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What I learned from getting designer bids and being the client

Table of ContentsUpdated Dec 14, 2015

Recently, we redesigned the Millo logo with the help of Dina Rodriquez at Letter Shoppe.

(Stay tuned for the final logo reveal + lots of cool swag by subscribing to our email newsletter.)

Getting our logo redesigned put me in a really unique situation: normally, I’m the creative and I’m working with a client. But this time, I was the client. And it was my job to get a new logo designed.

In today’s post (and in a few subsequent posts to follow) I want to share lessons I learned as a client that will help us all:

  • work better with clients,
  • land more gigs, and
  • find more success as a freelancer.

There was something that really set Dina apart from the competition.

What set her apart? Speed.

Here’s why that mattered so much to me as the client:

1) It shows you’re excited.

While quality of work, portfolio, and talent are all important, I’ve also found one element of a working relationship incredibly valuable over the years:


Have you ever worked with someone who’s over-the-top excited about the project you’re working on?

The energy is amazing.

  • You want to work hard because they’re working hard.
  • You want to succeed because they want to succeed.
  • You can’t help but be excited, too.

And you trust someone who’s excited to work on your project because you know you’ll probably get more than what you’re paying for out of the whole experience.

Your client wants you to get fired up about their project. And one way of showing your excitement is by responding to inquiries quickly.

Dina, the designer I ultimately picked for Millo’s new logo, responded quickly. She was excited. I had no doubt.

2) It puts you front-of-mind.

Keep in mind, I searched for hand-lettering artists. I probably sorted through 25-50 Google results before I found the 3 designers I wanted to reach out to.

So I had a lot of information just hanging out in my brain waiting to be used.

Add that to all of the other information I’m constantly juggling by virtue of running my own business and you’ll find it’s often a big mess up there in my brain.

But when Dina responded first and fast, some of the crazy and misplaced information in my mind was flagged for easy retrieval later.

Suddenly, I remember Dina.

And the longer your potential client remembers you, thinks about you, and considers you for the job, the better.

3) It shows you’re responsible & reliable

One fear I don’t deal with often on the freelancer side is the fear that a project is going to turn out horribly.

But as a client, searching for someone to redesign my logo (a very big deal in my mind) suddenly stressed me out insanely.

  • What if I hired someone who had no discipline?
  • Someone who faked their portfolio?
  • What if I hired someone and it took years before they finally finished my project?

These are all legitimate fears your clients most likely deal with all the time.

But when Dina responded quickly and professionally, my mind was put at ease. “She must really care about her work,” I reasoned with myself. If she gets back to me so quickly on a simple bid proposal, she must have her act together.

And I was right.

Responding quickly to potential clients sets you apart from the competition. Not everyone is as on top of things as you might hope.

4) People change their mind easily – don’t give them that chance!

Have you ever come up with a really great business idea and you start designing or writing things for it right away? In the morning, the excitement fades and you realize the idea was only half-baked anyway and you never revisit those early designs or writings?

People (entrepreneurs especially) are pretty fickle folks – myself included at the top of the list.

If you wait days to respond to a client’s request, you may be discouraged to find that, in a matter of days, he has changed his mind and no longer thinks hiring or paying you is a wise decision.

But if you can respond quickly to confirm that his idea is a solid one, you reduce the chance of him changing his mind.

The key to speed…

So how can you speed up your response times without feeling like a slave to your work? We’ll dig into that a bit later.

But let me give you a teaser: it’s all about processes.

I’ve asked Dina to write about her processes and methods for working with clients in future posts here at Millo. I think it’s going to be simply amazing.

For now, discipline yourself and speed up your response time.

It could result in more higher-paying clients!

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Written by Preston Lee

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Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more.

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  1. Rob Eytcheson says:

    That’s funny, my new year’s resolution was going to be “respond to emails immediately (or as fast as possible)”. No matter what, even if it’s a “let me check on that and get back to you” response… so this article just made it even more clear that this is something I need to focus and work on, thanks!

    I think as designers (or for me, anyway) we hold off on responses until we have the perfect one (or time to stop and think of one). I can see how it would frustrate clients, because I have vendors that do it to me!

    Can’t wait to read Dina’s processes!

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      Rob, glad we could jumpstart your new year resolution. 🙂 Best of luck! Yes, stay tuned for Dina’s article(s)–gonna be amazing.

  2. Rosa Fierro says:

    Yes! I agree that it is key to respond fast and to be excited about your client’s project as if it was your own company, after all, your client’s success is what makes you feel rewarded.

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      @rosa_fierro:disqus: good point. If you make your clients’ success your success, that will also set you apart. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post and good points!
    It really helps us to be on the other side sometimes.
    It’s easier to understand what we do well and what we could do better.
    I’ve learned a lot of things just watching successful professionals selling their services or products.
    “Responding quickly to potential clients sets you apart from the
    competition. Not everyone is as on top of things as you might hope.”
    You are so right!
    It still surprises me the fact that so many “professionals” seem so bored about their work and are so irresponsible and unorganized.
    They are doing everything it takes not to be hired!
    These people help the rest of us standing out and looking awesome!

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      Thanks for the kind words, @disqus_6WXr4E4H2e:disqus. It’s amazing how much ahead of the competition you can get just for running a decent business. 🙂

  4. Completely agree with you Preston… Quick response is a key to set yourself a part.

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      Thanks for reading, @disqus_murtuzabanani:disqus. Cheers.

      1. You’re welcome and thanks to you and your team for operating a website like It’s not less than a need for every freelance creatives. 🙂

        1. Preston D Lee says:

          @Murtuza: we’re happy to do it. You’re very welcome. Thanks for the kind words–they mean a lot.