Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

User Submitted Post

13 June 2019 - 2:00pm

I’m working on a video for a client, and they had me cut out a bunch of photos in various spots because they didn’t think they were necessary.

Client: I think you should put some of the photos back in.

Me: No problem. Which photos?

Client: Well, at 2:12 you took all the photos out.

Me: Ah, yes. That was what you requested. Which ones do you want me to put back in?

Client: Well, not that one or that one, but some of these others.

You may have the impression that the client was pointing at the photos. Me too. The problem was, we were on the phone. 

Me: Sorry, I can’t see what you’re looking at. Can you be more specific?

Client: Take out the ones with the board members.

Me: Those are all photos of the board members.

Client: Well, put some back in, but not the ones we don’t want.

Me: I’m having a hard time understanding which photos you’re referring to. Can you send me time codes of the ones you want me to add back into the video?

Client: Sure.

Client: (email) At 2:12, there were photos. Put some of them back in.

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Content? What content?

12 June 2019 - 3:00pm

Client: Why are you not designing the website?

Me: You haven’t told me anything about what you want. What will this website be? Where is the content? What should it include? Who is visiting the site?

Client: You can design a site without content.

Me: Without content or context, I have no idea what to design.

Client: Well then. It seems we are at an impasse. 

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User Submitted Post

12 June 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: When you finished the web banners, they should not have gone live on the website immediately after.

Me: You gave your okay and told me to submit them to the person that is in charge of site content. You even saw them live on the websites and said they were okay. You didn’t have a problem then.

Client: But don’t you know that stuff like this normally goes through a process before it goes live on a website?

Me: You mean ‘staging’?

Client: Yes! That! Why didn’t you just do that?

Me: Because you don’t HAVE any staging. That’s how your websites were built. That’s why everything goes live as soon as it’s submitted for site content.

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How to be yourself, whatever: Rachel Presser on being “The Toad Lady”

11 June 2019 - 7:37pm
How to be yourself, whatever: Rachel Presser on being “The Toad Lady”

We constantly hear that we should “be ourselves” and “authentic.” The only problem is when most people tell us that, they’re telling us to be the person they think we are. That’s not what it means to be yourself.

Rachel Presser of Sonic Toad Media couldn’t be mistaken for anyone but herself. She makes games and she loves toads, and she makes that absolutely clear. She does a great job of recognizing who she wants to work with, and she knows that watering herself down means working with the wrong people. She shares her freelancing philosophy with Kyle in this week’s episode.

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Today’s links: 

 

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User Submitted Post

11 June 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Use Scrum to manage the project. Just be sure to give a detailed delivery plan for the next three months that says exactly when you will deliver every feature. 

 

 

 

Editor’s note: “Scrum” is an agile project management style that is antithetical to planning specific deliverables up front. And know you know! And knowing is half the battle. 

 

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User Submitted Post

11 June 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: The illustrations on this file look blurry.

Me: (internally) WELL YEAH IF YOU’RE ZOOMED IN 423% YOUR 2-INCH FILE’S GONNA LOOK A LITTLE BLURRY KAREN.

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It’s like everything is just somthing

10 June 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Wait, this is it? This is the logo? 

Me: Yeah. I will send it to you in a variety of formats including a ‘vector’ version that can be printed at any size without issues. You can use this on any of your materials.

Client: So it’s just a picture? I’m paying for just a picture?

Me: Uh….

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User Submitted Post

10 June 2019 - 1:00pm

A client just sent an email with some images attached.

Client: Hi! Could you please download these images and put them in the download link with the other ones you sent me? I need to download them to print them off.

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Turbocharge your toolkit with 197 premium fonts for only $15! 99% off!

9 June 2019 - 2:00pm
Turbocharge your toolkit with 197 premium fonts for only $15! 99% off!

This week’s deal is on a massive collection of new fonts to play with. 

> The quality and diversity of these fonts are both very, very high. 

Whether you live and breathe fonts or you just want a few options so you’ve got the right tool for the right job, you’re going to find a lot to like here. 52 premium font families, 197 unique fonts. I’m enamored with the stately elegance of Golden Bird, the warm and inviting script font Just Because, the austerity of Elena and the stylish brutality of Knowhere, but you’re going to find a few new favorites here

Buying every one of these premium fonts separately would normally add up to $1163, but this week you can get them all for $15 at a savings of 99%. That’s chump change for this much variety in your toolkit. Don’t miss it.

> Check out the deal here. 

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“Quick” Cold-Email Copy

9 June 2019 - 1:00pm

I was hired to write copy for an app marketing company as a freelancer. Right after I was hired, the marketing manager told me he had a “small” projects that needed to be done right away. He needed the copy by tomorrow. 

Client: I just need 6 cold e-mail options. I want people to sign-up to use the app. This will go to business people on LinkedIn. The job should only take you a couple of hours.

Me: Can you give me more information about the desired tone, audience, or main selling points of the app? 

Client: I just want executives to find out more about this app. That’s all. 

Me: 

Me: I think this will take more than a couple of hours with research and drafts for us to review, but let me see what I can do.

I researched the app, researched cold e-mail copy examples, and wrote 6 versions of a friendly and approachable e-mail trying to describe the benefits of a generic app. He then criticized the copy and said he wasn’t very happy with any of it (even though I have been a copywriter for over 6 years with lots of happy clients).

Me: That’s what you get when you don’t provide a Creative Brief and you want a quick turnaround. 

The client never paid me and we never spoke again.

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User Submitted Post

8 June 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: Can you hurry and make the website accessible to the blind? Thanks.

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We are black but make us look more Caucas-ahem…professional, please

8 June 2019 - 2:00pm

I was working with a company in Nairobi. 

Client: Here are some photos of our team doing tech. Use them, please.

I did.

Client: Uum…these don’t look ‘techy’ enough.

Me: Those are the photos you gave me. What do you want to be changed? 

Client: Can you maybe make us look more professional? More tech-focused?

They were all already sitting in front of computers. 

Me: …How?

Client: Here are some photos of our chief investors. Digitally insert them into the previous ones. Make them look like they’re really in our Nairobi office with us.

They gave me new photos. All of their investors were white. 

Client: Oh, and can you make their eyes blue and their hair a little blonde, please?

I’m not sure who I’m upset with here, but the answer might be “everyone.” 

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The E-Mail Newsletter to Sell Software

7 June 2019 - 2:00pm

A client who runs a software company wanted me to design an e-mail newsletter. He didn’t give me much direction, just that his goal was to get people to sign-up to receive for a promotional giveaway. I was already seeing red flags, but I decided to go ahead with the work anyway. 

I designed a newsletter that matched the colors and fonts of his logo and website, with tech-savvy phrases, modern colors, and fonts. 

Client: Here, let me work on it.

A day later, I looked at how he re-designed the newsletter. It had neon BOGO!! and BUY NOW!! phrases all over it, in bright green and red colors and large bold Times New Roman Font.

I didn’t follow up with him after that.

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User Submitted Post

7 June 2019 - 1:00pm

At the time I was working as a solo attorney. I knew this guy who owned a few small businesses, who would often post about people in our ethnic community “not supporting each other” or “always trying to get something for free.” Imagine my surprise when I received this Facebook message at two in the morning: 

Client: If you have a minute and won’t charge me $$ like my lawyer is by the minute right now, I was wondering how serious is this language in a contract

He then pasted a large non-disparagement clause from some contract. 

I didn’t respond because I don’t work for free, especially not at two in the morning for someone who didn’t even pretend to plan to pay me.

Later the next day, I got this message:

Client: Hey not sure if you got a chance to think about it, our lawyer said we should be good with it. Thanks anyways.

 

 

 

 

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User Submitted Post

7 June 2019 - 1:00pm

Me: Can you please send me your company logo as an .AI file?

Unexpectedly, they actually sent a .AI. I am happy. 

Until I open the file, which says “Could not find linked file xxx.png.”

Me: @*#$!

 

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My Daughter is Your New Director

6 June 2019 - 2:00pm

I was hired by a company to build up its brand online. I looked at what they already had done, and I noticed that the client’s daughter was in charge previously. Sales had been very, very low.

As a digital marketer, I had about 10 years of experience. I proceeded to double the sales of the business over the next few months. During this time, I was bullied by the business owner’s family members, who didn’t understand how digital marketing works.

Client: We have hired someone new who will be coming in soon to work on marketing with you.

Me: Ok, thanks for letting me know.

The next week, I get an e-mail from the client’s daughter (only a couple of years out of college, the one who had previously almost sunk the brand), stating she will be my new Director.

I quit that day.

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Going to get rich!

6 June 2019 - 1:00pm

Some years back, I worked for a help desk at a major university under contract with a government agency.  We had our share of ridiculous calls, usually when a software change went out.  This particular call though was the one that made my time there most memorable.

Me: Help desk, how can I help you?

Client: I can’t get my laptop to shut off.

Me: Sounds like it’s hung up. Try holding the power button down for three seconds.

Client: I did, and it didn’t shut off.

Me: Okay, let’s try unplugging the power cord.

Client: It’s still on.

Me: Alright, let’s remove the battery, then.

Client: I  the battery, but it’s still on.

Me:

Client: What should I do now?

Me: (joking) Okay, box it up and send it to me.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to be really rich when I determine how your laptop is staying on with absolutely no power source.

Client: Okay, I’ll send it in.

Me:

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The Distressed Financial Professional

5 June 2019 - 2:00pm

I was hired to market a vacation rental home on Facebook and a small business for someone who was a financial professional.

He asked me to market the vacation rental home on Facebook, even though I told him I think a website would also be helpful. His restaurant was a small diner in a scrappy part of town. The website of the restaurant was terrible and he had barely done any marketing for it.

Client: I am paying to keep my restaurant open with credit cards, but don’t worry, I still have money to pay you.

Me: Ok… thanks for letting me know.

Client: I really need you to market my vacation home on Facebooks so I can earn more money.

Me: I don’t know if that would work, but we can try. A website could help, and you might want to do e-mail campaigns as well.

Client: Whatever, OK. I need this to work. How about Facebook ads? No one knows about my restaurant. I might need to change the menu, the prices, and the website for that. Oh god, I don’t have time for any of this.

Shortly after that conversation, I quit. Did he need the help? Oh yes. Was it going to be an awful job from start to finish? Also yes.

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Lifestyle Imagery vs Products

5 June 2019 - 1:00pm

The client wanted me to update their website where they sold products for weddings. The website had a few images of couples with the products, but I thought it would be nice to add a variety of wedding-themed imagery to make it look more lifestyle-oriented. I did some research online and found romantic wedding themed photos to show her.

Client: Why did you choose images that show wedding couples without our products? We just want to show our products.

Me: I thought it might be nice to have a more conceptual look, with wedding couples in romantic settings. Basically, we create a romantic feeling and then introduce the products. 

Client: That doesn’t make any sense. I just want to show the products. I’ll send you photos of me with the products soon. You can use those.

So instead of having professional, attractive photos of dream weddings, they have a series of poor quality photos of her and her husband pointedly using their own products. Very romantic. 

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How does he do it? Mike Tanner on productivity and being a work at home dad

4 June 2019 - 3:46pm
How does he do it? Mike Tanner on productivity and being a work at home dad

 

Running your own business or freelancing means juggling everything in your life at all times. The hustle is hard, but it gets exponentially harder when you’re a parent – especially when you work at home.

Mike Tanner began One Red Cat Media when he was a new parent, and that business has grown alongside his children. In this episode, he shares his strategies for being productive also while being a great dad. SPOILER: his strategies are useful for everyone, kids or no! 

Today’s links: 

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