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Digital Strategist & Partner at Studio Projectie Joined almost 5 years ago
One thing that helps is that people get more excited about who you want to be compared to who you are. So present yourself as a design manager if that is what you want to do, instead of a senior UX designer. Focus on what is in your future instead of what is in your past. Also, I can feel the frustration in your post. Hide that in any future job interview. Act like you're just testing the waters to see what they can offer you. If someone asks you to move, you should not give in too easily. That shows that in fact, you have nothing going on, so moving is on your only option. In that case, you're probably not that good? They don't know about your local market. Tell them that you're willing to move if the offer is good enough for you to give up what you have going on..
As for the next step in my career. I was always more of a strategy guy than a designer myself even though I enjoy both. However, I could never get people to catch on that yes, our agency did both ux/web/product design and strategy even though I'm one of the owners and mentioned it in every proposal and quote. "Oh, we liked everything about you, but you don't do strategy". In fact, even some clients we did strategy work for, did not understand it as such. It drove me nuts. So I simply started introducing myself as a 'Digital Strategist' first and I pull out a whiteboard at the very first meeting to draw out the project steps. Immediately they understand: "Oh that's the strategy guy!".
Bold and colorful I like it.
Also, whenever a client demands we cram everything above the fold in a slider because they don't want to scroll I can show them what modern webdesign looks like and a website with 400px below the fold isn't as radical as they think.
Thanks for sharing.
Do you have examples of $10k - $30k websites that someone using this process would be able to make?
I've worked with and for start-ups. The main problems I've found with start-ups are the following - My idea is the best idea, if people are not interested the people are wrong - We don't need marketing, we need features. If we just add feature 'x' it'll take off just you wait and see! - We can't launch until it is perfect just look at how perfect Facebook is - In hindsight you set me up with a fraudulent contract because even if you made all the software, the idea(scribbled on a piece of paper) was mine and the idea is more valuable so I should automatically also own the source code
Whenever pepole show up with another 'good idea' I ask them for a business plan, marketing plan and I give them a bunch of reasons why their idea might suck or how it has been tried before. If they pass the test we can do business. Most never return with a business or marketing plan. Some I forward the link to ProductHunt to show just how many competition there is, then I get an email back: "This guy stole my idea, should I sue him?".
I turned the biggest case we've ever done (which consisted of building multiple sites for a single client over the course of 3-4 years and managing everything in between) into a portfolio deck. The communication or marketing person who might enlist your services is unlikely to make the final call on hiring you.
The contact that you meet might be excited but then the higher ups might ask questions: "Can we trust these folks? What have they done? Do they have experience with international clients, because they only have 12 people?" . The deck adresses exactly the type of questions a stakeholder might have.
I used to focus on showing as much as I could. Writing 30 page in-depth proposals and trying to refer to as many relevant cases as possible. I learned along the way that it is more important to focus on specific challenges and to radiate confidence. If you are confident you have this single 3 - 5 page document that basically shows everything that you do or have accomplished for your single best/most high profile client. I also send this deck along with the quote. Knowing that all the work I show in between to the person I'm dealing with directly might not end up at the stakeholders(boss) but the final quote and every document attached to it will.
So even if my contact does not necessarily understand how this particular case might be relevant to his request, it will have a 99% chance to end up at the higher ups.
Your video explains it welIl I would start your blog with the video instead of having the video at the end.
For example. My 'agency' used to be just a group of webdevelopers working with a custom built PHP CMS and mainting an online billing platform. We had 0 designers on the payroll as all design was outsourced. The company split and I found myself promoted from project manager to the 'COO' role. I rebranded us to a Digital Agency and I figured it out from there.
About 2 - 3 years later we have experience in a wide variety of fields. We've grown from 4 employees to 12, including a great design team and the agency completely transformed. I didn't ask anyone for permission to start selling our services as a Digital Agency nor did anyone question my title as COO. Of course it took a lot of work on my end to fill in the missing gaps in my skillset. I could no longer ignore HR, finance and other fields I had previously not wanted to get involved in.
If you think you can do a great job as a creative director, make that your title. Don't let anyone tell you, you can't do it. Even if you land a job and it doesn't work out you'll probably learn from the experience. I learned that axing development on an ancient CMS and switching over to WordPress would mean losing some people we thought were irreplacable.
Maybe you aim too high or maybe it'll work out. You won't know unless you take the risk and try. But if you move in at say a junior designer role from college and don't make yourself get noticed in a leadership position you could be 'stuck' in that spot for a long, long time.
This wasn't easy mind you. But running an agency with happy employees and serving some big clients that love the work that we do tells me that I made the right call.
1 - Identify the risks at the start of the project. I always ask the client to prioritize: scope/quality, budget and time(delivery).
If budget is the least of their concern and they're focused on scope/quality I can just quote more if they want additional stuff or if I have additional ideas. If the deadline is important to them I can use that as an argument against further changes (we'll miss the deadline if you want me to do this) Something can't be cheap, high quality and delivered fast.
2 - Create a clear roadmap for the project so the client knows when the concept phase ends and the refining begins (when can they give feedback and when is the design locked down?).
3 - Never do changes for free or outside of what you've put down in your roadmap. Instead give them options such as:
It'll cost more (you will have to re-do work which was already done and accepted) It'll take longer to deliver the product (again, you will have to put in extra work) The quality will take a hit (sure, we can have a second go at the splash screen but that means no time to work on the social media integration)
Based on the priorities you've asked at the start you can make a pretty good guess on how to best control the client.
Usually clients don't understand the creative process or the order in which things are made and you sort of have to guide them through it. These late changes usually don't come from the clients themselves but friends/co-workers/aunts/cousins etc. .
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