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Anxious and looking for opinions on a situation

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21 of 32
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Oh stop it.
You asked for feedback. You got the most professional, successful freelancers to respond.

I read your post as well and first red flag I noticed was that you knew Word was better and you didn't take control of the project from the start.

You can't post for advice then get upset because you don't get the answers you want. You're going to get the answers you need to succeed. If you brush that off, then you will continue to have problems.

Freelancing is a business. You are in business for yourself. Calling clients liars and picking fights with the professional community is a fast track to failure.

Try to read through the advice you've gotten and look for the ways to improve.
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
24 of 32

Samantha L wrote:

Oooo, so very, very clever. And biting, too! You must be so impressed every time you read your own remarks. 


Pot, kettle? You seem to be attacking everyone who disagrees with you.

 

Anyway, in case you still want some constructive advice - it IS possible to just copy and paste and entire Excel file into Word with just one click, and format and spell check from there. So if you're tired of reading the comments in this forum, the Microsoft tip forums might be more to your liking.

Community Guru
Cheryl K Member Since: Jul 16, 2015
24 of 32

So here's the deal. Your client might have been completely unreasonable. You are bound to run across one of those if you do this long enough. And yeah it sucks.

I think where things went south was calling the client a liar. Sometimes it's best to respond to a situation in a draft statement and then come back 24 hours later and read the draft before sending. Abraham Lincoln used that method for communication. Write in the heat of the moment, but generally end up throwing it away 24 hours later and crafting a more tempered message.

See, once you used the word liar, well the client can only be offended and lash out at you. No one likes to be called a liar, even if they are one. Would you like to be called a liar? It can only spiral out of control from that point. Both you and the client are feeling hurt and only want to hurt the other person. Not good.

The question is what can you do about it at this point? If you want to salvage the contract, you could figure out how to get the Excel sheet in Word, humble yourself, reach out to client, apologize for the miscommunication and let him know that you've discovered how it can be done and it would be your pleasure to complete the job. Those words might taste terrible in your mouth, but it could be done.

The other option is to use your perk and remove the crappy feedback you know is coming.

Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
24 of 32

Cheryl K wrote:

So here's the deal. Your client might have been completely unreasonable. You are bound to run across one of those if you do this long enough. And yeah it sucks.

I think where things went south was calling the client a liar. Sometimes it's best to respond to a situation in a draft statement and then come back 24 hours later and read the draft before sending. Abraham Lincoln used that method for communication. Write in the heat of the moment, but generally end up throwing it away 24 hours later and crafting a more tempered message.

See, once you used the word liar, well the client can only be offended and lash out at you. No one likes to be called a liar, even if they are one. Would you like to be called a liar? It can only spiral out of control from that point. Both you and the client are feeling hurt and only want to hurt the other person. Not good.

The question is what can you do about it at this point? If you want to salvage the contract, you could figure out how to get the Excel sheet in Word, humble yourself, reach out to client, apologize for the miscommunication and let him know that you've discovered how it can be done and it would be your pleasure to complete the job. Those words might taste terrible in your mouth, but it could be done.

The other option is to use your perk and remove the crappy feedback you know is coming.


I totally agree. Even when I KNOW I'm right, and have the paperwork to back it up, I will still just apologize to the client and move on because JSS is more valuable than money.

 

I also agree, even though I may be the most thin-skinned person you will ever meet, that Petra and others were genuinely trying to help. Some people have a different style of communication, and ALL of us have had clients and situations like this. I come from the land of "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" but I appreciate the brutal honesty too... it's all helpful.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
25 of 32

Kelly B wrote:


 because JSS is more valuable than money.

 

This is exactly the broken mentality that has freelancers working for weeks on a $10 project because they're terrified they won't get the right number of stars.

 

Pictures of gold stars do not pay the rent, feed your family, or take the kids to DisneyWorld. Those of us who understand that we're running businesses do those things with money, not accolades.

Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
26 of 32

Tiffany S wrote:

Kelly B wrote:


 because JSS is more valuable than money.

 

This is exactly the broken mentality that has freelancers working for weeks on a $10 project because they're terrified they won't get the right number of stars.

 

Pictures of gold stars do not pay the rent, feed your family, or take the kids to DisneyWorld. Those of us who understand that we're running businesses do those things with money, not accolades.


I don't take jobs for $10 and I make plenty of money, although trips to DisneyWorld are lightyears away from something I would do. I'm just saying for the most part, the customer is always right, and I will swallow my pride if necessary to complete a project while keeping the client happy, rather than rock the boat, because nothing good will come from rocking the boat. I'll lose money *and* my JSS will take a hit, and that does me no good.

 

Pictures of gold stars just might pay the rent actually, if you believe some other threads, where freelancers complain about not being able to land projects with a JSS of less than 90% (and no, I don't keep all my eggs in one UW basket, but the fact remains that JSS *does* matter on this site).

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
27 of 32

I don't think you were reasonable, but not in the way you mean. I think the whole thing went irretrievably to hell when you just started quietly doing the extra work you hadn't signed on for. You lost your chance to credibly object, and then the whole situation was primed to blow up when you eventually decided to draw a line.

 

At this point, there's not much you can do to avoid a hit to your JSS (unless you're top rated and have the removal perk available), so push to make sure you get paid for every minute of work you've already done and move on. 

Community Guru
Joan S Member Since: Mar 18, 2019
28 of 32

Samantha - I think the mistake you made was at your point number 7. A client has a perfect right to make a change in the work he wants to be done - and your client had a right to get another person involved in doing his work. Everything went downhill from there when you objected to what he did and then ended up calling him a liar. So, now I think all you can do is try to get paid for the work you did and get the contract closed, and then try to learn from this episode. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. But, if we are not making mistakes, it means we aren't doing anything. The good thing about mistakes is that we can learn from them.

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
29 of 32

Samantha - I think both of you were being unreasonable. And I also think there was a total breakdown of understanding and communication from the very beginning. And that started with the program to be used, Excel or Word. I can't comment on that because I don't have access to the actual conversation between you and him. 

 

When you finished the requirements of the job, the file that you delivered should have been delivered formatted, checked for spelling errors and anything else that had to be done to make a complete, finished spreadsheet which is what the client wanted. 

 

When the client wanted you to export the content from Excel into Word (which, can't be done aside from cutting and pasting) that is work that is above and beyond what you were hired for and if you wanted to do that, it should have required an additional contract. 

 

As for this client hiring another freelancer to do the cutting and pasting or formatting or whatever - that is his right. You fulfilled your part of the project. Aside from this job going down hill from the beginning it totally blew up when you called this client a liar. Even in the B&M world it's said, "the customer is always right" You could have handled this so much more professionally and diplomatically and probably salvaged this job. The fire was lit and by accusing the client as a liar gasoline was poured on the fire. 

 

IMO at point (and a lot sooner IMO) walked away but you didn't help yourself by saying that you wanted to finish the project yourself. (like the client had no right to hire someone else) If you wanted to finish the project yourself, even with that added scope creep, you should have just done it and not complained, called him a liar and continued to have back and forth arguments. 

 

I will be blunt with you. and I can just imagine how this all went down seeing how you are responding to suggestions and advice that you have received because as soon as something is suggested and it's not what you want to hear, you get very defensive and easily riled up and are quick to accuse. 

 

 

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
30 of 32

First, to clarify for those who may read this thread in the future, content can be transferred from a data table (such as Excel or a database) into a specific format in Word using the mail merge feature. This method of data handling is very convenient when you need to manage sort or filter a large set of data before selecting what will be entered into the final document. Storing the data in a table also allows you to create several different documents using various subsets of data. 

Second, a client may hire and fire a freelancer at will. Freelancers secure their payment by only completing funded milestones or working on an hourly basis. If a client does hire someone else to complete a task, the original freelancer should take that as an emphatic signal that the client is unhappy. In such cases, the original freelancer may attempt to make amends or accept the situation and do whatever tasks are necessary to make the transition as smooth as possible for the client. 

I cannot imagine any situation where a freelancer who aggressively objects to being replaced would succeed. The relationship may be recoverable, but certainly not if the freelancer approaches the situation with a sense of entitlement. 

Finally, (again for those who may read this thread in the future) based on my experience, the contracts that are most likely to go bad are those in which the freelancer is inexperienced and overreaches. When I took on contracts thinking "I can do this" without fully understanding the nuances of the task, I either ended up performing too much work for too little pay and/or failing to deliver up to the cilent's expectations.

 

It is okay to take on roles that may require you to do some research and stretch your skill set but be cautious when doing so. Even clients who are paying for non-expert level skills will expect the freelancer to have the basic knowledge to complete the task. 


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