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Stuck in a work relationship which started out as business, then became a rewarding friendship, then turned into financial exploitation.
I have done maybe $2000 worth of work for free for this client, who is now complaining about the expense of the project and heaping responsibilities on me without offering any more payment. I stopped doing his work at a crucial point because I couldn’t afford to work for free anymore. I’m so bitter and resentful about it that I haven’t been able to type a single keystroke for him in weeks. He was calling, e-mailing, texting and applying lots of pressure for a while, and I couldn’t handle it so I just stopped responding and stopped working. It’s my fault because I stopped enforcing my hourly rate more than a year ago. It was because I was doing some work that was new to me, and I didn’t feel I could charge my full rate when I had so little experience. I didn’t know how long the project would take. Well I ended up working practically for free while he complained about his financial troubles endlessly - for a year!! And now he is whining about the expense of driving out to work on the project and buy lunch during our meetings. I’m wondering what I should do. I won’t finish this portion of his project unless he compensates me as agreed, but I wonder if I have a right to demand anything else of him for the entire last year. I tried to help him delegate portions of the project out to other professionals, but he wants me to be in charge of every aspect of it because it’s what he’s comfortable with (of COURSE because I’m not charging him what I’m worth!). He’s a good friend and a nice enough person in matters outside of payment, but I don’t have time to work for free any more! What would you do?
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