three tips for working with creatives


I've worked with a wide variety of creative individuals and I've found that most are just like anybody else: they want to be respected. Over time, I've learned a couple of things and I thought it may be helpful to jot them down for you. So here are some tips for working with creatives.

  • Communicate Clearly from the Get-Go

    I'm a huge advocate for clear communication. Practically speaking, this means that when I meet with someone about a potential project one of the first things we discuss is the budget. I don't wait until the end of the meeting or (even worse) that post-meeting email. Instead I make sure that before the meeting is even halfway over that we've disclosed the financial aspect of things. 

I think doing this a) ensures there's no awkward tension or miscommunication and b) it shows your potential collaborator that you take projects seriously. Communicating clearly paves the way for a healthy, balanced partnership. 

  • Time Can Be Budgeted, Too

    While money is obviously something that needs to be budgeted, I think time is another valuable commodity that can be earmarked. In the past, I've had some projects with a super small budget and instead of asking someone for a discount, I've asked them how much they'd charge for a shorter amount time.

For example: maybe there's a photographer I want to work with and they charge $100/hour. Instead of asking for a discount, I'd ask if they'd be willing to adjust their prices if they worked with me for half an hour. I've found that going that route is a way to honor everyone's time and talent. 

  • Friendship and "Thank You's"

    Finally, it's important to remember that no one likes to feel used and I believe the best way to ensure that doesn't happen is to start from a place of friendship.

I'm not saying you need to be friends with everyone you work with, but it's a good idea to at least be open to it. For what it's worth, I've found that asking someone about their story, offering to help with their project, and leading from a place of friendship will naturally lead to some sort of partnership. People can sense ulterior motives, so don't "network" with creatives in order to utilize their talents down the road.

Oh, and maybe your budget is small and the artist has agreed to work with you for a lower price. That's great! But even though you're paying them for their services, I think a handwritten note or a small gift goes A LONG WAY towards establishing rapport. In the long run, paying them AND writing them a note communicates that you value their time, both as a creative and as a person.

Those are my tips, folks. Hope that helps!