29 March 2010

recommended article: pre-bid discussions

Alright, so here's the thing. I've finally accepted the fact that I'm not a real – regularly posting – blogger. Obviously. But more importantly, I've finally come to accept that this is okay.

I'm not blogging to get hits or drive traffic to my portfolio site; that approach bothers me with its inauthenticity and it's really not what I'm about. Occasionally I'll feel the urge to break out of my private-and-wanting-to-keep-it-private-for-my-own-sense-of-sanity world, and want to share something. You know, just something I come across, or what I've been working on lately. But I think I really just need to keep the sharing to times when I feel there is something to be shared, and not push it to be something it's not.

I'm simply not cut out to do this on a regular basis. I would love it if I was, don't get me wrong – and there are several people whose blogs, business or personal, I follow on a regular basis – I'm just not cut out to be a blogger. And really, I think it's okay.


That said, I did come across a really interesting article this morning. No, let me back up a bit.

My normal weekly schedule allows me to open up my huge amount of bookmarks neatly organized and awaiting such an occasion, places that are sure to provide visual inspiration or an interesting article in the world of graphic design. But because of some interesting drama involving a contract for a new project, I've been pretty much offline for the past few weeks. (You know the whole "trial by fire" thing? Yep. I am now an expert on SO many more business-related things than I have ever been before. Everything's a learning experience, though, of which I am always grateful.)

Anyway, this morning I felt like giving myself the treat of browsing for a little while, and I came across an article from Andy Rutledge's site, Design View. The whole topic of the article, pre-bid discussions, is something I've experienced firsthand these last few weeks, with a couple of different projects/clients. (By the way, I'm happy to report that one proposal has been approved (a book project!) and we're very close on the second, so I have some upcoming projects that I'm very excited to be a part of.)

The whole process of finding and winning a new client is never a sure thing, and can't really be handled with a series of prescribed steps that are sure to work for everyone. Every relationship is different, and it's especially tricky to maneuver through the negotiations with someone who you haven't worked with before. But all the more important, because let's face it, you really want the job!

Anyway, I found this article to be refreshing, and this is one of those things that aren't talked about too much, unfortunately. There's a ton of resources out there for creating your own contract, proposal/estimate forms, and all the necessary business templates for a freelance designer, but when it comes down to actual advice about the details of negotiations, there's not a whole lot out there that I've found to be helpful. And of course, it's when you need this advice the most that it's the hardest to find, right?

I feel like I've finally reached that line between taking any project that comes my way in order to pay the bills, and becoming more selective in the clients and projects I choose. Which, after 10+ years of designing, is really an exciting thing! And this is sort of what this article addresses – the ability to make a distinction between having the capability to successfully complete the work and having a successful project.

Highly recommended article for any freelancers out there – design or otherwise. Because hey, we all want successful projects, right? Who would be freelancing if they didn't already have a drive for success?

Here's to the very real possibility of producing our best work for clients we love working with. Imagine.

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