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A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 30 weeks 3 days ago

Me: Here is the new complete visual design of your websites layout.Client: What happened to the...

2 March 2017 - 4:20pm

Me: Here is the new complete visual design of your websites layout.

Client: What happened to the font? The previous font was much better, can you please change to it?

The original design looked like this: 

As a favor to my fiancé, I agreed to update his friend’s resume and help her create a LinkedIn...

2 March 2017 - 2:40pm

As a favor to my fiancé, I agreed to update his friend’s resume and help her create a LinkedIn profile. I figured she would be at least somewhat computer literate and have a decently organized resume, because she worked as a clerk.

I was so wrong. There was no capitalization, no punctuation, words that were so blatantly misspelled that a nine year old would catch it, and I won’t even get into the formatting. I honestly don’t understand how she got the job she had with that resume.

Just a few snippets from our time together:

Me: First things first, you need a new email address.

Client: What’s wrong with this one?

Me: It has both the words “dragon” and “kitty” in it.

Me: How fast can you type?

Client: Maybe 100 wpm.

Me: Take this type speed test.

Client: Why is it giving me such a low score? I typed way more than 5 words.

I had a look at her screen.

Me: …It takes accuracy into account.

Also, she had this habit of typing her first name without a capital first letter. Even worse, she would change it BACK to the incorrect version when I fixed it.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

Me: The cheapest and fastest way to get internet into this new site in time for the opening would be...

1 March 2017 - 4:20pm

Me: The cheapest and fastest way to get internet into this new site in time for the opening would be to call [ISP name here] and set up a temporary DSL line so at least a couple of salespeople could work there while the main network is being built out.

Client: Well which one is it? The cheapest or the fastest?

Me: ….

A client who worked for an organisation that provides support for small businesses asked me what it...

1 March 2017 - 2:40pm

A client who worked for an organisation that provides support for small businesses asked me what it would cost to print 50 circular magnets.

Me: I’m afraid the minimum order is for 100 magnets, and would cost $__.

Client: Could you do a mock-up for me to show my boss?  

I don’t normally create custom mock-ups without an order being placed. However I decided to do it in this case due to some previous interactions with this person on social media. When it was done, they wrote back:

Client: Super, thanks. I’ll have to price around to compare but then I’ll get back on to you.

I couldn’t believe that an organisation that is supposed to support small businesses would ask for unpaid work.

Even worse, I presume they showed those competitors my mock-up to communicate what they wanted.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

I recently designed a basic website for a client. I did it for free as a favour, trusting that...

28 February 2017 - 4:20pm

I recently designed a basic website for a client. I did it for free as a favour, trusting that he would not be too choosy. Today I received some revisions from said customer that came in the form of: handwritten notes in an image file on a scanned photocopy of a photo of the website on his monitor. 

Me: We need to go deeper.

Client: What? 

Me: Never mind.

I’m a marketing consultant. The accountant/admin manager (who controls the budget, pays my invoices,...

28 February 2017 - 2:40pm

I’m a marketing consultant. The accountant/admin manager (who controls the budget, pays my invoices, and does most of the selection of which consultant is used), has told me to stop CCing the marketing director on project progress and information. 

I report to this marketing director. 

In fact, the admin manager didn’t even tell me this directly. He told his secretary to tell me, so I assume she will be blamed if it gets back to the Marketing Director that he is intentionally being kept in the dark.

This happened after just finishing up a 30-minute speech for a brand new client of mine.Client: So,...

27 February 2017 - 4:20pm

This happened after just finishing up a 30-minute speech for a brand new client of mine.

Client: So, could you also help us to write a white paper for the speaker?

Me: Sure, I’d charge about $_____ for that. Can you send an example?

Client sends a bio of another speaker at the conference.

Client: Actually, we were hoping you could do this for free, you know, as part of the package?

Me: I can’t do a white paper for free. But it seems you want a bio, not a white paper.

Client: What is a white paper?

Note: a “white paper” is an authoritative report or guide on a subject. Not everybody knows that, but then again, not everybody asks for one in the first place. 


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

"Can you make all the letters in the logo tools? Like, the ones I use? I think that would be fun!"

27 February 2017 - 2:40pm
“Can you make all the letters in the logo tools? Like, the ones I use? I think that would be fun!””

How to start freelancing

27 February 2017 - 12:01pm

Learn how to put your best foot forward when you decide to start freelancing. This is easily our most common Freelance FAQ. 

Do you have a question of your own? Shoot us an email

Want to support the show? Leave us a review on iTunes!

Freelance FAQ: How do I start freelancing?

KAI

The basic answer is ‘find someone who wants to pay you money for a service you provide, then provide that service.

The longer answer is:

  • Identify a target market you want to work with (The Positioning Manual by Philip Morgan is a great resource for this)
  • Identify an expensive problem – “We aren’t getting enough leads!” – that the target market is experiencing
  • Create a service offering that helps the client resolve the problem (“We aren’t getting enough leads”) and moves them towards their dream outcome (“We’re getting too many leads!”)

I started by picking a hobby-skill I had (wordpress development) and finding people who needed WordPress websites. Over time, I identified more valuable problems to focus on and updated my positioning, my target market, my expensive problem, and my service offerings.

But to start, create those ‘rolodex moments’ – have a strong positioning statement (“I’m a THING who helps TARGET MARKET with EXPENSIVE PROBLEM”) and see what referrals and reaction you get.

BRYCE

What you need to start freelancing

All you really need to freelance is:

  • A Good Mentality (e.g. self-confidence, a willingness to try, etc.)
  • Action (e.g. self-discipline, actually doing the work).
  • A skill that can provide value
  • A plan (e.g. self-reflection, meaningful goals, etc.)

Selling and positioning your skill so that it appeals to clients – and building a plan around that – is the real secret to freelancing successfully. Typically, this is referred to as finding a niche, which is something a freelancer should do as soon as possible.

A niche reduces competition and increases specialization. Niche experts can earn more and they’re more attractive to clients with problems their niche experience helps solve. It provides direction and focus.

You’ll want to find some sort of niche ASAP. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help:

  • What industry do you actually use products from or enjoy?
  • What industry hires freelancers with skills like yours?
  • What industry would you enjoy networking in and actually being a part of?

Finding those first three good clients is the first barrier to overcome.

With those first clients (and future clients), you’ll want to:

  1. Find a client’s problem and know how to solve it.
  2. Target the correct market
  3. Pitch the client by…
  • Address the problem: The client’s issue, objective, needs, goals, etc.
  • Offer a solution: Your strategy, plan, or unique positioning that makes you the answer they’ve been looking for.
  • Fees and timelines: I wouldn’t go too far into this initially, but you’ll want to lay the groundwork for fees and realistic timelines. A client shouldn’t feel blindsided by this stuff down the line.

After those first few client interactions, you should reassess your plan before moving forward. Is your skill offering value to clients? Did you enjoy working with these clients? Are there areas to improve?

If those first few client interactions went well and you want to do more work with them, pursue referrals, build case studies, and focus on refining your service as much as possible.

– 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

Clients From Hell on iTunes | Soundcloud
Subscribe on iTunes | Android | RS


Download here!

DEAL: 500 Vector pack – 99% off!

26 February 2017 - 4:20pm

This week’s deal is an incredible 99% off 500 premium vectors. Normally sold separately for $2500 total, for a limited time you can buy this pack for $25!

Packed to the brim with clean, professional vectors for every occasion or event you can imagine, this bundle has dozens of design elements for everything from the 4th of July to Valentine’s, Mother’s Day to St. Patrick’s. This is a one-stop shop for both seasonal and evergreen designs that has something for every day of the year and more. 

For a limited time you can save $2475 off the full retail price of all these elements and grab them all for just $25. That’s incredible value.

> Check out the deal here!

I was working on a website/logo/rebranding project. The client wanted her logo to be a nice medium...

26 February 2017 - 2:40pm

I was working on a website/logo/rebranding project. The client wanted her logo to be a nice medium blue. Cool. Easy.

While working on the website:

Client: Can you make the header black? I want a really dark header.

Black makes the logo look almost neon. She didn’t see anything wrong with that. This was the first sign that things weren’t going to go well.

I did some work to make sure everything fit together, making sure to pick fonts and colors that work with what she wanted without clashing too much.

Me: Okay, I have everything together. Log in and have a look.

Client: Great! I’ve had a look and I made a *few* changes.

I had a look, and everything was a nightmare. She’d changed the background to a purple that looked like old wine, with bright white block text in bold.  There was no difference between her headers and her text body.  Random seafoam colors littered the screen.

I cringed, and then did my best to alter it slightly. I found a color that matched the logo in tone, instead of clashing like something from an 80s sitcom.

After I showed her what I’d done, she polled fifteen of her friends for their opinions. This caused her to lecture me about why her design was better – for three hours.

I’ve since dropped said client.  


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

Waste of space

25 February 2017 - 4:20pm

I’m a home designer. A client asked me to draw up plans for a no-frills, simple duplex. I sent my first draft, which the client deemed to be too big.

Client: I’d really like to get rid of any hallways. Hallways are just wasted space. I’m sending you a sketch I did that shrinks the square footage and eliminates all hallways.  

Me: Okay, here’s a draft with no hallway.  

Client: I don’t like how all the rooms open up to the living room.  

Me: Well, with such a small footprint, it’s really about the only thing you can do. You said you wanted to eliminate the hallway.  

Client: I sent you a sketch. Can you make it look like that?  

He drew in a hallway that takes up 1/3 of the living room.


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

I do video post by the hour, and work according to directions from clients.   My terms are payment...

25 February 2017 - 2:40pm

I do video post by the hour, and work according to directions from clients.   My terms are payment upon receipt.

I submitted an invoice for $3500.

Client: I have only $3000 budgeted.  Can you help me out?

Me: OK, I’ll discount this job for your budget, but on the next job where you make a windfall because I did the work for less than you budgeted, I expect a bonus up to $500.

Silence.

Then he took 60 days to pay the discounted invoice.

Client: Can we meet at three?Me: We scheduled the meeting for half past four. I’m out of town. If I...

24 February 2017 - 4:20pm

Client: Can we meet at three?

Me: We scheduled the meeting for half past four. I’m out of town. If I try, I can be there at four but I can’t guarantee. I’m nowhere near enough to make it.

Client: But I have another meeting at four! 
Me: I’m sorry but if your other appointment called on such short notice, why did you agree?

Client: They called me a week ago.

Me: We had a meeting three days ago. Why didn’t you mention this then? 

Client: I didn’t think you’d have a problem with this!

Me: So let’s be real for a second, do you want the files or not? Cause it sounds like you’d...

24 February 2017 - 2:40pm

Me: So let’s be real for a second, do you want the files or not? Cause it sounds like you’d rather just sue me. 

Client: My lawyer will be in touch with you on the next steps.  Do not contact me.

I took an artwork commission from a client I had worked for before and hadn’t had any troubles...

23 February 2017 - 4:20pm

I took an artwork commission from a client I had worked for before and hadn’t had any troubles with. 

This time was different. 

They wanted a drawing of their role-playing character with their face turned down in sharp profile.

I sent a sketch. 

Client: It’s perfect!

I sent linework. 

Client: It’s perfect!

I did the color, and sent a final version.

Client: It’s not perfect.

Me: What’s the issue?

Client: Can you open his eyes?

Me: This is something you should have brought up at the sketch or line stages. I can open his eyes but they probably wouldn’t be visible anyway because of the angle.

Client: Well, I can’t even recognize him now.

The sketch was in 350 dpi and very clear. The linework was VERY crisp. I have no idea why they waited this long to make a criticism. 


> Want to know if freelancing is for you?

"To the ‘unpaid ad’ flaggers: REMEMBER: What we do to others WILL be done to us. What you..."

23 February 2017 - 2:40pm
“To the ‘unpaid ad’ flaggers:
REMEMBER: What we do to others WILL be done to us. What you SEND out, will COME back for you. ECCLESIASTES 10-8”

- via @forexposure​_txt

Working remotely (and why it makes sense)

23 February 2017 - 12:02pm

You really can work from anywhere — and even on your own terms! Just make sure all your advice doesn’t come from a clickbait headline. 

Do you have a question of your own? Shoot us an email

Want to support the show? Leave us a review on iTunes!

Freelance FAQ: How do you work remotely?

You work remotely (and effectively), by having four things:

  • A clear idea of what you should be doing, in terms of outcomes. “Get client outline of marketing project” or “Finish design for Kai”
  • Time clearly blocked off for each project
  • A working environment – be it a cafe, a coffee shop, a co-working space, or an office – where you can do focused work
  • A means of communicating with the client with firmly established boundaries in terms of when you are and are not available

When you know the work you need to do, have time blocked off for the work, have a space to do the work in, and have a means of communicating with the client that isn’t a distraction, you’re in the perfect spot to work remotely.

In terms of telling clients you work remotely, I’ve never had an issue with this. I’ve been consulting for 5+ years and every single project has been remote. No one has balked.

– 

Questions? Episode ideas?

Talk to Clients From Hell or Bryce Bladon on Twitter. Or shoot us an email

Clients From Hell on iTunes | Soundcloud
Subscribe on iTunes | Android | RS


Download here!

Client:  You have to use our corporate colors, but you can change hue and saturation.Me: …Client:...

22 February 2017 - 4:20pm

Client:  You have to use our corporate colors, but you can change hue and saturation.

Me: …

Client:

Me: Can I change opacity?

Client: No.

I was hired to design and order “school spirit” t-shirts for a K-12 school. Client: Why are you...

22 February 2017 - 2:40pm

I was hired to design and order “school spirit” t-shirts for a K-12 school. 

Client: Why are you ordering so many more of the medium and larger sizes?!

Me: …because most of our kids and parents we’ll be selling to wear these sizes?

Client: No, no, that won’t do! Order equal amounts of each size!

Me: But…

Client: Just do it.

Several weeks later…

Client: Why are there so many childrens’ small and extra small shirts left?!