One of the huge problems that freelancers have these days is the fact that they do not say NO when it comes to working with a client. There are so many reasons why you may not want to do a job but since you are mostly a freelancer and you want to work, you are tempted to say YES just so you get some money.
The problem is that saying YES to everyone can lead to so many different problems. There are clients out there that simply do not care and want to squeeze as much as they can from you. The most common situation I met was having a client that agreed to a contract and then, in the middle of the work or when the work was done, he wanted changes that were not included in the initial agreement. Such situations are hard to avoid but you need to simply say NO in the event that there are signals that things might go wrong or you just do not trust the client. Remember what I said about cheating clients on ODesk. Just avoid them!
Now, avoiding clients that are bad for business is something that you can only do once you have experience. A good rule of thumb for me is to always start work on a contract that I can afford to not be paid for. That is counter intuitive but it works. If the project is too big and you are stuck because you have to finish it, you are open for problems. It is better to grow your business gradually and slowly until any project that you take can simply be put aside without hurting your business much.
Let us think of an example. Let us say that you are designing a web site and you agree with the client that the payment would be $500. If you can pay the people that are working for you even if you do not get paid, this is something that you can do. However, if you just did $50 projects so far and the $500 is the biggest jump that you do, avoid it when there is any alert sign. This is especially true when working with the client for the first time. If you have a client that is constantly offering your projects and you have no problems with him, working perfectly on at least 5 projects in the past, there is a huge chance that everything will be ok.
Saying NO To A Client
Some clients that are very difficult are very hard to deal with and it becomes hard to say NO. You might think that you would lose face or that your reputation is affected by the fact that you do not want to do the job. No matter the reason, if you believe that the job should not be done and if you have any doubt of the honesty and integrity of the client, just do not do it!
How can you say NO? Here are just some ideas that come to mind:
- Just say NO without an explanation – You do not have to necessarily explain your reasoning! This is the first thing that you have to understand about business. If you feel that something is not advantageous for you, do not do it!
- Invoke A Conflict – There are many cases in which you may have a conflict because of a contract that you have, you might not work on a specific target market or you just have too much work to pick up even more work. Just say no and tell the client that it is not possible at the moment!
- Send The Client To Someone Else – You can make a referral but you should only do this in the event that you do not have time or the conflict appears because of something that you do. If the client is a bad one, do not send it to someone else!
Saying NO to a client is actually very rewarding and you will love the fact that you did that when the time is right. It offers you power and confidence! Never agree to working with a client that does not respect your work as there are tremendous clients out there that are great and that respect the work that is done!