I work as a freelance proofreader, and there’s this one client who wanted me to proofread her scientific work. There were lots of red flags, but I guess I was too soft to say no.
Client: I only have half the budget. Can you do it anyway?
Me: No, I can’t do it for that price.
Me: Honestly, I already declined another good offer because I had this job lined up, so I do need the money. I can do a superficial proofread of the text, but there’s no way I can also do the layout.
She sent me the chapters one by one and for each gave me a strict deadline. One time she sent me a chapter while I was on vacation. I asked if it would be okay if I finished it four days later and she insisted I do it right then and there.
And then the following happened. Twice.
Client: I see the layout isn’t as I expected, will you do this at the end of your proofreading?
Me: As I already said, your budget is way too small for an extra layout. What I can do is to prepare the different formats in Word, so you can layout the document yourself.
Client: Ah, sorry, I’m not very experienced with all that.
Mind you, she’s about to become a professor! A few weeks later, the same thing happened. I had to explain to her that her money wasn’t enough to get a layout from me, and that I was already doing work for free.
Client: Please? I have no idea how to do this myself!
She wasn’t kidding. She didn’t even know how to underline text. Long story short, I wound up doing a full layout, no additional cost, because I’m too soft.
After sending her the finished text along with my invoice, wishing her all the best and good luck – nothing. No answer, no confirmation the documents arrived, and no payment either. She’s still got some days to go, but I find this very irritating. Always contacting me, getting me to drop a third of the actual costs, getting me to work for her during my vacation, and once I’m finished – not a word of thanks, nothing.