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  Business: exploring the world of creative professionals
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First contact with a creative professional

Contributor: Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®

First impressions count and don't forget it. Whether you're contacting a creative professional for the first time as a business or in a personal capacity there are a few words of advice for all concerned.

Be clear from the outset
First off, take time to work out exactly what your requirements are and the budget you have at your disposal. Be clear from the outset about your needs and you'll be far less likely to become unstuck on what is often a lengthy and challenging path.

If you're commissioning a creative professional take time to review their skills, experience and pricing. Above all ensure their past work marries with any expectations you may have about the style of work you hope will result from your association.

The agreement
Creative professionals are used to working under pressure despite the creative nature of their work. It is of benefit to both the client and professional to agree a clear and unambiguous contract at the outset. There should be enough flexibility in the contract to allow for unforeseen circumstances, and the contract should outline the payment procedure clearly with completion dates for particular aspects of work undertaken.

An effective partnership is forged between clients and creative professionals when all parties recognise one another's strengths. A creative pro must accept clients know their business best. At times some creative professionals have a tendency to forget the purpose of the client's business in favour of stimulating their own creative urges.

An equally important axiom is that most clients either overrate or underrate their creative abilities. Part of the job of an effective creative professional is to guide and progress their clients own creativity or lack of confidence in it. Effectively addressing these issues has a direct bearing on the development and successful outcome of the client/creative pro relationship.

The process of creativity is a dynamic one. Clients should be encouraged to become actively involved in the search for effective solutions by their participation in the evaluation and development of their projects at all stages.

Whatever the creative project, the commissioning clients must ensure they are clear about their purpose. The purpose may be as simple as making a realistic representation of a pet cat or as complex as creating a database led e-commerse web site. Let the purpose of your project guide the creative flow and you won't go far wrong.

Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

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