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Not a Beware really but thought I'd ask

I did a commission for a client a little while ago and they've become rather buddy-buddy with me ever since. Having linked me to a story they wrote with their character in it they wanted me to read for the commission. I skimmed through it, mostly becuase I don't have alot of free time on my hands and nearly all of it has to be used doing this or that... I got the info I needed and posted it was a nice story, you know to be polite and moved on to finish the work.
Later on they keep asking me to read more of their stories and send me references for drawings they never actually commission me seriously for.

What I'm wondering is, how do you let your clients know that you appreciate their business and you'd like to keep making art for them, without becoming bestest friends foreveriest? I don't want to be rude but I don't have alot of time to waste either ya know?

I try to keep business and friendship separate after all.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I'd say don't focus so much on the BFF aspect of it. Focus more on their requests.

Next time they inquire about your opinions on their stories, reply,

"Thank you for sharing your work with me! I apologize but I think it deserves more attention than I can give it right now. I'm too busy with work to attend to it. I will contact you when I do have the time.

And please do let me know if there are any more projects I can finish for you.

Thank you for your business!"

Or something like that. It lets them know that you are not an editing service.

Edited at 2009-02-08 11:33 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I'm in the same spot with a few of my customers.
I know they only mean well and they're lovely people... But I'm a busy person and don't have time to read my own books I want to read, nevermind furry fiction. I know that sounds horrible but I'm just far too busy.
Feb. 9th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
I'm also in the same spot. I used to give my clients both a private AIM and Yahoo address so they'd have 24/7 access to me (as long as I was online, which I always was!). Before I ever gave any clients these IM names, I told them immediately that they were not allowed to chat with me for the fun of it. They could ask about their commission or something like that, but that is it! I'm too busy to have conversations with people... that and I frankly am not a very social person anyways.

This IM service was so they would feel secure in knowing they could contact the artist at anytime. Then, relatively quickly, they started wanting to chit chat with me all the time. This got on my last nerve quickly. Even though I am not very social, I *am* very friendly, which is my problem. I absolutely hate to think I would hurt anyone's feelings, so I make up excuses of why I can't talk to them. Usually, these excuses are the truth anyways, but sometimes I just want to be left alone to do my work. I don't know why it is so hard for me to just say that. :)

I'm so "business comes first" that I'm networking 24/7 and it is aggravating! I'll sometimes end up talking to these clients or doing them little favors because I want them to go "Man, this chick is NICE! I should commission her next time she's open." Man, that is so manipulative of me! LOL Oh well, that's business for ya. :) On the other hand, I have made some really cool friends this way, too!

Still, I totally understand how you feel. I guess we have to realize that it is okay to not want to be everyone's friend and it is okay to be busy in our own lives. There is nothing wrong with that. BTW... I hate when people ask me to read their stuff. I despise fiction with a passion. I *love* to write it (I actually want to be an author), but I despise reading it. :) I'll read nonfiction, though. I won't even read my best-friend's stories, nevermind some client I barely know. Best of luck to you!
Feb. 9th, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
You can always do what I do! I have a "business" or "non personal" set of IM names that I've put on Trillian. When I don't feel like conversing with a set of people, I put that set on away and leave my personal ones free. :)
Feb. 9th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
I've had a few people try to do that to me. I just respond professionally and impersonally or let them know I don't really have the time, etc. A few times, I've accidentally never responded due to being so busy. Still, that's the best way to handle it. Commissioning an artist =/= being their BFF and they need to know that it is a strictly business-oriented relationship.
Feb. 9th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
I suffer from this on BOTH ends.

As an artist, I have been commissioned by people I found fascinating, and tried to strike up something after the work was done. Over the course of several weeks of awkward silences and non-returned IM's, I'd get the hint and leave them alone, other than occasional follow-ups about the work itself.

On the flip side, some people get the notion of being my BFF by the mere act of ASKING me to do work for them, even if they can't afford it or I'm not open. I swear, after two contacts, one potential client got the idea in his head were were best buddies and started saying things to me that made me really uncomfortable. This totally soured me on the dude and I told him as much. After a while, I just told him I'm not interested in doing work for him.

Sometimes, though, it would work. I have found some deep and meaningful friendships as a direct result of me asking for a commission, or someone asking for one from me. Time being what it is, though, I have such a wide circle that this concept doesn't work as well anymore, and I'm not alone in this. This is why it's so difficult to move out of one's "circle", they've invested so much time and effort into the relationships they have, there's not much left to cultivate any new ones.

It IS awkward to have friends ask me to do work for them, though, as I have extreme difficulty separating business from friendships. My buddies know my deepest, darkest secrets regarding how I operate, so there's no hiding my schedule, techniques or work ethic. I'm uncomfortable charging my closest friends the full rate when they've done so much cool stuff for me. But that's a topic for another post.
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Personally, I just try to tell them 'thanks, but no thanks' but be so sickeningly-sweet about it that they cannot possibly offended.

Being ridiculously nice and acting a little dumb or thick can get you out of almost any social issue ;)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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