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Advice: "Cracking the whip"?

Hello all,

Recently I opened up for fursuit commissions and got a lot of positive feedback about them. I've managed to befriend some of my clients and I'm really happy.
However, one of them wants to add me on every single messenger and site possible. I've ignored most requests but added them on Facebook.

My mental (later physical) health took a turn for the worst and I wasn't able to work for a whole week. Every single day, the minute I got online, this person would pester me with, "How are you?" followed immediately by, "Can you work on my suit?" I've explained that I'm not a robot and that I need time to myself but it hasn't stuck.

Their commission is for a "beginner partial" and they paid rush for it to be done in time for March 1st. I've explained that most of the supplies haven't come in yet so I get asked every single day about that as well.

If that doesn't sound tiring enough, the person wants me to stream every aspect of the suit for them- cutting out fur, me handsewing, gluing stuff, etc. I told them I don't feel comfortable with that and I will only stream the head building, which they've slightly understood... But now they ask for photos of what I'm doing. Every. Waking. Moment. I tried to tell them nicely that I can't work with my messenger constantly going off and they sent me videos and links, then asked "Photos?"

The real kicker is that, while I wasn't working for 5-6 days, they would tell me every day that I was disappointing them because they need this suit for March and that I was "slacking off". It's the beginning of January.

I haven't stressed out about them constantly messaging me yet but it's so aggrivating. What can I really say to them or possibly do? I don't mind having my clients added on Facebook, all of the past ones would pop up maybe once in a while and ask how I was doing (I'd send WIPs when I could) but I've never had someone constantly pestering me. 

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Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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celestinaketzia
Jan. 10th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
Boundaries need to be set up immediately. There's no reason a client of any sort needs to be pestering you day in and day out. Tell them that they need to cut it back to X amount or that you will cancel their commission. The supplies haven't come in yet has it? Would you be able to issue a refund + ship the materials if it came to it?

I also would suggest setting up a business messenger name where you can keep clients and personal friends separate. I used to have overly clingy clients back when I first started, and leaving my business messenger off really cut back on folks who would pester me.
laughsatthunder
Jan. 10th, 2015 10:29 pm (UTC)
I've had a good 35+ individual clients and never experienced this. It's just a little weird.

I'd still like to complete the commission but they need to just chill out. It's gotten nuts. I ignore most of the messages because they're either "Hey! lol" or an emoticon, but some of them are just weird (ex: "What day do you want to finish on?" and "How many claws did you buy?").

In a nice tone, how can I let them know [yet again] that I need my space?
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jan. 10th, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Jan. 10th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
kayla_la
Jan. 10th, 2015 10:29 pm (UTC)
To be perfectly honest, if you're able, I would cancel and fully refund them, then remove them from everything. Do you -need- the money?
laughsatthunder
Jan. 10th, 2015 10:33 pm (UTC)
They've already paid in full + extra for rush. :x (Jokingly, rush I will!)

I'd really rather now refund them, but I just want some space to myself, y'know? It doesn't help that I'm introverted but artists are people, they need room and experience emotions or get sick/busy/tired.
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Jan. 10th, 2015 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jan. 10th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dustmeat - Jan. 11th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
kazeno_taka
Jan. 10th, 2015 11:40 pm (UTC)
Oh man, this is exactly the sort of client that would drive me *nuts*. I can't stand having people basically hovering over my shoulder, which your client is essentially doing.

The first thing I would do is remove them from your Facebook friends list. Or, if you don't want to cause drama, you could go the passive route and make the privacy of all new posts "custom" where you can select "show this post to everyone except [name]". They will still be on your friends list, but won't be able to see any of your new posts, and thus flood you with small talk comments :D

If they're bothering you on Facebook Messenger, you could even say it's not playing well with your system (a true problem with a lot of users) and you can't use it.

These are all very passive solutions, though. If you want to nip the issue in the bud, turn it around on them as, "I'm really focused with being able to complete your suit by March, and unfortunately if I took photos and videos of every step, it would greatly delay production of your suit. In order to have enough time to finish it, I'll only be able to send you [x] number of updates." Let them know that conversing with them at the excessive rate they're requesting is also causing delays.

If they want to accuse you of 'slacking' for not spending every waking moment working on their suit, then they also have to accept the fact that bugging you for photos and videos and wanting to engage in constant conversation is going to cause delays.

Edited at 2015-01-10 11:41 pm (UTC)
magedragonfire
Jan. 10th, 2015 11:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this exactly.
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Jan. 11th, 2015 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orangemonsterco - Jan. 11th, 2015 06:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Jan. 11th, 2015 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Jan. 11th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orangemonsterco - Jan. 11th, 2015 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
dinogrrl
Jan. 10th, 2015 11:57 pm (UTC)
Like the others suggested, no matter what you end up doing with this client, I would suggest immediately removing them from any and all forms of social media where you two are in contact, and have them contact you through a single method, like email. As long as they are on your social media, they WILL continue to pester you through them.

Then, as I see it, there are two options:

1) End the commission and refund the money.

-or-

2) Set up boundaries IMMEDIATELY. Tell them that you will only respond to them through X form of contact, no more than once per day/two days/week/however often you feel like contacting them. And absolutely do not budge on whatever you say. If they still send you multiple messages a day, do not read them throughout the day as they come in. Wait until YOU are ready to deal with them (as per whatever boundaries you set up), read them, reply, and then move on.

You've already told them to back off and they haven't. This is them very clearly telling you that they are not going to be listening to you on this matter, so you need to have your own boundaries in place on your end so you don't get burned out and resentful.
frisket17
Jan. 11th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
I'd refund and tell him to go away.
They are not worth it. They seem like the person that'll knit-pick and complain even when the project is done- and probably endlessly pester months/years after the fact too.

Run away fast and far imo.
bladespark
Jan. 11th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC)
If you really don't want to refund them, then I suggest just not responding to unnecessary messages.

Ignore any random chatter that isn't work related. Just don't reply at all.

Answer work-related questions simply, without any chit-chat, apologies, or explanations.

Respond to requests to do things with a simple "No, I can't do that."

You are a business person, not their friend. Make everything clear, concise, and coolly professional.

If they pitch a fit, simply say that you are busy working, and if they want their suit done on time, they'll let you work. Copy-paste that in reply to any further complaints.

Don't get drawn into arguments. Don't get pulled into explaining your reasons. That's just wasting time you could be working. Copy-paste the explanation that you're working, then do so.

(And I suggest getting their suit done asap, even before their rush deadline, just to get them to go away permanently.)
stormrunner1981
Jan. 11th, 2015 02:17 am (UTC)
I had a client do this to me before. Not a fursuit but a colored commission.

I have anxiety and depression and told them that the commission would take a bit before hand (I don't take payment first due to this). I can have a bad week of not more then that especially in winter time (which was when I got the commission request).

I tolerated it for about 3-4 weeks, told them politely to contact me maybe once a week, and then canceled the commission when they kept on daily.

Be prepared if they are overly insistent they may be the type to go off on you if you cancel the commission - what happened to me.

Remember, as you said you are only human. Don't let this eat into your mental state or it will effect you work on the project, and possibly any other work.

Sorry if this seems a bit personal, but this was not the only commissioner I had like this - but it was the only one I tolerated this long.
growly
Jan. 11th, 2015 02:43 am (UTC)
I'd refund them honestly, especially if you've politely asked them to back off already. That's too much babysitting and if they don't trust you to do your job, maybe they should hire someone they DO trust or just learn to make it themselves.
lackoflollies
Jan. 11th, 2015 03:59 am (UTC)
I'd immediately refund saying this business relationship is not working and they needs to find others. Also let them know about boundaries, because if not you, it's going to be someone else unless someone puts them in their place.
familliaraver
Jan. 11th, 2015 06:06 am (UTC)
Set up a schedule with them. Updates once a week and business hours Monday-Friday 9-5. Make your posts invisible to them on your facebook and mark your messenger as away/busy/or log out completely. For future reference set up a client skype or an e-mail only as a rule. Answer e-mails once a day. I skype when I need to share WIP or ask quick question because I can control how accessible I am.

"Hey, I'm really in a groove with your work right now, let me get some more done with this so I can send you some great pics. How does Saturday afternoon sound?"

They don't need to know your life and you are just gonna get those customers sometimes. If your ability to fully refund right now is an option, tell them that they need to back off or take a refund. You need to fix your TOS to reflect that a customer harassment is grounds for refund.
zaulankris
Jan. 11th, 2015 10:19 am (UTC)
I was in that position a while ago-- difficult client with a deadline, refunding them wasn't really on the table Because Reasons (in my case, I really wanted the character in my portfolio).

My client had trust issues, to the point that I dreaded sending them any WIP emails. Eventually I firmly told them that their neediness was above and beyond what is expected in fursuits, that I am a professional and take my work seriously as a matter of course, that the backseat driving is unnecessary and is driving me up the wall. Their two options were A) back off and let me work + I am modifying our initial agreement to include less WIPs to cut down on the amount of tl;dr worrywart emails or B) Refund now. They chose A and calmed right down and the project was completed without further fuss or stress on their part (me going "AAHHH HOW DO I DO THE THING?" is another story, rofl).

It's in my TOS to never discuss commission stuff outside of email, so even if someone adds me somewhere, it's easy to wiggle out of time-wasting conversations. I don't engage people in smalltalk, and even if they do go through the trouble of an email, you don't have to reply right away.

My suggestion is to give them a clear "last chance" since you don't want to refund. If they truly don't chill out, drop it like it's hot. You're not a bad person for preferring to work with people who make you happy!
(Deleted comment)
mortymaxwell
Jan. 11th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
If it was me, I'd cancel the commission and refund them. You've told them to stop, they haven't. They're being rude telling you that you're slacking off, and they don't sound like they have faith in you with all the you're disappointing me stuff.

I'd be worried, also, that they'd turn out to be someone who will be impossible to please, and who will end up demanding their money back.

Edited at 2015-01-11 06:52 pm (UTC)
pinkpuppybelly
Jan. 11th, 2015 03:27 pm (UTC)
I would also suggest canceling the commission and blocking them.

It makes me suspicious that they want visual proof of what you're doing, for every step. To me, that sounds like someone that wants to see how it's done, so they can either do it themselves or start up a business of their own.

Refund the money, take a new slot immediately to make up the loss. And good luck!
tifaria
Jan. 11th, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'd at least turn off chat and block them on social media. At least. I never turn on FB chat anyway, because the thought of people knowing when I'm online makes me intensely anxious, haha.

They sound incredibly disrespectful towards you. Your personal time is your business, and they have no right to question every little thing you do and accuse you of slacking off. They're paying you for a completed product, not a step-by-step of the process. Refunding them would probably be in your best interest, but I can understand if you're reluctant to do that. For your peace of mind, though, at least block them on chat/social media.
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