Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Re: Advice on a new client

christie88
Active Member
Christie S Member Since: Apr 20, 2017
1 of 12

I'm in a bit of a difficult situation with a client right now, and I'd really appreciate some veterans' advice. I've only really been working on Upwork for about a month, and I've been really lucky to have gotten clients with great communication and reasonable expectations. 

 

Well, yesterday, I managed to get a relatively high-paying job for a new freelancer, and I jumped on it. The job was for 10 hours a week at $25 an hour to write and rewrite content for a website. So I worked on the rewrites for about 5 hours yesterday, and I got a few frantic messages in the middle of the night about how the money racked up too quickly and they couldn't keep track of their budget unless I worked for a fixed price. I rewrote about 90% of their super rough documents and chopped down a few of their 2500-word monstrosities into a much more digestible 800 words, just as they'd asked. It was pretty time-consuming, but as I'm guessing they're not professional editors, maybe they didn't expect it to take so long?

 

So I said I could do it for a fixed price because I didn't want to get a bad review. Besides, they looked like they were offering pretty consistent work for the next few months. I agreed to writing original articles for $0.06 per word against my better judgment and because I wanted to make them happy (yeah, in retrospect, probably a dumb move). 

 

After we changed to the fixed price, they also asked me to do additional edits to the pieces I'd rewritten, which took more time. I also didn't charge for these. If they'd given me the information in the first place, the additional edit wouldn't have been necessary.

 

Once the new contract was settled, they asked me to write about another topic from scratch. I asked them when the deadline was, and they basically said, "It's up to you. I know you have other clients, so whenever." I asked again, and it was another "It's up to you." 

 

Well, a few hours later, they asked me to write a SECOND article, saying, "Can you do X next?" with no mention of the first. I asked if they still wanted me to write the first one (which I hadn't started because I was working on another client's articles, since my deadline on this was "whenever"). They basically said, "Yes, do the second after you finish the first." Oy veh. 

 

So I asked, again, what type of time frame they were looking for. I told them I wanted to get things to them in a timely manner, and it would help me organize my work, etc. I FINALLY got an answer, but it wasn't the one I was looking for. Apparently they want me to do 2 to 3 800-1000 word articles per day on stuff that requires a lot of research and sourcing. If that were the case, why would they say there wasn't a deadline?

 

I'm really frustrated, and with the discounted rate I'm working at, this honestly doesn't feel like it's worth my time. I feel stupid for even agreeing to this. Am I being unreasonable? Should I just refund them their money for the 5 hours I worked yesterday and tell them that, due to conflicting schedules (or something), that this just isn't going to work? I've kind of just been a big ball of anxiety all day over this stuff, and I would really, really appreciate advice on this.

6a924bfe
Active Member
Muhammad K Member Since: Apr 20, 2017
2 of 12

Hello Christie.

It's a kinda tough situation you're in.

 

Even though Easter may be over, there is still a holiday hangover in the US and much of the Western world.

In your future encounters with clients, therefore, note that you're more likely to land a bad deal during the holidays.

 

This is not just true for Upwork, it's true across all other freelancing platforms.

 

Upwork is aware of this, and as such, a good chunk of the staff are on break.

Refer to the mods post in this thread. The team handling withdrawals "is currently unavailable"!

And while some freelancers may claim they have "an insane workload this week", I genuinely think that is their business.

 

mtngigi
Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
3 of 12

I only skimmed over your short story (sorry), but if it were me, I'd refund the money and walk away from a client who sounds like they'll milk you day in and day out, well beyond what you expected to be doing for them.

 

Of course do this in a professional way.

 

Learning how to work with fixed rate contracts takes skill and knowing how to set parameters in your bids ... and it sounds like things were not clearly stated in this case.

 

Someone else may come along with a different solution, but that's my 2¢.

christie88
Active Member
Christie S Member Since: Apr 20, 2017
4 of 12

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the advice. It really does seem like they're trying to milk me dry. I signed up for 10 hours a week (I have other contracts going as well), but what they're asking of me would easily be 40+ hours per week. And that's just not worth it for the price I agreed on. I would have charged more for a rush job.

 

I talked to a couple friends about this, and they seem to think that the client might be trying to prey on a new freelancer who's just started to get her feet wet. They only had a couple reviews, but they were five stars, so I figured it would be okay. Either that, or the client REALLY doesn't understand how much work goes into writing and editing and lacks the skills to communicate the projects clearly.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
5 of 12

Many clients don't understand writing and editing. It falls on you to understand and clearly communicate your expertise. 

 

On fixed rate writing contracts (ok, any contract REALLY, but fixed rate for writing can be a persnickety issue when you're new to FL'ing on Upwork) must be very specific. I only either write OR edit on a fixed rate. Substantive editing is a bit trickier because it can include some rewriting of sentences; however, I factor that into my quote. 

 

There are different tiers of editing -- which I won't go into here. Often, for editing tasks, I ask the client to send me a sample so I can give them an accurate quote. Considering that private feedback can be ruinous to your JSS, choose your contracts carefully. I understand being new and desiring to get some feedback on your profile, but contract management for newbies is an increased cognitive load. 

 

If they want to be able to just hand you work and say "can you edit this" or "can you write this" I always recommend that my clients set up an hourly contract. Or if they prefer fixed rate each is a funded milestone with a hard deadline attached. 

 

The other issue is that you're still learning how much time it takes you to do "x" amount of work for whatever the task entails.

 

This is one of the main reasons I tell writers (I can't see your profile so I can't dig any deeper into details) to CHOOSE A GENRE for writing. While most writing takes SOME research, it takes LESS time since you're already keen on the topic. 

 

 

reinierb
Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
6 of 12

What Virginia and Kat said.

 

I will add this though; this client won't milk you dry. This client will suck the life out of you, so it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils: live with the client, or live with the ding in your JSS. It's a Hobson's choice for sure, but if I were in your shoes, there would really only be one choice.

 

Dump the client in as professional a way as you can to try and limit the bad private feedback, and be more selective in the future when picking clients.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
7 of 12

@Reinier B wrote:

What Virginia and Kat said.

 

I will add this though; this client won't milk you dry. This client will suck the life out of you, so it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils: live with the client, or live with the ding in your JSS. It's a Hobson's choice for sure, but if I were in your shoes, there would really only be one choice.

 

Dump the client in as professional a way as you can to try and limit the bad private feedback, and be more selective in the future when picking clients.


Reinier is awesome...

 

Yes. This JUST occurred with one of my contracts. The client was draining, aggressive, and unreasonable (even when I proposed a solution which was the crux of their issue). 

 

It was best for me to call it a day and not work with them any longer. 

 

Sometimes refunding the entire amount (depending on how large it is can be a mitigating factor) and "calling it a day" is the best solution. I agree with Reinier -- for me, this would come down to just one choice. 

christie88
Active Member
Christie S Member Since: Apr 20, 2017
8 of 12

Thanks so much, everybody. The ding in my JSS will definitely be a learning experience. In the short amount of time I've been on here, I grew used to clients understanding how much went into the writing and editing process. I guess I took that for granted. In the future, I'll be sure to have my terms clearly defined, and make sure clients know how long it takes me to complete a certain amount of work.

 

I did what was suggested -- I severed the contract in the most professional way possible. Since the money didn't go through for my hours worked yet, I simply deleted them from my work diary so the client wouldn't be charged. But now that I've essentially said, "Sorry, I can't do this job because it's going to be a greater workload than I can handle right now," the client is trying to reel me back in by saying I can just do as much work as I want to. Apparently they love my writing and just want me to complete what I can.

 

This seems like a bad idea, considering everything that's happened. I already ended the contract, but they seem intent on keeping me. I know freelance writing and editing comes with its own set of stressors, but dealing with this client is too much for me right now.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
9 of 12

@Christie S wrote:

Thanks so much, everybody. The ding in my JSS will definitely be a learning experience. In the short amount of time I've been on here, I grew used to clients understanding how much went into the writing and editing process. I guess I took that for granted. In the future, I'll be sure to have my terms clearly defined, and make sure clients know how long it takes me to complete a certain amount of work.

 

I did what was suggested -- I severed the contract in the most professional way possible. Since the money didn't go through for my hours worked yet, I simply deleted them from my work diary so the client wouldn't be charged. But now that I've essentially said, "Sorry, I can't do this job because it's going to be a greater workload than I can handle right now," the client is trying to reel me back in by saying I can just do as much work as I want to. Apparently they love my writing and just want me to complete what I can.

 

This seems like a bad idea, considering everything that's happened. I already ended the contract, but they seem intent on keeping me. I know freelance writing and editing comes with its own set of stressors, but dealing with this client is too much for me right now.


Just a quick quip about human psych...

 

Human psych is wonky -- if you tell them "no" then they tend to have one of two reactions (with quality being a fraction of the impetus -- though arguably you're likely delivering high quality relative to the .06 per word rate):

 

You become more desirable (scarcity mentality kicks in automatically; you MUST be marvelous if you can turn down money, yes?).

 

They get angry (that darker side of the scarcity mentality).

 

 

mtngigi
Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
10 of 12

@Christie S wrote:

Thanks so much, everybody. The ding in my JSS will definitely be a learning experience. In the short amount of time I've been on here, I grew used to clients understanding how much went into the writing and editing process. I guess I took that for granted. In the future, I'll be sure to have my terms clearly defined, and make sure clients know how long it takes me to complete a certain amount of work.

 

I did what was suggested -- I severed the contract in the most professional way possible. Since the money didn't go through for my hours worked yet, I simply deleted them from my work diary so the client wouldn't be charged. But now that I've essentially said, "Sorry, I can't do this job because it's going to be a greater workload than I can handle right now," the client is trying to reel me back in by saying I can just do as much work as I want to. Apparently they love my writing and just want me to complete what I can.

 

This seems like a bad idea, considering everything that's happened. I already ended the contract, but they seem intent on keeping me. I know freelance writing and editing comes with its own set of stressors, but dealing with this client is too much for me right now.


It's hard to walk away from work, but I would not succumb. Your instincts are usually right.
Perhaps your actions will be a learning experience for this client (one can only hope), and they will better understand the importance of ground rules and respect for their freelancers.
My 2¢ again.