The Difficult Client “You”

I’ve had a number of epiphanies over the past few days, mostly because I’ve spent almost every waking hour of those days in the company of a lot of highly intelligent and creative people in the form of the participants of the 2015 version of F/S (ForwardSlashStory).

Among those epiphanies a couple stood out, however, one of them coming after having had a discussion about how to address your own work and your own productions. As I presented some of the things I’ve been working on, I felt more clearly than ever before that the projects that were my own were the ones that meant something extra. They were the ones that took me further along the path of storytelling and often they were the ones to get more attention and garner more accolades in the long run.

But, and I’m sure many of us have been or are in the same situation, client work often supersedes your own. Clients pay for your services and skills, clients have proper deadlines and clients hold you accountable – all which leads to at least me putting my own stuff on the backburner, for ”when I have time”. Only thing is, that time never seems to materialize.

What struck me during that conversation at that bar in Costa Rica was the need to put myself on the same level as my clients. I too have demands and deadlines. I too can hold myself accountable for my progress or lack thereof.

What I’ll do henceforth is to sit down and have client meetings with myself. I’ll discuss goals and mileposts, I’ll talk about development direction and realistic schedules, I’ll line up deliverables and renumerations. I’ll draft a proper deal and sign it, and I’ll meet again in a couple of weeks’ time, to make sure the project is on the right track. If things need to be amended, they will be, but in a proper manner and with a plan for how to rectify the situation. Conversely, when I overdeliver or beat the deadline, I’ll need to find a way to give myself a bonus…

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