I can tell if a project is going to be worth my time from the very first communication I have with the client. If they talk about their work with passion and excitement, if they want to connect with me as one human being to another, if they are willing to invest their time and energy into making informed design decisions that will best serve their audiences’ needs, then I know we’re going to be a great fit.
Whenever I feel a client is distant or disingenuous or rigid, I try to immediately disengage. Every time I’ve chosen to move forward despite my intuition – either because I’m flattered, I think the project will lead to better opportunities, or simply because I want the money – I’ve lived to regret it. Every painful client situation I’ve faced in the last decade was 100% expected because of what the client taught me about who they are, both personally and as a business, in each interaction we had leading up to the breaking point.
As time passes and I become more confident in my Spidey sense, I’m able to be much more honest (with myself and with others) about what I really want to take on. Money and prestige lose all value once you’ve given away your integrity. Do what you know is right for you even when it means you have to take a leap of faith…and wait.
As told to .net magazine
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