Hospitals have a dedicated person (sometimes a team) called a patient advocate. Newspapers have them too, called ombudsmen. Airlines have Twitter teams. Many larger organizations, where there is a built-in disconnect between the producer and the consumer, there is a liaison, someone who, when gaps between the two form, can help close them.
You, the creative, are very fortunate. You do not have this disconnect.
You do not need a team of patient advocates or ombudsmen to help run interference for you with your clients. You have yourself, and that is perfect. Your client has imbued a great deal of trust in you. Trust that you will always, without fail, keep their needs front and center in your thinking and in your dealing with them.
Do you? If you don’t, why don’t you? Some argue they have to “protect themselves” and worry about “getting screwed over”. That’s a fine place to start a relationship, one of fear and suspicion, isn’t it? Those creatives who place their own needs ahead of their clients’ inevitably encounter problems. Problems which cascade.
How about starting and maintaining that relationship based on love for your client? On the other hand if, while preparing your rates, or your custom offerings, or picking up the phone to have a conversation, you’re listening to your clients’ needs and figuring out how you, as the trusted creator, can fulfill those needs to the best of your ability, you are creating value, establishing trust, and paving the way for your creativity–the exact thing your client has hired you for. You are your client’s advocate. We should all be.