After nearly fifteen years working as a web professional, there are many things I wish I’d known years ago when I was just getting started. You might think that the top items of regret are about not learning or mastering technical skills or tools like Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Node.js or Fireworks. Not so.
In fact, I believe the tools and web programming languages you use are one of the least important factors.
Web designers are constantly learning and evolving. The web design community, relative to other professional communities, is young and hungry to learn. These are — more often than not — great characteristics of an industry that strives to progress and innovate.
However, being young and being hungry for knowledge also fuels unfair snap judgments about the value of the work and learning material being put out there. So often, I see a new blog post or news story that results in a polarized debate instead of an informative conversation that can push an idea forward.
Web design and development blogs are always full of advice and constructive discussions. The mission of these blogs is to help the community stay informed.
One such informative article that a fellow Six Revisions writer of mine wrote recently is about the strategies involved in avoiding bad clients. Many other Six Revisions writers have tackled this concept with articles that discuss how to avoid project disasters, how to handle difficult client situations, and things we shouldn’t tolerate in design projects, all circling back to the notion that it’s just best to avoid "bad" clients.
Have you ever had a dispute with a client? Most freelancers and contractors will answer this question with a resounding "no" because we tend to think of disputes as something which results in court proceedings, or at least, the intervention of lawyers.
However, ask them to tell you how many unreasonable clients they have had, and most businesses will reel off numerous examples!
Many people mistakenly believe that contracts are only useful in the event of a dispute, but this is not true. A good contract can save you time, money, stress, and even improve your sales opportunities and your brand image.
Bad clients have been an issue in everyone’s career at some point. Managing difficult client relationships when they occur or avoiding bad projects in the first place are two of the most important skills in managing any freelance business.
Many articles offer great advice on how to handle such situations and how to stay as far away as possible from these troublemakers. But the problem still exists: bad clients are always lurking out there, keeping you on guard and plaguing others in the industry who weren’t lucky (or cautious) enough to avoid them.
So what do you do when you’re the unfortunate one who is stuck with a tough client?
A growing number of top quality designers are turning away from contract work and towards their own personal projects (such as selling WordPress premium themes, for example). From skills-based products to online consulting, the world of design goes far beyond the field of Design itself; it extends into disciplines such as online retailing and marketing — two of the most lucrative forces on the web.
For a web designer — whether you work in a design agency, a design department of a large company, or as a freelancer — it’s a rare occasion that you embark on a project totally on your own. The creation and deployment of a new website is almost always a team activity comprised of clients, employers, other designers, and developers.