When you are working for someone, you do not have the liberty to say ‘NO’. However, one of the advantages of being a freelancer is that you can always turn down a client or some project you do not want to work on. Having the liberty of refusing and having the ability to do so are two different things. As a freelancer if you are not going to refuse to some projects, you will be overloaded with the work you do not feel like doing and this will increase your work pressure and it will result into missing deadlines. Such things will affect the quality of your work. If a client wants you to design wall calendars for marketing and you want bigger projects like redesigning major e-commerce sites, you have to let them down gently so you can get the types of work you really want without tarnishing your reputation.
Turning down or refusing to anything is definitely a hard thing as you might think that you will offend others or hurt their feelings. But, sometimes this is a necessity. It is important for you to let people know that you are not ready to work for something you are not interested in and sooner or later people will realize that your refusal was for their own good. This will prove that you are an honest worker and you do not want to take on a job with which you cannot be loyal to.
You obviously cannot refuse every other assignment that comes your way just because you do not feel like working on it. In order to be able to pay your bills, you need to work on assignments that you do not feel like working but it is important. At the same time, you should know whether you would be able to handle the job or not. Also, if you are in a state where you can refuse projects you do not really like, do it without any feelings of guilt.
I know a lot of people who have issues in turning down a client as they are afraid they might end up hurting someone’s feelings. For such people we are enlisting essential strategies to turn down a client. I know they will work because I have tried them myself and since then saying no has not been so difficult.
Start off with Saying Yes
I know it sounds a little bizarre. Why would anyone say Yes when they actually want to turn down. The thing is that saying yes in the beginning would make your no sound a little less offending. You can always say yes to a project but tell them that you are really over loaded with the work and they can contact you in a month’s time. You can also ask the client to get some work done for the project before you take it so that you can be sure if you can handle the project or not. This is a great way of saying No politely and you are also putting the ball back into the client’s court. However, this does not mean that you should lie about being busy. Use this strategy when you are actually busy.
Realize Your Priorities
In order to be able to turn down a project you need to realize your priorities and know your prior commitments. As a freelancer, be organized and you should always have a list ready of the projects you are currently working on. You should also have a list of deadlines to meet so that you are aware of the free time on your hands, if any. Once you are aware of your tasks and priorities, you can figure out if there is enough room for a new project or not. If you are way too busy, you can always tell the client that you do not have time for their project. You obviously would not want your client’s work and your work to suffer and the same should be communicated to the client.
Learn the Significance Your Time
A lot of people are unable to turn down a client because they do not realize how important their time is. They always think that someone else’s time is more valuable than theirs. If someone wants you to do something which they can easily do, you should not accept it. Your time is as valuable as theirs so you do not have to waste it on such tasks. Even if they want you to work on something as minor as a business card, consider the time you will spend on it. Once you will realize how important your own time is, you will learn to say No to people. You do not have to take on useless requests.
Postpone Your Final Answer
Sometimes you do not have to answer right away. As mentioned earlier, in some cases you do not have to give your answer right away. You can always tell your requester that you already have a lot on your plate and they should contact you after sometime. In some cases, people forget and contact other designers. If someone is contacting you again and again then you should tell them politely that you cannot work on their project instead of deferring again and again. Keeping someone on hold for too long is not a good thing so you should come out clean and tell the requester that they should look for someone else to get their project done.
Avoid Being Too Nice
It is important to be polite and not sound rude but then again you do not have to sound way too nice. You should not be saying ‘No’ in a way that the other person does not take it seriously because you are being too wishy-washy about it. In such cases, the other person gets the fact the he can take advantage of your politeness and will continue requesting you until you say ‘Yes’. So, as mentioned earlier, being firm in your statements is very important however this does not mean that you should get rude as well. A simple firm state can do it for you. All you need to do is find the right way.
Prevent People from Making Requests
As soon as you realize during a meeting that you are not interested in taking a new project, you should mention the fact that you are really busy for the next few months so that the other person avoids making a request to you. Warning the other person in the beginning can avoid a situation where you have to refuse the requester. Avoid a request is better option than saying ‘No’.
Kind Rejection Always Works
Kind rejection will always work. As said earlier, you do not have to sound rude and offensive to tell someone that you are not interested in working for them. There are always nice and polite ways of refusing. If someone comes up to you with a request, you can always appreciate their project and tell them how great it is going to be but since you are way too busy with prior commitments, you won’t be able to work on them. You can even suggest some fellow designers who can work for the project and will make the best out of it. This kind of rejection is always appreciated by people.
Turning Down is your right – Never be Apologetic about It
Remember that your time is as important as anyone else’s. If you are rejecting an offer, you do not have to say sorry or be apologetic about it. If you are saying sorry, you are conveying the message that you are doing something wrong. Being humble is good but being too nice can do harm to you. It is okay to turn down and it is your right to refuse something you is not comfortable with. Don’t feel bad about it.