A “friend”/former work colleague who’s since launched a startup asks me to write a keynote speech for him to give a major industry conference.
I somehow managed to write a pretty decent speech on an extremely technical topic based on short notice. I sent the client the piece, who never responded.
Knowing that this colleague was a disorganized stressful nightmare to work with (and that another previous freelance project I foolishly agreed to do for him turned out to be a disaster) and that the rate he was paying for the speech was already a massive, massive discount on what another speechwriter would charge, I let things slide while I worked on other, more profitable accounts.
Naturally, I heard back two days before the conference began… which just so happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, as I was about to host a 40 person party.
Client: I just got around to reviewing your speech and made a number of comments. Could you please turn this around by tomorrow morning? I’ve also included a friend’s 40-page keynote speech – could you edit that as well?
I had no choice but to explain to the client that, as he fully knows, the workweek is over and between now and tomorrow morning I will be hosting a Thanksgiving party and then sleeping. And even if that were not the case, there is simply no way that I could review two 40 minute keynotes and send a V2 in the space of 8 hours.
Client finished his project himself, and withheld payment for not “finishing the job.”
I saw a video of the speech, which was 95% exactly what I wrote for him.