1. Ask questions that tap into long-term and specific objectives
If you see value in a client's project or mission, try to dig deeper to uncover their future plans. How might this project further the client's mission to the next stage? What is their ultimate objective in how they want to communicate with their audience? Such insight will better anchor your role at their current stage while also letting them know you are open and willing to grow a sustainable partnership with them. It will also inform the deliverables you work towards if you need to consider future adaptability of the artwork (ex: working in layers or at a higher resolution).
2. Take time to research the market
Staying informed of best practices is essential to contributing to a healthy creative industry and ensuring fair compensation for your work. Equipping yourself with knowledge of pricing, market trends, production insights etc. boost your professional value. This is a valuable asset and work ethic for all clients particularly smaller clients with less experience working with creatives. You aren't just executing artwork in a bubble, you offer knowledge to make creative choices. I find social media a great way to organically stay informed of what potential clients are looking for.
3. Promote the work produced (if you feel it aligns to your brand/values)
It is understandable that we may not always secure the job that best reflects our ability or portfolio, but I encourage you to always share the projects that strengthen your skillset and desirability. This can definitely attract similar opportunities.
4. Share Resources/Contacts
As you build a network of resources and contacts, don't be shy to share potential connections with your clients. This could be as simple as recommending a printer you have experience working with or introducing contacts for potential collaborations. Working within an eco-system of professional and trusted individuals can really strengthen everyone's value and abilities. At the same time, you are letting the client know that you are proactive and in demand.
5. Share own/other projects
I used to be more reserved in showing my own or competitor projects (which I had the right to publicly showcase) to my clients as I was too focused on the immediate deliverables. However, I recognized the value in sharing other finished projects to demonstrate my capacity for their projects. As creatives, we can easily make the conceptual jump in our heads to see how our artwork can fit into different briefs but I find it really helps boost the client's confidence if they can see a finished example. It may even broaden their vision of what the both of you are able to create.
Thanks so much for reading till the end! I wish you all the best on your creative journey. I would love to hear your thoughts via instagram: @natalie.illustration