The Golden Rules – A Cautionary Tale

The Golden Rules – for working with design services

I recently got my fingers burnt with my drawing and design services. Already. I’m not going to go into the details too much because it’s still a bit raw and annoying, but essentially I found myself somewhat ripped off last week.

Artistically as well as financially, that was really hard for me. However, it’s taught me a valuable lesson about working online with people who want to make use of my design services. It’s my own fault that I learned this the hard way, but running your own business is full of peaks, troughs and extremely steep learning curves.

As a good friend reminded me, there are rules that I need to stick to when working for myself – and especially when I have the habit of helping people out, usually out of kindness or to try and give someone a hand (which I do way too often, and this time came back to bite me).

And so, to the following:

Golden Rules:

  1. Never work without a contract
  2. Always get a deposit
  3. Never give unwatermarked files to a client before they’ve paid

Lesson learned.

From now on, I’m going to be asking that all customers make sure they read and are happy with my new Design Policy. I have to have a way of protecting myself and my work going forward so that this doesn’t happen again. I hope those who choose to work with me will understand this; as much as we try to help and be flexible, there are people out there who think it’s OK to treat self-employed designers, makers and artists as if they’re disposable.

We’re not.

Just because people like us aren’t big businesses, that doesn’t mean we’re not people. Have a bit of professional courtesy towards us please.

I’ve seen this happen to friends of mine and never believed it would happen to me. As it turns out, no one is as safe as they think these days when it comes to design and other online services.

Anyhow, the long and short of it is that I’ll be making sure the Golden Rules apply when carrying out any design work from now on. Hopefully everyone will understand why.