I spent a number of years frustrated with my path as an owner and designer. Stepping back now I can see that it was due to how much client driven work I had. Design Monkey is a word we use around here to describe the function of just pushing pixels and dancing when the client says dance.
There is a time and a place for dancing but are you letting the client or your process drive? As we were developing the SpringBoard Marketing System process I could see that process is critical. The system tended to break down though after we got out of the discovery and it would drift back to a client driven relationship.
It was only this year that I put it all together and saw that process was not just an act or a project. If you want to truly manage the client relationship then a process needs to be at the center of how you work. When we moved SpringBoard from a one-time event to a mindset things really started to change. Once we let the process drive – and got the client to agree to that – it was no longer what I wanted or what they wanted, it was simply the next step on a journey we both agreed on.