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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.

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Beside writing super useful blog posts I also teach how to create Islamic geometric patterns

how to navigate client expectations with ease

If you have been contacted by a client who wants a custom piece or a company replied to your pitch email deciding they want to collaborate with you, and now you don’t know how to navigate client expectations this post is for you!

By now, you already know my BIG time fails from my previous post My top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist I never talk about. If you haven’t read it yet, go and have a good laugh.

Of course, I also had amazing collaborations with other brands, but those 3 moments have taught me something huge: Clients have expectations and how we deal with those sets the success of the collaboration.

Let me elaborate on this.

There are two types of clients:

  1. The client who already has an idea and it’s asking you to make it come to life
  2. The client who gives you the freedom to create whatever you want

I know the second one might sound the best between the two, but it’s not always the case.

Unless you are such a famous artist that your followers pend from your lips and love EVERYTHING you create (even a banana taped on the wall). In that case, I don’t think you would be here reading my blog HA!

In both instances, there are you and your ideas of what you want to create, and then there are your clients with their ideas of what they want to see.

For type a) clients, their expectations are given by their own ideas of what they want. For type b) clients, their expectations are given by what they already know about you. They might follow you on Instagram or have seen your portfolio on your website. In any case, both types of clients have an expectation.

And here comes your ability to make their expectations match your ideas and make them WOW.

1. Communication

The first thing to improve to navigate client expectations with ease is communication.

Such a clichè, right? But seriously, this is a two-way thing.

First, you need to listen carefully to their needs and not be afraid to ask questions. Understand their colour preferences, size requirements, and any other elements they want to include.

Second, if you are not sure to meet the deadline but want the client to book you, the worst thing you can do is to be vague or lie. I’ve done that. And it’s never a good thing to do. 

You need to communicate to your client what to expect, and your timeline and give them all the information needed before they even ask you. This will make them trust you and make you look like an expert. They need to feel like you have their best interest at heart so that if your draft or final outcome doesn’t match their requests, they will come to you from a place of trust instead of frustration.

I also recommend you have a general contract made by a lawyer to use for each collaboration.

2. Draft it like it’s hot

The biggest mistake I made in the past was to think that clients could read my mind. I used to send random images and colour combinations, thinking the client could see what I saw. Pff! 

You can have the best vision in the world, but you need to find a way to translate that vision into something your client can understand.

For example, if you are drawing something by hand you can send a digital version of your idea as a draft to make your client understand what you want to create. It will take some time to create it, I know. But it’s better to spend a couple of days creating the digital draft rather than having to refund your client.

It also allows you to have feedback from your client and discuss the tweaks, if there are any. It’s easier to make adjustments at this stage rather than later.

3. You are the expert

It’s not uncommon the clients to want to see progress pictures and also change their minds.

First thing first, I know this might be upsetting, so try to remind yourself that your customer isn’t dissatisfied with you, they’re displeased with the quality of your product.

Take your time to reply until you have digested the email and calmed down.

It’s important to understand what they don’t like or what is upsetting them. Sometimes, they get worried because they don’t see what you see anymore (yeah, that happens even if you send them the draft beforehand). Don’t be afraid to use your expertise to guide them. Sometimes, they just need to be reassured.

And if you need to make a revision communicate how revisions will affect timelines and costs, if applicable. Being transparent about these aspects helps manage expectations effectively.

A whole set of skills is required to navigate client expectations with ease and sooner or later, you’ll need to learn if you want to be an artist. 

It’s never an easy task, but with time, you will become a pro.

I hope this blog post has helped you learn something new.

If you need more content like this and would like to be coached by me, book a 15-min discovery call here. Whether you are doing this as a side hustle or want to be a full-time Islamic art artist, I got you covered. 

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How to navigate client expectations with ease

September 4, 2023

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  1. Diane says:

    Goodness. People get offended over nothing these days. Love your blog.

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
I've been in the game since 2016 and trust me when I say that one year from now you will wish you had started today.

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