Times When You Should Consider Saying “No”

Magpies are common in the gig economy. People see that new shining thing and want it, or need it in their life. 

Being a “yes” person is common in the freelancing industry, particularly if you’re just starting out. You work so hard to get clients, delight them at every step, and increase your chances of earning projects in the future. While it may go against your nature as a freelancer to turn down tasks, you should use judgment when choosing which projects to take.

Recognising how and when to say “no” is an essential skill for every freelancer, as is having a firm grasp on pricing, client selection, and time management. Having to say no to work when offered might be difficult, but it’s a skill worth developing. In this piece, we’ll discuss when it’s OK to say “no.” to a freelancing project.

1. When you have a lot on your plate already – There still are a few reasons why you may need to decline a project, and be reassured that if you articulate your point clearly, your prospective client will accept your response, and probably value it. Remember that you are under no pressure to take any and all projects or clients that come your way.  Having the confidence in your ability and knowing your limits protects freelancers from stress and worry. It is also something that might surprise and impress a business, so you stand out in the future when they are looking for other work again. A business that uses freelancers now, will do so again in the future.

2. When the project conflicts with your values – Among the challenging instances you could run into as a freelancer is when a business deal deviates from your morals or values. Freelancing allows you the freedom to decide and select your clients and projects. Make use of that idea! You have the right to refuse a job if doing so would compromise your confidence to live at peace with yourself, whatever the circumstances.

3. When the math doesn’t work – Low pay is another factor to consider when deciding whether or not to reject a freelancing gig. With that thought, your fees or prices may be out of reach for those with tighter budgets. Find out how much you want to get paid each hour and per project. If the client is attempting to lowball your rate right from the beginning, consider reevaluating your collaboration with them.

It is brave to say no, but it is also assertive and takes confidence. Freelance work comes around regularly, so stay in touch with those who you say no to, you could even put it on your profile stating clearly that you are working on a big project until a certain date so that businesses do not contact you until that project ends. 

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