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Re: Need advice with regards to a client

bardo_dan
Active Member
Dannielle B Member Since: Oct 20, 2017
1 of 16
I just want some insight into this situation I’m having with a client of mine (and perhaps to just vent a bit). It’s kinda long so if you’re going to read, you should probably sit down.

We’ve been working with each other for several months now, so much that she says I’m more like a business partner than an employee. Initially, I was just hired to do social media only, but eventually, that turned into other tasks and projects so much that I am now her assistant.

I personally believe we have a great work relationship but my issue is the hours. As it stands, I have 7 hours/week with her. She’s hired me on other contracts before, which had more hours, (instead of just adjusting my hours on my main contract).

She’s recently decided to hire different team members and delegate the various tasks to them, but there are times when she’ll ask me to either help them with their tasks or do something that falls within their skillset.

For example: She hired a social media person two weeks ago, who will do posts and she hired another administrative assistant because I haven’t been 100% in terms of my health, but I still have to design posts, stories and edit videos. Why? She wants 5 posts done every week but the social media person only makes 3 posts.

Therefore, I still have to come in and create posts any way. I also still have to post them because she didn’t give the social media person access to her logins.

She hired two project managers, yet I am still the one to add tasks and create the projects in Clickup. Then she says “Wow, why didn’t you tell me you could do this? I wouldn’t have hired these guys” (FYI: I did. At the very beginning of our work relationship.)

Sometimes, she’ll complain that they didn’t do something they should have or something correctly and I have to pick up that too.

In addition to this, she’ll sometimes pop up at different times in the week with tasks outside of the usual responsibilities and she’ll randomly hop on a call with me which will sometimes range from 30 mins- 2 hours. There’s only so much you can do in 7 hours.

Right now, the primary focus is her webinar which is the 10th of May. Last week, she finally decides to extend my hours to 10 hours per week because she said she really needs help with planning. Not much, but I could make it work. So I spent the entire week building out a map for the content, including text copy, email copy and sequences, designed stories to promote it and prepared a Facebook group with assets (banner, description, posts) in addition to still having to do some of the usual social media tasks.

Now, you’re probably thinking “Well, have you asked her to extend the hours?” The answer is yes. Multiple times. Her response is always along the lines of her needing to see me put in the work before she can give me more billable hours. I get this feeling like she’s trying to insinuate that I don’t do enough work to demand more hours.

Just a while ago, she questioned the validity of the hours I logged this week, because I was supposed to start reaching out to people as well, however, she extended the limit to 10 hours and I still had more things to do that exceeds 10 hours. Immediately, she changed my hours from 10, back to 7 and when I asked about it, she said it’s because she needs us to focus on the Webinar items only. I said fine.

My question to you all is this “Is it worth the trouble?”. As I’ve said before, we’ve built a relationship over the past few months and she’s a great person. I just feel a little overwhelmed at this point. She can justify adding more and more team members but yet she can’t find a good reason extend my hours even though she’ll add more responsibilities to my plate? I have multiple skills. I could’ve handle various projects and she wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of hiring others and then complain about their work.

To add insult to injury, she wants me to make myself available between the hours of 9AM-5PM so she can pop up with a call or ping me when she feels like it, so it kinda feels like I’m working 40 hours a week because even if I’m not doing work, we interact a lot.

She also told me not to turn on the tracker when we have meetings because she doesn’t feel it’s valid for me to log time unless I’m working on a deliverable. Upworkers, I’m exhausted.

She suggested that I take on another job to make extra cash for my bills and stuff, but whenever I do, I find it hard to balance both her and another client and she’ll say things like how she feels like I’m “MIA” or that I’m not accessible enough.

There are opportunities I’ve turned down because of this since I am a team player and I genuinely want to be there for their business to grow. I don’t just care about money when I take on clients, I genuinely want to be apart of their businesses, which is why I’m so selective when I apply to jobs. Am I doing the right thing by sticking around or am I just hurting myself? Am I overacting? Also, I’m scared to end things with her and she leaves a bad review. I know I’ll be able to bounce back but it’s just that I’ve worked so hard to get to top rated. I have been on Upwork for years now (since Elancd) and I didn’t take my freelancing career seriously but now, I want to do that so I’ve been working hard to build my profile. Maybe I’m just overthinking things but what do you guys think?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
BEST ANSWER
2 of 16

Dannielle B wrote:
 Am I doing the right thing by sticking around or am I just hurting myself?

Boundaries. That's what you're missing.

You need to tell alll that to your client, in full. Be honest. 

Tell her you want to stay with her but things must change:

1) Meetings are OF COURSE billable. Every 10 minute seegment you spend on working with her gets billed.

2. If you wants you to be available 40 hours, she has to pay you 40 hours.

 


Dannielle B wrote:
Also, I’m scared to end things with her and she leaves a bad review. I know I’ll be able to bounce back but it’s just that I’ve worked so hard to get to top rated.


If it comes to that, use your top rated perk. That's what it's there for. But see if you can find a way forward, The client likely has NO idea how you feel.

 


Dannielle B wrote:
There are opportunities I’ve turned down because of this since I am a team player and I genuinely want to be there for their business to grow. 


That's all well and good, but it isn't your business. YOUR BUSINESS is your business and sacrificing it at the alter of someone else's profit is no way to run it. Don't turn down opportunities for someone who doesn't appreciate you.

View solution in original post

jaycrutcher
Ace Contributor
Jarrad C Member Since: Apr 27, 2019
3 of 16

You're being taken advantage of and allowing it to happen. You should not be allowing her to disrespect you, or your time. You should also not be doing any work for free if you are.

You need to set expectations with her for what seven hours of work a week actually is and will be in the future. If she's not willing to agree then you should walk away.

If you're meeting with her regularly and for extended periods she should be paying you.

If she wants you available at certain specific times then she should be paying you to be available and pass on other opportunities.

 

You want to secceed and that's great, but you're not going to succeed by getting taken advantage of. She needs you more than you need her and she knows it. But instead of making it worth your time to stay with her she has decided to use the all too familier tactic of trying to grind you down and trap you. Make her respect you and your time or she will continue to abuse you and lower your value.

bardo_dan
Active Member
Dannielle B Member Since: Oct 20, 2017
4 of 16

It's true... I definitely deserve more respect and it's like I've lost sight of my worth. 

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
5 of 16

Let her know that you'd unfortunately be unable to proceed until she increases the limit.

Inform her that your availability as well as hours in chit-chat with her must be paid for.

Remind her that this is to enable you serve her better and do not forget to thank her for her in advance for her kind understanding.

 

Set clear expectations; dilly-dally and flail not.

 

DO NOT, put up with garbage or stick with manipulative clients out of fear over your JSS.

Give 'em an inch, they'll take a yard.

bardo_dan
Active Member
Dannielle B Member Since: Oct 20, 2017
6 of 16

Currently what I'm experiencing now. All this time I kept feeling guilty too. 

gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
7 of 16

She's walking all over you and it's only going to get worse unless you initiate a re-set. Be cordial but clear, and stick to your guns. It's possible she's clueless and will cooperate with a newly clarified understanding/expectations. It's also possible she's ultimately unscrupulous and will only stick with you as long as you let her exploit you. Either way, you need to look out for your own interests. (I've been supporting myself as a freelancer for a long time and the only time I ever got seriously bilked was when I let a client [not on Upwork] seduce me into workign hard for her business as a "partner" and let her keep redefining my role and responsibilities, making me ultimately responsible for stuff she kept hiring other people to do, etc. So many echoes in your account of this situation!)

 

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
8 of 16
So true, Phyllis. That word "partner". They always use it when they're up to something.

Such clients need to be reminded where to look in case they forgot who their partners are - the shares allotment document for their company!
The only client who used that word in comms with me wanted my availability without paying for it, and offered abysmal rates along with +net 45 BUSINESS days payment terms!


Eerily similar to OP's in many respects.
bardo_dan
Active Member
Dannielle B Member Since: Oct 20, 2017
9 of 16

Wow. What you've described is exactly what's happening. It's like a mirrored situation. 

yitwail
Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
10 of 16

Dannielle, just wanted to compliment you on an extremely well-written post and wish you luck dealing with your client. If you freelance long enough, you will eventually encounter a problem client, and sometimes there's no recourse but to let the client know that the status quo is unacceptable, and if necessary part ways, even though it's likely the client will not take this well. 

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