As a freelancer, I have met and catered to numerous clients. You get to meet a wide range of people of all ages, diverse backgrounds, highly technical minds to non-techies, successful business owners to the Mom and Pop retailer, and professionals such as Physicians to those in the ministry.

That being said, I have received a wide range of requests, some funny, a few strange, many frustrating, scattered with a bunch of impossible tasks. Fortunately, I have been able to either convince the client of a better way, modify their request, or just turn down the job.

Here are a few examples in no particular order. Some I find humorous now and while others were just impossible to accomplish. I am not going mention any names or websites as I just don’t want to offend anyone.

Web Owner 1:
“Just enlarge the photo”
On a particular WordPress site for a nonprofit organization, one of the teachers emailed me a photo and explained that she wanted me to place it on the slider which was the header of the website.
The images on this full-width slider were at least 1200px wide.
I downloaded the image she sent me, and to my surprise, it was a tiny 125px wide image.

I contacted her and asked if she had a larger version of the photo, explaining the minimum size requirements for the header.
I was sort of dumbfounded by her response, “This is the only photo I have, just enlarge the photo.” In speaking to this teacher in the past, I knew she was a total nontechie, and most likely would not understand that you cannot enlarge pixels, it will only lead to pixelation. So to solve this issue and keep everyone happy, I just grabbed my DSLR and went to the school and took a shot of her class. I now had full resolutions shots and everyone was happy in the end. The new images looked great on the slider.

Web Owner 2:
“Can’t you just delete it and type in the new name?”
(referring to changing the domain name)
I just finished building a website for a small business, with a brand new domain name. The owner loved his new website and I was getting ready to close this project. A few days later, he called me and said he thought about it and was not satisfied with the domain name. He wanted to delete 2 letters and replace it with a different set of alphabets.

I explained to him that a domain name is registered, and to get another domain, I would have to request another domain name and pay the fee to obtain it. I didn’t even mention that I would also have to migrate his entire website to the new domain.

His response to me, “Why go through all that trouble?” “Can’t you just delete it and type in the new name?”

I just had to take a deep breath and try and understand where he was coming from. He thought a domain was just like a title on a document, so isn’t it so simple to just backspace it a few times and type in the new name?

Final result: I ended up purchasing a new domain name for him.

Web Owner 3
I have no backups. Just fix the f……. thing now.”
Received a request from a business owner who seemed quite upset who wanted me to fix a WordPress site that was down.
Sometimes I despise looking at these request because I hate finding that White Screen of Death, which it was in this case. It seems the owner rarely did any maintenance, including plugin, theme and core updates.
Tried disabling all plugins, increased PHP memory limit in the wp-config.php file and ran repair DB though MySQL. All to no avail.
I also discovered that the owner had no backups and his basic shared hosting plan provided none. A perfect scenario to make you want to say “find someone else.”

I remember his response when I asked if he had a backup for his site, “I have no backups. Just fix the f……. thing now.” Had no choice but to rebuild the website from scratch. There was a 3-day delay because I had to wait for all the important content (who, what, where, about, contact, etc.) to complete this project. The owner was actually very happy when completed because he loved the fresh new look.

I now provide all his website maintenance and service, including weekly backups.

Web Owner 4
“Can you make me look younger, my secretary and accountant look slimmer, and change the shirt on my assistant, I hate it?”
The owner was referring to the About page staff photo.

One day I received an email with a link from a business owner asking me to take a look at his staff photo. He mentioned that other designers and web agencies turned his request down.

He asked if I was good in Photoshop because he heard that Photoshop could create some magic on his staff image.
After taking a look at his About page, my assessment was technically if someone had the time, the requested editing could be accomplished. But it was not something I would like to spend hours performing.

My response: Thank you for your inquiry, although I do use Photoshop in my work, my primary skillset is building websites. I suggest you find someone who specializes in photo editing as that is their main function. I have a suggestion, how about replacing the group shot with individual photos of your staff faces.

Never heard from him again.
I did take a peek at his website months later and that group image was removed and replaced with new smiling headshots of his office staff. I am sure the other designers had told him the same thing.

There are more bizarre examples, maybe I should post a Part 2 later.

Gerald Watanabe

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