Book review: Design is a job by Mike Monteiro

I just finished the book Design is a job by Mike Monteiro, Mule design, published by A book apart. It’s a useful guide for making a living in the creative industry: how to be part of a service industry without becoming a servant. The author uses fresh ideas from his 10+ years of experience with his web design agency, but they can be applied to each other creative areas.

The chapter covers interesting topics both for freelancers and for agencies: getting clients, how to choose the right clients, how to charge your work, painful advice about contracts, processes, how to present your work in order to receive good feedback, how to be paid for your work and how to work in a team.

I read it very quickly and took a few notes to come back to again. Many of them I would have liked to know earlier. For many others now it’s the best time to understand better

I few ideas I liked most:

Design sites with actual people in mind, not for users
Clients are looking for confidence when they hire.
Confidence doesn’t come from knowing you’re right—it comes from being okay with failing
You will know you charged too little if the client agrees right away.
A contract is like prophylactic. It won’t keep you from getting fucked, but it may keep you free from additional liabilities down the road.
Everything you are responsible for goes into your estimate. Everything you aren’t responsible for goes on a list of scope exclusions.
Clients will gravitate toward what they’re worried about the most, or what they’re most comfortable with.
Every time you deal with your client in person is an opportunity to build trust. And to remind each other of why you chose to work together. So whenever possible, meet with your client in person, especially if you have a long list of feedback you disagree with.
You won’t win all the fights. But you might find yourself winning more of them each time you try. More importantly, you’ll learn which ones are worth fighting for and which ones you can win.
Everyone gets the feedback they deserve.
Leave your mark of good work on the world.

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