The Ball Is Always In your Court

As freelancers, we have to wear many hats, some of them less comfortable than others. Many creatives I speak to seem to agree on one thing, carrying out the more ‘business’ related tasks sucks. Whether that is doing the books or drumming up new business, most of us are far happier just getting on with the creative side of things. Which means the rest of our duties are often pushed aside and left unattended.

Image credit : VFS Digital design on Flickr.

It occurred to me the other day, while reflecting on a couple of business opportunities that didn’t pan out as expected, that as freelancers the ball is always in our court. No matter what phase of a project we are currently involved in, no matter our role in the team, it is up to us to stay on top of things.

Now, that could mean calling a client to check on feedback, or the whereabouts of some promised assets. It could be sending an email to confirm a 1099 was mailed out yesterday as promised. Whatever task we feel we have ‘batted into our client’s court’, it does not necessarily mean that task is getting it’s due attention. It is in our interests to act like the ball is still in our court.

I’m not suggesting we need to pester and bother our client’s every hour on the hour. Yet, we don’t have traffic managers to keep an eye on projects for us. We don’t have project managers to chase down assets for us. There are no account executives to sweet talk the client in my office. All of these responsibilities fall on our shoulders.

So while it’s much more fun, and way more rewarding, to refine a cool particle effect or typographic technique, I have to force myself to take a look at the uglier side of the freelance business. To make sure business is moving forward and in my favour.

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