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Design - from all angles

A blog about branding, marketing, and design, mostly through the lens of practical psychology, intended to be a resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs. {Subscribe to the RSS feed here: RSS}

A designer's head is never cold

Nyla Smith | Thursday, January 27, 2011

I call myself a designer, but I find that I somehow morph into other entities throughout the course of client relationships.

  • Sounding board ("This isn't really related to design, but...what do you think about this idea? How would you implement it?")
  • Counselor / Advisor ("I am having a tough time in this economy. I'm in danger of losing my house.")
  • IT guru ("How do I set up email on my Blackberry?")

Those are just a few. I didn't set up shop to do these things, but it happens more often than I would have expected. I've developed some great relationships over the years. I think it's because I realize that my clients are people first, and clients second. This actually brings to mind a recent incident:

I've just had an experience with one of my service providers that left me unsatisfied. Due to poor service being provided repeatedly and with no end in sight, I needed to speak with the manager. Turns out, the manager was no different than the employees. He had the exact same mentality (giving canned responses and making excuses; instead of owning up to the problem, proactively correcting it, and seeing how they can make me happy again). In their eyes, I'm not a person. With larger businesses, that can happen sometimes. There's just too many customers to think about each one individually. This service provider didn't seem interested in having a relationship with me, at any level, not even as a customer. And so they've just lost my business.

Relationship is important. Yes, sometimes, I need to cut these conversations short (hey, I've got a business to run, after all), and yes there is definitely a line between personal and business (we're not always going to be best friends, sorry!). But, it's about building relationships, not just making a buck. And hey sometimes, by building relationships, you will make a buck. (That's the whole point of using social media to connect with customers, by the way).

So whether that turns me into a part-time counselor, advisor, or sounding board, I see it as a part of business.  Heck, a part of life.

I wear so many hats, how could my head ever get cold? 

What about you? How many hats are you wearing today?

Nyla Smith is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 12 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.
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