By:Vinnie Garcia, Published:2005-2-19

I can guarantee you that I know your worst client. You may or may not know off the top of your head, but you think about them all the time. It’s not the guy who gives full creative control and veto power to his wife. It’s not the person who tries to get a bunch of work out of you for fifty bucks. It’s not the lady who can’t get you content to save her life. And it’s not even the guy who stiffed you on payment for six months before the threat of a lawsuit got you a check. No, this client is worse in far more insidious ways. This client is…you.

If you’re a web designer, you probably have your own site somewhere. And you probably hate it. Nothing is ever good enough for our own sites. We want to put in all these whiz-bang features that we can’t use on our client’s sites because they don’t need them. We want the perfect portfolio, the perfect content, the perfect graphics, and more. Well I’m here to tell you, that doesn’t matter. Having a slightly nicer stock photo on your homepage won’t get you twice the amount of clients. That gradient being one pixel higher than you’d like isn’t going to make a lick of difference to your bottom line. And that über-cool Flash portfolio probably won’t make the phone ring off the hook with requests for work.

Now am I saying that all these things are bad? Not necessarily, but when you’re spending so much time implementing them that you’re not working on your business, then you may have a problem. I’m not telling you to throw up a crap site and hope for the best. I’m saying that if you’re in this situation, as I’ve been in the past, that maybe it’s time to take a step back and examine who you’re really building this site for. Ask yourself if potential clients are going to care about that feature you’ve spent the last 4 days obsessing over. If it’s a dealbreaker then by all means keep working on it, but if it’s just something you want for your own sake, then consider stepping away from the computer for a while and reexamining the issue. Your portfolio should be built for your potential clients, not your ego. Get something up that they will find useful and informative, and leave the excess for your more creative pursuits. If you’re doing web design as a job, then remember that you have mouths to feed that are more important than any award or “respect” you could possibly earn. Who knows, you might actually find that your “plain” yet straightforward site gets you more business than you thought.

Vinnie Garcia runs IBeBloggin’ - one of the smartest blogs out there.
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