Today's Question: What do you do when a client keeps changing their mind?
For the most part people are very easy to work with and I usually find it easy to work together with a client to create something we are both pleased with. But this of course couldn't possibly be the case all the time (I don't live in a complete dream world.) Thankfully I've never had any really horrible clients, only a few that have caused slight hair pulling, a few groans, or possibly a few short screams into pillows. (Fitting picture for the post, I know.)
I've had a few cases of clients constantly changing their minds in the process of working together on a project. Worst case senario I've even spent hours and hours working on a final image only for a client to say that they weren't interested in that specific look any longer, and I wasn't compensated for this. Bad planning and bad business etiquette on their part, and bad protection of my work/time on my part, in my opinion. Having to start from the beginning may be the worst thing I know. I love a good work flow where sketches are confirmed and lead to final illustrations with small changes and tweaks made all the while. The client of course doesn't have to be completely in love with all of my ideas or with everything I create, but it helps if we have a common understanding and the same vision; or if the client can give me feedback in the beginning stages of a project, rather than when completed.
Unfortunately some people just don't know what they want until they see it, or they don't have as vivid an imagination as I possess (silly artists) so they can't see what the final image will look like from messy sketches. This is part of my job, and I think I kind of just need to get used to it.
Lately, inorder to protect my time and work I supply a few ground rules or a contract before starting a project. I will except changes only 3 times (at the time of sketches, ink drawing, and then the coloring, otherwise I'll expect to be compensated for the extra time spent.) I also wait until a client has round up inspirational images of what they like, or if they outline a specific idea/look they have in mind, so we start off with the same vision. I usually don't like to be the one to come up with the ideas (how am I supposed to know what you like?, that's a bit hard!). A client always has an idea of what they have in mind in their head, it's my job to help them fish it out.
Thankfully I have the freedom to choose not to work with a specific client a second time around, if we really were not compatible. The funny part is most people understand that they're being really annoying when they request lots of changes, and apologize. One client said I could tell her to "shut up and go away" if she was getting too annoying, haha. (I never did of course.)
So having humor and a few ground rules set up front will help reduce the chance of hair pulling and pillow abuse in the future. Sounds easy enough, right?