The most important thing

As I refelct on things that I’ve learned in my career (still at a relatively early stage) , I realize that talent, skill or experience are not the most important thing that has brought me this far.

The most important thing you can ever have that will bring you success if reliability. Always do what you say you would. I learned this in my first graphic design class. I still remember vividly what my professor said that became the principle that guides the way I view work. He said: “No matter how good your piece is, if you miss the deadline, it’s worth nothing…big zero.”

A lot of creative people would rather miss deadlines than deliver work less than the best quality that they can produce. Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against being overachiever. It’s a good thing to push yourself but not at the expense of your client. Since we’re offering a service, as web designer/developer, we need to serve our client. In other words, we need to understand and accomodate their needs.

There are at least 2 dimensions of needs: what and when. What the client need and when they need it. These are the 2 main parameters. If you give them the best end product a week later than when they need it, it’s worthless. Consequently, you’ll lose business because you are unable to meet their needs.

Another thing that we need to realize, as creative professionals, is that client relationship is very important. As we all know, it’s easier to maintain an existing client than to obtain a new one. If you’re reliable, which means you deliver what you promise (in the quality that meets the client’s expectation) within the timeframe agreed upon, most likely your client will return to if they have more work even if they know others that can offer them lower price. In addition to potentially more work from the same client, a satisfied client will definitely talk about you within their network which will lead to new client acquisition.