While it seems to go against every fibre of a freelancer’s being, there are times when you have to say “No” to a client or project. Knowing when to say “No” is the trick, and it can actually help you to grow your business and be more successful. It will also earn you respect from clients (and self-respect).
So, when should you say “No” to a client or project?
- You cannot help the client or provide them with value.
- The client/project is not good for your portfolio.
- The client/project is not in your niche or not your type of client.
- The client cannot afford you rates or there is a time restriction.
- The client wants more than you can or will provide.
- You do not understand what the client wants, or the client does not understand what you provide.
- The client is rude or there is not a good fit (personally or professionally).
- The client is not ready to hire a professional (it’s too early in the process).
- The client is not ready to proceed at this time.
- It’s an ego project – only one person cares about the project.
You might also want to say “No” to leave time for passion projects, or personal time. Leave time in your schedule to do what you want, so don’t overbook yourself. Book those passion projects in your calendar so that you have a reason to say “No” when the time arrives.
There are several good ways to say “No” to the client that will save the relationship for future work.
- Be polite. You might want to work with this client down the road, so let them down as politely as possible.
- Be honest. Explain why saying “No” makes sense, and it makes you look good.
- Suggest an alternative. Propose another service provider (referrals are great for building relationships) or another solution.
When do you say “No” to your clients, and how do you do it? Let me know – email@example.com.