The beginning of a project is crucial to the outcome of the final product. When clients and I sit down for our first cup of coffee I like to explain to them how important it is for them to feel comfortable discussing every aspect of their project. If I am not being clear, or if they simply aren't, that door needs to be kept open for all to access and clear up any questions.
Make your client feel welcome, as always. I like to keep it really casual. I like to be forward on what the client can expect from me, how I can use my design skills to advance their brand, then explain my process through working with me.. Clients generally want quotes right off the bat, but I tend to wait until I have a further scope on their project(s). Giving someone a quote that is too low or too high will come back to bite you if you don't have a full understanding. I ask various questions about the clients company, what they do, key words, competitors, and many more.
One of my favorite parts of the process is research. Depending on the objective of the client and what audience your trying to connect with, any design project can be taken down a million paths. Finding the right design inspiration for your client is really important, otherwise you might just miss the mark all together.
When going through multiple layout options, color trials, or different designs all together, I like to take a moment to see what is truly working and can be tightened up for a client to review. Depending on the extend of the project, I usually put together 2-4 options for the client to look through and send back thoughts and revisions. If possible I enjoy making a meeting out of it if necessary. Always keep in mind what the client is trying to acheive, who their target audience is, and how well it speaks to their brand.