It seems I’ve been burned at my own doing, I accept accountability, but am still ranting because it still sucks. I started out freelancing more than 10 years ago so I know how it works. Now I am employed full time in this line of work, but will freelance once in awhile to help make ends meet. My other half is in the middle of a disability filing so I am the sole provider for a family of four, sometimes five. It is no secret that IL is an expensive place to live.
Most of my private clients, for reasons I may never understand, seem to find me after being burned by a developer. One poor lady was going to be charged over $100 to change one letter (literally just changing a letter from a B to an R) in an Illustrator file by someone she know as a friend. The key concept here is that they find me. I am a horrific sales person. It’s funny because one of my undergrad majors was, of all things, marketing. It seemed like a good fit for a business major. I could not sell an umbrella in a deluge if it was the last one on earth. So I rely on word of mouth and thought I would give this a try.
It did not take long for a buyer request to come in. The buyer seemed sincerely at a loss. I provided an offer after identifying all of the requirements/deliverables. The buyer needed same day service and seemed really overwhelmed by the process although he or she did seem to be somewhat familiar with the platform. The buyer seemed thrilled that the offer was reasonable and I went to work right away.
I made sure that all questions were answered, the coding was clean, the process explained in plain english and provided resources to ensure that the buyer could make sound decisions about their investment going forward. I also offered to answer additional questions should they arise after the work was completed. In my experience, clients often don’t think of questions important to them until after a meeting or project ends. The client experience matters to me on a personal and professional level.
The buyer expressed being thrilled with the work completed and the service level and readily said that they approved everything. They were thrilled, I was happy, a great ending except it wasn’t. I checked the dashboard and noticed that the offer/gig/request appeared nowhere. The buyer was unresponsive. It means I spent just over eight hours working on a Magento 1.x site the same day as requested, customizing, etc. for the amazing price of $0. If I had even an ounce of the sales skills my employer has, I could sell consulting services for just over $100/hr (what they charge clients for my time). Unfortunately I do not. I missed out on a family event for this.
The kicker is this: it is entirely my fault. I was convinced that this was a good human in an unfortunate predicament and wanted to do the honorable thing for them. Now all I can do is hope that this buyer decides to be a decent person and do the right thing. The icing on the cake: that income was what was going to cover some kind of Christmas for the kids. Now unless there is another request or this buyer decides to come through, or there is a miracle there will not be one at all.