Amateur hour

Posted on: July 26, 2013 at 8:15 am | Work | 4 comments made

People are a challenge.  I have been doing ‘mates rates’ for years, mostly because I have undervalued my work for a long time, in the belief that because I didn’t go to art school, my work wasn’t as good as other people’s.  This meant that in general, I have allowed potential clients to walk all over me, because ‘I’m not a real designer’.  I have the fear, like most creative types, I think, that everyone is just humouring me and that really my work is a bit pish and kind of embarrassing.

Where creative work is concerned, you expose something very personal to people who might not give a crap or think it’s all a bit desperate.  You are exposing not only the way you think and what you value but also your natural ability and, merely by showing work, you communicate to people that you think your work is good enough, so you expose your standards and tastes too.  And everyone loves to rip the pish out of people with poor taste.  I know I do!

Just look at the Failblog, with its massive collection of ugly tattoos or Awkward Family Photos, both of which consistently make me laugh so hard something pops.

I recently volunteered to design a logo for a conference that my church is going to be running.  As usual, I failed to follow my own rules about establishing the needs of the customer beforehand – meet with customer, get as much information about requirements as possible before you start work and get things in writing where possible blah blah blah.

For the first time in a long time,  I found my stride quickly and I think it’s turned out well.  In general, I only use one or two colours in logos, and make it easy to photocopy.  I have broken the rules with this one, but as it’s a vector graphic, it will be easy enough to change, if needed.  I hope!

This was a nice change, as recent work I’ve done has been a bit of a nightmare, from customers who didn’t tell me what they wanted despite being asked over and over and then mutually agreeing to half payment after I dumped the job in frustration before finally only paying me the equivalent of £5 per hour; to people who tell me to fix their logo, let me spend hours and hours of work on it before deciding to stick with the ILLEGAL image that they were using in the first place and not paying me at all and most recently, a larger organisation for whom I did workshops and a logo design and then didn’t return my calls or even acknowledge my emails or invoice.  So you can see why I started to ask, ‘Is it me?’

The simple answer is basically, ‘Yes, bitch!’.  Not because of the standard of my work, but because I don’t manage the process!

My next task is getting my paperwork in place to make sure that I don’t do any more jobs that don’t give me clear instructions because I haven’t asked the right questions from the beginning!  Mates rates can bite me!!!

4 responses to “Amateur hour”

  1. mrben says:

    Get some stock contracts set up for people to sign, that ideally include:

    a) A deposit
    b) An agreed payment schedule
    c) Payment clauses that are based on (agreed) hours worked, regardless of whether or not the final artwork is used.

    If you’re interested, I have a Christian friend who’s been in the freelance design business for 5/6 years and might be able to give you some hints/tips on drawing up contracts?

  2. Lydia says:

    Ah, freelancing. It’s not you, though you can do some to mitigate the damage, it’s companies/people taking advantage of you whenever they can. I refer you to

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