Client: Make the background transparent.
Me: But it’s transparent already.
Client: Just do as I ask.
I renamed the file to icon-final-transparent.png and re-sent it.
We all know how it turned out.
I was designing a 300+ page proposal for a client. I would send them PDFs of various sections ready to review. They would print them out of order, make content edits by hand, rescan it and send it back to me.
One section they rescanned upside down.
Client: This section was different than the rest. Please be more careful – they need to be consistent.
I worked with a large Investment bank. Karma bit back – twice.
The project was to migrate all their customer recommendations to a new document management system. The first project manager was a moron.
Me: You have two tasks due next week, both will take me all the available time to do, which is your number one priority?
Project Manager: Both of them!
Two weeks on, he was sacked for lying to the project board about achievables.
He was replaced with a new project manager who was somehow worse.
Me: Your new system doesn’t preserve the original dates of your recommendations, so you will have no way to prove when you told a customer to buy or sell a stock. You need to incorporate that information
New Project Manager: Oh, that would mean a change and I can’t be bothered with all the paperwork for that. I’m sure it won’t matter
Two years later, the client was sued by a customer who claimed that they told him to buy a stock that was already collapsing. They couldn’t prove him wrong. They lost.
Over the past couple of months, I have printed labels for a client's farmer’s market product. Each time they order they don't give me enough notice and argue over the rush fee.
Last week they sent me an e-mail at 7 PM, asking for another batch of labels to be ready the next day and to be put in the mail first thing in the morning.
Me: I’ll be glad to do this for you, but it will be a rush order. That will cost extra.
Client: Why do you keep charging me extra? I’m a repeat customer. All I want is my labels the next day and guaranteed shipping to my door by Saturday.
Me: We’ve been over this multiple times. It costs extra to ship Express or Priority to your state. It also takes two days minimum without rushing to print and prepare your labels. I'll need to stay up late tonight and work overtime to get it in the mail at all tomorrow.
Client: I’m a small startup. I can’t afford such huge rush costs.
Me: Say you’re at home eating dinner, and I message you to print labels for the next day. Then you have to drive 20 miles one way back to the design studio, which you only just got home from, and spend 4 hours working. You need to arrange for someone to look after your kid in that time, and because you're working until after midnight you wind up on a sleep deficit for the rest of the week. Do you really expect me to do all of that for you just for free without additional cost?
They finally responded with two words:
Client: I understand.
They then proceeded to agree to the payment terms for their rush order.
I’d say this had a happy ending, but I’ve had clients conveniently “forget” lessons like this before. Let’s hope the lecture sticks.
One of the items I sell is custom buttons (badges). Local movie productions sometimes buy them to use as promotional items.
I got an email from a new production company, ordering a set of buttons. They wanted a fairly typical design, with the movie logo and assorted quotes from the movie in production. It's supposed to be a horror movie.
Price was negotiated, the deposit made through Paypal, and they sent the content in a simple txt file. All arranged through e-mail, all as usual with such an order.
The logo was simple, and worked well on the buttons. But, the content was... off. These might have been typos, they might not. One quote was "Quiet thinking about the dead were living still."
So, I sent another email.
Me: Do you want me to edit these for grammar and punctuation? I think you might have some typos.
Client: No, they're the way we want them. Use the text we sent.
I figured it must be something sensible in the context of the movie. So, I selected a drippy "slasher" font, typeset the buttons, and sent them jpg previews.
Me: Here are the previews. Please look them over and make sure they are what you want.
Client: They're fine. When will they be ready?
Me: If I have the go-ahead, they'll be ready Friday morning.
Everything was going well, but I was still worried.
On Friday, the client came to my shop. I handed them the box of buttons.
Me: Check these and make sure they're right.
Client: (glancing in the box) They look good!
They signed off, handed me the check, and left with the buttons.
Monday, I got a phone call. I was braced to defend myself, but the caller (not the same person who picked up the buttons) just asked me in a tired voice how much it would be to redo the order as a rush job for Wednesday. I was actually free to do it without a strain, so I gave them the same price as before, and they agreed.
The client's boss emailed me the correct text, which was "Quit thinking about the dead. We're still living." Also, apparently it wasn't a horror movie but more of a suspense one, so in a few quick emails, we settled on a less drippy font.
Wednesday, Client's Boss came for the buttons. I didn't say anything about the previous person but treated this like a whole new order. Client's Boss sat at a table with buttons to check each different design and even looked at their backs to see that they were straight. They approved, signed off, handed over the check, and took the box of buttons.
Thank you, Client Boss, for seeing that the idiot in the equation wasn't me.
I have since had more orders from that same production company, but never saw or heard from the original client again.
The great thing about remote work is you can travel while doing it. Of course, we all know we CAN, but how many of us actually pull up stakes and do it?
Lynette Adams is one of the few who really have done it! She's a freelance writer and editor who recently wrote an article for The New York Times on house-sitting, and how you can build a life for yourself trotting the globe. SPOILERS: it's a lot like freelancing! She and Kyle talk about how to build a reputation as a reliable housesitter, what it teaches about client relations, the unexpected benefit of a negative review and most importantly, what it would take for YOU to get up and move across the globe for a few months!
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