Venting: We Are All In the Same Boat


I am in the process of traveling and giving speeches in several cities and countries around the world. A process that started in Las Vegas, then Taiwan, Mexico City and soon on my way to Nigeria, and I’ve come to the sad conclusion that no matter how long you’ve been in this industry (even if you’ve just started) we are all still in the same boat trying to solve two basic issues:

  1. How do we get clients to pay for our product, talent and services?
  2. How do we get our next client?

(Image via suvodeb)

I wish I had a definite answer to give the the many folks who ask me these questions, but unfortunately I do not. However, in today’s Venting, I’ll attempt to give you my top three suggestions that have kept me going for so many years.

How do we get clients to pay for our product, talent and services?

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask yourself a basic question: If I was giving a party and I could afford it, would I pay for this? If the answer is no then you need to ask yourself, why not?

Here are three possible suggestions.

  1. They do not understand why they are paying so much. In this case, you need to explain it very carefully. Explain how much it costs you to produce the event including your time, materials, and talent plus your markup. This works most of the time.
  2. They do not think it’s worth it. In this case you need to make sure your design is unique and different. Clients like myself would more readily pay for something that has never been seen before.
  3. They say or think, “I can get it cheaper.” Let them. Do not waste your time or energy on these clients. In these circumstances, they probably don’t appreciate your value or your talent.

How do we get our next client?

Here are my top three suggestions:

  1. Spend at least one hour a day calling any leads or old clients, reminding them that you’d like the opportunity to work with them.
  2. Spend another hour a day developing and fine tuning your talent and artistry. Remember, this is what you are selling. We seldom wait until we have a job to be creative. I suggest you practice daily.
  3. Become your own publicist:
  • Make sure you take good pictures of your work, especially since there are so many easy to use, high-quality cameras around.
  • You need to have a good website. (This is why I like Macs, they have very easy step by step programs to help you set up your own site.)
  • Develop your own mailing list with potential clients and former clients. Make sure you send them a “love email or note” at least once a month.

We are all in the same boat trying to educate our clients about what they are buying, but I think what works best is your ability to be not necessarily better, but different from everyone else. I have worked diligently on this one (not always successfully), however I strongly suggest you work hard daily in becoming the most unique and talented you.

What do you think? Do you have the nerve to tell a client, “I am not interested,” if they tell you they can get it cheaper?