How to get started working with Risk Creative

Not every client is for us and we’re not for every client.

A recent experience caused us to realize, Hey, we should explain the process for potential clients wanting to hire us for a project. What we’ve been doing has been working, but we can see how it helps to have explicit policy written in advance so that when a client comes along who may not be a good fit, they can identify that, saving us all time.

So, here is what it’s like to commence working with Risk Creative.

    1. When reaching out to us, we prefer email. In the email, let us know what you’re looking for. We don’t need micro details, just a macro overview. New website? New logo? Content for the website? Printed materials? Marketing strategy? Steady design work? How soon do you hope to have it? Do you already have an operating budget?
    2. Depending on the client, we will either send a form to collect information about the project, or Natasha will phone to connect and ask questions.
    3. Depending on the scope of the project and if it’s going to require our whole team, we may want to set up a meeting with other major players for this project. A big project or an ongoing agency-on-hand relationship requires us to make sure we are a fit. We want to make sure we mesh, that communication flows easily, that we have enough of an interest in and understanding of what you’re doing that we can do good work for you, and that our values align. If we find out in our meeting that you do animal testing, underpay your staff, or make sexist jokes, for example, we’ll decline the opportunity to work with you. Sometimes we’ve been interested to work with a client only to find in a meeting that they really struggle to communicate clearly and aren’t aware of it, and we’ve had to walk away.
    4. All we need is about 30 minutes of your time. For you, it’s an investment to help you make a decision about who to hire so that even if you don’t want to hire us, you will have a better idea of who you do want to hire. For us, it’s an investment in knowing where to direct our energy taking on potential clients. In this meeting, we will ask questions about the project as well as non-related questions. The objective is not to gather the data we’ll need to work on your project, so forgive us if you’re asked the same questions later, too. We don’t know yet if we’re the best agency for you. We’re just trying to see the full picture, learn how you communicate about your work, understand your goals, and see if we have enough of the same language and values to work well together.
    5. Based on our conversation and any data we’ve collected, we’ll put together a proposal that will explain the stages of the project, what you’ll be getting, what it will cost, and what our contract terms are. The contract can be written so that we take things one stage at a time, or we can just move forward with everything as one big project, and include cancellation terms.
    6. If you want to proceed, all you will need to do is sign this contract on the pages requiring a signature (be sure to read the fine print that’s written in everyday language) and send it back to us in the form of a scanned document (there are phone apps for this that make it very easy) or even as a photo. Then, send the deposit via cheque, PayPal, money order, or email money transfer. (This is also when you would have us add any terms to the contract that you think we’ve missed, to which we all agree.)
    7. Once we receive the deposit and signed contract, you’ll be in our queue.
    8. Depending on the project, we may add you to our client management program where you can upload files, notes, and where you’ll see our to-do lists and be able to see what is getting checked off. This is where you’ll hand over any marketing analysis, notes, logos, assets, plans, discovery analysis or anything else we will need to proceed. Sending it beforehand and expecting us to read it is expecting free work when we don’t even know if we’re going to go steady yet. If you have a lot of material already that we’d gather in the discovery stage, great! We can talk about pricing if you feel like you’re coming to the table with some of the work pre-done. But we still need to read, understand and ask questions, and this takes time, energy and intellectual talent, so we will charge something for that.
    9. If your project requires several stakeholders to discuss anything, and you’re not local, we will have conversations via Slack, not by email. If learning new software is difficult for you and an annoyance, we are sympathetic (and will provide video or screenshot tutorials) but still require this process because the initial investment will save all our lives so many times down the road. A recent study* showed that trying to discuss several intersecting aspects of a project with several team members all through email replies, and keep track of it all throughout the life of the project, lowers life expectancy by 12 years.
    10. We’ll do the work, everyone will love everything we do, there will be no miscommunications ever, we’ll all become best friends, you’ll want to pay us even more than you have to, we’ll fix global warming, and all the people everywhere will live happily ever after.

Ten easy steps for world peace. Surprise blog post ending!

*An informal semi-scientific study by Risk Creative. Basically, one day we were like, “Argh, I’d give accurately 12 years of my life to not have to be this confused and overwhelmed by random email messages right now.”

Natasha Clark, Partner at Risk Creative. Republication is welcome only with attribution and a direct link to Thank you in advance for good behaviour. 🙂


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