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How Do You Deal With Overstressed, Irrational Clients? An Entrepreneur’s View

As an entrepreneur who has been on the client’s side of the design and development process, I’d like to discuss the thought process of the client, as well as some effective ways to interact with them. For example, why do they ask for Shakira music on the home page? And how do you respond to that?

I was recently referred to Sam Barnes’ piece on Smashing Magazine “How to Explain to Clients That They Are Wrong1.” The article was well written and made a lot of sense to me, but there are two sides to every story, and I’d like to add value to the argument by responding from the client’s point of view.

For the most part, Sam did a great job of discussing how to evaluate and act on poor decisions made by clients. What he missed, however, was the impact that the nature of the relationship between clients and creatives has on how decisions are made by both sides. By “creatives,” I mean anyone involved in the design or development of a website or application. Understanding this relationship will enable you, and your clients, to make better decisions about the product.

What’s On the Line For Us Link

Before getting into the decisions that entrepreneurs make, let’s look at some of the factors that motivate these decisions. Setting the scene will shine a light on the thought process of entrepreneurs and give you a better idea of how to deal with them.

You’ll notice I use the terms “entrepreneur” and “client” interchangeably. Even if your client works within the confines of a corporation, as opposed to at the top of a new venture, it would not be unusual for them to act in an entrepreneurial capacity. And even if they aren’t entrepreneurs, but middle men who were assigned the project, chances are they will still behave accordingly.

Formal design reviews
How do you deal with clients who often come up with weird, irrational requests? Image source2

First, let’s think about the person you’re working with. They believe in an idea. They believe in it so much that they’ve left a paying job for it. They’ve worked nights and weekends for it, alienated their spouse, friends and family for it. They’ve begged, borrowed and stolen for the opportunity to pursue it. They’ve put everything on the line for their idea, their vision. And you know what the most important part of their vision is?


It’s not them. And to be honest, it never really was. The first question investors ask after hearing someone’s idea is, “OK, who’s building it?” Your client knows that their creative team is the only thing that can make their idea a reality.

You’re the most important piece of their puzzle, and, despite what they tell themselves, what they know about you before starting the project is often limited.

So, how did they find you?

Clients turn over every stone in search of a designer or developer, because, by that time, the necessity of a good creative team has settled in. Entrepreneurs might look harder than others because of the pressure of their particular situation, but the importance of a good creative team is lost on no one. And this isn’t like finding a lawyer, a doctor or even a girlfriend.

It’s way harder.

The Leap of Faith Link

There are three gigantic problems with the process of finding a creative team. First, the client has probably never done this before. Secondly, finding a creative team is tough. Products such as will help, but because clients generally don’t speak your language, assessing the strengths of a firm and how it would mesh with their product is difficult. When the team I picked told me they were experts in Ruby on Rails, my first thought was, “Is that a train or a restaurant?” Thirdly, and by far the most important point, for those of us not in the web design or development community, feeling comfortable with our evaluation of creatives is impossible.

This is a relatively young industry, one with very low barriers to entry. Heck, my designer took his first client when he was 13. There are very few, if any, metrics we can use to evaluate a creative team. We can look at its past work, speak with the head of the team and maybe get some sort of sample or mock-up, but for the most part, we are flying blind. There are no requisite degrees, certifications or guarantees. If you go to a physician who hasn’t finished college, you probably wouldn’t be willing to let them operate on you. A developer who hasn’t gone to college could build you the next Foursquare.

In our search for a creative team, we come upon cousins and uncles of acquaintances, people who have designed investor-relations websites for Fortune 500 companies, people who wait tables but build iPhone apps on weekends. We have absolutely no idea what to think of all this.

First-time clients especially don’t understand how hard their product is to create, or how long creative design takes, or even if you’ve done this sort of work before. It’s all Japanese to them, and it’s an enormous leap of faith. All we can do is look at some of your prior work and decide whether we like it. In what other sphere of life would you make a decision this important on a gut reaction? (Wait, don’t answer that.3) It’d be like grabbing someone at the grocery store and asking them to marry you because you both have Fruit Loops in your carts.

Even when we look at successful companies in our fields, their success is not always commensurate with the development or design of their products. Take Craigslist4: great business idea, poor design; but it doesn’t matter because the content is great. On the other hand, Flipboard5’s design is fantastic, and that’s enough to make the product successful, even although its functionality isn’t really revolutionary.


Grasping For Control Link

With reservations and doubts lingering in the back of the client’s mind, in steps the creative team. You start pumping stories into Basecamp7, PivotalTracker8 or some other product-management system that the client’s never heard of, and suddenly they are on your turf. Now the client works when you work, and often sits quietly on their hands when you don’t. The product goes when you say it goes, and their input is limited. Worst of all, we flat out don’t understand what you’re doing.

This is extremely hard for people who are used to complete control. Your client has gained so much momentum to get to this point that, when the creative team takes charge, the ground drops from under them like they’re some unfortunate cartoon character. This reversal of control is jarring.

This would be fine if the entrepreneur was working with a lawyer, an accountant or even a bank. But early on in the life cycle of a company that depends on a creative team for its success, nothing, and I mean nothing, is as important as the creative team. And our control over the success of this phase is so limited. That’s why we make uninformed suggestions like, “Let’s make that @ symbol spin,” and “I think users would like some Shakira playing when they land on the home page. I know I would.” Because we’re grasping at straws.

We are trying to hold onto our vision, because suddenly it’s in your hands. We may know what we want, but we often don’t know how to do it, and we have trouble expressing it. I’ve often found myself telling my developer things like, “I want a magic search box that pulls information from the Facebook API [I learned that term a few months ago, no big deal], Twitter and Foursquare and spits out relevant people based on our compatibility algorithm,” only to have him respond, “… Yeah. Let’s start by allowing users to log in with their Facebook account.”

I know how I want the product to feel to the user, but I have no idea how to get there without my team’s help. Saying, “I want it really simple, easy to use and elegant” is not helpful. Grasping at some visual element that we comprehend is sometimes the only bullet in our gun.

So, How Do You Deal With Overstressed, Irrational Clients? Link

Now you have an idea of the sometimes fragile psyche of the client. The question is, how do you handle us when we say we want Shakira?

Sam’s points are all well taken and, for the most part, right on. But they are directed at a rational, faceless client. The overview is good, but implementing it in real life would be difficult. So, here is the perspective of a client with a face. The following five actionable tips should drastically help your client relationships.

  1. Show us.
    This one is the most important. It’s very hard for us to visualize our idea. We know how we want the product to feel, but we don’t know how to get there. We would certainly recognize that Shakira isn’t the answer if you showed us this on our website — or on a comparable website if building our mistake would be too time-consuming. Usually, if the client was savvy enough to get to this step in the process, they would know what works and what doesn’t. And if they don’t, their idea is hopeless anyway.
  2. Tell us.
    This one wasn’t in Sam’s points. Good entrepreneurs are flexible and can adjust their vision to meet the reality of the situation. If we want something, but you think it would take too long and not be worthwhile, tell us. Suggest a workaround if you want, or just ask us if there’s another way. Entrepreneurs are usually great at creative solutions; we make our living by avoiding barriers. But we can only avoid barriers if we know what they are.
  3. Explain the rules of the game.
    If you’re building a basketball, you know what you can and can’t do. You could probably make one that’s bouncier or more durable than competing products. But you couldn’t make one that goes in the basket every time. You know your limitations, but sometimes we don’t, and creativity is only able to flourish inside the box of reality. Because we don’t know the rules of the design and development game, we often don’t know what’s possible. More often than not, we’ll assume that something isn’t possible when it actually is. The head of my creative team had a good solution for this: he created a folder of ridiculous ideas that I wished could be part of the website, and I dumped stuff in there from time to time. More often than not, he’d ping me saying, “Hey Brian, that’s possible. Let’s try it out.” Being creative is difficult when the canvas is blank. If you can give us a line to start with, some sense of what you are capable of, it’ll help us enormously on the creative side.
  4. Be confident and enthusiastic.
    Everyone appreciates an expert. Sam touches on this, and it’s extremely important. When I told my designer that I was considering profile pages that end users could design, he said something like, “Well, it certainly worked for MySpace.” Point taken. Demonstrating your expertise puts clients at ease and instills trust in your decision-making abilities. Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally ask for forgiveness rather than permission (as long as the change is not customer-facing). It will reaffirm that we made the right decision. Nothing is more invigorating than someone who believes in your vision.
  5. We can’t act like locals.
    Clients aren’t completely oblivious to their mistakes, either. They know that some of their suggestions are absurd. They know that they don’t understand this stuff one-tenth as well as you do. They know they’ve stepped into a subculture that they couldn’t possibly fit into. It’s like when you go on a ski vacation and try to act like the locals. No matter what you do, you won’t be one. And we hate that we are an outsider in your world. That manifests itself in a number of ways: weird suggestions, holding firm on an irrelevant point, demanding certain color schemes that probably don’t matter (but sometimes do). This will still happen, but now that you know where they’re coming from and how to assuage them, you should hopefully have a more effective connection with clients. On the flip side, expect to be treated with the same level of suspicion and hesitation when you step into our world. Sam urges you to speak the client’s language, to set goals in business terms. Be very careful with that one. Misusing one business buzzword can waste your credibility, just as one suggestion for a spinning @ symbol will make you wary of any other design ideas. Discussing markets that you have exposure to but aren’t immersed in can have adverse effects. Know that we are all tourists. Which leads to the final point.

The Odd Couple Link

In writing this article, I realized how odd the relationship is between creatives and clients. Without my creative team, I would have no shot at getting my company off the ground. I rely on them 100%, but I have no clue what they do, how they do it or if the work they do is reasonably priced. This forces me to try to speak their language, to attempt to enter their world by learning quickly, and to try to maintain control of a vision that they are responsible for bringing to life.

Creatives, on the other hand, rely on clients only somewhat. They don’t live and die by each project, as clients do. Their work is in great demand; many of the firms I considered are growing quickly in this recession.

However, bits and pieces of web design and development work are slowly being fragmented and commoditized, and for the same reasons that evaluating designers and developers is difficult: the barriers to entry are low. This opens the door for 99Designs to pick off clients, especially vulnerable entrepreneurs. These services leverage the crowdsourced model by matching designers who have little or no experience with clients who don’t understand the nuances of the craft well enough to be able to tell. This pushes creative firms to differentiate themselves through means that clients can understand. Business acumen is an incredibly helpful skill for creatives to have, and something 99Designs can’t offer.

Summary Link

So, we’re left with two groups, each possibly operating in unknown waters, working to create a product that requires both of them to be firing on all cylinders in order to succeed. That being said, do business-savvy creatives exist? Heck, yeah. I’ve got them helping me build my company, and it makes all the difference in the world. Do design- or development-savvy entrepreneurs exist? Probably. I’ve got a Mac — does that count?

The goal is to establish a working relationship between the two parties that leverages the strengths of each to quickly and effectively create a product and bring it to market. The tips above should help those working on the creative side. I’d be interested to hear a designer or developer’s take on what I should be doing to get the best out of my creative team. After all, we’ve got to have more in common than liking Fruit Loops for this thing to work.

Go easy on us poor entrepreneurs. I realize we make dumb suggestions sometimes, but it’s just an attempt to maintain some control over a process that we occasionally feel we’ve lost control over. And consider the business decisions that clients make from both sides. We’ve had a lot of practice with this stuff.

You might be interested in the following related articles:

(al, il)

Footnotes Link

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Brian Scordato is an entrepreneur from New York. After attending Business School at UNC Chapel Hill, he built a project called 3Degrees that harnesses the power of your Facebook friends to make real-life connections. You can read his blog about his entrepreneurial experiences here or catch him on Twitter

  1. 1

    Brian, thanks so much for writing this.
    I’m a webdesigner and I know that my clients simply don’t understand what I’m doing. And I hate it. I thought it was this “speak the client’s language” thing, but I never felt comfortable with it. Too much buzz :-)
    So perhaps there is a different approach, starting with a better understanding of the client’s situation. I’m not quite sure what will be the next step, but there is this first step already. It’s the right direction, I think.

  2. 2

    Wonderful article. It is so easy for us, as designers and developers, to feel aggravated when clients “don’t get it.” Nice to see the other side of that equation explained in such a straightforward manner.

  3. 3

    You’re right.

    If the demand of your client look quite strange, stay cool ! Look your watches, and if it’s still unraisable after 15 minutes… Leave !

    Maurice from France

  4. 4

    Incredible article Brian!

    Thanks for giving us some insight into how clients think when they’re working with us creatives. I will definitely take a few points away from this article and implement it into my business.

    I think also the biggest issue with aggravated clients is that they hesitate to pay the final payment and sometimes drag on the project for weeks just because they feel like they’ve lost hope in the project.

    Thanks again mate!


    • 5

      Brian Scordato

      December 27, 2011 6:25 am

      Thanks, Ned! Glad it was helpful.

      Great point – I didn’t mention payments at all – obviously very important and potentially a topic for another post. Maybe a “best ways to make us pay on time” blog…

  5. 6

    A prime reason for having a project manager handle things like this. It’s a different skill set, and they’re not as emotionally attached to every little thing.

    • 7

      Absolutely – having a fresh set of eyes and someone looking from a not-so-granular point of view is very useful to give clients guidance!

    • 8

      Brian Scordato

      December 27, 2011 6:21 am

      Vik – Completely agree. Can’t wait until I can afford one – tough to remove myself from the product emotionally. Holding on to pieces of functionality that customers don’t want but I WANT them to want is my downfall.

  6. 9

    Nice to see an article from ‘the other side’.

    I actually got into design + development because I’m an entrepreneur, if that answers your question about savvy entrepreneurs. Still the only business I’ve been successful at though, ++.

  7. 10

    Good article but you could lose the sophomoric humour and the assumption that your readers are all heterosexual males. And no, I won’t bite on the humourless feminist argument.

    • 11

      Didn’t actually see any sophomoric humor (or humor period) or notice more assumptions than *usual* that designer, developers and clients are heterosexual males. But then, as a 51-year old fat broad, nobody thinks of me as exactly female either. I just kinda thought four down votes for reminding peeps that we’re not all 25-year-old skinny guys was a bit much. So I gave you a thumbs-up for balance. Keep em honest, you humorless feminist, you (I’m kidding! I’m sure you’re very funny when you feel like it) and also keep doing great work.

      Seriously – I do agree 100% with the notion that creatives must have business acumen. Back in The Dark Ages, ad agency founder Ted Bates told his staff, “it’s not creative unless it sells.” Today that translates into, it’s not cool unless it converts. More farther down.

  8. 12

    I would say using an agile development method, e.g. applying SCRUM process can help to narrow the gap between the team and the client, called product owner in scrum terms. As the client or a representative of the client is having a clearly defined function in the collaboration there is a fair chance that the sensation of loosing control over the process is vastly diminshed. Moreover constant communication – formal and informal – over a number of topics is inherent to this kind of methodologies.
    From my work experience I can say that agile methods work great in any type of project, size, and time frame. It enhances productivity, quality, mutual understanding between the various roles and last but not least it increases the fun factor as movement in the project is tangeble for everybody an everybody is part of one team, including the client.

    • 13

      For this project we actually worked with Brian and the development team had an agile process. Even still, getting into the flow of agile with a client can be tough, and explaining things like sprints and velocity can be tough to handle right off the bat.

      That being said, especially when you have a dedicated team attached to your project (e.g. people working full days on your project as opposed to splitting their time between projects), it can only help a client’s understanding because they have them there at their convenience, but there is still a learning curve with clients working within any new environment (especially that of a design/development team).

  9. 14

    designer can tell the client in the right way because he is expert in the field. if the client wants some colour in his design which are not looking good, a designer will help in choosing the right colour for him. He can assist client

    • 15

      But I think what Brian is getting at is that people need to level with clients as well and explain their decisions better. You can be the biggest expert of your craft, but that doesn’t mean that the client will understand your reasoning, especially when you use jargon or say things like “you hired me to make these decisions for you”. Sure, you’re not going to tell a mechanic how to do his job, but when the mechanic’s client is making his living off of that car you can be sure that he’s going to have some comments for him!

  10. 16

    Great article, I’m a designer and would love to start my own business but would never be able to put in all the hours it takes to get a business started… entrepreneurs should be applauded. However a word in defence of the designer. Please don’t assume we are ripping you off if we can’t design and build your website in a day or even a week. And when you ask for changes to the original spec understand that it may cost extra money. You wouldn’t have you car resprayed and then ask the garage to respray it a different colour because you’d changed your mind – and expect it to be done for free.

  11. 17

    Anders Schmidt Hansen

    December 25, 2011 1:18 am

    Great article Brian, it’s nice to read the thoughts from a fellow entrepeneur. To those designers who are wishing to start up their own entrepeneurial adventures – do it! But plan for it as if there was no tomorrow. Contrary to what many say, you don’t always have to sacrifice your soul to go all in on a startup. At least not in my situation. As long as you find the right team with a mutual passion (and awesome skills, of course), you can get very far.

    Merry Christmas! Good luck Brian and again, thanks for a great read.

  12. 18

    Thanks for this article. It was often a bit confusing, jumping between ‘they’ and ‘us’ and vice-versa while actually you were still talking about the same ‘party’. It’s nice to see how you’ve grown into a relationship with ‘your design team’ and know some of the tricks. I believe you have had a very ‘open’ project with excellent communication. And I think that is the main key here: communication. We can build a checklist of so many things, a road book to see what we should do whenever ‘something’ happens, but it’s all about feel and experience. But articles like this explain it in practice and in steps that are of immense value to creatives (and clients!) that are still ‘setting up’ – as well as creatives who have had their fair part of clients and need to refocus. It’s good to stand still every once in a while and reset yourself.


  13. 19

    Thanks, great article.

  14. 20

    Rastko Vukašinović

    December 26, 2011 2:21 pm

    Thank you! This is great article. I like to read reasonable idea or few on such a tangled matter as customer relations are.

  15. 21

    Same answer goes for:

    How do you deal with an irrational x, x can be friend, spouse, boss, patient, etc. The whole point is that you don’t, you can’t and you shouldn’t deal with irrational people. Take them out of the irrational cycle, let cooler heads prevail, then have a conversation.

  16. 22

    I quite agree that business acumen is critical for creatives.

    I quoted Ted Bates above: “It’s not creative unless it sells.” That was ad-agency wisdom from the days of Mad Men and Darren Stevens of Bewitched – I read it some 20 years later.

    These days I would update it to “It’s not cool unless it converts.” Depending on what you’re building, what you’re converting into what will vary. But if you’re building, you’re converting. Searchers to clickers. Clickers to stickers. Browsers to buyers. Watchers to players. Page landers to copy readers to tentative signups on the free plan to the cheap plan to the slack-adjuster enterprise version.

    Truth is, you already know that from your own experience as a web user. So it’s not like you need an MBA to develop with your client. Your business acumen can come from knowing just a little more than the target customer – and recognizing, when it’s the case, that you are NOT the target customer. and from explaining what you know about how different people react to different features differently. (a good word to know: affordances.)

    Then, as you get older, you’ll find that working with a wide variety of clients will give you real business experience. At 25 or 30, a lot of you are probably right in having your clients school you in their industries and supply the content. At 51, though, I’m in a different position. My client may know widgets and the regulations around widgets – though in some cases I’ve acquired 5 or 8 or 15 years of experience with an industry from a long client relationship. But over the course of 30 years in this business, I’ve learned a little – there’s always more – about what makes people buy things.

    So instead of having the client supply the content when I’m doing a site, I do the content with input from a document that I also prepare – the message strategy – with client input. And we don’t just do the site. We do the client’s entire message, from business cards to sales presentations, video, social media and direct mail – all driving traffic to the site as well as physical locations – stores, offices, whatever and however they do business.

    Now, if you want to shortcut the 30 years of learning what works in marketing, here are two big clues.

    Generally the reason people buy things is not what an entrepreneur thinks is the reason. Entrepreneurs, bless their hearts, for all the reasons the original poster points out, tend to be all about the features of a product.

    Even Steve Jobs didn’t understand what the iPod Touch was for until he listened to customer feedback. Whatever he thought it was for, he hadn’t realized it was an entire market segment’s cheapest way to get access to the App Store! Once he got that message, he changed every piece of communications about the touch to reflect that point.

    People don’t buy features. People buy (or click) for benefits. For how things will make them feel, look and perform – pretty much in that order, right up something called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

    If you study Maslow’s Pyramid and direct-response copywriting, even if you never intend to write a sentence of copy ever, you will know more about how to make sites convert than all of your clients and any investor from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road.

    And you, too, will get tired of waiting for clients to send you content for their sites that you know is too much about the wrong things. But along with all the great ammo you’ll have for persuading your client to make the right design and usability decisions, you’ll also be able to help her make the right business decisions. Which will make her a hero to her partners and her investors.

    And we can only hope that when she does her next deal, she’ll come back to you – and this time you’ll both understand each other, and the process, that much better.

  17. 23

    Great article Brian, and really interesting to read a counterpoint to my point.

    It’s very true what you say about being careful when speaking the ‘client’s business language’. Not only was my advice very general towards all clients, but this particluar piece does assume, perhaps naively, that most people managing clients also know what they’re talking about business-wise too – probably not the case at all in fact and defintely one easy way to lose rapport with a serious client!

    Funnily enough I’ve recently become a client myself and have just hired an agency (one I almost went to work for), and despite all my years managing clients agency-side I’ve found being a client quite difficult! From putting together a decent RFP, conducting multiple meetings and generally getting requirements across etc. – a whole other ball game and very unexpected / humbling.

    I predict I’ll be writing my own similar article at some point in the future on my experiences as a client!

    • 24

      Brian Scordato

      December 29, 2011 5:37 pm


      Thanks for the comments! The first piece you wrote was very well done, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the process now that you’ve sat on both sides of the table. Best of luck!

  18. 25

    If the client is smart enough, he/she let me explain and this for me is wonderful cooperation. But what I hate is lack of communication (not answering, not saying opinion…) – and than just moving job to someone else only because I miss-match their vision on first attempt (usually because they did not communicate with me), not paying for the time I already spend on it – as they did not take the final product. Sometimes gives me feeling as they think that is easy job to do…

    • 26

      sylvia dequito

      January 5, 2012 10:54 pm

      it happens to me many times. i can feel your on your sympathy. I had a prospect client and they want to copy an established website. They thought it’s just an ordinary website because there’s no design and plain white background. On my surprise, it is a portal website done on .net platform. And they thought it was just a copy paste content. With their limited budget,there’s no chance for us to do accept that project. Still the client didn’t understand.

  19. 27

    I am dealing with one now. When the job is over, I will take my proposal/contract, do a post mortem on what went right and what went wrong and tweak it some more so as to avoid conflict with future clients.

    Why can’t clients understand what a “content freeze” is?

    Next, I will remind myself not to accept work from people I do not trust.

  20. 28

    Steve Gabriel

    January 5, 2012 9:24 pm

    This is when a Client Relations Director comes in handy. I understand it’s difficult for clients to understand each and every aspect of designing a website however as a designer it’s also difficult to keep calm when they are requesting something that could potentially damage the branding and image that you’re trying to achieve. A client relations director can really help bridge the gap in order to find a happy medium.

  21. 29

    sylvia dequito

    January 5, 2012 10:46 pm

    Thanks Sam. Very well said. The articles speaks directly from the one with experience.

  22. 30

    Really interesting article! I am relatively new to the whole ‘creative’ side of things and sometimes find it a little difficult to explain to clients about how long it would take me to do what they believe is a simple change.

    The thing is: it makes me worry and question myself about my own abilities – does it take longer for me because I don’t have the necessary skills or am I making it too complicated in my own head?

    I try and deliver above and beyond (as everything is an excuse for learning more) but sometimes I wonder if the beyond means that the client then expects even more than I can deliver in the same timeframe. How would we let them know?

  23. 31

    Now to figure out how to make my boss read this. I’m at work right now and I just feel like a tool they use to transfer their ideas to a computer screen.

  24. 32

    Nice article. I am working in the “web business” for some time and was in some situations you described and could identify myself in your post.

    There is another type of client: The one that “wants shakira music” but does not want to explain, why and does not want to adjust the “vision” to the reality.

  25. 33

    Great article. I have found in my web business that you need to constantly take the viewpoint of the client who asks themselves “How is this going to improve my business, product, bottomline etc.” If you have a solid reason for the concept and design elements that support the concept, usually a client will play along. Design for design-sake usually doesn’t go over as well. Of course this all starts with a sound creative strategy to begin with.

  26. 34

    This was a really help full article.

    I also am thinking about opening a web development company, of some sort.

    I have 1-2 clients, and if I have 3 (solid) or more, is that where a person should form an LLC?

    What’s the best way to basically, after having a few clients, starting an “entity” (LLC or ?) so that I can sub-contract work out?

    Via experience, I have learned that organizing the project is key, coordinating the project, is key.

    Language is key too. This is learned the hard way many times.
    For example, I asked a client, when discussing the website,
    “Do you need a back-end…. (I wanted to continue saying… ) such as WordPress, a content mangement system.

    Client interrupts me, and asks, “what’s a back-end”

    Later on, I thought, “Well, if a person’s doesn’t know anything about websites,
    and I say “Do you need a back-end?” he might have thought I referred to a buttocks (butt )

    About a week ago, a potential client saw 2 of my past sites that I worked heavily on over time, and basically called it crap.

    After listening to his needs, and I mean LISTENING to the CLIENT’S needs…

    I spent 6 or so solid hours developing a simple design / site prototype that I would use to showcase his company brand, products, and he liked it. I also gave him a web development contract / agreement (based on “killer contract” the one that uses English and not legalize).

    Next week, the work will progress and I will have to tell him to, (after him having a week to review it ) that we need the contract signed, and I need deposit / starting (or 20% of site is done) $$$

    Brain, what’s your experience and what do / have you done regarding agreements / contracts ?


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