Last winter, I took on a project against my better judgement. It had TWO of the five red flag warnings–one is always enough–and yet, out of desperation, even after the initial “skills test” took over three days to finally complete, I agreed to the project and have been sorry ever since.
If the skills test bullshit wasn’t indication enough that the whole thing was going to be a nightmare, her line “other freelancers are charging about half that” should have tipped me off. But for some reason I ignored it. Then I found out that this project was to be her first experience project managing anything, so I was to be her guinea pig. Oh was I ever.
I had completed 3/4 of the project but realized too late that the client was not the sort I preferred to do business with. It was a project I had taken in desperation and the fixed rate was far too low to make it a priority over other (paying) work, but I had convinced myself that it would be a good idea to take on this project for reasons of creating new portfolio samples.
But micro management and 9th and 10th draft versions where the client wanted fonts changed and tables resized on a wireframe the end client would never see had quashed any degree of challenge that the project could present – I was dead inside. So I informed the client I would not be continuing the work.
I received an emotional rant that demanded I return half of the deposit back for not completing the project. Long story short, the payment was so low and the client so fucking crazy I eventually conceded.
I considered some passive aggressive revenge for about a week, then absorbed it as a lesson learned. Though thoughts of revenge still cross my mind now and then.