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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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.