Startup Clients: The Pros and Cons

Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 01/25/2016 | Author: April Koenig

Startup Clients: The Pros and Cons

A company’s reputation can be a significant factor when deciding whether a freelancer should take on a project. But what if the company is new, with no track record to show just yet? Should the artist immediately turn down the job? Not necessarily. When a startup comes calling to prospective creatives, there are several pros and cons to consider before making a final decision. 

Pro: Ground Floor – Working with a startup means forming a relationship with a company during its infancy. A successful partnership early can lead to bigger and better things as the company grows. And impressive portfolios are built on being able to shape the direction of a brand in the early stages.

Con: Early Exit – Most startups fail. It’s just a fact of business life. That’s one of the risks involved with taking on projects with a new company. There’s a better than average chance your relationship won’t be long-term.

Pro: Less Bureaucracy – Most startups aren’t as monolithic as established companies, which is a good thing. A smaller entity can lead to less turnaround time for the beginning of a project, faster feedback and less downtime. It also means there’s a good chance a freelance artist will have more direct communication with department directors and CEOs; knowing your face can be huge down the road. 

Cons: Chasing Answers – The flip side to less middlemen is that the personnel you interact with will be constantly busy. Scheduling meetings and calls might be tougher through no fault of bureaucracy; it’s just that small teams are busy teams. Be ready for the smoothness of interacting with an established company to not be seen. Payment delays, unclear communications and general frustrations are very possible until established SOPs can be worked out.

Pro: Portfolio Pump Up – Startup companies are going to have a much wider variety of project needs than other entities. Opportunities for gaining a wide variety of experience are much greater when working with startups, which means more tools in your portfolio toolbox. Branding, marketing and other materials that normally are completed for other companies can be shaped by freelancers first on the scene.

Con: Mixed Message – Another frustration when working with someone new can be an unclear company mission. Lack of coherent vision can lead to frequent revising, branding stops and starts, and a cloudy view of the road ahead. If unchecked, mixed messages by startups might wreck the company before the doors ever open.

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