To List brand names and explain why they use that brand. This has potential to tell me who this business owner is. Maybe he relighs more on his skill then his equipment. Or maybe he gets the newest work truck every year to keep his appearance up. This is very good information to know when creating a brand for your client.
When I receive the questionarre completed I run through the answers and make sure it's something I will be able to help the client attain. If it looks like a project I would be good for I send them a proposal and contract laying out as much detail of the work relationship I can muster. I make sure to make it as comprehensive as I can so it will be easy for others to understand the process.
I let them know the three things I need to start. The start fee, the content, and the contract signed. Once all of this is attained, it is time to move on to the next step.
- RESEARCH -