Let's face it. All writers are, in a sense, freelancers even if we don't actively run a business with that as the focus. But what happens when we get the short end of the money stick?
It started out innocently enough. A potential client liked my work, and had one of his employees contact me to see if I’d be interested in meeting to discuss some potential projects he wanted my help on. Several weeks after the initial meeting, he contacted me needed some emergency last-minute work done. He told me the terms over the phone and asked to meet in person the next day.
I’d had some misgivings about the client in the first place for various reasons, and a second red flag was when I learned he’d fired the full-time employee working on the project. My third red flag was when it took him five hours in our in-person meeting to explain what he wanted, and all I had walking out of that meeting was an outline I’d created myself. Start-up companies are often very disorganized, but this was excessive.
Still, I proceeded against my better judgement. I created a shared Google doc so that he could observe my work in real time, due to the time crunch, so that I could immediately make corrections. We didn’t have the luxury of a prolonged revision process.
I spent six hours putting together the manual, as requested, based on the outline I’d painstakingly compiled amidst a chaotic environment with constant interruptions. And I got feedback asking for more pages of information, though I had no idea what else to include, and for images, though copyright was an issue and we’d never discussed procuring images in our scope of work meeting.
My concerns and questions were never addressed, but were instead greeted with hostility. And so it was that midway through the project, the client decided to complete it himself. I was actually relieved at this point, and let him know that I’d simply bill him for the work I’d completed up until that point.
His response was, ”Bill? Are you kidding? For what? You did not provide me with any services. Good luck with your bill-sending exercise. All further emails will be automatically deleted.”Continue reading to hear how he fought back at Yael Writes.
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