This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

August 23, 2014

Conducting business with the written word

As a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator, I've always liked being able to use the written word to conduct business. I started freelancing while still a student in college, and was able to put what I learned to work right away. And since I also took business classes, I learned the importance of writing a proposal, a quote, an invoice, a statement, that sort of thing. Before the days of the internet, I had a book that had hundreds of sample business letters that I would refer to.

When I meet in person with clients, I always bring along a legal pad, and write things down. The idea of just listening to someone and remembering all of the details is just ridiculous to me. I have always had a good memory, but never that good. Nowadays, of course I use email. Personal meetings are expensive, and rare.

That is not to say that I don't use other technologies, such as talking on the phone, or texting. But the backbone of my success in conducting business is still the written word in email, and as soon as I've finished talking to someone, I write an email. I generally say, *I'll see you in cyberspace*. From there, I can share what I think I understood from my client, review my fees, mention things like copyright, etc.

The nature of my business is that I always have several clients at the same time, all at different stages. One may be just beginning to talk about an idea, one may be in the middle of a project, one may be done and is pondering the next one. And whenever I communicate with a client, I review the previous emails. I have a folder called *Work Inquiries*, and a folder for each individual client who I am working for. I can go back and instantly review if they wanted a cartoon penguin, or a dachshund.

I've always added this kind of stuff to the classes that I've done in Graphic Design. But really, if you want to be businesslike, you really should take a few business classes. You don't have to write *Pursuant to your inquiry on the 23rd of August...*, but you do have to be able to do some business writing. And it helps me to keep everything straight, and avoids as much as possible any misunderstandings between my clients and myself. My major was Graphic Design, but I minored in Advertising, which meant that I had to study marketing, and a little basic business.

I consider doing this part of my business, and I try to keep the time spent on it at a minimum. Every work inquiry that I get I respond to quickly, move it into the Work Inquiries folder, and then forget about it. If I get a response back, I review the information, and respond again. At that point I am ready to give a quote and ask for a deposit. Then it goes back into the Work Inquiries folder. When the deposit is received, I get to work!

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