New projects are always exciting. Each design project comes with a lot of enthusiasm and ambition to become better and impress your clients with something which not only looks good, but it is also effective. However, not all the projects are like this. Have you ever reached a point when you weren’t sure if you really wanted to finish a specific project? There are many situations which can trigger such a feeling and make you lose all your enthusiasm and focus.
Repetitive edits represent one of the primary factors that can make you stop caring about a design project. When your client asks you to revise the project too many times, you will feel like you will never end it as it is impossible to satisfy that client. While the client’s feedback is vital for the project’s success, there should also exist boundaries. Therefore, this article is going to help you avoid a never-ending edit cycle by offering you some tips you haven’t thought about.
8 Ways to Avoid a Never-Ending Edit Cycle
It is not bad to receive revision suggestions from your clients as long as they don’t exaggerate with this request. A revision can take many forms. For example, you send your client an email and ask his opinion or it can also be a little request in terms of content. Therefore, if you want to avoid a never-ending edit cycle, you need to set things clear from the beginning. For instance, you can decide with your client to include all his revisions in one consolidated document once you submit the first draft and then you will operate on them.
Furthermore, excessive revision requests can frequently lead to burn-out, especially in the design industry. When you are a designer and your client asks you constantly to change minor things, without having a logical explanation, then you might get tired way before the project’s end. Therefore, you can follow some simple steps to avoid such situations:
- Constantly communicate with your client in each phase of the project;
- Once you have agreed on the design requirements, provide a solid design template that fulfills most of your client’s criteria;
- Do your best to limit the number of unnecessary revisions. Try to discuss them every time with your client and find the logic behind them;
- Try not to burn-out even though the project becomes difficult.
- View your client as your partner
How many times did you have clients coming back to you after the first project? How did you feel when you heard back from them? When clients come back to a professional after the first project they did together, this means that they liked something more than your work. Especially in the design industry, you will need to build a report with your clients if you want to keep them satisfied and avoid a never-ending edit cycle. You need to know your client both from a professional and personal point of view to be able to deliver the results they expect.
What is more, when you develop a relationship with your clients, he will trust you more and think twice before asking you to do a revision. He will also understand how valuable your time and work invested in his project is. Therefore, you will notice that he will become less peaky and be more collaborative whenever he needs something more from your side. In addition, building a collaborative relationship with your client might also bring you other referrals.
- Clearly define what a revision means
Not all clients know exactly what a revision means. For some, changing their mind constantly and asking minor changes might not mean that they are asking for a revision. There are also many clients who think that a design job is nothing too complicated. Therefore, instead of becoming frustrated and end up arguing with your client, wouldn’t it be better to clarify things from the beginning?
One idea would be to include these aspects in your contract. What is more, you can also define in the contract what a revision means and what are the limits on which a change request can be considered a revision or not. In addition, you can also develop several project phases. You can agree with your client to send you his feedback once you reach every established milestone. Therefore, it will help you stay focused until you finalize the agreed phase and the client will also see the result once the phase is finished. This will help you reduce the number of revisions to the minimum.
- Be patient and accept your mistakes
Even though you included everything in the contract, this doesn’t mean that your client won’t ask you to do several changes. It may also be that you didn’t correctly understand his guidelines and you deliver something different than he expected. Relax! We are all humans and we all do mistakes. However, this doesn’t mean that this is the end of the world. The first step to succeed, especially when you work in a sensitive industry like design, is to accept and admit your mistakes and work on correcting them.
In addition, when your client exceeds certain limits, you should immediately stop them. This is why it is very important to have everything included in your contract. Decide from the beginning what a round of revisions means and how many revisions you will do without any extra fees. Thus, you will help your client become more conscious about what he can ask and where he needs to pay extra money. So, if he really cares about his budget, he will think twice before asking you to do a revision.
- Fixed fee vs extra work
It is absolutely normal to do several changes in your projects before you deliver the final version. When you take the project, you negotiate with your client which is going to be the fee you will receive once you deliver the project according to his requirement. However, even though you are a top professional, you should also take into consideration that your client can ask you to do several revisions. Therefore, depending on the power of your negotiation, you should clearly mention the maximum number of revisions included in your fixed fee.
What is more, you should also stay firm and negotiate with your client the fees whenever he asks you extra revisions. In case you agree to deliver the project from A to Z, including also content revisions, you should pay extra attention as this is a topic where many clients ask for infinite revisions. The CEO of Top Writers Review recommends that “you shouldn’t always rely on your spell checker. Before you send your draft to the client, you should never forget to read the texts twice. One method that always works is to read your texts with a loud voice. By pronouncing each word loud while reading the content will you help identify even the smallest mistakes and correct them before sending it to your client.”
- Send updates to your client
Most clients are impatient when it comes to their design project. Whenever they don’t hear from you for a couple of days, they tend to question whether you are working on their project. Therefore, if you want to avoid such stressful situations and frustrations, you should keep your client constantly informed. For example, once you have finished the first round of revisions, you can send your client an email explaining to him the changes you did and how you will proceed to the next steps. Furthermore, considering that you included a certain number of revisions in your contract, you can also update your client on how many revisions are left and about when his project will be ready. This email will not only re-assure your client that you are working on their project, but it will also help you organize your work and decide on next steps.
- Be flexible
Even though you have an impressive portfolio of projects and clients, whenever you sign with a new client he will feel unsure whether you are the right designer for him. If a client doesn’t trust you, then you will struggle during the entire project execution. You need to show your client that you are the right choice for what he needs. What is more, even though your client asks you a lot of questions, you shouldn’t lose your temper. Show goodwill and be a diplomat.
Furthermore, it is in your best interest to show a bit of flexibility here and there. Especially when you work with a client for the first time, you can make some exceptions from your regular rules. You can make him trust you more if you accept some revisions without extra charges. This is how you might win a client for the long-term instead of having a one-time offer and then never hear from him. In addition, if you fill yourself with goodwill and flexibility, you will be able to stay positive throughout the project and stay away from frustrations.
- Don’t be too flexible
The design topic is very subjective. What worked well with a client can trigger a totally opposite impression on other clients. We already agreed that you should show flexibility and goodwill to win the trust of your clients. However, you should also show them that you know very well what you are doing, and they shouldn’t stress you with minor changes. These will only delay the project and cause frustrations instead of moving it further. Therefore, once you understood and agreed with your clients on what he really wants, you should also set some boundaries. You should clearly make him understand that your time is precious, and he should trust you as a professional.
On the other hand, even though you are clear when it comes to your terms, this doesn’t stop all the clients. There will always be some clients who simply don’t care about your boundaries and will keep asking you for revisions. This is the moment when you have to decide what you want to do further. Do you want to keep working on a stressful project which might end with negative feedback? Or do you want to stop it now and make a new project with a more flexible client? In addition, you shouldn’t wait too much before you make this decision. Your client’s first feedback will also help you decide on what your next steps should be.
- Do your homework
There are many moments when your clients will ask you for some unreasonable revisions. However, this doesn’t mean that you should accept them all. Whenever a client asks you to do a revision, you should try to understand the rationale behind it. This is why you shouldn’t rush into responding to him immediately. Carefully read his comment and try to “put yourself in your client’s shoes”. Behind any request, there is always a reason. If you do your homework and get to know your client better and develop a relationship based on trust. Thus, you will be able to answer his questions, do the correct revisions, and stop excessive revision requests which don’t have a clear fundament behind them.
Whenever you take on a new project, your ultimate goal should always be to do your best and ensure your client is happy with the work you delivered. Think of each project as a masterpiece which you will proudly include in your portfolio and present it as your business card. Each round of revisions should help you do your job better and not create frustration or burn-out. Be open and accept your mistakes, showing your clients that they can rely on you and your work.
Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. Currently she blogs for RatedbyStudents. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.