Investing beyond finance – how to work with a creative.

Dec 5, 2017

Sometimes creatives can be difficult people to work with. They often think outside of the box – partly through habit; often through necessity. In my 12 years of working in creative environments I’ve noticed a few habits of working with creative people, and the expectations that clients often have.

Often I see creatives working with clients who effectively treat them as magicians – sometimes with a little awe, but usually with the expectation that if they throw some money at a project, then the creatives can wave a magic wand and ‘do their thing.’ Simple as that, right?

So how do you get the most out of a creative project? What every creative wishes a client knew is that the investment required goes way beyond the finance – here’s a few things that your creative might need you to know:

Invest mentally

Get on board with a project. Creatives are investing time and effort into diagnosing issues and suggesting solutions. Help us see the bigger picture, and know how best to respond. Paying someone to do a job isn’t enough with creative projects – you’ve got to be in it for the long haul and invested mentally and personally.

Take risk

Thinking outside the box is fine, but unless you are prepared to also operate outside the box, all a creative can ever do is give you ideas. It’s up to you to be prepared to use some of those ideas to change some of what you do, or why you do it.


Trust the person you are working with. It might sound obvious, but you need to be prepared to trust someone to back up their ideas with actions. If you’ve seen what a creative has done elsewhere and loved the results, the chances are that the journey was not as easy as the end result would look.

Be prepared to make mistakes:

Your end goal is determined, and you’re focused on success, but that might not be guaranteed first time around. Being creative involves a lot of trial and error – be prepared to make mistakes!

Agree? Disagree? Get in touch, I’d be happy to hear from you.

About the Author | Roddy Mackay
Tentmaker Creative is a small communications consultancy run by Roddy Mackay, a creative with 15 years’ experience of working with a variety of clients in a range of places to help them tell their stories well. Roddy’s work is split between running Tentmaker Creative and as a freelance photographer, where he shoots a combination of travel, weddings and commercial projects. As Tentmaker Creative, Roddy works with a range of other creatives to help clients think through a bigger picture – and to create content and strategies that help you engage your audience more effectively.

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