I’m sure there are superstars in our industry who are so popular, talented and in-demand that they may never even consider the client relationship that seriously. They command large sums of money and get so much work they turn assignments away. If you're one of those artists, I admire your talent and skills. If you're not one of those artists, listen up.
The reality is you can’t be successful unless you are helping your clients be successful.
Because the freelancer has multiple clients over the course of his career, an attribute of success lies in satisfying the needs and solving the problems of each and every client. Being a “rock star” artist is great – but if a freelancer is inflexible or indifferent to the project, or does ONLY what he is told, cannot read between the lines, or anticipate problems before they arise, the results will be less than stellar. You may realize too late that your client had a different expectation, one he or she THOUGHT they communicated effectively, but didn't. Or maybe you thought a last-minute change in direction would naturally be followed by an extended deadline. However, if you have not clarified an extension with your client, they will be disappointed when you deliver later than originally agreed. Chances are that you will be viewed as the one who flubbed the presentation, not them. The client won’t rush to hire you again, and may even discourage others in their organization to contract you.
In part 2 of this article, I will explain some key managing up methods that have worked for me.
Part 2:Take the Bull by the Horns