Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rules of Freelancing #7: Say NO

There are two types of people in this world: those who can say 'no' and those who cannot. While there could be a slim gray area in this spectrum, many people are all or nothing on this topic. When it comes to business, knowing when to tell someone 'no' is essential for your success and your sanity.

Saying 'no' in freelancing may be hard to get used to. After all, why would you say 'no' to someone who is looking to hire you for your services? What you have to consider before accepting each job is how it will impact your business overall. If you are taking jobs that provide very low wages, you may be setting yourself up for a hard time when it comes to getting the good high paying jobs. This may not be an instance where you decline outright, but it could be a chance to negotiate the price. If it is still not within the realm of possibility to take the job, decline it.

Another instance where 'no' works well is when a client wants you to do something that you do not feel comfortable doing. "No means no" works in a lot of situations and this is one of them. If, for instance, a client wants you to write about their illegal gambling business and you feel that is morally unacceptable (no matter what price they offer) don't do it just for the money. After all, who wants articles, graphics or other material in their portfolio for an illegal business? More likely, the client will ask you to do more work than the payment is worth or ask that your name not appear on your work. When you ghostwrite or design, that should be agreed upon upfront if you are comfortable with it.

The last instance where freelancers have a hard time saying no is when the jobs just keep rolling in. If you are swamped with work, there is a chance that you could miss deadlines, turn in less-than-stellar work or just burn out before the projects are completed. Know your limits before you take on too many jobs. The great part about this instance is you can pick a fancy way to say 'no'—something like “I would love to accept your project, but my schedule is full at the moment.”

Saying no? I'm a pushover and I won't sugarcoat that. It's a lot easier for me to say 'no' online, but when I'm face-to-face with someone, I often cave in. Maybe that's why I have chosen to work in front of a computer screen all day with minimal human contact. This belongs to an ever-growing list of things I would like to work on.

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