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jackie-musimbi
Community Member

First time Freelancer

Hey there,
So what was your first nasty experience as a freelancer? What was your first mistake on this journey?
20 REPLIES 20
tlsanders
Community Member

I can't recall ever having had a significantly negative experience as a freelancer until a couple of years ago--nearly 30 years into my freelancing career. The mistake I made was giving far too much leeway to a prospective client because I had known of him by reputation for years and had several colleagues who had worked with him in the past. I cleared and held a significant amount of time for him based on months of ongoing conversation about a new initiative he was launching, only to have him change the start date repeatedly and then ultimately shift the parameters so dramatically that I no longer wanted to be involved...after sacrificing about $10,000 worth of time over three months (and a great deal of frustration).

 

Every decision I made on that path was one I would have counseled a newer freelancer against, but the combination of factors (my favorite type of work, his reputation in the industry, mutual connections) led me to make an exception.

I'm so sorry about what you went through, on the brighter side,I believe the toughest moments in life make us tough๐Ÿ˜Š
tlbp
Community Member

I almost fell for the "we'll send you a check and set up a full office in your home" scam when I first started. The only thing that saved me was that I didn't want a full-time job (which is what they were allegedly offering.) LOL

lysis10
Community Member

The time the loony bin lady raged that I was a liberal and started quoting Winston Churchill was interesting.

 

She messaged me around 9pm my time to give her my phone number so that she could call. My experience giving people my cell is that they think they can call any time including night. So I said she needed to schedule a call with me and I prefer Skype or some voice chat. She kept pushing that she just wanted to talk now and to give her my number. I said it was 9pm. 

 

So, she went loony tunes and said something about me probably being a liberal and quoting Winston Churchill saying liberals are stupid. Then ranted that my website is shady and she had so much work for me and I blew it.

 

I really wish I wasn't on Upwork for that one or I would have unloaded on her. 

 

That was probably the craziest lady I've run into on here, but I've had other fun filled LOLs on here. It's usually from **Edited for Community Guidelines** trying to argue about my rates. It's usually from my people too telling me I'll never get what I'm asking for instead of just skipping my proposal and moving on.


Jennifer M wrote:

It's usually from my people too telling me I'll never get what I'm asking for instead of just skipping my proposal and moving on.


 I haven't had that often, but I've had a couple. "Okay, good luck with that!" Um...good luck with what? The same thing I've been doing successfully since 2008?

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member

A few years ago, after FLing successfully for decades, I decided to shift focus and struggled to get going (before I discovered UW). Answered an ad on c-list to do some writing piece-work. The rate wasn't bad but the volume of work was low. But every little bit helps. Didn't read the contract closely because it was only a $35-50/week gig that I didn't think would go anywhere. And, for the first time every, didn't vet the client. She gradually suckered me into working full-time (for weekly fee) and for a few months it was great. She was a start-up with up to 10 FLs working for her (most of whom couldn't write well enough to be doing that work), so I wound up writing plus editing everyone else's stuff plus building workflow processes (she had none). It was gratifying and she paid me well for it until she stopped. I bought the excuses at first, then realized if I stopped production, cash flow would stop altogether. That's also when I realized she had built a little pyramid scheme. (I'm not sure she even meant to do that because it turned out she's nuts.) A few more weeks and then I refused to submit more work until we worked out a payment schedule for what she owed me. Within an hour, she had shut down my company email account, cut off my access to her Basecamp account, and written a huge screed about my perfidy, how I had sabotaged her business, etc. I had saved reams and reams of chats and emails proving otherwise. After she spit on my final invoice, I spent some time and energy trying to figure out how to recover what she owed me (several thousand dollars). Finally vetted her and discovered she really is a head case. (FB is not her friend.) Anyhow, I live in Georgia, she had been in a Mountain state (and was living in Germany by this point), and the contract we had signed had language referring to a West Coast state where she'd previously lived, which clouded jurisdiction for small claims court. I would've gladly traveled west on freq flyer miles for my day in court, but it wasn't to be. (I did consult a lawyer, who convinced me it was a fool's errand.) BTW, she'd cheated several of the other FLs, too, but was into me for the most money.

 

Meanwhile, I found UW and discovered a new niche market for my research capabilities. 

 

Scoundrels abound. Be careful who you're tying up with.

It's always when things are working so smoothly and everything is great that a headcase client comes around and ruins your winning streak.

 

For whatever reason I don't understand, every single one of my disputes and very difficult clients where I had to say "enough we're done here" has been April and May. Every time. 

browersr
Community Member


Jennifer M wrote:

It's always when things are working so smoothly and everything is great that a headcase client comes around and ruins your winning streak.

 

For whatever reason I don't understand, every single one of my disputes and very difficult clients where I had to say "enough we're done here" has been April and May. Every time. 


 If the US, perhaps April federal taxes caught up to them. 

tlbp
Community Member


Jennifer M wrote:

It's always when things are working so smoothly and everything is great that a headcase client comes around and ruins your winning streak.

 

For whatever reason I don't understand, every single one of my disputes and very difficult clients where I had to say "enough we're done here" has been April and May. Every time. 


 Oh yeah! I've noticed that it's a spring thing. Thanks for the reminder. I will put a note in my calendar to not take new clients this coming flake season. LOL

lysis10
Community Member

Well, I think I'm about to have another dispute coming my way. I'm a very rational person you see, and I've come to the solid conclusion that it's for no reason other than this thread jinxed me. Also, it's Scott's fault. That's all I'm gonna put in the mediation reason: "Scott's fault." I can't interact with these squeaky clean "first-time modded post" people without having problems.

 

The rest of you have blood on your hands. I hope you're happy with yourselves causing sweet little delicate flower ol' me issues before the designated April time.

 


Jennifer M wrote:

Well, I think I'm about to have another dispute coming my way. I'm a very rational person you see, and I've come to the solid conclusion that it's for no reason other than this thread jinxed me. Also, it's Scott's fault. That's all I'm gonna put in the mediation reason: "Scott's fault." I can't interact with these squeaky clean "first-time modded post" people without having problems.

 

The rest of you have blood on your hands. I hope you're happy with yourselves causing sweet little delicate flower ol' me issues before the designated April time.


_____________________________________
ARBITRATION!! - you could win - maybe ...

The sad reality about disputes - esp.in light of  Nichola's 'maybe' is the conundrum if they are worth our time and effort.  

 

I decided not based on my work sked as Upwork policy is to not review message room conversations prior to initiating dispute status.

 

tlbp
Community Member


Jennifer M wrote:

Well, I think I'm about to have another dispute coming my way. I'm a very rational person you see, and I've come to the solid conclusion that it's for no reason other than this thread jinxed me. Also, it's Scott's fault. That's all I'm gonna put in the mediation reason: "Scott's fault." I can't interact with these squeaky clean "first-time modded post" people without having problems.

 

The rest of you have blood on your hands. I hope you're happy with yourselves causing sweet little delicate flower ol' me issues before the designated April time.


[Makes note of early arrival of flake season and slowly backs  away from open proposals]

lysis10
Community Member

I appreciate the lulz y'all.

 

For real, I had to bump this thread just because it's so friggin HILARIOUSLY my luck lemme tell you. lol Talk about bad times and say april is coming, I kid you not 1 hour later I get a message this looks like I'm gonna battle ahead. I thought I would give you guys some lulz and appreciate my snarky misery.

 

The universe just likes to remind me not to get too comfortable and throws it at me in threes too. Yer girl is about to get curb stomped in several ways.

browersr
Community Member


Jennifer M wrote:

 Also, it's Scott's fault. That's all I'm gonna put in the mediation reason: "Scott's fault."

 


I understand that is now being made the default drop-down choice. JSS drops, disputes, downtime, everything. I am thorough that way.

 


Jennifer M wrote:

 I can't interact with these squeaky clean "first-time modded post" people without having problems.

 


Some people see an open wound and run to provide aid and comfort. Others grab the Morton's and a hot poker. Dare I suggest which personifies Jennifer? Smiley Wink

Springtime... Come to think of it, I only have three UW projects/client experiences that I hope to never repeat, and all three booked in the spring. I'm busting every garter right now (so weird and unexpected to be buried in work this time of year), so thinking maybe I can wrap some things up by spring and hide for a few weeks, then start over with Summer Clients. (My faves always come in the summer and fall.)

melaniekhenson
Community Member

When I was new, I didn't vet my clients carefully enough. I did get one person who wanted me to take someone else's photo (this individual owned the rights) and manipulate it so she could use it for the cover of her book. Even if Photoshop were part of my skills (it isn't), I really wasn't going to do that. Our exchange wasn't really that negative - I declined and she was a hair miffed but nothing serious, I thought - but she dinged me something fierce.

 

I had given her the benefit of a doubt on, I think, a 3.75 star rating (can't recall exactly, but it was something like that). After that, sadly, I stopped giving ANY clients the benefit of a doubt. For a long time. Later I came to something in the middle, once I had the experience to know which projects looked like trouble and which didn't. But that was a lesson learned. Vet your clients. (They're vetting you, too. It only makes sense. This is business.)


Melanie H wrote:

When I was new, I didn't vet my clients carefully enough. I did get one person who wanted me to take someone else's photo (this individual owned the rights) and manipulate it so she could use it for the cover of her book. Even if Photoshop were part of my skills (it isn't), I really wasn't going to do that. Our exchange wasn't really that negative - I declined and she was a hair miffed but nothing serious, I thought - but she dinged me something fierce.

 

I had given her the benefit of a doubt on, I think, a 3.75 star rating (can't recall exactly, but it was something like that). After that, sadly, I stopped giving ANY clients the benefit of a doubt. For a long time. Later I came to something in the middle, once I had the experience to know which projects looked like trouble and which didn't. But that was a lesson learned. Vet your clients. (They're vetting you, too. It only makes sense. This is business.)


Mannn even legit clients think swiping images from the internet is ok. I have a snarky comment on one of my articles that I have to deal with today where he's basically saying "you moron, why don't you just take an image from the internet" and I'm just thinking "brah, you can't do that Smiley Mad Smiley Mad Smiley Mad Smiley Mad Smiley Mad" mannnn the Upwork playground is always full of fun and games I tell you what.

I pity the poor soul that tries to take on our Jennifer.  Bless their hearts.


Mary W wrote:

I pity the poor soul that tries to take on our Jennifer.  Bless their hearts.


lol you know I'll spill the beans about my experience too so everyone can get some LOLs. This one won't be as easy as the last one though, I'm afraid. This might actually go to arbitration.

 

Best case scenario with this kind of thing is they throw money at you thinking you'll just take whatever you can get, and then you nail them for another $300.

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