QUICK DISCLAIMER: marriages are exempt from this conversation.
Today I was talking to a client about the often adversarial relationships that can exist between creative professionals and clients.
At any given point on social media you can see a creative professional complaining about how a client does have any sense of design or creativity. Adversely, you can find so many clients complaining about overpriced, underdelivered creative projects.
These reactions are indicative of a toxic relationship. This resentment and creative struggle are symptoms that you don’t belong together.
Now there are a couple of ways that you can deal with this. You can learn to be more understanding of both the creative process and the demands of the business. You can work on your communication skills to ensure that you’re actually saying to the other person what you want to say. You could even immerse yourself in the others world in an effort to achieve “synergy”. UGHH.
I’m here to Offer one other alternative to this long and arduous struggle.
One of the hardest things in the entire world is to walk away from a relationship that seems like it could provide you value.
You can probably think of someone rather easily that fits this bill in your personal or professional life.
That boss whose constant criticism you take because they hold your career in their hands.
That coworker that plays golf or goes out for drinks with the boss and whispers sweet nothings like, “fire Steve. He’s an asshole” between holes or following a few glasses of wine.
That client that’s going to recommend you to everyone they know and will make or break your business.
Don’t just walk away from these relationships.
This works the other way as well. If you know that you’re taking more than you’re giving and that you will end a relationship in professional heartbreak, walk away.
I get it. It’s hard to say no to a paycheque.
But when you start to build a network of people around you that you want to work with, you’ll find out that not only will it make you feel better, but it WILL end up making you far more money than a lucrative client you CAN’T work with ever will.
If they’re not related to you by blood (and even then it’s a stretch) or bound to you by vows, I’m a big fan of walking away from anything that’s not working.
I’m not saying give up on difficult things. But rather don’t force things that simply are not meant to be.