I had just graduated from college and I was looking for my first freelance job. Someone from my school was kind enough to introduce me to a local business owner.
Client: I need this done yesterday, I need a new logo and a business card and I need it quick! I’m only gonna pay you $100 since you’re fresh out of school and I was told you’d get me a deal.
I was annoyed but I needed money. I agreed.
Client: 95% of my company produces gas tanks for big rig trucks, and 5% of it is me selling vintage guitars. So I want my logo to be a guitar. And on my business card, I’m going to give you my work number, but I don’t ever answer it. Instead, I’m going to give you my cell phone number, but I want it to be secretly hidden in the card so only special people will know what it really is.
Terrible ideas, sure, but he wasn’t paying me enough to fight him. I banged out a guitar logo and sent him a screenshot to see if he liked it (without giving him a copy he could steal).
Two weeks later I got a voicemail:
Client: Hey this is the guy you’re building the logo for. I received our email and the logo is looking really good. But you didn’t give me your email so I can’t get back to you. I’m not really sure how this whole “paying you” thing is going to work out.
He didn’t understand the concept of responding back to an email.
I erased the files and blocked his number. I don’t care how new I was into the field. It wasn’t worth it.
"I have copy and pasted a photo below. Please save it as a jpg and email it back so I can print it."
- A client giving feedback on a photo of a palm tree.
I was designing a new office for a client. After working on the design for nearly 4 months (they wanted changes made almost every single day and changed the location thrice) as well as corresponding back and forth with various building contractors, my boss called at 12 Midnight:
Client: We need you to see how many more people we can fit into our current office.
Me: Sure, but why? We’re already halfway through the various approvals we require to start building.
Client: We won’t be moving into a new place until next year. We’re not renting that unit anymore.
Client: We will need this by Monday.
Working for yourself presents a number of rewards but it also presents hurdles. Jeanne Yocum’s new book, The Self Employment Survival Guide draws on her thirty years of experience working for herself and lays down the rules you need to live by if you’re going to make it on your own - including when you need to cut that client out of your life!
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I work as a hair stylist, this was a conversation with a client today. He had mentioned previously...
I work as a hair stylist, this was a conversation with a client today. He had mentioned previously that his 60th birthday was coming up.
Client: You look like you’re twelve. My nine-year-old granddaughter is your size.
Me: Oh really? I get told I look young a lot.
Client: Are you raising your son alone?
Me: (taken aback) Yes, I am.
Client: Well I would marry you.
Client: Take down the exterior photo of our store on our Twitter immediately. It looks like slum trash. Please put up a picture of the interior instead. we are high end and I put $100000+ into this business and your picture doesn’t do us justice. What were you thinking?
The client pays $300 a month for rent for their store. I’m not sure they’re as “high end” as they think they are.
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- A client I am suddenly very worried about working with.
I sent a client an email to follow up a number of overdue invoices.Me: When you have a moment, can...
I sent a client an email to follow up a number of overdue invoices.
Me: When you have a moment, can you please provide a payment date for the following invoices.
Client: I have checked all the invoices and yes, they are all unpaid.
Client: I need you to delete this page from the website, we don’t need it anymore.
Me: OK, the page is deleted. I also deleted any links that referred to that page.
Client: Thanks, but now when I try to click the link to the page I get a message saying the page is not found?
Me: Yes, that’s correct, since the page was removed, it no longer exists, thus the message.
Client: So you’re saying I’m going to get this message from now on every time I click on the link? That’s unacceptable.
Me: Uhh, sorry, but I’m a bit confused. You asked for the page to be removed, and now you are concerned that the page is no longer there? Also, how are you even still clicking on this link? Is there a link pointing to the page that I forgot to remove from somewhere?
Client: Well, the link is right here, in the email I sent you earlier! I can still click on it! But now it takes me to some page that says “Page Not Found!”
I was too stunned to respond.
Client: We need your help with this presentation. Here is the video we created. We basically want...
Client: We need your help with this presentation. Here is the video we created. We basically want this video in PowerPoint format. I would do it myself, but I think you would do a better job in a faster time.
Me: Okay, cool. What kind of imagery do you want to use?
Client: Just use screenshots from the video.
Predictably, the video quality was shoddy. I took a number of screenshots, complemented them with stock images, enhanced content, and added animations and slide transitions. Altogether it took eight hours.
Me: Okay, here you go. Normally, for eight hours of work, I would have charged you $700, but since you’re…
Client: What? So much? For what? I could’ve done this myself!
Me: Well, I was going to offer you a $400 discount since you’re a family frie…
Client: $300? I could’ve done this myself!
Me: You know what? I never finished it for you. You’re going to have to create this for yourself.
Client: Okay, okay, I’ll give you $100. That’s MORE than enough.
Client: Your former client reached out to me and said you are new to the area.
After an hour conversation about web designs, marketing campaigns, designs, branding, etc:
Client: So when can you start?
Me: After you approve of a cost estimate, I am thinking in about a week or two we can start building your marketing/design campaign together.
Client: Wait…What? This wouldn’t be free? I thought you wanted portfolio work.
Client: Well then! I will take my business elsewhere.
I was managing a client’s professional Facebook page.
The owner encouraged me to post something myself, so I posted a link to a related YouTube video that his followers might find interesting.
I swiftly got a message from the owner who just “wanted to give me a few tips.“
After receiving some of the worst branding advice I have ever heard, he shared this little nugget:
Client: Never give an external link to YouTube or Vimeo or anything like that unless it’s one or two hours long or very good content. If people leave the page to see the video on YouTube, they are surely not coming back to comment on it. If it’s two or three minutes, just upload it to the page!
I asked him to clarify, just to make sure he was really saying what I thought he was saying.
Yes, he wanted me to illegally repost other people’s work. When I told him this was illegal, he vehemently argued with me until he removed my admin permissions.
I was not sad to see that page go, but I did track down the original creators of the videos in the page’s history and send them some emails about stolen content.
I was asked to create a T-Shirt design for my graduating class at my high school. The only requests...
I was asked to create a T-Shirt design for my graduating class at my high school. The only requests given was that the school’s mascot was in it and that it included the school’s color. I submitted a design and this was the reply.
Client: I like the design a lot! I’m not sure about this yellow though… It’s just not our school’s colors.
Me: Alright that’s fine! I can just replace it with white since it’ll be on a white shirt, and it’ll look just as good.
Client: No, create a whole new design.
Me: Because you don’t like one color?
Me: Your web page needs some work.Client: What’s wrong with it?Me: It’s only 3 lines of content. You...
Me: Your web page needs some work.
Client: What’s wrong with it?
Me: It’s only 3 lines of content. You should have way more content.
Client: Ha! Management will never approve that.
About a year after graduating, a potential client contacted me after finding a sample of my work on...
About a year after graduating, a potential client contacted me after finding a sample of my work on my school’s website.
Client: Hi, I’m looking for an artist who can illustrate a couple of children’s books for me. I saw your work in the online graduate gallery and really liked it! I already have the characters created and everything so it shouldn’t be much work.
Me: While I am currently open for commissions, I am working full time and have a few other side projects going on. Would you be able to give me more information on the project, as well as your budget and schedule?
Client: Sure, there isn’t much work to do! All I want is for 75 books to be made, each with 10 full pages of illustrations. And we need them ready for print in 3 months. I’ve attached images of our characters so you have an idea of what we’re looking for. For payment, you’ll have to ask my Project Director.
I have no idea who the Project Director is. The client attached 8 scanned images of various, crudely-drawn characters colored with pencil crayons.
Me: I noticed you have a very short schedule for this project. It is not possible for me to create 750 full page illustrations in 3 months while working full-time. The best I can offer you is to complete one book every 2 weeks, at my base rate of 35$/hr.
Client: Ahaha that’s funny, we want the 75 books done in 3 months, not 2 years! ;) Also, we rather just pay you a flat rate for the whole project, how does 250$ sound?
I didn’t end up working with this client.