Client revisions and feedback, if not done properly, can derail a project and make for a miserable web design experience. Ongoing, back and forth revisions, scope creep and improper client communication boundaries are all byproducts of a bad revisions process and are things web designers face and struggle with. Luckily, it can all be avoided with a good revision process in place.
In this episode, my guest Jamie Starcevich, founder and creative director of Sprucerd.com, takes us through her “Zero Revision Method” and teaches us how to refine our process in order to limit revisions to save both time and sanity for both us as designers and our clients.
In this episode:
06:14 – Why revision discussion is important
07:55 – Breaking point to create a process
10:14 – Method of revisions
13:53 – Benefits of a method
15:11 – Design Preview to send to client
18:33 – Guide feedback so clients don’t damage their own project
24:14 – Specific guidelines for revisions
28:30 – Setting boundaries of communication
35:44 – Charging or not charging for revisions
41:27 – Guide the “hero”
46:00 – Re-capping the total method
50:26 – Decision control is not bad
51:17 – Psychology of revision control
You can view the full episode transcription below.
Connect with Jamie:
Get Jamie’s quick 10 minute video where she dives in to what her client presentation method looks like that incorporates the psychology of working with clients at sprucerd.com/zero
Episode presented by:
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Full Episode Transcription
Josh – Hey, everybody, welcome into Episode 50. In this one, we’re going to be talking about how to limit website revisions. And as a web designer, if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will because this is a hugely important topic. This is one of those things in web design that can make or break a project, and can be something that you know, could completely derail you and just stress you out and make you miserable, doing web design. So it’s really important to know how to be able to capitalize on this and how to be able to handle feedback and revisions with clients effectively. And it’s interesting because, in my experience, there are two main veins in web design, one being collecting content, what’s we’re going to talk about in an episode here. Soon. The other is revisions and feedback. Because again, this is something that can just completely derail a project can make it drag out and it can just fry you. And we don’t want that to happen. We want to be able to do this. And we want web design to be fun for not only us, but for our clients as well. And in this episode, you’re going to hear and learn about why it’s so important that you guide your clients through the entire process of revisions and feedback, and to help you with creating a process and to have a path to follow. I brought somebody in in this episode who knows a lot about this. And this is Jamie Starevich, who is the founder and creative director of a digital brand and design company called spruce road. And she actually has a whole endeavor for not only her clients, but for other designers to be able to have effective revision and feedback processes. And she has some free resources we’re going to mention in the episode I’m gonna link in the show notes I highly recommend you check out because they were they did a lot for me. But she was awesome. In this interview. We talked All things, revisions and feedback, how to do it effectively. And even though she is a print and brand and graphic designer, everything that we talked about translates to web, and she did web previously. So this is just good, fundamental, amazing stuff for being able to limit revisions. And what I found very interesting about this, particularly was the psychology of revisions and feedback and design. So make sure you hang around for the whole episode, because a little bit later on, that’s when we get into psychology, which I just found super interesting. But this is going to help you guys out, someone’s going to help you save time, it’s going to help you enjoy your web design experience. And it’s also going to help your clients again, we want to help our clients, we don’t want to dog them and think that they’re stupid, because they’re sending revisions, you know, at all hours of the night through text and through all these different ways. It’s our job to guide them and this episode is going to help you do that. Now, before we dive into this, if you want to take this to the next level with revisions and doing feedback effectively. I have a web design business course where I have a whole Modules actually have a couple different modules talking about this in more detail. So if you liked this episode, and you’d like to know a little more, and you want to help save even more time, and then get help in all these areas of your business, check out my web design business course it’s available for you to join right now. I’d love to do that with you one on one and to help you and your web design business. Alright guys. Well, without further ado, enjoy my chat with Jamie Starviche and we’re going to help you limit those revisions for your web design process. Enjoy. Jamie, welcome to the show. It is so great to have you on. Thank you so much for having me. So we were both a speaker in the the designer boss digital summit that my colleague Emma Kate put on a couple months ago. And I was I just told you before we went live, I was going through a handful of presentations and your presentation stuck out to me as a web designer because the title of it was the no revision method or the zero revision method and If there’s any way that I can limit revisions, and I can encourage my web design students and audience to limit revisions when designing websites, I’m all ears. So I’m really excited to ask you to ask you some questions and hear about your method because you are a graphic designer and brand specialist. But a lot of that translates to web design. So before we dive in and start having some fun, I’d love to start out with just let people know where you are. And then what you do.
Jamie – Yeah, I’m Jamie. I’m the designer and owner behind spruce road. And I have a team I use that term loosely. It’s been a couple contract designers I’ve had for the past few years. But we designed brand identities for like online entrepreneurs, mostly like ecommerce sellers, and digital products, things like that. I’ve done web in the past too. And a lot of my students are web designers. So yes, if you are a web designer don’t tune out. This is highly applicable to you in your process as well.
Josh – Yeah, it’s so important. Because I found as a web designer, there are two main hurdles that we face. The first one is getting content, which I’m sure you’ve experienced. But even doing design, like anything service related, it’s tough to get clients to send you what the heck that you need. But the other thing is revisions. It’s it can be a killer. And I find revisions very one of the hardest I actually find getting content easier than review than working with revisions. Because revisions can be so open ended if you don’t control it towards your client. Like it just depends on what type of client it is. If the client is like you just do whatever you want, then revisions usually aren’t a big deal because you can just, you know, do your design and they’ll roll with it. However, detailed clients who have a very particular set of ideas and things the way they want it can be very troublesome and honestly, it can just the reason this is so important for designers who are just getting started is that it can just kill your profitability and it can destroy your time. It can just ruin your mental your sanity. But I think maybe a first question for you, Jamie is why is this important? Like, why is the idea of limiting revisions important?
Jamie – Yeah, I think you nailed A lot of it. And so I’ve been on a mission the past like five years of having my studio to eliminate friction with clients just because like as designers, we we get into it because we love design. And then we start working with clients and we experience a lot of friction. And it’s, it’s just so unnecessary. I found that there’s ways to go about it in your process and in your communication, to eliminate that friction and so that you can get back to doing what you want. And I’ve experienced the same thing, mental fatigue with certain clients. I like how you phrased it as like, detailed.
Jamie – You know, that’s been nice. Yeah.
Josh – For everyone watching, they saw me do air quotes, but listening yes, there were some air quotes around detail. The nicest way to put it.
Jamie – Yeah, anyways, it can just lead to a lot of frustration. And if it can, honestly can derail your studio into making you want to quit, I’ve had myself and then other designers that I’ve taught through my program that have just been at their limit, especially with one client that will just have endless revisions. So it’s been my mission to really kind of remove that from the process and just have a really clear process that that doesn’t have revisions. And it works to I’ll say, like, from day one and starting my studio, over five years ago, I’ve started this method and I got like instant approval on the first proof. And it’s been like that since almost every client since
Josh – Oh, that’s great to hear. I’m so excited to talk the detail and I know some of the details because I’ve been through it and I watched your presentation, but I’m excited to let everyone in on this. But I think a great reference point for everyone would be like what made you want to do that you mentioned you know, you’ve had some struggles in the past with that. Did you have a breaking point? Or did you have a time in your career where you were just like I have got to change this. Was it something like that that started this for you?
Jamie – Yeah, yeah. So I worked before I started my studio, I worked in house as a designer, and I did like print and web and branding for a church for a couple years. And then I also worked at a university. And that was a lot of print projects. And I think the university was the breaking point for me.
Josh – I can only imagine,
Jamie – Honestly, it’s like working with just different departments. And some, like you said, are easy. They trust you. They’re like, do your thing I want out of it. And that’s great. And then there’s other departments, other clients that are way more hands on, and that it was just a point of friction. So our process before, and I did this also freelance and I experienced the same thing, right? Whether I was at the church, or at the university, or freelancing, or even when I worked at an agency, it’s like across the board, no matter if you’re doing web print, branding it every designer experiences this, and it just got really boring. frustrating. But I remember specifically at the university, we would send over a few concepts of like magazine layouts, for instance. And all of them are really great. But of course, you know, your favorite, and you send it on over and we would just send our intern, just walk it across the campus to someone else, drop it off. And then they would come back and it really like reading over everything and like, combine these two things. And anyways, it was just frustrating. And I saw that just on repeat. And so I was I was telling my boss at the time the director, like, why can’t we just send one that we think would work? Like, why are we sending multiple options? So this always happens? And then like, maybe we should present it anyways, it didn’t fly there, because I was like, I don’t know 22 at the time, they didn’t listen to me, which I understand. But I just once I started my studio, I just shook things up and it’s like, this is it. I’m just going to try to really find a process and hack it. So We can eliminate those revisions.
Josh – Beautiful. And that segways into talking about your method which going through it, I’ll probably chime in with what I do and what I’ve learned in my experience as a web designer, because I’ve kind of refined mine as well. And it’s very similar. Although again, there are slight subtle differences between branding and print versus web. However, the principles are the same, the foundations are the same. And one thing I really want to talk about to here is the psychology of revisions. But to start us off, what is this method look like? Practically? Like, where do we start? And how to how do we go about limiting revisions from the get go instead of like waiting to the end and getting into trouble?
Jamie – Yeah, I am just a fan of really open and transparent communication. So even on the very first consult call before the client, even books, I’m talking about revisions. So I think just, you know, nip it in the bud like right at the beginning, talk about your process, what that looks like and then From then on, it’s smooth sailing, because I find that it’s better to just bring it up beforehand rather than like, as they’re going through it and start going out of scope. You know, can you add this page to the site? Can you do this functionality? Whatever it is? It’s like have that conversation from the beginning. And it will really help.
Josh – That’s a great point. Yeah. Because typically, your for most web designers worried about selling the project, selling our experience, the services and stuff and revisions is just like a, you know, maybe it’s mentioned in a process page. It’s usually never in a contract or deliverables as far as the proposal. When you talk about mentioning it, do you from a web design perspective, would you recommend doing like having revisions, you know, like limiting those in the deliverables in a contract like what what does that look like practically? As far as how we bring it up?
Jamie – Hundred percent, it needs to be out there and they need to be aware of it, like no question that they know. So definitely, you should cap revision. I recommend having three rounds. So that’s two revisions. And I call them that’s another psychology thing. I just call them safety net revision. So I say, here’s the first proof. If we don’t nail it, we have two safety net revisions after that. And you can do that. Like I said, Before branding, web design, it works across the board for whatever kind of design you’re doing. And part of that, you know, you have to have that content ahead of time for web. That’s a big key component about your process, and that will eliminate those revisions significantly as well. But yeah, they should know. So practically, in the quote I have in there, like I mentioned, specifically, what’s included. So, brand identity, however many revisions like parentheses and three proofs, comma two revisions, something like that. Same thing with web.
Josh – Gotcha, that makes sense. I really like that word to safety net, because it gives the client a feeling because I would think and maybe maybe this dips into the psychology aspect already, but I feel like if they have a limit, it might make them be more intentional about organizing their thoughts, right. Instead of feeling like well, I can just tell them to change stuff for a year until it’s exactly how I want it.
Jamie – Yeah, definitely. And web is it’s a special kind of beast. Because people want to, like really delay that launch date. You know, I don’t know if you’ve experienced that consistently.
Josh – Yeah, never everything has been perfectly on top.
Jamie – Oh really? Ok. Take Josh’s course ’cause he knows how to do it.
Josh – No, I mean, there are ways to limit that. But yeah, that’s I mean, that’s what I mean. Like revisions are the killer that’s what will derail the project. It’ll take forever and also just ends up being an un-fun experience for both parties. Like right yeah, I feel like you’re almost doing your clients a disservice if you don’t have them follow your revision process, which is why this is so important.
Jamie – Oh, completely. Yeah, you’re in control of it might seem like manipulative or kind of like, sticky at first for you. To try a new method like this, but I completely agree it’s in the clients benefit. And that’s where all of this comes from is a win win for both you and the client. It’s never to like serve yourself better, although it does that in the long run. But really, it helps the client get launched faster. It helps them to get clear on what they need and not drag their feet and helps them kind of step out of the way too.
Josh – Yeah, when I was just thinking, from a design perspective, the client shouldn’t be worrying about all the little nitty gritty aspects of a design, they should be thinking about their content, their goals, the function of their website, like what, you know, how are they going to convert their customers, they shouldn’t be thinking about moving this button from the left to the right, you know, like, those are the things that absolutely like they can have thoughts on that, but I think it’s much more important for them to get those out within a limited number of revisions, and then move on from there. So I love that first idea, getting it out there in the open, really formalizing your process. So I think that sounds great having, you know, the first proof, but then up to two more. So three, three total revisions. Now for like website designs, what I learned, and I guess this, this is where we could kind of figure out how to do that practically. Because I think that could be a little open ended for Web Designs. Like if you do up to three, is that up to three like full new website designs? Or is it like the, you know, the pages or anything like that. But what I found what worked for me and I talked about this in my business course in more detail actually show what I send videos, but when I send my clients, but that is to preview your designs, and I know you talk about this, and I’m excited to hear more about why this is so important. But previous to that, I would just create a new design and I would send the link to this to the client. Now, in web design, as you’re probably familiar most people do wireframes or like flat mock ups like they might design on Photoshop, like the site but I’m very against that because I found that clients just first of all, they don’t know what a wireframe is, they can’t imagine what it looks like. And even if it’s a full fledged design, they don’t get a feel for what it looks like, online, they don’t see some of the animations, they don’t get a feel for the scrolling aspect of it. They may see a flat design and be like, Well, that doesn’t look impressive, but they may see it online and it looks amazing. So I say that in order to say, as a web designer, I learned to actually I like to do the initial design on the site. Practically I like design the homepage and then generally like one other main page, or maybe a couple other ones, if it’s like a service page or a blog post page, to have just, you know, the main ones there. And then the here’s the kicker that what I learned and what helped me dramatically was instead of just sending that over, I would do a video. I wouldn’t even let them see it first before I had a chance to walk them through the design. I would actually do like a screencast tutorial type style video. And I would say alright guys, here’s the new website. Here’s the new design and explain kind of why I designed things this way, bring them through the structure of the site and really here have them here some of the more conversion based ideas and kind of the methods behind the design that helped me limit my revisions by I mean, I can’t even tell you a percent it was it was dramatic. Because, you know, it’s interesting, because the reason I started doing that was I realized, whenever I would meet with a client in person, or we would do like as a call to like, go over the site. It always went better, because I was able to explain the design, whereas if I just let the client, you know, have their own opinions, they would always ask for revisions, I would have to kind of, you know, as we’re talking about psychology kind of had to persuade them as to why things are the way they are. And then like, Okay, that makes sense. So with that in mind, like, what does that look like with your process? Like, do you recommend that to like, previewing the design explaining why things are the way they are and stuff like that?
Jamie – Yeah, definitely. And I can relate to because you mentioned about for web design and might be different as far as revisions, if that’s a whole new design, or whatever it is for each round and I completely agree, Have a preview first. That’s what we would do when we did web was have a homepage. And then like, if it’s an e-commerce shop would be like an interior product page or something, whatever is specific to them. And then once that’s approved, then you go into your rounds of revisions from there, and so you shouldn’t be having all those minor design tweaks at that point. But yeah, I am such a fan of the video presentation, we try to do ours live if we can, some of our clients are like, you know, 12 hour timezone difference in Australia. So that’s not really feasible sometimes, but in that case, we would send a video but but we do the same thing. Presenting live has been such a game changer. We send them the link just like you know, 10 minutes before our call. So often times there’s even like a delay between them because we use like a project management system. But, but yeah, so they just open it up with us and they’re scrolling through. And we just tell them like, “Hey, this is a candid call, like, we’re just gonna walk you through kind of our design process, we don’t expect feedback or want feedback at this point”. And you’re not on the spot, like just kind of psychology, like removing those barriers for them, because they are going to hop on and be like, ooh, you know, especially if it’s live, it’s like, is this I had never seen this before, you know, so at the beginning, you just kind of like calm them down, let them know how it’s gonna pan out. And you walk them through the whole strategy because a lot of times like clients might be thinking just aesthetically your personal preference, especially with branding. That’s been the case is they’ll say like, I don’t like this font, and they really have no reason behind it. And so having that strategy component to it and walking through it, same thing with web, walking through, like, why did I put the button here? Or why is the call to action here? Why did I recommend removing a million call to actions on one page and that kind of stuff. really helps them navigate it and having that guide, walk them through it. And that has totally alleviated a lot of revisions for us as well.
Josh – Well, that’s a really interesting point, there doing it live with a client versus sending a video with your presentation and thoughts. Because, yeah, I feel like, if you just straight up do it live, even when I met with clients in person, I’m sure they felt like if there was something they questioned or didn’t, you know, didn’t feel right about maybe they wouldn’t be apt to to voice it. Or worst case scenario, they would wait till like later on in the process, say like, Hey, I actually don’t care for this, you know, part of that that aspect of the design, can we change this? It’s definitely good to get that all out immediately, which is going back to your point of communication, open transparency with with the thoughts on both parties, but that’s a really interesting point that you would send it over like 10 minutes before a call. So I guess that would just kind of prep them right. They can look at it. Okay, they can get their thought because anytime you see something new You have to get your head around it. And inevitably your mind’s gonna go through all these different internal revisions like, well, maybe it’s not what I had in mind. But oh, I like this. But that’s where man you come in with, like, here’s why, you know, we’re the experts in this. This is what we’ve learned from other projects as well. And here’s how we think it’s gonna help. I think that’s the real benefit. Not not manipulate them, but persuade them as to, you know, here’s why. And then, I mean, I’m thinking of like, a lot of situations where my clients would come back with initial revisions. Usually, in those cases, it would be minor, even if initially, they caught them off guard, maybe the design wasn’t exactly what they were thinking, as long as I explained it, nine times out of 10. They would be like, Okay, that makes sense. You know, yeah, I’m, I get it. I’m on board with that. I still would like to maybe tweak these two things, but it makes total sense why you would do this. And then the only other time I was really interesting a couple years ago, I think it was like summer of 2018 we had one client who said he just wasn’t feeling the design. And he said he wanted a darker tone. He sounded like you wanted to redesign the site completely. All we did was change the background from white to dark, and then just change some of the graphics and the text color. And then he’s like, that’s perfect. That’s that was it? Like it was it like you know, like, it sounded like he wanted to change everything, but in fact, it was just inverting the colors. So do you find it, that’s a good approach to and that helps just to, you know, give the client some freedom, but then also not let them you know, destroy the project themselves?
Jamie – Yeah, it’s a tough balance for sure on that. So that kind of goes rolls into like getting feedback from clients and directing them in that feedback. I’ve been a part of like, subcontracting for an agency and they provide like elaborate feedback guidelines for clients. I don’t, I don’t do anything like that. And I don’t want to have that much control, you know, to be so tight on it. But what I do is I let them know like, if you to provide feedback in light of your target audience or like the functionality, whatever’s not working like that helps us move forward in a way to make sure that we nail it the next time. So that kind of weeds out all that personal preference stuff of like, I don’t like the color blue it, it, that’s not helpful for me to know, like, what color should I use? You know?
Josh – Oh, that’s a good point. So that’s a really good point. So you try to find out what they don’t like. But more importantly, like what they’re going towards, instead of just saying, like you just said, I don’t like blue, because then they’re like, well, we can do green, we can do red, we can do orange, we could do pink, what do you want to do?
Jamie – Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think there’s anything especially with branding and web, whenever you’re talking about design, there’s a lot of strategy involved in it that the client might not be as aware of the decisions that you’ve made. And so guiding them in that in always framing it in their benefit, like so we can nail the next group you know, like so we can make sure we get get the right thing that works for your brand for your website really helps you.
Josh – Yeah, that makes total sense. So like, on the note of feedback on that idea, one thing I’ve been big on is telling clients how we prefer to get feedback and communication because if you don’t at least I because I tell I agree, I don’t want to make everything to control. But at the same time, I don’t want to be getting texts at 9pm on a Friday night from clients about moving a button over which has happened way too many times in my experience, until I you know, had my process in place, but what we did is I just made sure was very clear, because we use Basecamp for project management. And I’d say we’re gonna have…
Jamie – Oh, same!
Josh – Oh, awesome. So I say…what are you on 2 or 3 by the way?
Jamie – Two
Josh – 2? Okay, same here well, so I still have 2 but my agency, we have 3 so we’re actually using both. 3’s pretty cool too. 3’s got some cool functionality to it.
Jamie – I’ve used 3, but we just don’t need it for our clients at this point.
Josh – I know I’m such like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I just love to still it’s yeah, but in any case, I just tell them, we use Basecamp. And the reason is because we want to keep all communication for the project centralized, we don’t want to be losing things in email threads. We don’t want to be, you know, texting and using slack and all these other tools where it’s just, it’s gonna be too much. So I do let them know that and then what I learned to try to do, and I’m open to hearing how you do this. So when it comes to feedback and like revisions, is I would give them like a time limit, like, take the next you know, ideally like two days to you know, come back within two days with your list of revisions, like I tell, don’t send like one revision at a time, every hour because a lot of you don’t tell clients again, going back to telling them how your process works, you’re up to you’re on their schedule. So if they have an idea at 2am, you might get a text at 2am. Hey, I just had an idea about that title, or that the font size, you know, you want to have them organize it. And usually from there, that’s where I would give them freedom. I would say you can organize it however you want just or whether it’s a document or in Basecamp. Can’t do it just organize all your revisions and then send it over. And then we’ll we have like a checklist we can go by, what did that look like for you as far as collecting feedback in an organized, non chaotic manner from clients?
Jamie – It looks exactly the same, honestly. And I always tell them, it’s exactly two days. Like you said, I have a timeline on Basecamp, I’m sure you do as well. And I assign them their due dates, so they get emails and anyone listening who doesn’t have Basecamp or isn’t aware of it, and the client actually just has to log in once and then after that, they don’t have to log in again. So it’s I think that’s like the number one selling factor for it. And I mentioned that to my clients to is they just respond to this message through email if you want with all of your feedback in one thing, and it’s not it’s not been a problem. I mean, I’ve had text from clients, I had a client just today email me saying like, she wants some new work done, and she’s like, feel free to text me or call me. And it’s like, No, I just won’t do that. You know, I set the precedent moving from and I just email her back, and then we’ll get it on Basecamp once the project is ready to go, yes,
Josh – Yes. Yeah, that’s great. That’s great to hear you do it the same. It’s interesting that you do the two day thing too. That’s, I didn’t really think about that. I just learned that like, two days was enough time, because they may not like they may want to have a night to sleep on it, and think they may the next day come up, because the worst case scenario, you don’t want to get around to revisions, start working on them and then the next day, they’re like, you know what, actually, I did like this. And of course, that’s there, you know, something like that would never have happened in my experience, where they like, come back and revert their their edits. And I say that sarcastically because that has happened more than times, I want to admit, but and then it’s just like, ah, I just blew like three hours doing this freakin revision and you’re coming back with, you know, the same thing that I mentioned in the first place. So, yeah, that, you know, like 24 to 40 hour window I think is really valuable to to get that content or that feedback. And honestly, again, I go in My part of my business course is talking about revisions and feedback because it’s so important like this is the this is the aspect of a project that can be done within a few days or a few months. Like it literally revisions can take months if not done correctly. And it really all goes back to I’m going to say empowering the client because it is limiting the client but you are empowering them to have some freedom but freedom within boundaries, right like you got to have some type of boundary. Do you feel like clients respect that and have appreciated that in some way?
Jamie – I yeah, the ones that I like working with.
Jamie – No, almost every client does I think you really have to set those boundaries and I’m a I’m like an innate people pleaser. And so that’s been something over the last few years that has been really important to me, to protect myself is to have these boundaries in place. And clients respect them. I mean, they they come into it like you you would think that they are would feel like you’re limiting them or something like that, but I don’t think they do. I think they just see it like, Okay, this is what we’re doing like this is what’s next like you’re guiding them through, okay, now I need to provide feedback. Okay, now I have the next proof. I got opportunity for feedback again, like, they’re not thinking like, oh, wow, why is she limiting it to just three rounds or whatever it is like, they’re just thinking this is what’s next. And you’re just setting the tone of what to expect. And I think clear communication is a big part of that having those boundaries and sticking to them. Like I said, don’t text or call that client back. If they text you, I mean, just don’t text them back, go back on Basecamp and say, this is what it says please respond back here. I even had, this is kind of a side note, but really funny, my friend, Christina Sclera. She’s an attorney and she owns the contract shop for contract templates and she was a guest in our coaching community for designers. And she said like she’s really creative with the ideas she has, but she said when some when asked, “What do you do when a client always wants to text you back?” Like, “Do you have a term in your contract?” Whatever it is. And she’s like, you could just send them back something, and I don’t know if I would advise this but I thought it was funny, like, you could send them something back that looks automated. That’s like, “We received your message, press stop.” Whatever.
Josh – Yeah. Yeah, like, yeah, so they’re like, wow, I’m not texting that. I get that. Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s funny. That’s a crew. That’s I’m so glad you mentioned that, Jamie, because that’s a really important point. That’s something that I really capitalized on the past couple years, because it was the same problem. I would just have clients who just wanted to text and there’s a lot of people in the entrepreneurial space who recommend that from like, I know, there are people who say, like, communicate, however your customer wants to communicate. However, I don’t think they’re web designers. And I don’t think, they’re probably realtors, like they’re probably not somebody who has a service based business that is like, you know, back and forth, back and forth. Because no matter what, you’re still going back and forth. Now, you can limit the back and forth with what we’re talking about. But it is still a service, creative base, back and forth type of service. So that is crucial. I did the same thing I would have clients texted me. And I just didn’t text back, I just stopped, I did the same thing, I would just go through Basecamp or email them and say, Hey, you know, I got your message. But remember, we need to keep all revisions and all communication through through here. And there was a couple times I had to be a little more stern with clients and I learned to be more confident with that. And I wasn’t mean but like I remember last year, I was walking my daughter and I had my phone and I was taking a picture of her on the walk and then I’ve got a client calling me and texting me about changes on a website. And it just like I was furious it I like hit a breaking point with that where I was like, damn it, I’m not doing business on my phone and like I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. So I didn’t say a word back. I let like 48 hours ago and I didn’t say a thing and then they finally emailed and said, I’m not suggesting this necessarily, but it was because the client was kind of being a pain in the ass anyway. So I, I like just didn’t respond, and then they finally email and that’s when I got back to them and I never heard from the text again. So you know and in advance bad situations you could do that you could just wait until they email you like they’re supposed to. I wouldn’t again suggest that but I did the same thing. I would generally say, “Hey, I got this and we can jump on it. Please email this over to me, so my team can get it”. And that generally worked out you know, really well. So that’s it, man. What a huge, I mean, talk about like saving your mentality and saving your your drive and even just emotionally like you don’t want to, it’s really important to segregate your work from your life with work life balance, which is so huge, especially during this time where so many people are working from home, whereas like, you know, you and I are probably used to it. We have families and we’re used to balancing it but that’s crucial. And that’s it really all boils down to the lines of communication.
Jamie – Yeah, I agree. You have to protect that family life and, you know, give them a Google Voice number if you have to. That’s free. And yeah, just protect it. Because there’s just no reason to be texting and that it’s just not like, what are you going to do? You’re going to be on your computer designing and then checking, like your text messages. That doesn’t make sense. So, I’m all for that.
Josh – Yeah, usually, like, it makes sense that clients are going to text you in the evenings on the weekends, because during the day, they’re probably working on their business like they’re doing their business. So I realized to be empathetic towards that, because I used to make me mad. I’m like, what is my client doing working on 10pm on a Friday night, but thinking back like, Okay, if I got a website design, and I was spending three or four grand, and I had a full time job, I’d probably work on it in the evenings or like on the weekend, because it’s not gonna last forever. Like we do web design and design day in and day out. But for the client, they’re just working on it for that period of time. So I really, I became empathetic towards that, however, still doesn’t, you know, change the fact that I don’t want them texting, I want them going through Basecamp or wherever we want that. And going back to the idea of like an automated message, one thing you can do as well as you know, maybe it doesn’t have to be just like that, like you said, like, thank you for your text reply, you know, reply stop or whatever. But you could just say, like, hey, got your, you know, got your text, please, you know, send this over via email or Basecamp. So we have it and we can address it, you know, as soon as we can, you can still do some, you could just have it, you know, something saved on your phone as like an automatic type of reply that’s still personable, and still, you know, you and your personality. I feel like that’s probably a good way to go with that.
Jamie – Yeah, definitely. I think along with that comes office hours as well, like clients, even if they email you on the weekend, or something’s like just don’t reply until Monday. And unless it’s like super urgent, which I highly doubt it is but for web like maybe their websites down or whatever it is, and there’s some just cause to actually see the email, you know, look into it, but otherwise, just reply back to them during those office hours. So you’re just constantly training them on like, what the schedule looks like, how many revisions and what the process is, and office hours texting, all that kind of stuff all falls into boundaries and communication.
Josh – That’s a great point, I’m glad you mentioned that. Because yeah, I mean, as a web designer, you are kind of on call if you’re managing a website, because if something goes down, it’s understandable. They need to call you or they need to text you. And there were situations where I was fine with that. But in with the idea of like feedback and revisions and tweaks on a website, that’s the kind of thing that, you know, doesn’t need to be texted on a Friday night. That can be an email, like you said, get to it near a lot of work time or your email hours. So yeah, that’s super valuable. Now, one question I had for you was, what if the revisions what if you don’t get it, do you like if you go through three revisions, but they’re still not happy? Whether it’s on a macro level or micro level, meaning like, you know, if they’re not happy about one part of one page, then I wouldn’t charge them extra to probably tweak that I would just tweak it. However, if we design like three different websites and they’re still not happy, what do you recommend then? Like, is there a clause that says you do additional revisions hourly? Or, and I’m sure this doesn’t happen much with you because it hadn’t happened with me either. However, it’s good to have kind of a buffer in case that does happen. Yeah. Like, what will we do on that point? or What should we be prepared for?
Jamie – Yeah, so I think, first of all, backing up to what you said about it doesn’t happen much. It has never happened to me. In five years of having my studio, there’s been one client that went beyond revisions on like a PDF design. That was it. And that like, and I’ve had several clients, so I think it’s all about how you do that process from beginning to end. And so they are really hyper aware. I’ve had a few clients get to that third round of revision. And so before I do that, especially if I feel like okay, we’re really we don’t know what we’re doing like we’re starting from scratch. You know, there are clients like that. Unfortunately, like you don’t nail it the first couple of times, and then I always hop on a call with them at that point. And, yes, this is eating into your profitability, but I’d rather just nail it and continue going on with endless revisions. So I hop on a call with them and really get down to like, specifically what’s not working, why it’s not working, what we can do to improve and then I follow up in Basecamp with like, here’s our action items for the next proof. And then they say like, “Yes, that sounds great”. And then we do. That’s how we nail the final proof if we get to that point. So I think it’s important to back up to like what you do once you’re getting to that very last proof, because that’s really key as well.
Josh – Would you recommend like additional revisions at a certain hourly rate or something like that, just as kind of like a, you know, like a line item in a proposal or contract.
Jamie – So yeah, that’s it. I’m in the same boat as you if it’s something minor, which usually at that point, it would be probably something very minor, then I just, I just do it, it’s not a big deal, especially if it’s like a color swap or if it’s like, you know, changing some text on the site, like, don’t, don’t get like too nickel and dime about that kind of stuff.
Josh – I was just gonna say don’t nickel and dime your client because that’s gonna rub them wrong if it’s something small but but yeah, that said the small things can add up if they’re in bulk and right, we’re talking like big changes. That’s where it’s like, yeah, you know, that’s a whole different.
Jamie – So for bigger changes I used to do just hourly after the fact. But now, this past year, I’ve switched to having like half day and full day rate service, instead of hourly changes. And so that’s what I would do now is saying like, “Okay, looks like we’re going to need to book another day with us and we’re going to knock it out”. And we’ll just book however many more, they need at that point. And they’ll see that that adds up. Like it’s a pretty significant amount of money to keep on being indecisive about their brand or their website, whatever it is. So, so yeah, I think that’s kind of…
Josh – I think that’s good. I like that. Yeah, like a set retainer, because I think, again, we’re talking about just this one stage of the project, but feedback and revisions, like the start of a project, the planning that’s, you know, internal or whatever, and then well can be the client related to but when it comes to revisions, that’s mainly like design related and aesthetics and stuff like that, which is, again, unfortunately, where a project can just be destroyed by these little seemingly changes that sometimes don’t even like need to be done or they’re not even worth, you know, like a little, a little button style may not be worth or may not overshadow what’s in the page, like the content of the pages and the functionality and the the path and the funnels on the page that are going to be much more worth having that energy towards. So that’s why this is so important. And even when it comes to like, charging more I know the you know, the opposition to this would say, just playing devil’s advocate, it’s like well as public And if they they’re paying $3,000 how they’re going to feel about having to pay in under $500 bucks during the revision process, but it would just limit it would just limit their I don’t want to say freedom, but it would just help, like, reel them in. They wouldn’t…
Jamie – Yeah.
Josh – Because honestly, if they wouldn’t feel overwhelmed, because anything design wise, as you know, as a designer, it’s never done, first of all, and you could just go a million different directions. So at some point, you just got it, you got to reel it in, and you just got to get it done. And I think that’s huge. It’s, you know, this idea of extra retainer hours, just applying to feedback, it doesn’t change anything from the start of the project and it doesn’t change anything from the end of the project, like adding, you know, wrapping up the site, submitting to Google and all this kind of stuff. That’s all separate. We’re just talking about the revision process. And I, I think that’s important for clients to understand too. There’s like different layers and segments of a web design project in particular. So yeah, that definitely makes sense. I like that idea of how to handle that. So good. So great place to start. Was I don’t know if you have a certain number of steps, but you know, really being open and transparent about your process of revisions and feedback. First of all, having having that like figure out your, your, your revisions, which is why you have some some resources on that, which we’ll talk about. But then guiding that, and one thing that’s I was gonna say, one thing that’s really important to remember, as a designer, as a web designer, I don’t know how you feel about this, Jamie, but I found it to be so crucial to be the guide in the process. Like your client is the hero. They are the ones that, you know, this is their, this is their thing, but you are the guide, you have to really guide them through every step of the way to make sure they don’t feel overwhelmed and that they’re enjoying their experience. And a lot of that has to do with this. So going back to kind of where we are, you know, having your process having your revisions, you know, out there in the open, being very transparent, guiding them through that, first of all, having it in your contract and deliverables. But then, you know, I love the idea of presenting it, whether a couple different ways you could go about that. Doing a video like I do and sending it over and then either hopping on a call, I think hopping on a call is probably the best way to go about it. However, I would a lot of times just ask for revisions in like a text form over Basecamp or something, and then up to three revisions, and then move forward one step at a time limit revisions, but have that retainer of extra hours if needed. And just make sure that’s very clear. And where are we at right now? Like how we’re getting kind of towards the end of the revision, actual process ideally. What happens at this point, like how do we cap off revisions? What would you say, you know, we do to make sure we continue to do this effectively?
Jamie – Yeah, I think a lot of it, like you said, comes back to communication and being very clear about it. And just going back to what you said earlier about devil’s advocate is like the client paying $3,000 and then being like, well, I paid this much like I don’t want to pay extra. To I think to combat that is to really be clear with communication like where that client can have those thoughts is when they feel surprised. Like, oh, like now I have to pay more for revisions. Like I didn’t know that was going to be the case. So I think this whole process works so smooth like the zero revision method, because you’re very transparent about it. Like you had that call after revision number two, and you weren’t sure what to do for the final proof, like you had that call, the client knew like, this is it, you know, I need the best feedback I can get. So I can nail the final round. So they’re not surprised at all, when you say, okay, we didn’t nail it. You know, whatever it is, that’s not working, that needs significant changes, that’s when you would do that kind of follow up retainer or that type of thing.
Josh – You know, and one thing I found to be really beneficial if the client does have additional changes that they want to make, but maybe they don’t, or maybe they just don’t have the budget for an extra, you know, half day or full day. And this is guys, this has just been like revolutionary and that is just as break it down in phases. And I just tell clients like, you know what we can do some more like maybe it’s, you know, maybe we’ll have to do it again, going back to aesthetics versus like the content, the functionality of the site that probably they should be worrying about not the color of a button or something. Just telling them that, you know, we could do more, and we can make changes ongoing. And I always tell my clients, a website is never done, it’s always gonna go through revisions and tweaks and updates. And we can always change particularly when it comes to changing design things. I use the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes, very easy to make changes with with the builder there, but then I’m also a CSS guy. So as long as you know CSS, you can customize whatever the heck you want. So we can do those things, you know, fairly quickly with different phases. I shouldn’t say fairly quickly, it depends on the type of changes. But I say that to say like if your clients are in this phase where they do want to keep on going, but you just feel like you’re at a bottleneck. The solution to that for me was always just to say let’s save this for phase two. Let’s let’s roll with this now and then phase two, like after the site’s live maybe in two or three months, then we can circle back around and do it then and it really leads to it’s a great upsell opportunity, I feel like. And it just puts the client at ease usually because they’re like, okay, yeah, I understand. We don’t need to worry about that.
Jamie – Yeah, that’s a smart to because we’re all kind of perfectionist in some way, shape, or form. And I think that’s the clients that drag their feet are that perfectionist that want it done, right? And you’re like, Listen, you got a lot, you know, you got to go live, and then then we can tweak later. And I think that’s really smart how you phrase that to the client. And their benefit is like, I’m here for you moving forward, like, don’t feel like this is now or never, you know.
Josh – Yeah, and for web designers, I think pretty much every web episode, I mentioned the importance of having a maintenance plan, but if you get the client on your maintenance and hosting plan, then you can be you know, depending on the changes, you can say, you know what our maintenance plan, you have an up to an hour covered every month so we can do some of these things, you know, ongoing. So, yeah, there’s a lot of ways I think to if you get to that, you know, bottleneck where it’s like, is this gonna go bad? Is the client going to be furious that I’m charging more, but you’re already up on time, you don’t want to, again kill your profitability and, you know, work 100 hours on a project that should have been 40, which can happen with revisions. Yeah, that’s kind of been the solution. I found that to be huge. So I think that’s great, Jamie. Did we outline your process? Do you want to just kind of recap your process? Is there anything you wanted? Because I do want to talk about psychology real quick. But did we do a fair job of outlining your process?
Jamie – Yeah, I think I think so. Yeah.
Josh – So could you kind of just Is it like a four or five steps? Could you give us just like the bullet, the bullet list type of?
Jamie – Yeah, as far as revisions go? Yeah. So first up, I don’t I don’t have like a, I’m just gonna be transparent. I don’t know how many steps this is gonna be.
Josh – I was trying to think of it too. I feel like we did like seven ish steps, but I don’t know. I guess we could kind of combine them. Yeah,
Jamie – The seven ish method. So first, I’d like on the consult call you’re gonna want to talk to the client about your process. A lot of designers kind of skip past this, but I’m a fan of like, let’s get it all out in the open now if you have reservations about how we do things differently here, and you know, I’m here to answer those questions, I’d rather have conversations up front, if it’s a red flag clients that feels like this is not the right fit, I’d rather tell them now than to be with them for months or years down the road. That’s just my personal belief. I want to protect myself and my, my designers I work with so first up, have that conversation with them on the consult call that’s before they’ve even paid or you’ve talked to them about anything. And then after that, you’re gonna send them the quote, contract invoice and it’s outlined in there. It’s not even elaborate. It just says like parentheses, this many proofs, this many revisions, that’s all you really need there. And then in Basecamp, or whatever project management system you’re using, you’re going to want to have a timeline on there. I know if you’re really creative, like having a timeline is something that some of us fight if you don’t want to have, but you gotta have one. Clients actually, they really, people in general, like we really need that kind of structure that framework, like you said, we’re the guide for them. So you think of it as it might be like, too rigid, but actually like, it really calms down to the client to know when they can expect to hear from you. Otherwise, you’re going to be getting messages. It’s like, what am I going to get the next proof and that kind of stuff. So really, a lot of this is avoiding that friction and really small steps that’s so easy for you to do. After that, let’s see, where are we at timeline and then with each and every proof you’re going to mention to them like, so they know what’s next. They know how many proofs there are it’s all out in the open. After you send the proof you’re gonna let them know how to send feedback by a certain date. You just remind them and then they’ll they’ll know like after each message that you send them with the proof, whether it’s like scheduling a video chat or whatever it is, they’ll know which proof they’re on. So there’s no question of how many do I have left that kind of stuff. you’re answering a lot of the questions for them and just a really easy way through your messaging system. And then if you get to that third round, that’s when you’re going to have a call with them to navigate and really get clarity and you’re gonna follow up outlining what your next steps are. And then then you’re done. I mean, after that, if they have more revisions, you can do like a maintenance plan like Josh said, you can recommend like a phase two, you can have a day rate service if it’s if it really does need to be launched before this one goes live, anything like that. So I think that about covers it.
Josh – That’s a great recap. Yeah, I think we’ve we’re on to like a six to seven type of revision process, which is perfect. Like, you got managing feedback. Now, I love that you mentioned the timeline. I’m so glad you mentioned that because that is huge. It is because if you just say you know, “Send me your feedback”. Well, you may not hear from them for like a week or two weeks, and then you’re fried like you you’re already out of the project, you’re mentally not there anymore. You may forget, what you’re working on. That can really that’s another problem as well is like if you just leave it up to your client, you do you have to guide them, you also have to kind of nudge them and lightly a little bit of a fire under them to not to pressure them. But I found that actually, if you give them a timeline, like going back to the 48 hours thing is it does force them to just do it because again, going back to our idea of like if they are a perfectionist, or if they are just somebody who’s maybe not that organized, or they’re an overthinker they could just overthink it to no end. And then it’s just a chaotic mess. So yeah, that’s that’s huge. That’s a, that’s a great point. So yeah, that’s awesome. I know, it’s a little bit different from a web perspective than again, your method for print, design and logo. But again, the foundations are there. The principles of revisions are there and I’d like if…how are you doing on time, Jamie? Because, I’d love to just touch on a couple things about psychology if you have a few minutes.
Jamie – Oh, I’m good. Yeah.
Josh – Okay, I just want to be respectful. I know you got two little ones and I got two little ones. And you’re, I know you’re, you’re a busy Mama, but you’re killing it with the design stuff. So let’s talk psychology real quick, because I’d love to start off with the idea of less control as a client, like from the client perspective, and the reason I want to talk about this is because I, like we’ve talked about, there’s a lot of benefits to it. It may sound like we’re being controlling designers, but the client needs that, like, you just have to give them some sort of boundaries. Otherwise, it’s just going to get out of control. And I learned a lot from the wedding photographer we hired. So previous to that, anytime we would do like photo shoots, we’d get like 200 images, and then we would like they would display all these images and we have like pick which ones we wanted. And then we’d have to like choose different styles and it was honestly just overwhelming, like, just to go through all these images and I view the I view that as revisions, like if you give people too many choices, or too many options, it’s just overwhelming. What he did was it was I’ve never seen a wedding, I’m sure there’s a lot of people to do this now. But at that time, he was a wedding photographer who did very specific packages and the bride and the groom really had no control over the images, which was kind of interesting. It was, you know, usually the bride wants to pick out her favorite pictures. But in this, he took the pictures, he sends you the final, you get a certain amount of images, like you’ll get 100 images or whatever it is, but he picks them. Like there was no control for us to sift through the pictures. At first, I was a little like, I don’t know if I like that. But at the end of the day, it was the best thing for us in so many ways because we had a lot of other stuff on our plate with the wedding, you know, all these different things to worry about. So it wasn’t something extra that we were had, like, you know, we’re gonna have to meet with our photographer and take half a day to like, go through all these images and figure out which ones we want. He just did it. And then we realized that he was the expert. He knows what looks best. And we just took what he gave us. And it really, like we were blown away by the final product. He gave us like a little book with all the images and we got them on a hard drive. The ones that he wanted in black and white, he did in black and white, the ones that he wanted to keep in color, he did it in color. So it was really interesting. I say that to say, as a client perspective, I was a little apprehensive about not having any control with those images. But at the end of the day, it was amazing. Like it really, we loved what he did was worth every penny and it just freed us up to focus on what we needed to so do you ever would you have anything else to add to that idea of like less control for clients?
Jamie – Yeah, I love that you got inspired by an outside industry. I’m the same way like you just, once you’re in business, you just can’t help but like, “Ooh, that’s interesting they did it that way”.
Josh – Yeah, I love yeah, I loved it. I like I totally applied so many things to my web design business that he did just from patching things up and eliminate. Yeah, the biggest part was just that it really made me rethink how I do revisions and how I like how much control I give clients over a project.
“The pain of losing is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining” – Jamie Starcevich
Jamie – Yeah, so there’s this quote, that I reference anytime we’re talking about client psychology, which is ‘the pain of losing is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining’ so let me say it again, cuz I know it’s a little ‘the pain of losing is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining’. And so it’s basically FOMO that just how our brains work is we want to avoid risk we want to avoid like making a decision and losing out on something and so it’s the same thing with your photographer who, who says like, this is what you get, versus the other photographers who saying like make a lot of decisions, right. Especially with hundreds of photos to narrow down to like, 50 or 100. That’s a lot of decisions and so that the pain of losing those images is like a lot higher than like, for instance, the other photographer, the pleasure of gaining like, just this is what you got, you know. So the same is applicable for branding, web design, any kind of design, is with our clients. So this might be a little bit outside the box for some that are listening, especially that do logo designs, but we just present one option to our clients so we don’t present three logos for them. And I talk like I said, I talk about this on the consult call. It’s like hey, I don’t know if you’ve worked with other other designers but we do things a little bit differently. Here’s why. And I don’t go like deep into it. I just share like this is our process and it works. But it’s it’s helping to remove that that pain for them. And just give them like that the pleasure of gaining that one thing.
Josh – I love that and it makes so much sense because the next thing I was going to ask you was the psychology behind multiple choices. That does make sense because a lot of designers and web will same thing with like logo design stuff. But a lot of web designers will do like three designs. And in the CLI they like here’s design one, here’s designed two, here’s design three, what do you think? And I used to do it in the early days, I did something similar. And I found the same thing, I’d find some, there were some good aspects to it, to where some clients like, well, I like what you did in design one here, maybe we can merge this with two and then do this from three, it would look great. And that worked out well. However, the biggest problems I found with that was they just, there was too much. It was like too many options. I think it probably boiled down to just that they probably didn’t want to lose what they liked about these other options.
Jamie – Right.
Josh – It was like I really like two, but man, I like one too, and I like this part of three. So then that’s a, wow, what a great thought, like, the pain of losing these designs is like oh man, that’s a bummer. So you don’t want to, I could see how it It’s so valuable just to do that one design. And I think that goes back to my method of, and your’s too, have like, this is the design. And that’s that is what it seems limiting. And I know a lot of web designers have have asked me about that. And they’re surprised that I only present one design. But it’s because just that like I, you know, we can make tweaks to that design but this is the design. This is our custom design for you. Because there, I think there are some psych there’s some psychological things behind too many choices. And obviously, there’s there’s the losing aspect, the pain of losing, but there’s also the fatigue of like decision overwhelm, if they see too much. I mean, do you think that’s a factor too, if they just because I know when I did logo design as well. For years, I did branding and print alongside web. And you could probably imagine, like my first few logo presentations, I one, I remember one time I did like 20 designs. Like 20 logos, and there were variations. There’d be like column one would be like 10 versions of the area. Five versions of this. Column two would be like five versions, I’d be like 20 some logos. And I found that it was just overwhelming. So what I eventually did with logo design was I brought it down to three styles, nine total. So it’d be like style one with a few different variations style too. But same thing, it still goes down to the like the pain of losing the other styles. And the worst case scenario, maybe I’m sure you’ve experienced this, is you have a style that you really want to roll with and you’re like, this other one’s okay, I’ll throw it in there. And then they go with that style that you’re like, Oh, it’s all right. And then you’re like, ah dang it. I shouldn’t have even included that. Why did I do that?
Jamie – Yeah, exactly. And it goes back to that not wanting to make a risk and not wanting to make a decision until they go with what’s comfortable like likely what their competitors are doing something similar. I don’t know if you remember like a few years ago, probably still going on, calligraphy logos are like really popular for photographers especially. And so if you were to show three options to a client one that was like a totally outside the box design specific to them for photography business, and then another one that was calligraphy and another one that was just kind of out, you know, another option, they could easily toss out, hands down, they will go with calligraphy because that’s what’s known. And that’s like what feels familiar to them. And so it doesn’t feel like making a risk or decision. Either they will do that, they’ll go with something that’s like a compromise, and this works for web too, or they’ll go with something that’s like combining the options. Because again, they’re wanting to not make a decision. And so they’re trying to combine what they like from these other ones that they don’t want to lose out on. So there’s a lot of kind of psychology and just presenting the one option confidently. There’s a whole method to how you present it like you said on video, down to what’s included, like for web, presenting the homepage and then one interior page, walking through like the strategy, the conversions, all that kind of stuff is really key in that presentation. And same thing with branding is like we don’t just show here’s your logo and black and white. It’s like, here’s everything in context, how it works together and actually, like makes the logo pretty minimal compared to the whole branding together, which alleviates a lot of the problems of trying to junk up the logo and put everything into it, you know?
Josh – Yeah. And I was gonna say because so for everyone’s reference, you can go to your website sprucerd.com/zero, right? Which will take you to that, to your methods?
Jamie – Yeah…zero spelled out.
Josh – Yep, z zero. Because I went through and I love that aspect of it to where the problem when I did logo design was I would always just do a flat logo, and they just couldn’t wrap their heads around how that would look on a hat or a shirt or a poster or something like that. And I view that exactly like I do websites. Same approach. If you send a flat mock up, the client is not going to understand how this is going to function look on a website, and I don’t do preview designs fully like, responsive or anything, it, if it is a site that’s going to be big for mobile like a pizza shop, then I would always optimize most of it on mobile, at least, to have them see that. However, it’s just so so much more impactful if somebody can see how this design is going to work on other mediums, and in the case of web design on browser sizes, and you know, maybe you can throw some animations and in scrolling effects and stuff like that, that really take a flat design to web and and they go oh, wow, that is cool. So I can’t recommend that enough to not just do some flat design that because then you’re leaving it up to your clients imagination, right. And then it’s making them work even harder, because then they have to think about how it’s gonna look.
Jamie – Yeah, exactly. You don’t want them to be thinking much during the whole process.
Josh – That’s great. That’s honestly yeah, honestly, that’s, that’s half the battle there, isn’t it? You just don’t want your client to have to think too much. You just want them to trust you. You should be doing the thinking and honestly, that goes back to what was really the underlying thing we’ve talked about with limiting their control, is there’s reasons behind that. We don’t want them to be overwhelmed. They have enough to worry about. And again, it goes back to what they should be thinking of like, they need to be thinking about their demographic, their users, and you know, all the aspects that, you know, obviously design is a huge aspect or a huge part of that. But they just don’t need to be a web…they’re not the web designer. You don’t want your client to be the web designer or the or the designer and a graphic design case.
Jamie – Yeah, even going back to the wedding photographer, I had a different experience where my photographer, I learned what not to do some things like, she I had to email her several times asking when am I going to get the photos like I didn’t know. And so that goes back to like, I don’t you don’t want your clients to be thinking you don’t want them to be guessing like what’s next. You don’t want them to be like overwhelmed and using too much brainpower. That’s when it leads to frustration on both sides.
Josh – Yeah. I, so I’m going to talk about my business course two is the notifications and how to like prepare your client just informed them for every step of the way. Even if you don’t, here’s a freebie, even if you don’t have an update, or the changes that you’re working on are going to take two weeks in the case of web design, just tell your client like, okay, we’re going to work on this expect something within next week or two weeks or something like that. Two weeks would be rare, that would be a lot of changes. But just letting them know so they know when to expect that. And even if you are just in the middle of something, you can always give like a non notification, you could just a non notification update. You can just tell them, “Hey, we’re still working on it. Just want to let you know”. Clients appreciate that so much. And my rule of thumb is when you’re working on particularly a web design project that is going to last maybe several weeks or a couple months, and I’m sure the same thing happens with branding, at least give them something once a week. Just again, maybe it’s just to say “We’re working on it.” or “We have this on our schedule to start next week”. You know, something like that.
Jamie – I agree. We even have like our day rate service that we do. And there’s, that’s one day and we have a timeline for that. And we send them updates. It’s like, Okay, we got it. We’ll be in touch by this time later today, like, they just need that they don’t want to be left hanging.
Josh – That’s awesome. Yeah, I really, it’s, it’s huge. So man, this has been fascinating, Jamie, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. And we talked about practically how to do this revision method in the context of web design, but then also, I mean, a lot of my students and a lot of my audience are doing secondary services like graphic design. So this is going to be wildly beneficial. I really enjoy talking the psychology about some of this stuff, because I find that fascinating. Is there anything else from the psychology perspective that you would want to bring up or you would think would be interesting? As far as your visions?
Jamie – I think we covered it. I mean, really, we just barely touched on it. But you don’t want your client to be thinking too much about the whole process. You don’t want their brain to be like using much of it. You want them to just be like at a glance, know. And that boils down to like having a timeline, small emails, not like really lengthy emails, having a video, if you can, to guide them through stuff. It just really like oozes throughout the entire process. That and then just making sure you have clear communication and boundaries and all of it if you’re just kind of starting out this new method of getting things nice and tidy in your process, it’s going to feel a little bit like you’re restricting the client, but just rest assured that it is in their benefit and it’s in your’s as well. And that will lead to like a friction free process and and lead to like more profitability and encourage you to have more clients and like that way you can start managing multiple projects at a time. You’ll know your schedule, you won’t be like waiting for all these clients to get feedback not knowing if you can take on a new client. Really just these small tweaks just like impact such a huge part of your business.
Josh – Gosh, look at that! Well said like, that’s the perfect summary of why this is so important and how it practically helps every stage of this project but other projects too. Because yeah, like, you know, okay, here’s what we have on tap the next couple weeks, got our timelines in place, this is, you know, maybe we can start this project, maybe we can’t. Maybe we need to push the next project out a couple of weeks or something. We I really does just, I think you said, just kind of ooze through the different aspects of it. It’s true, that’s really how it works. And I mean, to be honest, the this can, again, make or break a lifetime client, and it can also just kill your joy and what you do for both parties. Like, if the client doesn’t know how to send their content doesn’t know what’s expected, they’re just gonna do what they do. It’s gonna make you miserable, the you’re gonna make them miserable, and it’s just not gonna go well, and I’ve just I’ve learned that from experience. Like once I got serious about revisions, that’s when we had like really good web design experiences or design experiences in general. So yeah, man, awesome. This is a blast! So much fun! Hey, where can my audience find more about you, Jamie?
Jamie – Yeah if you just had to sprucerd.com, that’s my site and then if you want to learn more about like the psychology behind it and like visually what it looks like when we present to our clients that kind of stuff go to sprucerd.com/zero spelled out zero and you can watch the quick 10 minute training where I walk through that kind of stuff. I’m all of us are visual here so it helps to see what that actually looks like. But yeah, thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed this talk. And it’s just nice, um, excuse me in talking to a fellow web designer about this kind of client sticky situations and things like that. So I learned a lot as well.
Josh – Oh, awesome, Jamie. I yeah, I mean, it’s, it really is because I did logo design and branding too so I understand like, you know, that side of things too. And it really is nice just to hear your perspective on what’s worked and these are proven methods too and just event and, you know, to know like hey, I’m not the only designer getting texted by clients. I’m sure everyone listening is like yes. Yep, that’s what problems so…
Jamie – We all have those detailed clients. So…
Josh – Yeah, yeah, the detailed clients. Yeah, we’re gonna have to, yeah, definitely good to be able to weed them out but at least know when they’re coming. That way you can prepare them and protect yourself so.
Jamie – Exactly.
Josh – Well, Jamie, thanks so much for your time I’ll link your website and then the your training in there. It is free I highly recommend it. I went through it. It really is a great way to is basically a visual, like you said representation of what we just went over so you can see what Jamie does. It’s free. It’s great. And you can you can see that I’m gonna recommend everyone check that out. I’ll have that linked in the show notes below. And yeah, Jamie, thanks so much for your time. I feel like this won’t be the only time I have you on my show. We’ll probably have all kinds of things we can talk about moving forward.
Jamie – Yeah, I’d love that. And if I do start a podcast, I’ll probably have you on as well.
Josh – Yes, I’ll be happy to give me some resources. I think you would kill it in the podcasting space. I I’ll say here I told you before we went live I was listening to your training for the Designer Boss Summit. And my wife was like, “Who’s that you’re listening to?” and I’m like, “Oh, this girl and the training on the summit I was a part of.” and she was like, “I just really like her voice. I feel like I want her to like read me a book”. And I was like, “Yes, she does. She does have a good voice”. So I think you’d kill it in the podcasting space for sure.
Jamie – Well, thanks and say thanks to your wife to.
Josh – Deal. Deal. All right, Jamie. Well, thanks so much. We’ll talk soon.
Jamie – All right, thank you.