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No Approval Means Disapproval

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2023

An old friend reaches out to me to manage her dance studio’s social media. I’m reluctant at first as I don’t like to mix business and pleasure, but I decide to take it on to expand my niche.

The first few months go well, but then I start finding it hard to get what I need. The client asks me to create social posts to promote new classes or feature her students, but she never sends me details about new classes or anything about her students. Instead, she tells me I’m doing “an amazing job” and that she couldn’t be happier but stops responding when I need information or approval. 

As multiple emails go ignored, I do my best to keep up the content. I end up spending extra time every month redoing the schedule because the client doesn’t sign off on posts or send me information in time. 

I’m getting frustrated. We finally manage to schedule a Zoom call and I’m eager to see if we can get back on track. 

However, this is how the conversation goes.

Client: “I just checked, and you have only posted about half of what you’re supposed to do! I’m paying for you to post twenty times a month.”

Me: “I understand your frustration. I’ve actually been trying to—”

Client: “Mm-mm, no, you don’t get to speak until I’m finished. I’m an extremely busy person. I’m paying you [amount] per month so that I don’t have to think about social media. You’re supposed to handle it for me.”

Me: “That’s not accurate. I still need information and approvals from you. I charge you a lower rate—”

This was a mistake. I was about to say, “…a lower rate, but I still put in extra time to make sure it’s done.” She doesn’t let me get that far.

Client: “Wow, so that’s your excuse for turning in s*** work? So, you’re taking my money that I could be using for other things. You’re basically killing my studio.”

Me: “‘S*** work’? You’ve expressed that you were pleased with my work and the results you were getting. And again, I do still need approvals and details from you—”

Client: “And still you’re supposed to make twenty posts a month no matter what.”

Me: “Our contract states up to twenty posts pending your approval.”

Client: “I told you I was busy. It’s not my fault you can’t manage your time or do what you’re offering. I hired you to do a job. So, if you’re not going to do it, you owe me [amount reflecting several months of work].”

Me: “Okay, I’m not your employee. I’m a contractor. And as best as I can tell, I fulfilled my end of the deal. And I’m now ending our working relationship.”

I disconnected the Zoom call. She blew up my phone and email with nasty messages demanding either a refund or for me to work for her for free (which I suspect was what she wanted all along). 

I blocked her number and sent her a highlighted copy of her contract that clearly stated “up to twenty posts per month” and that if she didn’t provide the necessary details or approval, those posts would be postponed or cancelled. 

She never responded, but that was fine by me.  

A ten-year friendship was destroyed in one Zoom call. And this is why I will never again make an exception to my “don’t work with friends” rule.

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