Working has never been easy, whether you are the one leading and giving out instructions or simply following given orders. As an adventurous college student, I would always look for different opportunities to earn money as a way of supporting my wants without having to burden my parents. One way would be by looking for and doing creative freelance work. The jobs that I would apply for range from laying-out books to taking shots of products or models, and oftentimes I would search for jobs like these on online freelance sites or Facebook groups for both freelancers and clients.
Having worked as a freelance graphic designer and photographer on short-term projects for almost three years showed me how the freelance industry is messed up, not only locally but also internationally, as I have worked with different clients from around the world.
Oftentimes, I would see various freelancers post conflicts that arose from the projects that they have worked on and on the people who handled them online. I could relate to most of their comments as I have also experienced them and the problems that they mentioned should be aided quickly in order to fix the industry.
The most common conflicts between clients and their employees would include how the clients demand the cheapest payment yet expect a high-quality output. Companies should understand that hiring experienced freelancers does not come cheap as they have spent years of experience mastering their skills and thousands of dollars for their equipment and software.
Another would be how clients would overwork their freelancers and require them to do certain tasks that are not included in the project contract or agreement. Several clients would also not respect the time of the freelancers as they would rush them and expect them to work all the time in order to deliver the output as soon as possible. This may result to an output that is not up to par. These are just a few of the problems that we freelancers experience. It may not greatly affect me as I only work from time to time, but there are those who make a living as full-time freelancers and suffer from these day to day. In the advertising industry, clients like these are referred to as “clients from Hell”.
But looking at these problems from the client’s perspective, it is understandable why they wish to treat their freelancers the way they do. They wish to get the most out of what they pay for and to get all the deliverables done as soon as possible, as time is always of the essence—especially when you work for big companies.
Despite hearing and experiencing so much about these so-called clients from Hell, I have also had the chance of working with several clients who are the complete opposite. I have had the chance to work with clients who are very patient, respectful, and considerate.
There would be clients that treat their freelancers well and those who don’t, and my experiences have had a fair share of both kinds of clients. Although some might say that clients have all the right to handle their freelancers terribly since they are getting paid anyways. This should not be the case as a good client-freelancer relationship is vital and a clear communication is a key factor in order to produce a satisfactory output from the project itself.
The client should respect both the freelancer and the process of the project and vice-versa for the freelancer, in order to create a harmonious and smooth work flow. Clients should be able to listen to their freelancers and consider the given ideas or suggestion so that rather than a conflict arising, a compromise could be done. Freelancers are humans too, not machines.