What the hell is a jay-peg? Do you mean a jay-pee-gee?A client who runs a photography website
Me: Just to remind you that, as we discussed, I’m sending my invoice a couple of days early because I’m going away on holiday. It still has the same deadline though - I’m just getting all my admin sorted before I go.
Client: What you really mean is that you need spending money for your holiday?
Me: No, not at all. I’m just getting everything sorted before I leave. The invoice isn’t due until a couple of days after I get back.
Client: It’s okay. You don’t need to get defensive. I’ll pay your invoice this afternoon, as long as you tell your kids that Uncle Client is the one paying for their ice creams.
Me: I think I’ll tell them that mummy is paying for their ice creams by providing a copywriting service that people pay for.
Client: Ha! Yes, you tell them that if it makes you feel better.
Not quite a client from hell but a story of a boss from hell that involved a freelancer.
The old boss at an agency I worked was working on some copy for a website and had sent it to a freelance copywriter to make changes and polish it up. My old boss was a perfectionist and believed that he could do anybody’s job in the agency better than they could.
The freelancer sent him a revised Word Document and discussed over a (loud) speakerphone. The conversation between the freelancer and my old boss went like this (in earshot of the entire office):
Boss: I just read the copy you sent through.
Freelancer: Oh yeah? What feedback do you have?
Boss: It is quite possibly the worst written piece of crap I have ever read. Nothing makes any sense and it feels like it has been written by a 3 year old.
Boss: I don’t know how you can call yourself a ‘copywriter’ if you can’t even spell. Most of these words don’t mean anything relevant to this project and I feel that I have wasted my time hiring you for a job you quite clearly can’t do! Once again I have to do these things myself.
A slight pause.
Freelancer: The document I sent has not been changed from the original you sent me. I only added a couple of questions in red at the end that needed answering before I could proceed.
After a long pause my old boss rather sheepishly made his excuses and ended the call. We didn’t see him again for the rest of the day
A few years ago, I was working for an ad agency on a business-to-business campaign. The concept we came up with called for illustrations of exotic birds (a Bird of Paradise, a Secretary bird, that sort of thing), and the client agreed to hire probably the best bird illustrator around.
Five illustrations came in at over £2,000 each, but they were worth it. The finished work was astounding - you could count not just the feathers, but even the little bits of each feather - and the client was stunned. He eventually had each one framed for reception in his company’s head office.
That client wasn’t the issue, though.
While we were still working on the campaign, another client came in and saw the originals waiting to be used.
Client: What are they for?
Confidentiality notwithstanding, we gave him a brief outline.
Client: Really? Hm. They look expensive. How much were they?
We told him ‘a four figure sum - each.’
Client: What? You’re kidding? Seriously? Have you paid him yet? I’ve got a CD of clip art with pictures like that on. I could let you have them for a tenner.
We respectfully declined.
I animated and edited a short video for my clients and it was time to review the rough draft. I put music underneath as a temporary track. The five of my clients and I were all in a room together to watch it.
Client: We don’t like the music at all.
Me: What don’t you like about it?
Client: It needs more “pep” and needs to be more “upbeat.” This is just not doing it.
Me: I have several other choices we can listen to so I can get a better idea of what you mean.
I proceed to play eight different tracks before finishing with the same track from the video. They unanimously pick the same track I had them listen to before.
Client: Yeah, that one. Why didn’t you use that one?
In a meeting with a client to discuss ways to increase the visibility of a client’s website…
Me: As you can see, [your competitor] ranks better for all the important keywords. To pass them in the near future, I suggest-
Client: Well try [own company name].
Me: Yes, you rank first for that. However, that shouldn’t be your main focus, since-
Client stands up, does an enthusiastic “I showed you” fist pump, and just stares at me.
Me: Does everything look good for you?
Client: Everything is great, but who is this girl in front of the background?
Me: Um, that’s the character you wanted me to design.
Client: What? I didn’t ask for that. I said to give the chair more character!
I forward the client the original email, wherein she requests a female character to be designed.
Client: Don’t you try ‘photoshopping’ my words!
A potential client asked me to design a marketing campaign for his new soap and body products store. I sent him a detailed proposal and my rates.
He responded that it all sounded great, and that he was excited to bring me onboard. But, a few days later, he told me that with the budget constraints of starting a new business, he couldn’t afford to hire me just yet. I told him I would be happy to discuss this all again when he was ready, and we left on good terms.
I went into his store once and it was mostly empty, so I bought myself some nice soap and we chatted about politics and the news. It was all very friendly.
Over the next month, he sent me several emails asking questions and making suggestions about his campaign. I answered his questions, assured him that his ideas were great, and I told him that I would be happy to implement some of them if and when he could hire me.
Two months after our initial discussion, he emailed me in a panic, angry about how his sales weren’t increasing. When I responded, asking what sort of marketing he was doing, he was shocked.
Client: You mean to tell me that you haven’t been working on my campaign at all over the last eight weeks? All this time you’ve been sitting there doing nothing!?
Me: I’m sorry, there must have been a big miscommunication. We never signed a contract and you made it clear you didn’t have a budget to hire me. So no, I have not been working on your project for the last two months. But we can fix this- let’s meet tonight and get this campaign started!
Client: Why bother? Don’t you know the first few months of business are the most important time for marketing!? I thought you understood. This is a disaster. I can’t believe you did this to me.
Needless to say, his fancy storefront has since shut down.
You act like your job is so hard! You only push two or three buttons, and you’re DONE!
Client: Why would you assume I wanted the columns to be vertical?
Me: I - I’m sorry, how did you want them?
Client: Obviously, I wanted horizontal columns.
Me: Like rows?
Client: Exactly like rows!