Over the past year I’ve got the opportunity to meet a lot of really interesting people. Some of them have been people I’ve really enjoyed connecting with and some of the experiences have not been perfectly positive. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about the people I’ve really enjoyed working with and the people I haven’t enjoyed working with. More importantly I wanted to share the qualities that I appreciate in a client or partner.

Fired Up

I think the one quality that I really like working with is excitement. I’ve worked with clients who’ve talked about their businesses in terms of “I’d like to do X because it will increase Y by Z% and…business stuff.” And I don’t like when the conversation starts with that. When I’m building a website or working on a logo or branding or content or… everything I work on, I don’t want to hear what they do, I want to hear WHY they do.

I want to talk to clients that are fired up about their business because of the origin story and because of where they believe their business is going. Because I can’t build something from that. I can’t build a website for a client who sounds like Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller. If they’re not excited about what they do, how can I get excited about what they do?

Focus, People

When I’m working with a client, the conversation often begins sort of all over the place. We might talk about where they came from and what they do in their spare time and what they love and all those sorts of things. But at some point, shit needs to get done.

There is a relatively easy way to sort this out. At some point in the conversation someone will likely say, “ok…so…” “Ok…so…” is a phrase designed specifically to say, “let’s get shit done.” But for some reason, some people think that it means, “tell me about your cat.”

I love people that are interesting and I love people that love to talk. I love to talk. I often ramble. If you know me, you know this. But when it is time to get things done, I get it.

Some Vision…But Not Too Much Vision

This is where things get tricky. My favourite clients are those that say, “we’d like it to be a little X…but other than that, it’s all you.” Those are a lot of fun. But there are two kinds of clients that I typically interact with.

The first group of clients just want you to do whatever it is you want to do…except that…or that…and that. The problem with working with people who don’t have a vision for what they want is that they ABSOLUTELY HAVE A VISION FOR WHAT THEY WANT. They just don’t know what it is. But they know it’s not that…or that…or that…

The second group, who are not more or less difficult, are those that want that image to be located 73 pixels above the text, which will be in times new roman 11. Any ideas you had of being creative will die…immediately. You are there to take a picture of what they have in their head and then perfectly recreate it.

I like people. I’m always excited about meeting new people. And if you’re fired up, focused and have a pretty good idea of what you want, you’re someone I’d like to work with.