You may remember back in November/December when I had mentioned that I would be doing some freelance graphic design work for a local Sweets Shop. Yeah, here's how that situation panned out...
Initially I was pretty excited about the opportunity because I love the work and that industry is right up my alley -- designing little pink cupcakes and treats -- and working from home! I had several meetings with the shop owner, beginning the week of Thanksgiving. She was very enthused about me living so close by and she really liked my style and portfolio. She gave me some ideas of what she was looking for and asked me to create an Ice Cream menu. I was eager to get started and after six hours I was very happy with my outcome. In early December I forwarded the file to her and awaited her response. Once approved, all I needed was the accurate information to complete the project. Her response came within a week and she "Love Love Love"d it, was "in love with it". I was SO relieved! It is very hard to transform someone's thoughts and ideas into a design and nail it on the first try. Whew! This was going to work out great. I replied reminding her that I just needed a list of the ice cream flavors to complete the job.
I went into the shop the following week to get things hammered out. She said she would definitely use me and was just going to hire a web designer for her new site. I would be doing all of her menus, flyers, signs for the shop, labels and tags for her products, cupcake wrappers, specialty items for birthday parties and events, designing a logo for a new line that she would be starting and I would even get to handle her upcoming blog. Sounded great! She said she would keep me "VERY BUSY". I was psyched. I asked about how many hours per week she thought this would entail... 5? 10? 20? And she said "Oh at least 20!" It was exactly what I needed! She thought it best that we officially start on these projects after the New Year because she had been so busy with the holidays. Perfect! Something to start the year off on the right foot! I was very relaxed throughout the holiday season just knowing that I had this awesome endeavor to look forward to.
Enter January. I hadn't heard from her so I went into the shop during the second week of the month. She was all smiles as usual. She asked me to work on a cupcake menu, mentioned the other projects but gave me no further information. She didn't have time to sit down and discuss things but said she definitely wanted a flyer for Valentine's Day along with a couple other items. She said she'd be in touch. So I went home, a little disappointed in our discussion, thinking I would have a long list of projects to get started on. I settled down to work on the cupcake menu. Once finished, I sent it over to her for approval. A few weeks later she contacted me to create a flyer for a local school fundraiser. I finished it in a couple of hours and after her immediate approval I was paid on the finished product. This would be the only project I ever completed and was paid for.
Valentine's Day came and went and I was never contacted to make that flyer for her. Every week I would send her email reminders - attaching the ice cream and cupcake menus and politely asking her for the flavors/information I needed to finish them. I never received replies.
I went into the shop several times asking her if she was happy with everything and she said yes, totally, but she had just been too busy to get to me. She told me that I needed to "haunt her" because she was "spacey" (or "a flake", I can't remember how she put it). I felt that by sending her weekly emails - sometimes two or three per week, that I was doing my part in reminding her of my existence.
I would read her daily facebook page posts and wonder why she couldn't take the time to just reply to my emails while she was taking those few minutes to update her page. It just takes a minute to respond. It's quite a simple courtesy. One day when reading her page I saw that she mentioned her new blog was in the works and to keep an eye out for the posts. Hmmm, guess she got someone else to take care of that.
Another day on facebook when I came across a post from her shop I saw a brand spankin' new logo for her new line of goodies. Yup. The very same logo she wanted me to design but didn't give me the information for and said we were holding off on that for the time being. What the hell was happening here???
I was livid. Apparently she had chosen another designer and decided not to let me know. Was I to believe that she had completely forgotten about me?? Did I not "haunt her" enough?? No. I refuse to believe that. My job is to take the information (the COMPLETE information) that I am given and to design a layout for approval. My job is not to send three emails per week begging for approval and information.
I decided to send her one last email letting her know that the way she handled the situation is completely unacceptable. I cannot believe that someone so irresponsible and unreliable can have such a successful business.
After four months of requests I never received the list of ice cream flavors. After three months I still hadn't received the list of cupcake flavors. I was never paid for my time spent on concept and design for those two projects -- which really pisses me off. Being burned like that just sours me right up.
At first I thought it was my loss because I was really very excited to do this work for the shop, I was so passionate about it. But now realizing that I would need to wait on her for weeks and even months, I know it would never have worked out for me. I can't sit around and wait and constantly beg for five minutes of attention. I don't have it in me. I learned that this was far from the ideal situation for me. On to the next ...