Tips for a successful relationship with a professional creative.

Step 1.
Their portfolio.
Do they have anything else to show you?  Past jobs that they have finished?  I am to the belief that a resume’ should not be needed, my past qualifications and productions should speak for themselves. If a creative doesn’t have an online presence, perhaps an alternative version?  Just because someone claims to be a creative  doesn’t mean that they have the necessary skill level you are hoping to get.  Don’t move forward just because they have the programs – move forward because they have the skills you need.

Step 2.
Your budget.
If you’re looking for a $500 website – then you will get a $500 website.  If you are looking for a $10,000 website for $500, then you will get a $500 website.  If you’re looking for a $10,000 website for $10,000 – you will get a website that exceeds your expectations.  Your approach and openness to a creative will benefit you far greater than you could imagine. *Hint* If you looked at Step 1, you will find they have a good portfolio and don’t need a job to add to it – we would much rather feed our family and pay our mortgages.

Step 3.
Listen for excuses.
There is a certain level of maturity that happens when one grows up.  Personally I am harsh when it comes to hearing excuses.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and I will catch on – there will be no third time.  If you can’t read people well enough, or you are someone naive when it comes to telling if someone is lying or telling the truth then hire someone who can do the job for you. *Hint* This goes both ways, if we find clients that are full of excuses – we will not want to work with you – it’s the way the cookie crumbles – nothing personal.

Step 4.
The Contract.
If they haven’t invested in a contract, and can walk you through the terminology in the document – they are not mature enough to handle your job.  A contract is there to protect you just as much as it protects the creative.  Be sure to include a finished product date and what the creative will require from you in order to expedite to the finish line.  *Hint* Take a day to read over the contract – ask questions about ownership rights. Look for terms called “Scope of work”. Understand what you will be getting.  Look for an exit clause, look for the non-refundables.

Step 5.
The Materials.
We like to work with all the materials up front  so there will be no surprises.  To finish the job correctly, we need to know all the materials we will have at our disposal, that includes text, images needed, videos needed, music you want composed or written applications.  Think of it as building a two story house and asking the builder to add an additional third level after the roof is put on – if you ask them to do this at no additional charge then they will laugh at you.  Creatives are the same way – if you throw materials into the mix when the job is 90% finished and expect it for free, a professional will point to Step 4.

Step 6.
Write out your goals.
Before the project starts, before any contract is signed be sure to write out what you want to accomplish, and be sure that you are effectively communicating that with your creative.  If they say they understand everything completely, ask them to explain it back to you.  I am still beholder to the belief that a good creative cannot ask too many questions upfront.  Your answers should inspire their process, not hinder it.

Step 7.
Tweak in the beginning.
Ask the creative to meet with you often in the beginning of a project.  You are paying good money to see your hopes built correctly.  From past experiences I know that tweaking in the beginning will make for a better follow through at the end.  If you are having a hard time meeting with your contact – see Step 3.

Step 8.
Let them do their job.
You hired them to create – if you wanted a template they could have pointed you in that direction in Step 1.

Step 9.
Proof.
80% of the designers, artist and creatives out there look at composition, concepts, interface issues and the way a design or sonnet flows.  Some proof read, others require the clients to do a final look over.  A good designer will have you sign off on the final proof before printing or launching, once you sign off they are not responsible for errors.  A professional will hire someone to do the proofing for them, but you can feel a lot better about it if you look at Step 5.

Step 10.
The follow through.
A smooth project will do wonders for a positive attitude, and if all goes well, if you found your match, be sure to keep in touch with your creative, as they will want to keep in touch with you.

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