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Reader Interactions


  1. This is so true!

    A few years ago, I really wanted to do WordPress and social media work close to home. A local company had what seemed like the perfect job description – but I was reluctant. I had heard mixed reviews about this place and wasn’t sure I wanted to give up a sure thing for something that may or may not work out. I ended up doing a freelance project for the company – which confirmed my suspicions. It was NOT a good fit. The project was short-term, but took forever because the client could not stay focused and changed his mind every day (multiple times) about what he wanted. We started out with a great product that turned into a generic piece I don’t keep in my portfolio. I lost money on the project, based on the time I had to put in, but it was the best money I’ve ever lost – and a great learning experience.

    • Hi Angela,
      You’re right that there’s no way to replace that kinda of learning experience except just learning it! The older I get, the more I tend to trust my gut feel.

      Here’s to many successes for you!

  2. Luckily I was a client that Carrie didn’t fire… although I changed my mind after getting serious about what I determined the new site should include. Homework and research on my part helped me refine my objective and present my ideas clearly to CD.

    My recommendation for small business people considering hiring (insert your designer’s name) is to start researching current trends in web design, note specific sites and what you like (and dislike), and what your ideal client has been contacting you for. (That’s an idea for a free e-book Carrie)

    Again, for me, working with Carrie made me realize that I was under utilized my PR successes in 2013 that needed to be on my site as 3rd party endorsements. Also, reading The Moz Blog and watching Whiteboard Friday gave me ideas to really think about that would help me help Carrie understand my concept.

    Finding the right client is tough in any business, but what everyone needs is paying clients. Having clients who come to you “already sold on you” is the ideal and makes life much easier. Look at your own product or site and see if you would want to hire yourself over the competition.

    • Haha – far from it! Great advice from the client perspective, Doug. It’s just as important for a client to hone in on the right service partner as it is for the relationship to work in reverse. Takes a little more effort than “just taking whatever comes,” but so worth it to find those win/win opportunities.

  3. Profiling customers for yourself is just as important as profiling customers for your client’s web project.

    Sometimes we live in the grey area of taking on the projects that don’t meet our “standard” and it’s always tricky water to navigate. We don’t live in a perfect world, but controlling the expectations early on is a no brainer – but often forgotten in the midst of work, marketing, and onboarding.

    And yes, I do plan on writing a post about this 🙂

  4. I’ve always found that I get better clients when I’m busy than I do when I’m not. Reflecting on that, I’m realizing that’s because when I’m busy I do a far better job of the pre-qualifying Carrie talks about here. Thanks for the reminder, Carrie!

  5. Loved your post, Carrie. The principle of “know your audience / know your ideal customer” is so powerful. It creates focus. I started out building my consulting brand identity around some terrible assumptions — for one thing, I wanted to stay broad and serve any customer that needed management consulting and strategic HR advice. As I got more honest with myself, I saw it was natural to focus strictly on organizations that have technology-intensive workforces (e.g., software companies) since those are the people I’ve worked with for most of my career. (Took me a while to make this decision — I guess I’m a slow learner!)

  6. Great timing on article. Most of my clients are small businesses starting with little or nothing online and I approach projects from a holistic “business development” view where a quality Genesis site I can build is just part of their success online. So one of my clients who took me to lunch yesterday so thrilled with the project we just finished wanted to refer me to all his attorney friends and was surprised with my apprehension to do so and asked why?

    I explained the procedure he unknowingly went through before deciding to accept him as a client that included a few mock ups, his reaction to them, his ability to effectively communicate what he liked/didn’t like and if his expectations seemed realistic. Unorthodox but works like a charm and I can still hear him laughing (and agreeing)!

  7. Great stuff and very similar to the real estate business. You have to be prepared to walk away…a delicate balancing act for sure. Thankfully I was also one Carrie didn’t have to “fire” 🙂 I was ready to jump in for the full combo plate and she suggested an hour of consulting first. The more I got into WP and Genesis the more I realized I would rather go it on my own since I was enjoying the learning experience so much! It’s slower but I enjoy taking my time. As a former developer, this made a lot more sense.

  8. This is a real thought-provoker! And you can guess why I decided I needed to look this article up and finally read through it… 🙂

    So yeah, I have a client that I don’t like, and I wasn’t sure why. In going back through my clients I liked, I think I’ve found a definite pattern. It’s not agency vs. small business, although agencies tend to be better at this, it’s really just having a client that generally knows what they want. I’m not a consultant. I’m not a designer. I can do a little of both when needed, but really what I want is a client that can say “Do this” and then later “No, forget that. Let’s do this.” I don’t mind someone who tries a few different looks, who rearranges the furniture (within limit). I do mind someone who constantly asks “what do you think about this?” Because my answer is almost always “I have no idea.”

    And sure enough, just looked at my last message from the client in question, and it ended with “What do you think?” Aaargh!

    Also, anyone who buys a theme from Themeforest! I *hate* those themes!

    OK, rant over…

    • You bring up a great point about knowing yourself and what types of work your best suited to do. Part of your “match” process should say up front what you said here – “Consulting is not my thing, but development is. If you know you need X, I’m your guy!”

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