It’s National Freelancers’ day and we’re in the mood to celebrate, after all, in what other job do you have freedom, complete control over how you work, when you work and the people you work with?
We can all attest to the many joys of working for yourself, these are a few of my personal favourites:
- Taking advantage of sunny days.
- Avoiding spending 45 minutes doing an eight mile commute.
- The lack of Monday morning dread.
However sometimes things are sent to challenge us. At times like that, I think, I’m not alone, I’m not the first and wont be the last to take the courageous leap into self-employment. One of my favourite mantras is:
“if everything was easy, it would be boring, and everybody would be doing it“
So, on National Freelancers’ Day, I’ve complied a list of freelancing tales of woes, to remind us that we all have crap days, but our tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit keeps us keeping on!
“The listing said, 500-word blog post: $70. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I applied.Within a few hours of submitting his writing samples and pitches, I got an email from the poster saying that I’d gotten the gig. She said the blog post she was originally planning on publishing tomorrow had been pulled, so she needed another one ASAP. Then, she gave me her PayPal email address, which I thought was a little weird, but I thought maybe it was for invoicing purposes. Eager to impress the client (and get paid), I worked overnight so I could send her the finished blog post in the morning.
“She emailed back saying, ‘I got the draft, but I didn’t get a notification from PayPal that I’d been paid.’
Turns out, the client wanted me to pay her for the “promotional privilege” of being published on her blog. I asked how many readers she had—she declined to say. In the end, I told her there was no way I’d pay her, she never published the post, and I definitely never got my money.”
Originally posted on Contently.
Ho Ho Ho Pay my Invoice
“One of my first copy projects ever came in through LinkedIn – complete with a smiley-face in the subject line. The message itself should’ve struck me as odd – asking “How quickly can you get to my office?” and “I look forward to getting to know you.”
Regardless, I decided to follow up.
The guy more or less refused to chat on the phone or even review my portfolio – I sent resources, but he didn’t bother to look. He just insisted I come down to his office – on the opposite side of the city – and meet with him. No details on the project – nothing.
These days, I never would’ve gone – but back then, I was green and eager to make new connections, so off I went. I sat in his office as he rattled on – and then SAT at his computer reading stuff I’d written in the past, giving it a quick once-over. We accomplished nothing in that meeting other than shaking hands – he gave me a sharpie pen. Then it was back home.
Later, he decided he had a project for me, so he wanted to meet – AGAIN – to talk about project specs. So I drove clear across the city – AGAIN – to hear what he wanted. It was a project all about 3D mail – he wanted me to do spec work to prove I knew what I was talking about. I told him I didn’t do spec work and gave him my rate. He hummed and hawed, but agreed to it, sending me on my way again. 45 minute drive ONE WAY, 15 minute meeting.
Then, I did the project, sent it off and … didn’t hear from him.
So I emailed. And then I emailed again. I kept emailing and emailing, but I got nothing. I could see my invoice had been looked at, but not paid. I got more and more annoyed. Months went by. Six of them.
I began hearing horror stories of non-payment from other freelancers in my city, and decided enough was enough.
We were coming up on Christmas, so I decided to send him a little “3D mail” of my own. I sent a HUGE gift-wrapped package (we’re talking roughly 4 feet by 2 feet) filled with packing peanuts, an invoice, a letter and some condoms (in case he wanted to screw any other freelancers).
And I filmed it. You can watch here. He promptly paid my invoice, and we never connected again.”
Originally posted on Sitepoint.
“I was writing for the website of a major women’s magazine when a huge internal shake-up happened. My boss was unexpectedly let go, and a new editor-in-chief swooped in, bringing new editors along with her. The style of the site pivoted rapidly with the new guard, leaving us writers in need of some guidance.
My editor informed me that I needed to seriously change my writing style in order to continue contributing, so I asked her how I could modify my tone in order to suit the site’s new needs. Her response? I needed to start ‘writing like Tina Fey.’ I didn’t tell her this, of course, but in my head I was thinking,
‘Well, if I could write like Tina Fey, I certainly wouldn’t be writing articles for you at only $40 a pop!”
Too Good to Be True
“Before I came to work full-time as a PR specialist, I was freelancing as a content writer for clients ranging from property care to travel and comic books. One day, on Craigslist, I noticed a post for a freelance gig that would have included enough work to fill my days writing about video games, and it paid well too. It was a freelance dream job for me. But because it was on Craigslist, I was skeptical. I sent in my resume and portfolio anyway, and when the team praised my work, I felt like my hunch had to be correct—this gig was clearly too good to be a real thing.
I took my work back and told them why this job was so obviously a scam. They responded politely and took me off their roster. Under further investigation, I found the job was real and for a legit company—everything they offered could have been mine, if not for my skepticism and paranoia.”
Originally posted on Levo.com.
Money for Nothing
“I took on a website design for a large estate agent firm, and had an initial consultation with the big boss in his high-street office. We agreed a fee for the project, but not a payment schedule which would come back to bite me.
We emailed back and forth for weeks, making sure everything was perfect. Like many freelance designers, I don’t have room for constant meetings in my budget, unless I’m working on a very big or complex project and the time and travel expenses are included in the fee. In the end I met my deadline comfortably, but content wasn’t forthcoming from their end, which held things up.
Once the website was completed, I heard nothing from the client. I presumed that everything was fine because they hadn’t asked for any further amendments. I sent my invoice to them, but still heard nothing. I then contacted various people to chase the payment, but received only total radio silence in response. In the last communication I had with them, the boss said that he would ‘Look into it and report back.’ I heard nothing else.
Out of sheer frustration, I took down their site and replaced it with a message saying the website hadn’t been paid for. I also wrote a name-and-shame article on my blog, which appeared at the top of the company’s Google results. They noticed and demanded that I remove it or, apparently, they would take legal advice. They also accused me of building an inferior site, something no-one had suggested during or after the site build. I published the correspondence so that people could see what they were trying to do, and they eventually went quiet again.
I took legal advice to see what would be involved in going to court and to check the name-and-shame piece wasn’t libellous. I did consider going ahead with legal action but, if I won, all the client had to do was say they had no money and they would still get away with it. If the fee was bigger, I might have considered it, but I felt they’d wasted enough of my time.
They managed to regain control of their web address by requesting a password reminder and redirecting it to their own holding page, which is still there today. They basically got hundreds of pounds of web design for nothing.“
Originally posted on Creative Bloq.
I’m looking to compile our very own ‘Everyday People’ stories, if you have any amusing or horror tales you’re willing to share, get in touch.
Next up, we have an interview with Nicky Hayer, owner of York based marketing and design agency, Nima Consultancy. In Nicky’s candid interview, she tells us how she’s finding being one of Hiscox’s Business Club founding members.
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