1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
After college I went to Italy to do a montage. (Putting up tents for Eurocamp) We had no electricity and I only had one book. I really missed doing creative things. While there I enrolled in multi media course at University and haven’t looked back since
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I started by getting a job with a small web design company. I got this role through enthusiasm; They said they had candidates more qualified. In the first year there I put all my learning and theories from Uni and books into practice. Having this platform helped me develop a lot.
The biggest hurdle has probably been my own personality. I’m very passionate, which made me difficult to work with in the past. I wouldn’t see the relationship with a client or team as a joint partnership we could all benefit from. Working out how to take feedback and design criticism well and constructively has helped make me a better designer and member of the team
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
Good work and relationships have been key. We’ve built strong partnerships with clients and key people so we get a lot of recommendations. Doing good work, has led to good results which means people tell their network.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
We currently do a lot of project work. Our vision is for everyone to sign up for year retainers. We do a customer journey map at the start of every project. This gives our clients an overview of every touch point their customers hit and how they can build or improve up on that. Having work scheduled in over a yearly roadmap gives us stability as a business but also offer our clients the best value for money. Last year we introduced an agile working process which allows us to do lots of mini releases over the course of a year
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
It has happened from time to time. We’re very strict and don’t let it slide because time is precious. It needs to be valued. We only release the site or the designs after the final invoice has been settled.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
I have a two year old. So normally up pretty early
6am – 7am: Shower and breakfast
7am – 9am: Travelling, talking to team and going through projects
9am – 12pm: Designs
12pm – 1pm: Lunch and research
1pm – 3pm: Working through our board of jobs to get stuff done
3pm – 5.30pm: Meetings with team, sorting out admin and speaking to clients
5.45pm: Home and then family time
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
Read as many books and go to as many talks as possible.
Ask as many questions in the briefing/research phase as possible and listen to the answers
Understand the fundamentals of design so you can concentrate on the message.
Be nice and don’t take any feedback to heart. It’s all part of developing
You can find out more about Ben Gross here: www.electriccircus.co.uk
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