Shades of Success

Shades of Success - finding the gold nuggets among the negative when projects go wrong

We start our days and our projects with the best of intentions. As creatives, it's easy to let our imaginations run away with us—visualizing our ideal scenario and just how amazing it could all be. But not every experience will be stars across the board.

I've experienced this quite a few times with projects (even recently), and thought I'd shed some light on what I've learned from these bumps in the road.

Hope for the Best, But Be Prepared

After years of experience, I've learned quite a bit about red flags and common designer pitfalls. I've spent a lot of time defining my ideal client and structuring the way I work so that it works for me while also protecting me.

But you know what? Things still go wrong.

Projects don't always go as planned and sometimes things slip through the cracks. It's essential to do the work to prevent these kinds of setbacks, but also to avoid falling apart when trouble comes knocking.

Good Intentions Gone Rogue

In an ideal world, all my clients would be like-minded, reliable individuals with healthy budgets, businesses I'm passionate about, and a collaborative spirit grounded in trust. Since starting my own business, I've been blessed to curate my client roster with a lot of these pieces in place, but that doesn't mean projects always play out perfectly.

Not every project will be stars across the board, but each one has value.

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Sometimes there's a setback in the timeline. Other times the client struggles with giving the right kind of feedback or slips into subjective mode when they should be filtering their ideas through their audience's eyes. Other times a well-meaning exception turns into scope creep that snowballs out of control.

Shades of Success

We're only human. And as much as we try to prevent them, these things happen. When they do, I'm tempted to write off the whole project as a failure. But that's just not the case.

Sure, not every project will be stars across the board, but each one has value. Sometimes it's a stunning portfolio piece or an amazing client relationship. Other times it's just money in the bank. And then there's the times that the silver lining is simply the experience—learning what you can do better next time.

Try to appreciate what each project and experience has to give, and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to grow. When you have a truly incredible project with an amazing client, it will be the result of all the shades of success that came before it. And you'll appreciate just how special it really is.