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Realizing there's more to great clients than great budgets.

We've spoken on countless subjects from trust, planning, and relationship, which all work their way into client alignment. When we set out as a business, we just wanted to see artists thrive and make a name for ourselves, but we've realized we aren't everything for everyone, and that's ok over the years.

In the beginning, you say yes to just about everything, and some projects turn into pivotal moments in your career. In contrast, others create heartache, stress, and several other unsavory side effects. We can often identify that the situation sucked, but we'll skip processing why and how we can avoid that pitfall in the future.

What You Don't Hear Podcast | 15 Min Friday | Client Alignment

We don't believe the majority of demanding clients we've worked with have meant malice. In most cases, it's a misunderstanding, lack of clarity, or past experiences shaping their reactions. For us, we try to take an approach that's focused on the relationship quality first.

Are we going to like working together? Do we trust one another? Are we asking the right questions? Is there enough vulnerability here? Do expectations seem realistic? Are both sides sharing and providing good feedback? These are a few things we consider. In addition, we know what it takes to make our process and experience possible, so it's easy to share that and lay the foundation.

If you're early on or haven't taken the stock in looking broadly at your process, I encourage you to start. From here is the start of effective communication. Most clients want clarity as much as we do, so if you can lead the way and guide the conversation, you'll start chipping further and further into productive questions and answers that begin to point to whether you're a good fit or not.

What You Don't Hear Podcast | 15 Min Friday | How to Handle Conflict

So what to do if you're getting the wrong feelings early on? The simple solution is to be direct and honest, but sometimes this isn't fully heard. I often look for confirmation in conversations, or I'll re-address the concern.

An example we often receive is vague descriptions of what someone wants out of a video. We all get this, so I spend time focusing on specific questions and following that up with clarifying statements that express how important it is to plan for these asks and ensure our client's project is delivered successfully. A straightforward approach is asking for specific reference pieces and talking through what they love about them (color, location, editing, VFX, story, lighting, etc.).

I've realized that they aren't video pros and usually don't know why they like something until I ask. Once I ask, it broadens the conversation while enforcing that they are hiring professionals who care about the success of their project.

What You Don't Hear Podcast | 15 Min Friday | Dealing with Rude Clients

As creatives, we all strive to earn respect, make great work and find creative flow, but these sticky situations can leave us empty and even paralyzed in the journey. I've realized I have to face these issues early and direct, but I encourage each to find the style that works best for them. Realizing this is normal and less unique helps. We're human, and most times, it's a misunderstanding. Enter conversations curiously and eager to have a productive dialogue. Occasionally, you're going to have a nightmare project, but look I ward and ask yourself what you'll take away from it and how you'll set future you up more well equipped.

I've been in the trenches for a decade building JECP, and we've made mistakes and compromises. I'm constantly improving and seeking answers to make my life less stressful, strengthen my client's experience, and ensure our companies culture thrives. Our ability to minimize these stressors early is what creates the space for our creative ideas to flourish. Finding great clients is about many things, but the key is a healthy relationship and being open and honest.

What You Don't Hear Podcast | 15 Min Friday | Client Experience


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