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When things do not work out, make lemonade

Sometimes we come across things that just do not work out like we hope or planned. This may be for a variety of reasons. It may be ethical, personal, communication break downs, timing, etc. It can be a variety of reasons why something just does not work. Let me assert that it is not always the designer where the failure begins. I have been doing this long enough to know that sometimes the design client wears just as much of the “blame” cloak as the designer. Often it is just a compatibility issue. I have also been in the business long enough to know that sometimes you just have to admit when it is time to cut your losses and walk away. It is not always easy to admit defeat, but alas we all experience it. The truth be told, we are not always going to be the right designer for every client. Not every project is going to be right for us. We have to be able to recognize this and move on when the time is right – or wrong. It is in doing this that we become better. If we cannot do this, we become stuck in the same old thing. It becomes like a broken record.

It does make me a little upset when I cannot please a client, but today I can assure you that while I am admitting all this, it does not happen often. In fact, it is very rare. That gives me hope that it is just something that sometimes happens and not something that I should give a whole lot of contemplative thought to. I mean, I could let it tear me up inside, but where would it ultimately get me? No where really. I would still be out a client, a project, and a paycheck. I still have to start over.

The best thing to do is just to lift your chin and move on. One foot in front of the other, so to speak. Where there is frustration and irritation now, there will be a job that is right and you cannot do that “right” job if you are stuck with the wrong job that just drags on. So cut your losses and move on. It is okay to fire a client from time to time if you need to. If it is not working out, move on. Make it peaceful and amicable as possible and move on.

Learn from the experience while you are at it. I use each of my projects as a learning and growing period. It might be the same project I have done multiple times, but I ask myself, “how can I improve this time?” Ultimately, what can I do to make it better for this client that I did not do last time. What did I learn the previous time that I can implement this time and how can I improve? It has helped make each project a little more fluid.

Sometimes, however, it helps that when you are down to just simply use that frustration to motivate you to do some things that you have not focused on in a long time. That is what I am doing right now. It is amazing how refreshing it has been the past 12 hours. It has been almost invigorating.

A couple of years ago, I sat down and decided that I wanted to design fabric. It was a nice transition from “digital scrapbook kit” designer as I had many high resolution graphics already started that could be modified and transitioned into a larger scale print job – in theory. That was my plan. I sat down and did a little bit of research and decided that it was a bigger job than I had feasible time for at that time, but I did find a fabric printer that would allow you to get started without much commitment. I did not need much experience, financial commitment, etc. I just needed my computer, time, designs, and the funds to proof all the designs before they could be sold. That was the catch as proofing as many fabric designs as my little creative brain could come up with could get expensive very quickly. Thus I put it on hold – temporarily – because I was going to have to come up with some serious pocket change if I was going to get serious about this. Like I said, this was a couple of years ago probably. It has been quite some time. I have received emails from the company every week since then so it has always been in the back of my mind reminding me that it is there.

Then fast forward to my last project. I new that I should not take the project in the back of my mind, but for whatever reason I did. There were a variety of reasons that I did not want to take the job. There were just as many reasons as to why I did take the job. I will even admit to the excitement of the job and the money being two of the biggest reasons. In all honesty, however, the money for the project were not all that great. It was a low bid offer. I wanted the experience. I wanted to be able to say, “I did that.” So I did take it.

Today, I admit that I am walking away. There are a lot of reasons why. None of them are really relevant. I will just say that it did not work out. It is in the best interest of the client to go find someone else that can meet their expectations. I have not been able to do that thus far and we are already 6 weeks past what the expected project deadline was. Frustration is mounting on both our parts. It is not fair to either of us and it is not healthy. So I am cutting my losses this time and walking away.

I do not consider it so much a loss, however, it motivated me. In the process I learned what I could do and just how much fun I could have doing it. Now I just need to come up with the change to proof the results that came out of this, since November 5, 2014.