In this week’s episode, we discuss how to be more assertive as a designer. Often it doesn’t come natural to stand up to clients, put our foot down and get what we really want. However, respecting your time and profession can pay dividends for any designer. We hope this episode will help you find that balance.

Watch more of the Honest Designers episodes here: Honest Designers Podcast Playlist And remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates direct to your inbox.

Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] This week we’re talking about respecting yourself as a designer
[1:45] As you’re starting out you naturally want to please your clients
[2:30] You must set-up boundaries and put yourself first
[3:20] At the beginning you will work weekends and evenings, and agree to impossible deadlines
[4:00] As she got on Lisa became more adamant with her time and more selective with her projects
[4:30] When clients don’t pay you for the extra work
[5:15] Tom and Ian admit they used to accept anything from their clients in the early days
[6:30] People can sniff desperation
[7:15] Clients that don’t understand design will think you’re doing this as a hobby
[7:50] Tom’s friends teasing him about his work
[8:50] Others thinking that working from home means being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want
[9:30] Dustin has welcomed a new member of the family – baby Jack
[10:30] The hosts congratulate Dustin on his gorgeous baby
[11:00] Dustin spent an entire year updating a website for $2,000
[12:30] Lisa’s shock on hearing that Dustin didn’t set up any boundaries
[13:00] The client thinking he’s done the work for Dustin
[13:30] Lisa’s advantage of starting her design career later in life
[14:20] The hosts looking back on their beginning and laughing about it
[15:00] It’s all part of the journey and you learn from your experiences
[15:40] Having to pay a mortgage and bills and ending up in debt
[16:40] Tom didn’t have all these obligations to consider when agreeing on work
[17:00] In the begging you will take any type of work, even if it’s for little pay
[17:45] The business aspect doesn’t come naturally for Ian
[18:45] Dustin’s analogy of the lab mouse finding the drug in the water dispenser
[19:40] Lisa worked for a magazine and didn’t get paid in time or extra for overtime
[20:30] Tips on finding the balance and being more assertive with clients
[21:15] You can either accept it and live with the consequences or make a change
[22:00] Being taken advantage on a project will always leave a sour taste
[22:45] Listen to your gut
[23:00] Quick tips: get paid on time, don’t do additional work for free, get paid what you’re worth, don’t be on the beck and call etc.
[23:40] Keep in mind that also the client can be at fault
[24:10] When you say yes to a client’s request and then regret it immediately
[24:40] The worst scenario you imagine when saying no, will almost never happen
[25:20] Saying yes to projects you don’t have time for
[25:50] When you think you have time and you agree on too many jobs at the same time
[26:30] The worry of not missing out on work
[27:00] The difference between the beginning and the end of the month for a designer
[27:40] The constant freak out of getting the money in every month
[28:30] Try to think of the worst thing that you’ve feared and has actually happened
[29:10] Dustin still enjoyed the small pleasures of life when he had a big credit card debt
[30:00] None of this will mater in the end and you’ll only think of the good memories
[31:00] Tom not asking for a deadline to be pushed
[31:40] Putting yourself in a bad situation and not being assertive about yourself
[32:20] When Lisa took on too much and put a lot pressure on herself
[32:50] Have an honest conversation with your clients and ask them to extend a deadline
[33:30] A client making you feel really guilty about saying no to a project
[34:30] Saying yes to work just because you don’t want anyone else to edit your work
[35:00] Are all designers people pleasers?
[36:00] Being naturally invested in what you’re creating
[36:40] While working at the bank, Dustin was only small part of the business and opened accounts
[37:15] When creating something and feeling like a part of yourself goes into the project
[37:40] Design Cuts has a great reputation for treating customers very well
[38:20] Tom saying yes to a night out instead of resting
[39:00] Saying no to something and celebrating your wins
[40:00] Being almost jealous of someone that says no
[40:30] Dustin not saying yes to a project during a call and sleeping on it before deciding
[41:00] The worst decisions are done on impulse
[42:10] Closing thoughts on standing up to clients
[42:20] You’re a human first, designer second
[42:50] Respect yourself and your time
[43:00] Train yourself on finding your balance at the same time with developing your skills
[44:15] If it’s not a definite yes, then say no
[44:45] When you say no to some things, you’re saying yes to other things
[45:15] By improving other things, you’ll improve your assertiveness to your clients
[45:50] Discuss difficult client situations with other people
[46:50] Take ownership of your business and your time
[47:30] Changes take time, the don’t happen over night
[48:00] Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode

“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD