Connect with us


When To Say No To Freelance Initiatives — Smashing Journal

About The Writer

Becca is a UX Researcher with a PhD in Human Components Psychology. She runs the UX consulting firm Kennason. She lives in Albany, New York along with her husband, …
Extra about

For hungry freelancers, it may be exhausting to show work away. However in the long term, saying no to a undertaking that’s a nasty match will make you a greater freelancer. This text will assist freelancers and consultants suppose critically about when to say no a possibility or request and the way to take action assertively however kindly.

Numerous feel-good life recommendation encourages us to say sure to new issues each time we are able to. This philosophy of openness can sound fairly attractive if you’re a freelancer or advisor simply starting to face tall by yourself — or driving a excessive of a string of fine tasks.

And it’s true that saying sure will help you develop! Saying sure to new purchasers, tasks, and companions helps you make connections, construct your portfolio, and evolve professionally. Saying sure may also result in paying jobs, which result in much more paying jobs.

However saying no — on the proper occasions — might be simply as essential to the success of our self-employment. Increase the power and talent to say no is a part of a profession evolution and, for my part, one of many final objectives for profitable freelancing.

It’s not all the time simple to say no work, although. We will really feel reluctant to show issues down as a result of we need to make purchasers blissful. We additionally have to really feel safe with our revenue and prospects, and saying no can definitely really feel dangerous once we need to make certain our payments will receives a commission.

On this article, I’ll share with you what I’ve realized concerning the significance of recognizing when it’s higher to say no to a contract alternative. It could actually really feel scary to move work to another person, however will probably be okay and you’ll garner a stable sense of self-understanding within the course of. The data on this article is generally about saying no to new tasks, however may also apply to saying no when a present shopper asks for extra work than you’ve already agreed to do.

The Significance Of Saying No

Saying sure usually results in stunning, thrilling outcomes, however so does saying no.

Earlier than we get deeper into particulars of when and the best way to say no to freelance alternatives, take into consideration how this sort of selectivity could influence your wellbeing. Think about solely engaged on belongings you love? Committing to lackluster tasks or disagreeable purchasers means you would possibly end up unavailable when an ideal undertaking reveals up in your inbox. Once you say no to tasks that simply aren’t proper, you save time and headspace for issues that you’ll want to say sure to.

Saying no additionally helps you keep away from or get well from burnout. Most freelancers will expertise burnout at occasions. Burnout occurs once we work too exhausting and run out of steam — actually because a shopper is unhealthy for us, or as a result of we tackle an excessive amount of, or each. Taking breaks and being deliberate about taking break day (which means, saying no generally) is a worthwhile pursuit on your private wellbeing, to not point out your long-term skilled output. It’s okay to say no to one thing if you don’t have the fervour or vitality for it. Be type to your self.

How To Determine Whether or not To Take On A Challenge

Is The Challenge A Match For Your Experience?

One of many first issues to consider when contemplating a contract alternative is whether or not it’s match on your expertise and your stage of expertise.

I’m a UX advisor and I like doing lots of various things, however my core experience is consumer analysis. If a possible undertaking just isn’t a precise match for my expertise, or if it’s not one thing I take pleasure in, I’ll usually decline. For instance, if someone asks me to do an accessibility evaluate for his or her web site, I do know there are lots of expert freelancers who can do a a lot faster job with it than I’d. I’d refer someone if I do know they’re .

Equally, a perfect undertaking ought to match your stage of expertise. If the work is simply too far under your expertise stage, it could be boring and sure not pay sufficient. If it’s too far above, you would possibly end up too confused in and out over your head. For me, if an organization is searching for a UX freelancer to “make wireframes” with out digging into analysis or design technique, I do know that’s in all probability a job for someone extra junior or with completely different pursuits.

Consider it this manner. For those who say sure to a request that isn’t match, you might really feel resentful about it. You would possibly spend an excessive amount of time on it. You would possibly even ship outcomes that aren’t nice. So though saying sure could be a technique for creating expertise or studying new issues, it solely works if the undertaking is according to your objectives and doesn’t stretch too far past what you recognize you are able to do properly. In any other case, it could be a nasty expertise for you (and perhaps the shopper, too).

Is The Finances Sufficient?

If a undertaking doesn’t pay sufficient, ask for extra or say no. Easy!

Properly, okay, I do know it’s not that easy. Typically we want the cash. Nevertheless it turns into simpler to say no to low-paying jobs if you 1.) are educated about your value and a pair of.) have a monetary cushion. Both of this stuff could take time, however the aim is to say no to tasks which are under a minimal quantity that you’ll think about. Alongside these strains, you don’t need to devalue your value by saying sure to too many out-of-scope extras.

Pricing is its personal beast that I gained’t get into right here, however as soon as you recognize your value, stand strongly with it! Over time, the costs you cost can improve together with your worth, and finally, you might move work right down to extra junior freelancers. Additionally, bear in mind that you’re a skilled who represents your business, and when freelancers repeatedly say sure to very low costs for our companies, it will probably influence everybody else in that specialty by devaluing our expertise or experience total.

So, don’t make it a behavior to just accept tasks that pay under your worth except you might be purposely working professional bono for trigger. After all, once more, generally we would have to tackle low-paying work simply to “hold the lights on” with our enterprise, and that’s okay. Having a monetary cushion finally helps us say no to those gigs and maintain out for better-paying alternatives. For me, it helps to maintain my residing bills low so I really feel extra assured letting work alternatives move by.

Does The Challenge Match Your Schedule?

When your schedule is busy, it’s simple to say no an undesirable undertaking. However what in case you aren’t presently busy with work? Think about your pipeline, upcoming schedule, and monetary cushion to resolve whether or not a mediocre undertaking is value doing. If in case you have loads of time, it would make sense to say sure to one thing even when it’s not an important match.

And alternatively, what if the undertaking is one thing you truly actually need to do, however time is tight? Consider carefully about your present commitments and deadlines and whether or not a brand new undertaking is doable. If not, you might have to regretfully decline or ask for another timeline. Saying sure to a undertaking you don’t even have time or vitality to do properly — as a lot as you might want you probably did — is sadly a recipe for late nights or disenchanted purchasers. And bear in mind, having the time and vitality to say sure to good tasks is one more reason to say no to unhealthy tasks!

Typically whether or not a undertaking suits in your schedule is determined by whether or not you’ll be able to work one thing out with the shopper. A transparent undertaking scope (realizing particularly if you find yourself wanted, and for what) will allow you to plan your time and make selections about taking over new issues. In terms of scope, additionally think about whether or not the shopper’s proposed timeline is simply too brief for the quantity of labor required — that is tremendous frequent, and it’s okay to supply to do the identical undertaking on an extended timeline, or a smaller model of the undertaking throughout the proposed timeline, in order that it turns into extra manageable to suit into your schedule.

The truth of freelancing is that it’s usually a guessing recreation in relation to pipelines, scheduling, and balancing your workload. But when you recognize a undertaking doesn’t match into your schedule, be sure you say no shortly. You may all the time let the requester know if you anticipate that your schedule will liberate, and perhaps one other undertaking will work out later.

Does The Alternative Align With Your Values?

Along with the experience wanted, price range provided, and time required, test in on whether or not the undertaking is according to your values and objectives. Take into consideration your intestine emotions right here. What are some industries or firms you need to keep away from? What sort of tasks make you content? Flip these intestine emotions right into a concrete record.

Listed below are a couple of components to consider:

  • Does this undertaking assist transfer you towards an even bigger aim?
  • Do you discover the undertaking personally fascinating?
  • Do you consider your work on the undertaking will assist folks in a significant means, or do some sort of social or environmental good?
  • Is that this undertaking supporting an business or firm that you just think about unethical? (Kelly Small talks about in search of moral work and saying no to unethical work of their e-book The Aware Artistic!)
  • Do you like working with startups or established firms?
  • Do you like working in small groups or massive ones?
  • Do you like distant or in-person work?
  • Do you like subcontracting with different companies or do you like direct purchasers?
  • Have you ever labored with this shopper earlier than and what was that like?
  • Will having relationship with this shopper doubtlessly result in different good work?
  • Does it seem to be the shopper will respect you?

You may create a personalised guidelines or ranking sheet that will help you determine whether or not a undertaking is value doing. Burnout occurs loads faster when our work is emotionally taxing, so take note of your private values and preferences when deciding whether or not to say sure or no to alternatives. In any case, working for your self ideally means you get to name the pictures.

Decline Assertively (However Kindly)

Once you’ve determined a “no thanks” is so as, it’s essential to be clear that you’re declining whereas nonetheless preserving the temper gentle and productive (except they’ve egregiously offended you, I suppose).

First, I like to recommend expressing gratitude for the chance. Thank the requester for pondering of you, going by means of the interview course of with you, or no matter they’ve performed. It takes effort and time on their finish to rent freelancers or consultants.

Second is the essential half: saying no. Be clear that you’re declining. You may briefly clarify why in case you’d like, however you don’t have to clarify your reasoning in case you don’t need to. Simply reply in a well timed means so the shopper can transfer on.

For those who fear about offending somebody, please don’t! Be assertive in order that if you say no, the reply is agency. If you consider the three important communication kinds — assertive, passive, and aggressive — the concept is to be clear (assertive) whereas avoiding coming throughout as too passive or aggressive.

Most individuals will respect a transparent and trustworthy reply. I’ve solely as soon as had somebody reply rudely to an e-mail wherein I politely declined to satisfy, however that aggressive response cemented that I possible saved myself lots of aggravation by not working with them.

Third, when you’ve mentioned no, you would possibly supply some subsequent steps or alternate options in case you suppose it’s acceptable. If you’re open to discussing future work, allow them to know. Be clear concerning the circumstances beneath which you could be extra more likely to say sure — akin to after a sure date, or if they’ve a necessity for a unique space of your experience.

You additionally would possibly recommend different freelancers if you recognize anybody who could wish to tackle the undertaking, or who could be a greater match than you might be. For those who don’t have particular names to supply, you’ll be able to recommend sources to seek out freelancers, like listings for skilled group members. You may also supply to share the chance with different freelancers in your community, akin to on social media or in Slack teams.

Right here’s an instance of how an e-mail declining a undertaking alternative would possibly look:

Hello [name],

Thanks a lot for pondering of me for [project description]. This undertaking doesn’t appear to be an important match for [my experience level / my current interests / my schedule / etc.] so I’m declining, however I can [share it on LinkedIn / connect you with another freelancer I trust / etc.], in case you’d like.

Additionally, you probably have future alternatives for [something else you’d like to do / something after a certain date / etc.], I’d love to listen to about it. Be in contact!


Saying no is a talent. Saying sure to the improper freelance alternatives can lead you towards distress and burnout, and we might all in all probability enhance how aware we’re about our work, companions, and purchasers.

Keep in mind, in case you’re undecided whether or not to just accept a undertaking, suppose by means of:

  • Basic Match
    Is the undertaking a match on your expertise and your stage of experience?
  • Finances
    Would you be promoting your self or your discipline brief by taking over the undertaking for a low value?
  • Timeline
    Would the undertaking battle together with your current commitments? Is the shopper wanting an excessive amount of in too brief a timeframe?
  • Values
    How good would you’re feeling about this undertaking? Is it according to your values, objectives, and preferences?

Think about all the pieces collectively. A low-paying job would possibly nonetheless be match if it’s for trigger, or if it will get you essential expertise to maneuver towards an even bigger aim. Think about making your personal customized guidelines or ranking sheet that will help you price previous, current, and future tasks and get a greater understanding of which alternatives ought to be left on the desk.

Smashing Editorial(sh, vf, il, yk)

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *