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The start-up dilemma – how not to mess things up when working with creatives5 min read

November 27, 2019 4 min read


The start-up dilemma – how not to mess things up when working with creatives5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cheers! Really. You are a Founder of a start-up and we’re excited. You have all the passion and you’re confident in your day-to-day choices regarding your “baby-boo”. We like these kind of people. So amen.

Tough love between start-ups and creatives

It doesn’t matter how you chose to work with creative people, (although it is much more safely to dedicate an experienced digital or product agency, instead of a flaky freelancer), there are always some messy thoughts going on in your head such as “Do these people really think they understand my business better than I do? What the hell are these asshole-taxes 💰?” (although, believe me, most freelancers require hell-out-taxes, too).

This article is about the TOUGH LOVE between start-ups and creatives, delivering some tactics which will help the in-between collaboration processes.

According to Harvard Business Review, around 80% of the founders (in a survey of 3,000 entrepreneurs) assumed that there was an 81% chance that they would succeed but only a 59% success probability for other businesses like their own, on average.

Why’s that?

Because of their overconfidence and unfortunately, naivety.

The truth hurts. 💔 Always.

First step of ensuring your success is to be absolutely aware of the fact that there are many fish in the sea and some are even better than you.

WOW, right?

But wait there’s more: most startups fail in the first three years! It’s more likely not to fail with a tech-oriented CEO but after the first three, a business that would like to be scaled needs some different skills.

But worry not. The second step of ensuring your success is not to focus on the concurrence but on the important stuff like how to get the most out of the creative people who are dedicated to working on your project as well.

Constructive, not muddy feedback

Imagine walking into Costa coffee, ordering “the best” coffee they have and then get insane because it isn’t the type of coffee you like.

We all want to skip that moment when sh** hits the fan.

What you need to do before even answering questions from a designer brief, is to clearly decide what needs to be done. And when I say clearly, I mean precisely and concrete.

If you don’t know what you need, why you need it, and what has to be the exact final result of all the work, it will be a hard time for any creative out there.

And everyone knows what happens when guesswork starts:


Your answers can be short or changeable but there must be ones. The simplest example: “I need a full redesign of the existing interface because it looks like a ’90s-era disco song“.

If you don’t know these answers, poor us, the creatives, because your feedback will be like it’s coming from a lost child in the woods. 😱 And most probably you’ll end up with a 99-line list of fixes on the first draft.

So how do we manage to fix that problem and to save projects from failing? By clearly defining the date by which we expect to receive feedback from the client. Тhat also insures us that they will have a clear idea of when to expect deliverables as well. It’s our responsibility to take full control over receiving feedback.

So, it’s simple: constructive, not muddy feedback, please!

Don’t be afraid of experimenting

Or just don’t be afraid of the word “creative”. Another final truth I’m gonna share with you guys (for this article ;)) is that artistic people are not the ones you think they are.

You think: Introverts see people as monsters 👻. They steer clear of the digital world and don’t know what passion for business is.

We say: You’re very wrong, buddy.

Creative people, ugh, I mean, “we”… have the ability to get inspired and to inspire, we are very passionate about our work, and we get to see a lot of businesses and start-ups from up-close.

This is why we can’t think of a smarter decision than to hire someone who’s background is a combination design thinking, psychology, and experience.

Creatives are closer to you than you think.

Which is also why when a creative team offers you a decision you’ve never thought of you should’t be afraid to try it.

As a new successful startup founder, you should be open minded! If the idea fails, that’s OK, you can learn from it. And if not, as 99,99% of the time happens, you’ll be one of the lucky ones.

That’s all for now. If you’re one of these startup founders, who are keen to drive fast but secure, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or two.

We can’t wait to work together!