share this

Share This Search
Blog
View full story newgundfinal1157951robertmullermedium3.jpg

Story: Jan 09, 2015

Time-lapse video shows completion of major construction on n...

View details 35th Annual Scholastic Art & Writing Exhibition

CIA Exhibition: Jan 15, 2015

35th Annual Scholastic Art & Writing Exhibition

View full story croppedmadesurrealfinalleahandericfinalbestrobertmuller.jpg

Story: Jan 08, 2015

Recognition, milestones were highlights of 2014 for CIA

View details CIA Freshman Mail Art at MOCA

Events: Jan 19, 2015 @ Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland in Cleveland, OH

CIA Freshman Mail Art at MOCA

View Link

Social: 2 days ago via Facebook

This weekend, enjoy a winter wonderland and some very cool student work from Associate Professor Kevin Kautenburger’s fall semester course, Community Works: Env...

View full story dscabingtonarms5382-2medium.jpg

Story: Dec 23, 2014

Printmaking project links students with seniors and their st...

View details 69th Annual Student Independent Exhibition

CIA Exhibition: Feb 13, 2015

69th Annual Student Independent Exhibition

View full story unknown.png

Story: Nov 03, 2014

CIA video shows off new Uptown Residence Hall

View details CIA Campus Connection: Presidents' Day

Events: Feb 16, 2015

CIA Campus Connection: Presidents' Day

View full story bestregmidwest.jpg

Story: Aug 18, 2014

CIA again named to "Best in the Midwest" list

Blog . The Biggest Mistakes I've Made Working for a Client and How to Avoid Them

Blog

The Biggest Mistakes I've Made Working for a Client and How to Avoid Them

01/22/14  |  Posted by Vanesa Jeric  |  Posted in Digital Canvas - Tips & Tricks

I've worked with all different kinds of people doing different things, mostly animation and video work. Recently I've been making physical sculptures for clients. The majority of my experiences are awesome, I've made so many friends creating artwork and it's the greatest feeling in the world to see something I made make someone happy. I encountered some tough situations that could have been navigated better with prior experience. Everybody will have those moments in their career and this is not to scare you, only to remind you that human beings make mistakes and I hope it will be helpful to share some of my "oops" moments in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Make a mental note of my stories, and keep Murphy's law in the back of your head. "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

Bring Extra Batteries and Memory

I was shooting video for an anniversary, my first experience in videography. I had recently purchased my new baby, the Canon Mark II and was stoked to capture with it. I rented a shotgun mic to get clear audio when the guests congratulated the couple on tape. The microphone was supposed to be loaded and ready to go with batteries, but it wasn't. I didnt realize this until after arriving on scene so I had to completely improvise the audio, editing the clips to a song instead. Always check to make sure your equipment has batteries, and bring extras. Do not rely on equipment rental places to be on top of things. Halfway through the event, I saw the dreaded "battery low." My battery ran out of juice. I was horrified and battery-less because I didn't bring an extra. My inexperience with my new camera lead me to overestimate the battery life. I quickly learned to bring an extra battery and memory card for every job.

Make a Detailed Contract

I was contacted to make a short animation for a fellow artist. I took the job the summer before my senior year at CIA to make some quick money for rent. It wasn't quick, the job ended up lasting all summer long and even into my first semester because the client wanted so many changes. No matter how good of an artist you are, you will encounter this type of person. It is very important to write a detailed contract including how many revisions can be made until the client starts paying for your extra time. That way, you don't get stuck making tons of revisions and grinding your teeth because you'd rather get paid than not at all.

Protect Your Master Copy

Decide with your client what the output size and ratio will be and include that in the contract. If the client needs different sizes for different uses, for example a YouTube formatted version and an iPad formatted version, charge for both. Never give away an uncompressed file. If the client asks for your PSD files, AE files, whatever program you are using draw the line and say no. I have had to say no to this scenario, my client wasn't happy but grudgingly gave in. I wish I had talked to the client and made it understood that my project files are not part of the package beforehand. You are giving away opportunities to make money and also making yourself vulnerable to the client making derivatives of your artwork. The master file is yours to guard and protect, save forever to go back to if different formats are needed.

Don't Work for Free

This seems obvious, but you may find yourself being asked by a family member or friend to help them design a website for their business, or design invitations for a friend's wedding. I've heard it numerous times from my professors at CIA, to make a contract even if you're working for your aunt Sally. Don't let anyone sweet talk you out of making a contract. Let friends and family know that it is not a matter of distrust, you just want to get into the good habit of making contracts for job prospects. I was contacted by a friend I went to school with for some digital painting work and was persuaded out of a contract even though my professors' warnings echoed through my head. Guess what happened, I did the work, my friend changed their mind, and I didn't get paid. Lesson learned.

Wholesale Opportunities

This tip will be more useful for those in jewelry or other craft majors. I design sculptures and sell on Etsy and have been offered many wholesale opportunities in the short time my shop has been up and running. It's so exciting getting the first offer, but don't jump on it just yet. Do your research on wholesale first! You may end up deciding that due to the amount of time you spend making each item that consignment might be a better fit for you. There's a difference between wholesale and consignment. Wholesale is selling in bulk at 50% off what you normally do, while consignment is "selling" for a smaller percentage. Notice I put "selling" in quotes because to be able to offer items at a smaller percentage the retailer must be able to sell your items otherwise return them to you. Wholesale is a great opportunity for many craft artists, before diving into it know your stuff! Etsy has an amazing Tools For Success blog post on how to approach wholesale.

Practice Good Book Keeping and Save Receipts

If you have a job while attending college, you probably already raided the mailbox for your W-2. When accepting work from clients, it is important to get a receipt for the work done and to get into a habit of saving all reciepts for supplies purchased or even internet usage for work done on the computer. I wish I started doing this earlier. The more money you spend on supplies and utilities, the more money you can get back at the end of the year if a good record is kept. Not to mention if freelance work ends up being the only source of income, practicing with a few jobs here and there can prepare you in the long run. With my sales on Etsy, I can deduct Paypal fees and postage costs.

  • Comments
    1
  • Print

Leave a comment

Jane Janus
1 year ago

I really appreciate the learning you give from personal acceptance

Back to blog listing

YouTube Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Flickr Pinterest Instagram

Social Feed

Student work on view at Look About Lodge in the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin reservation this weekend, 12-4pm. http://t.co/vwRLFvUzlk

2 days ago via Twitter

Read More

Community Works

Visiting artists, exhibitions, conference and symposia exploring socially engaged art.

Read More

SPECTRUM CIA 2015

Save the date. Four celebration events.

Read More

Cores + Connections

Creating. Connecting. Building better futures.