How important are happy clients?

“I love it!”

I’ll bet hearing that from a client makes your day.

Don’t you love it when they love it and are “happy” with your work?

But what if your client is not a good judge of your work?

What if your client has no way of knowing whether what you’ve done is good or bad or whether it will help them achieve their goals? In other words, what good does it do that they are “happy?”

When your client asks you to meet an impossible deadline, would you pull an all-nighter to make them happy? And how happy would that make you or your family? What are you sacrificing to your client’s happiness?

Too many creatives bend over backwards to make the client happy – to hear a smile in their voice or to prevent them from getting mad. This is not within your control and truthfully, it shouldn’t matter. Happiness is not the deliverable. Good work is the deliverable.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s obviously nothing wrong with a happy client. But it’s not — and it shouldn’t be — your goal. It’s frosting on the cake.

What’s actually important — the cake — is that you are happy, that you did your best and, whether you deliver a logo or a landing page, you think it will work. (I’m calling this #MeFirst.)

Your services must work for the client — it must get them the attention they need to stand out in the market. And they don’t usually know what works — that’s why they chose you.

Said another way:

  • If the client is happy, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
  • And if they’re not happy, it could work anyway.
  • There’s usually no relationship between the two.

So if your client is happy, that’s great. But try not to love it too much.

About Ilise Benun

Ilise Benun is the founder of, the go-to online resource for creative professionals who want better projects with bigger budgets. She is a national speaker and the author of 7 business books, including The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money. She is a business coach and adjunct faculty Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a Program Partner for HOW Design Live and host of The HOW Design Live podcast. Follow her on Twitter @ilisebenun, subscribe to the and sign up for her Quick Tips here:

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