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Dear Sam – I am a print designer, but I share your concerns. And also what Fiona observed ‘The first thing I noticed was how much work that you do, and share with the customer, before they are even asked to front up with some $ for your professional input.’ I also do too much background work before the client even makes a decision, and I have to re-evaluate those processes because it’s not working for me.

I am currently in a big state of change – I realise this very much – and feel a breakthrough is imminent. Quoting takes up so much time in a creative soloist’s life and it’s very hard when every job and every client is different. But I’m working on it.

My ever loving husband says that I don’t ask enough questions (he thinks I’m sometimes ‘shy’ – gee, my old school teachers would never have said that so long ago) – so I think we should both resort to good questionnaires before quoting or giving away details. My suggestion is to streamline your questions – make them adaptable to most jobs – and also ask for ballpark budget figures. That will certainly weed out some enquiries immediately.

And definitely don’t work on a logo or web design without payment. Unfortunately there are many who do not think creative knowledge is of any value.

I personally made a ‘big blue’ this week that has cost me, and I am not going to do it again. I have learned.

By the way, any bonus or free stuff should be added value afterwards, not prior. If I give it away prior then the client uses it without paying me and I am still of no value. The problem is that selling creative or web services is not the same as selling a commodity.

Tomorrow (2nd) is my birthday and the real beginning of a more assured, healthier and happier me after a hellish couple of years suffering a former illness and many associated setbacks. So best of luck – believe in yourself and ask those questions.

Other colleagues I know do the 50% deposit rule and 50% prior to uploading final site or print files.

Best regards.