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Anxious and looking for opinions on a situation

Community Leader
Samantha L Member Since: Jan 3, 2016
1 of 32

A client issue. Hoping to get some insight and opinions here, if possible.

It's pretty complicated, so just to keep it straight (even in my own head), I'm going to make a numbered list of what happened. The project was/is an approximately 40,000-word book of English idioms. I was only contracted to provide the content, not to actually format an e-book.

  1. The client suggested that I use Excel to collect the idioms, indicating that it would be easier and more effective than Word. He strongly implied that it would be easy to transfer them to Word afterwards, and he never mentioned anything about the fact I would have to put the material in a specifically formatted document.
  2. Once I had reached the number of idioms needed to proceed with going into Word, he said to send the file to him and he would create a properly formatted file.
  3. All he sent me as a template and a video, showing how I was supposed to transfer the idioms to Word.
  4. I realized that he wanted me to cut and paste each idiom, explanation, and example individually. There are nearly 1,400 idioms. I tried to see if I could just cut and paste the whole Excel file, but found that it would ruin the formatting of his template.
  5. I pointed out that if I'd just done it in Word to begin with, it would have been far easier and that all that cutting and pasting would take me several hours.
  6. He said to stop what I was doing and send the cutting and pasting I had done so far to him (I'd done about 100 idioms by that point). He indicated that he was going to do it and then send it back to me to review and add to.
  7. A couple of days later, he told me that he had sent it to an "employee" (whom I later found out was another freelancer!) to be done. I objected to this, pointing out that he could have just set up another milestone for me. Obviously, the other freelancer was cheaper.
  8. He then claimed that he had asked me to completely do it in Word from the beginning. By this point, I was extremely exasperated and pointed out that he was lying.
  9. He became angry and there was some exchange back and forth.
  10. In the end, he said that he no longer trusted me with the project, and that he wouldn't be sending me the Word file once he received it (whenever that will be). He claimed he thought that I would "sabotage" the project. I was extremely offended by this, and I said so.
  11. I have sent a message to him explaining that I want to finish the project myself, as the Excel file must have many typos (as I had been planning all along to fix all of that once it was in the Word file). I have not heard back.

Do you think I was being reasonable here? And what about him? I honestly don't know how all this happened. Everything seemed to be going so well before this. 

I'm feeling really anxious and am afraid that he will twist things around in the review and say that there were typos in the work when he knows very well that I planned to fix those once working on the actual Word document. For some reason, I just feel like a total failure. Please note that I have already earned about $500 from the earlier milestones of this project, and so just completely canceling the project is not an option. 

 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 32

Samantha L wrote:
  1. By this point, I was extremely exasperated and pointed out that he was lying.

Well, breakdown in communication all round.

 

The ship has sailed I'm afraid. Once you call a client a liar and start a fight, it's game over.

The client has every right to give any part of a project to whomever he wants. The only bit you are "owed" as such is whatever is funded.

 

NEVER argue with a client. Even if you win the argument, you still lose (the client, the project and on Upwork, the good feedback you could have had.)

 

 

Obviously submitting something that is full of mistakes was not a good idea either.

Community Leader
Samantha L Member Since: Jan 3, 2016
3 of 32

You didn't read my post properly, did you? I submitted it on the understanding that it would be put into Word and then I would check it. But obviously you want to put me down. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 32

Samantha L wrote:

You didn't read my post properly, did you? I submitted it on the understanding that it would be put into Word and then I would check it. But obviously you want to put me down. 


I did read it and I don't want to put you down.

Having read the job post I got as far as "expert level" and "you will be paid $17 per 1k words. "

 

Sigh.

 

You're top-rated, if the worst comes to the worst, use your perk and have the feedback removed (if you haven't used the perk in the last 3 months / 10 contracts. The client does not have a history of leaving (or receiving) poor feedback so maybe this is salvageable. He only once left less than a 4.6.

 

There is, I am told, a way to import excel sheet content into Word as well but I don't know how that works and it seems to be too late anyway.

 

If you can't sort it with the client try ending the contract yourself in the hope that the client won't leave feedback at all.

 

I still stand by my earlier statement that you can't ever win a fight with a client.

 

 

 

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
5 of 32

Samantha L wrote:

A client issue. Hoping to get some insight and opinions here, if possible.

It's pretty complicated, so just to keep it straight (even in my own head), I'm going to make a numbered list of what happened. The project was/is an approximately 40,000-word book of English idioms. I was only contracted to provide the content, not to actually format an e-book.

  1. The client suggested that I use Excel to collect the idioms, indicating that it would be easier and more effective than Word. He strongly implied that it would be easy to transfer them to Word afterwards, and he never mentioned anything about the fact I would have to put the material in a specifically formatted document.
  2. Once I had reached the number of idioms needed to proceed with going into Word, he said to send the file to him and he would create a properly formatted file.
  3. All he sent me as a template and a video, showing how I was supposed to transfer the idioms to Word.
  4. I realized that he wanted me to cut and paste each idiom, explanation, and example individually. There are nearly 1,400 idioms. I tried to see if I could just cut and paste the whole Excel file, but found that it would ruin the formatting of his template.
  5. I pointed out that if I'd just done it in Word to begin with, it would have been far easier and that all that cutting and pasting would take me several hours.
  6. He said to stop what I was doing and send the cutting and pasting I had done so far to him (I'd done about 100 idioms by that point). He indicated that he was going to do it and then send it back to me to review and add to.
  7. A couple of days later, he told me that he had sent it to an "employee" (whom I later found out was another freelancer!) to be done. I objected to this, pointing out that he could have just set up another milestone for me. Obviously, the other freelancer was cheaper.
  8. He then claimed that he had asked me to completely do it in Word from the beginning. By this point, I was extremely exasperated and pointed out that he was lying.
  9. He became angry and there was some exchange back and forth.
  10. In the end, he said that he no longer trusted me with the project, and that he wouldn't be sending me the Word file once he received it (whenever that will be). He claimed he thought that I would "sabotage" the project. I was extremely offended by this, and I said so.
  11. I have sent a message to him explaining that I want to finish the project myself, as the Excel file must have many typos (as I had been planning all along to fix all of that once it was in the Word file). I have not heard back.

Do you think I was being reasonable here? And what about him? I honestly don't know how all this happened. Everything seemed to be going so well before this. 

I'm feeling really anxious and am afraid that he will twist things around in the review and say that there were typos in the work when he knows very well that I planned to fix those once working on the actual Word document. For some reason, I just feel like a total failure. Please note that I have already earned about $500 from the earlier milestones of this project, and so just completely canceling the project is not an option. 

 


You are looking for a referee here, but that's no way to conduct your business. It does  not matter who was right or wrong, who lied, who accused the other of lying. This is not kindergarden. What matters is money and feedback. 

Salvage what you can by whatever means that you see fit and hope for feedback that's not disastrous. 

Community Leader
Samantha L Member Since: Jan 3, 2016
6 of 32

Martina--What an incredibly rude and condescending comment. 

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
7 of 32

Samantha L wrote:

Martina--What an incredibly rude and condescending comment. 


Did you treat your client in a similar manner as your reply to my comment?

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8 of 32
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According to some of the closed projects, clients have been pretty clear in their public ratings that communication seems to be a big issue.

There's nothing more anyone can do for her. She'll have to get it on her own.
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
9 of 32

Samantha L wrote:

...

Do you think I was being reasonable here? And what about him? I honestly don't know how all this happened. Everything seemed to be going so well before this. 

I'm feeling really anxious and am afraid that he will twist things around in the review and say that there were typos in the work when he knows very well that I planned to fix those once working on the actual Word document. For some reason, I just feel like a total failure. Please note that I have already earned about $500 from the earlier milestones of this project, and so just completely canceling the project is not an option. 

 


What Petra said. You dug yourself into a hole on this one. The best you can do now is figure out what lessons it holds, and take them to heart.

 

NEVER send anything to a client that contains typos or any other easily corrected flaws. It doesn't matter if it's a first draft, rough draft, will be refined/formatted/checked later in the process. This is why. (You can't bill yourself as a "perfectionist" and then submit even a draft with typos, and not expect it to bite you.)

 

You could have avoided the whole kerfluffle--and preserved your own value to the client--by figuring out how to achieve his goals without spending a zillion hours on it. This forum would have been a great place to get tips on how to do that. One workaround would be to copy the contents of the spreadsheet into a blank Word document, then reformat that one before transferring the contents into the client's formatted doc. The operative concept: when an unexpected challenge arises, find a win-win solution. It often involves more time than you planned but it's worth it to avoid having a project go sideways and you get a new skill for your toolkit.

 

Also, it sounds like the client "suggested" using Excel to collect the material. I'll bet he didn't really care how you did it, as long as it ultimately could be formatted the way he needed it. Your profile implies you know how to handle manuscripts including e-books, so I can understand how he might have become frustrated. If I were you, I'd invest some time learning fundamentals of various document types and formatting tasks. It can help you work more efficiently and be more versatile and valuable to clients. Otherwise, always make perfectly clear that you are only willing to work in Word and you do not do formatting.

 

If my feedback makes you defensive, save your breath on a snippy reply. You asked.

Community Leader
Samantha L Member Since: Jan 3, 2016
10 of 32

Well, according to all of you, I'm pretty much worthless as a freelancer now and should just give up. And of course, I imagine you are all perfect. You're right. I shouldn't have asked for feedback here. All anyone ever gives is abuse. I wouldn't be surprised if someone here told me to jump off a bridge, just as "well-meaning advice."   

 

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