Clients from Hell
I was a freelance video editor and worked from my home. A friend of mine was a cameraman, and his daughter was getting married. He asked how much it would be to edit her wedding video which he would shoot. I had known the guy casually for over 20 years so I said I would edit for free as the wedding present.
This was my first mistake.
After the wedding, it took months for the bride to come to my home to start the process. The first meeting went well and I had a cut to her within a week.
Another month and she came back with changes. This happened two more times each with months in between the edits. By the third, I handed her a hand drive with all the footage and said ‘mazeltov’. She was pleased and I assumed the job was complete.
I moved from freelance to a regular day job which I fully enjoy. I put my editing system into storage and had no more home clients.
A year and a half later I received an email from the bride:
Client: I’m ready to get to work on this! I’m available now!
I emailed her back:
Me: I’m retired.
Not the work arena typically represented here but a client from hell none the less.
We’re a fire department in a wealthy suburb. Sequential lines of thunderstorms have been rolling through the city for some time and we have been responding to alarm calls all morning. As we pull up to a large, two story house it’s obvious that it has a lightning strike. There are pieces of the brick chimney in the front yard.
We walk up to the front door, ring the bell, and are greeted by the homeowner. Explaining that we’re here in response to the call from the alarm company and that it’s clear her house was struck by lightning we ask to check the attic space to make sure there isn’t anything smoldering that could develop into a fire. Keep in mind, we’ve taken standard precautions since this could potentially be a structure fire. As a result, we have our full firefighting equipment on with coats, pants, boots, air packs, helmets, thermal imaging camera, fire axe, etc.
Client: Of course, but you’ll need to take your boots off. I don’t want you to mess up the carpet.
Me: Ma’am, we can’t remove our protective equipment just to keep your carpet clean.
Client: I want to talk to your boss.
Me: Ma’am, you’re welcome to talk to our Chief. He’ll be here in a few minutes, but we really need to get upstairs so we can make sure your house isn’t on fire.
Client: I’ll wait.
The Chief pulled up within a couple of minutes while we stood awkwardly on her front porch. He told her department regulations prevent us from removing personal safety equipment before entering a potentially hazardous environment. She let us in but wasn’t happy about it. The thermal imaging camera revealed smoldering wood framing behind a wall in the finished attic.
I guess you don’t have to vacuum if your house burns down.
Client: Hey, why haven’t you launched this project yet? We need it done ASAP. This is taking way too long and I don’t have time for this.
Me: Actually, we’re still waiting for you to sign off so that we can launch it.
Client: I’m signing off. Please go ahead and launch this tomorrow.
I launch the project. Three hours later:
Client: WHY THE HELL DID YOU LAUNCH THIS. IT’S NOT READY. YOU MESSED EVERYTHING UP.
A new client wanted me to do some Facebook marketing for his weight loss website, in part promoting an eBook.
Me: I charge X € for a Facebook ad per month. That includes ad creation, monitoring, and reporting, plus the advertising budget for Facebook…
Client: That’s great, do it!
Me: …But I couldn’t find a Facebook page for the product. A Facebook page is necessary in order to advertise the product on Facebook. You can do it yourself or if you don’t want to, I can. But this isn’t included the price for the ad so it’ll be an additional X €. That includes [basic setup for a Facebook page].
Client: Ok, let me think about it.
One day later:
Client: I don’t want to pay for the Facebook page. Please do an ad without it.
Me: But I literally can’t run your ad unless you have a Facebook page.
Client: Well, I don’t want one. Just to the ad.
Me: (slamming head on desk)
I do freelance illustration and animation. This is a client I recently had, for your own sanity I’ve kept it short as I can.
Client: Hi, do you illustrate children’s books?
Me: Yes I do! If you’d kindly send a brief, sample paragraphs of what you’d like referenced, and sample art in terms of color or style I can get a quote to you by 5:00.
She then sent 34 images that shared no similarities and no further information.
Me: Okay, thanks for those but I need more information. Please refer to my last message.
In response, she sent about 30 Christmas themed GIFs.
Me: Hi again. Could you please send me a brief stating how many images you want, their size, sample paragraphs from your book and images you think best represent the style you want? If you get these to me soon, I can send you a quote at 8:00 am tomorrow.
Shortly after I received an email with butterfly photos.
Client: I like butterflies.
After that, a picture of a unicorn and more butterflies.
Client: I like the sparkles, but I don’t want this.
Then an email with a photo of a Shinto temple on top of a mountain.
Client: I like this too but not the Chinese building.
Client: Can you draw my characters into this tree with a rainbow?
Me: It’s after midnight. Can we pick this up tomorrow after I begin my working hours?
Client: (sending another photo)I like these sparkles.
Attached was a photo of a waterfall, no tree in sight. For the record she was a very sweet old lady who was willing to pay, just extremely difficult to extract information from.
Alison Grade wrote The Freelance Bible because she saw her students develop skills in their field and then take their first, tentative steps towards running their own business… and not know what to do. At all.
One of the key problems for new freelancers and anyone having to pivot because of COVID-19 is not recognizing that the SOFT skills they have – i.e. the ones you didn’t go to school for – are sometimes even more important than those you actually trained for. She walks Kyle through her process for finding out what your business direction should be!
- Alison Grade
- Theme song by topmen.bandcamp.com!
Want to support the show?
Order a custom infographic from Easel.ly! Use this link (https://www.easel.ly/infographicdesign/) for a great price!
Think you’d be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH
Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.
The post Hard sell your soft skills: Alison Grade of The Freelance Bible appeared first on Clients From Hell.
Client: I’ve had a look through your portfolio and absolutely love your work!
Me: That’s great to hear!
Client: Buuuut, we’re wondering if you could draw so it looks more like [popular illustrator]’s style.
Me: Oh, well, generally when you hire an artist, it’s because of their own unique style. Besides, I wouldn’t feel comfortable just copying someone else. Why not just hire them instead?
Client: Well, we did ask them, but they’re charging triple what you are!
I don’t know why I didn’t expect that answer to be honest…
Client: You’re a miracle worker!
I used the Dropbox app to make a 3-page PDF for a group of older ladies.
Not a client from hell – quite the opposite! But I thought it was pretty funny.
The post appeared first on Clients From Hell.
The following is an exact conversation I had with a client.
Client: The measurements for the sticker are 35mm x 35mm and 85mm x 85mm.
There are 2 sizes you need to do for the sticker.
The shape is circle.
We can do whatever shape we want as long based on this measurement given.
Me: But you specified that it should be a circle, so we can’t do “whatever shape we want,” right?
Client: Any shape as long as is the measurement given.
Me: So does it need to be a circle?
Client: Don’t need.
Me: Just to double-check, you said that it should be a circle, but now you’re telling me that it doesn’t have to be, right?
Client: Don’t need to be circle.
I do contract blog ghostwriting for a few clients. A recent customer had started a gaming site and was looking for someone to post content to fill up their site. They were apparently pleased with what I did, promising more work in the future. This work was on a third-party platform, which is a semi-important part of the story.
Two weeks down the line I received a message:
Client: Please contact me off-site. I have a legitimate employment opportunity.
I was somewhat suspicious and sent him a message regardless.
Me: So what is this “opportunity”?
Client: I want a permanent writer for my site. You’ll be listed as a byline and get more work.
It sounded great, but I sensed a “but.”
I didn’t have to wait long.
Client: I won’t be able to pay you the same rate – each article will be about less than half what I’ve been paying you, and I’ll only be able to pay you once you publish a certain number of posts with no money up front.
Client: Just so you know, I’m working with another writer and I think these rates are completely reasonable.
I flatly declined and politely told him he could order through said third-party platform if he wanted more work. I never heard from him since; however, it became quite clear to me that he had no intention of treating me fairly, and luring me off the platform with the guise of “employment” was the only way he could get his way to stiff someone for cheap writing.
This week’s deal is on all the tools you’ll need to create a 70s style art poster in almost no time at all.
With amazingly intricate borders and stylish screen-print illustrations, concert posters from the 70s were a pinnacle of great design. This package turns photos into illustrations, gives you palettes that look just right, and provides borders that make all the difference to harnessing this amazing look Conjuring images of flower-children swaying to some of the greatest music ever made, this style is tantalizing for summer events, retro-branding, and fun promotions. It’s a secret weapon for your design toolkit, and at only $7, it’s just the price of a couple of cups of coffee.
Normally this toolkit would cost $40, which is pretty reasonable, but this week you can get the Art Poster Creator bundle for just $7.
The post Create Classic Rock-style posters in minutes for only $7! appeared first on Clients From Hell.
I was asked to help put some videos together for a group that raises money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. I think highly of that organization, so I said yes. The videos were of the past children they had granted wishes for.
When the photos came in, they didn’t have any names or identifiers attached to them.
Me: Could you send me a list of names of the kids? I don’t know who is who.
Client: Use process of elimination.
Me: … No, I don’t know who ANY of them are. I’ve never seen these photos and I am not familiar with your company.
Client: Look, I can’t do your job for you.
Client: Hi there, I understand you provide sales consulting ?
Me: That’s right. I offer packages of different training based on the type of sales operation and what you are seeking to achieve
Client: We need a 300% lift in sales by the next quarter
Me: Well that’s quite a target, how many sales people do you have at the moment.
Client: None, we also need you to recruit those.
Client: I love everything you have proposed, and the price seems reasonable. Let’s move ahead as quickly as possible!
Client’s husband: We are not doing any of that. It’s too expensive and we don’t need the work done!
At this point, they started bickering between themselves.
Me: here is my card. Talk amongst yourselves and please call me if you would like to go ahead, or if you have any questions.
The husband walked me to the door:
Client’s husband: We’re not going to call. You don’t have the job.
Months later, the client called:
Client: I’m surprised! It’s been a few months since we met and I haven’t heard anything from you regarding scheduling. I actually assumed the work would be done by now.
Me: Well no. Your husband told me you were not interested.
Client: Oh, don’t listen to him. No one else does.
Me: I’ve finished the PDF generator. To generate a PDF for a specific account, go to their account and press “create PDF.”
Client: Great! Can you explain to me how it works?
Me: Go to their account and press “create PDF.”
Client: Can you just show me?
A client wants to appear on the top of Google Search and asks me to run AdWords for his off-shore business. One Sunday evening at 9 PM I receive a frantic phone call.
Client: My business’ ad does not appear at the top of the page. What am I paying you for?
Me: We agreed to set an ad schedule to only run ads during working hours.
The next morning at 7 AM I receive another phone call.
Client: My ad is still not showing at the top of the page!
Me: It’s still not business hours.
Two hours later:
Client: Why don’t I see my business’ ad when I type in the search terms? It is supposed to show on top and we don’t even feature anywhere on the first five pages!!
Me: We agreed to run the ad only in [off-shore location]. Unless you are in that location you won’t see the ad in search results.
Client: Are you telling me that if I want to check up on your work I must go to that location?
Me: No. I send you a weekly status report with statistics from AdWords and Google Analytics.
Client: Let’s change that. I want to always see my ad on top when I search in Google.
Me: …Do you want to increase the budget from $160 to $800 per month?
Client: No. I would prefer if we spend less than $100 per month.
Me: Perhaps you should consider using a different service provider.
Client: Don’t get snippy with me! Have you seen what the other service providers charge?
I haven’t fired the client yet, but I did set my phone to automatically go into ‘silent’ mode between 5 PM and 8 AM.