Early in Mule’s existence, I learned an incredible lesson from a client. He cancelled an hour before we were to give a presentation, because a job they’d been preparing for one of their clients wasn’t up to his standard of quality.
Be ready to impress. If you aren’t ready, postpone until you are.
Yes, rescheduling is a pain in the ass. But it can be handled properly and is much easier to recover from than walking into a presentation with anything less than quality. Could you wing it? Possibly once or twice, maybe more even. Every good designer should be a little Don Draper in the boardroom. But your clients aren’t paying you to wing it. Treat them with more respect than that.
So what do you tell them? Tell them the truth. “I need to postpone this presentation because the work’s not at the level I’d like it to be and I don’t want to waste your time.” Then buy your project manager a really big fucking cookie. In the end, it’s easier to recover from rescheduling a presentation than from bombing. If you have the right sort of client, you may even gain more of their respect. You know…the first time, which is best if it’s the only time
Man, that stuff took time. A lot of time actually. And a tremendous amount of effort, as well as expertise. Expertise that came from a combination of training, which I had to pay tuition for, and experience. I’m good at this because I’ve done it a lot. Sure, there’s some natural talent there, but by and large I’ve gotten good at my job the same way every other worker has. By experience, by focused effort and by learning from my mistakes.
Luckily I’ve been able to earn a modest living plying my trade by exchanging my efforts to clients for fair value.
So as much as I’d like to just show you the greatest logo I’ve ever made for anyone (…and trust me, if Paul Rand himself saw it, he would realize he was merely the Pippen to my Jordan.) I’d like to be properly compensated for it. Because I put a lot of time and effort into it. And it’s how I earn my living.