You Are Not My Client If...

February 27, 2023

A few significant signs to determine whether a collaboration is successful or not.

Two hands holding a black heart
Like any relationship, it starts with trust. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Here are some signs that I have learned to recognise in the beginning stages of negotiations and prevented me from starting projects that wouldn't have been successful. Unlearning about people-pleasing and unhealthy boundaries one collaboration at a time. Some of the signs I recognised further along during not-so-successful projects, but they served me as very valuable lessons. So here they are:

Employer, employee: We are not meant to be if you think a Discovery Call is an interview for me to get to work on your website. Especially after you reach out to me first. This especially hits home after I consciously got into freelancing with that main concept in mind to be avoided.

Demand, not a question or request: Another sign that a collaboration won't be a collaboration is if you lead the conversation with: Here are the changes I want, can you do them? And saying something like this without leaving any room for suggestion, advice or let alone asking me for my expertise just tells me you need a virtual assistant with web design understanding to put the pieces together without asking questions. Well, I am not that person for you either. I like to ask lots of questions, and communication is my number one priority for a collaboration to be a win for both (all) of us.

Not sharing essential information: Again, if you withhold important information and expect me to rely on assumptions or investigation until I get to the source, well, I am sorry, but you are wasting your time and mine with this approach. Being proactive and sharing important details about your brand, business, and goals can only help me understand your business and industry hence creating better design solutions to your problems.

Power play: If you like power play and titles, I suggest you keep them only for the bedroom. Collaboration means both sides give more than take as much is needed for the goal or project to succeed. We are doing this for something bigger than our egos. Or at least I hope so.

In a rush: If you don't have time to plan and research, then design and test, then you are thinking short-term, not long-term. Therefore I can not help you with a fast turnaround time either. Don't get me wrong, I love deadlines to speed up my creativity and design process, but there should be a balance to it. There always will be more and more work to be done. If you need something quickly done, please at least consider grouping it into realistic phases. I am a believer in multiple-choice and that there is always option B, C and D.

Your emotions and negative self-talk get the best of you: In this case scenario, you think everyone is out to get you and means harm, always watching out if you have the upper hand in a situation or not. I understand you! I am struggling with this feeling too, more in my past than now, but still. I am consciously trying to change my mindset and be more open and trusting. To believe that all people are colleagues or comrades, rather than enemies. I don't want to live in fear and be paranoid, but prefer to believe that people are better than that. If you know about the law of attraction, then you know what I am talking about.

This list might be longer than I have listed so far, but also I have a feeling that as in any other people-involved dynamic, it will grow and change along the way.

Also, feel free to add your signs in the comment section!

Edit: The book that I am currently reading describes the concept of horizontal relationships very well. As well as a philosophy of how to live a happier life. I really like the style of storytelling used in the book as well.

The cover of the book The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

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