Krishna Solanki Designs

client homework

Client Homework - What It Is and Why It's Important!

My Business, DesignKrishna SolankiComment

I recently decided to organise myself, both personally and with regards to my business. As part of the positive change, I decided to streamline my business and introduce some much-needed process.  There was a learning curve ahead but if I didn't (and don't) continually look for ways to improve I fear I will "get left behind".  

As with any change, resistance will only make it harder to deal with so I fully embraced the fact I did not have a "proper process" and thus made work harder for myself and to some extent for my clients.  Knowing this and admitting it was half the victory.

In this particular post I want to cover a process I knew existed but one I hadn't strictly implemented or perfected.  Client homework.

Client Homework - What it is and reasons why it is important

What is client homework/branding homework? 

In the time, I have been freelancing (always part-time to date) I have always asked my clients for their "ideas" - what they like in terms of designs - any websites that tickle their fancy, any particular styles, colours, etc.  The majority of the time they would send me links to websites, and use words to describe their "vision" or colours they preferred - (Client: "I'm thinking red, like burgundy red").

I would then take this information - usually spread between numerous emails, written notes and potentially a skype message and make the most of trying to work out what they are thinking. Crazy stuff. It worked but it was a mess. a hot mess.

Then as I began streamlining and bringing in some process.  I soon realised that my hot crazy mess of a process is a dirty version of "client homework".

There I said it. CLIENT HOMEWORK.  It's not as scary as I first thought it would be and its there to help me and my clients.  So what is client homework?  After doing a bit of research and reading, it's exactly what I was doing but with some fine tuning.  It's sometimes also called branding homework.

What's involved with Client homework?

As with any kind of homework, it is work that is done in preparation for something. In this particular aspect, the homework is set by me, the designer and given to the client before I start their project.  It involves a small task on Pinterest - which let's be honest, is more fun then tasking! It also involves answering a bunch of tailored questions, depending on the project.  So if they are signed up to the Startup Package - which involved branding, and Squarespace development - then all the questions are tailored to ask specific questions about their mission and vision for their brand and website.  It also gets my clients thinking about the nuts and bolts of their startup and 0can really help them figure stuff out for themselves too!

So in actual fact, what seems like mundane homework, is actually really useful mini tasks!  You may ask, why is it so important!.. Well my friend, keep reading....

Why it's important to have Client homework

Client homework is good for us both, but more to the point, it is important for a few reasons, here are 4.

1 | Makes life easier for you, the client 

Rather than sending me the information I need from you in emails, or a Skype call or over the phone (which leads to me scribbling down all the important details) answering the client homework questions in one hit keeps all the information in one nice place.  It makes it easier for you to tell me about your business, your vision, and your requirements in a simple straight forward method

2 | Makes life easier for me, the designer

If it's easy for you to tell me about your requirements, it's easier for me to understand them.  For me, being able to open one document, and one tab for the Pinterest board, rather than gathering my notes, the emails and trying to remember the conversation on Skype is so much easier!

3 | Makes you look more professional

My client homework is branded, therefore, my clients know just by looking at it that I mean business. I'm not here to willy-nilly set up your brand and Squarespace website, I'm here to make sure it's done well and done professionally.

4 | Makes the processes more streamlined

The best thing about client homework is that it streamlines my process.  It makes it quicker to send information to my clients and receive it all back smoothly.

What do you think of client homework?  Have you set your clients homework in the past? What are your thoughts on client homework?

Using Pinterest for client homework

My BusinessKrishna Solanki4 Comments

Pinterest is one of those platforms that is addictive. Once you get going, you can be on there for hours... (clearly not speaking from experience, ehem!! ;) ;) )

It wasn't until recently that I decided to start using this fab social media site for my business. I had already used it personally to pin the million outfits I love, to keep a track of the healthy recipes I want to make, and not so healthy ones too.  But using it for client homework was something that never crossed my mind.  Until now.

8_using_pinterest_for_client_homework.jpg

When working with a client I have always asked for inspirational keywords, graphics, images, or sites, they have "come across" and have liked.  (All depending on the project of course).  Their input into the process is key and without that, well I would probably end up going round in circles really.  *Que Pinterest homework* - this should help us both!!

The account

If you don't have a Pinterest account, well then thats the first step. To sign up!  You can log in with Facebook, Google and Twitter,  if you didn't want to create a username and password.
Once you are in you can start pinning!  To stay organised I have created a fair few boards - some for my personal stuff and some for my business.  the business ones are named "KSD: xxx".  I have some secret boards too...this is where things get even more fun!

[Follow me on Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/KrishnaSDesigns]

Creating a secret board

It really couldn't be easier!  All you have to do is find the box thats says "create a secret board" at the bottom of your boards page and click it.
You will be presented with a pop up and you fill it in with the relevant details.
In this case, I have created a secret board for my businesss' brand and website so all the details are for that.  You will notice I have toggled the "Secret" entry to YES - this is so that it is kept secret! (not rocket science really is it! haha!).  Now I have left the "Collaborators" entry box empty as I do not wish to have anyone else collaborate, however I would add my clients email or Pinterest username at this stage to set up a secret board for them to pin to.
I say I would add them, but it would be just as easy for them to add me to their board if they create it themselves.
You then press "create" and voila!! Board created and ready for pinning.

Using Pinterest for client homework

What to pin!

Ok so the board is ready, now what to pin and how to find content.  In the past I have left it to clients to pin whatever they see fit for purpose, however I noticed the board would end up with a billion pins and it would vastly range. Sometimes I couldn't even figure out why they have pinned certain items!

Thats when I refined the process again and decided to restrict them to pin a maximum of 30 pins, and to use keywords like fonts, patterns, colour palettes, etc.  I found its important they describe why they have pinned each item so they are also asked to write what element(s) they like and dislike about each pin.  1-2 comments per pin only.

Here is the pintererst board I created for my business brand and website.

using Pinterest for client homework, KSD board on Pinterest

Are you on Pinterest? Do you use it for client homework? Whats your Pinterest process?.. Let me know.. I'd love to hear about it!

Follow me on Pinterest