to Say "No" to a Client - Potential or Otherwise by
free agents, independent professionals, and freelancers, we all experience
the panic brought on by lean times. It is when we don’t have a current
project with the income rolling in that we are tempted to say “yes”
to almost any offer that comes our way, whether it is to our liking or
interests or not. I suggest that we take our time to consider the pros
and cons of all offers and have the gumption to say "no" when
it is in our best interest to do so.
ask yourself, "Is this a project that I will enjoy working on?"
Tempting as it may be - especially if the money offer is generous - you
should still turn down any project that promises to be a drag or a threat
to your artistic integrity. I am not referring to projects that don't
use all of your creative ability - many good, solid projects don't. I
am referring to projects that you would have to force yourself to work
on and complete. It wouldn't be fair to you or your client. I believe
that if we aren't enjoying what we are doing, the work will reflect our
attitude. Even the simplest and most straight-forward project can be enjoyable
and will carry a touch of our enthusiasm if we have enjoyed producing
ask yourself, "Is this a project that I'll be proud to tell others
I produced?" Even if you rationalize that you would never add
a sample of this work to your portfolio, you will know that you produced
it, and just knowing that can eat away at your self esteem. For example,
I was called in to talk with a realtor about doing a website for his company.
One of the first questions I ask before suggesting the scope of a site
and making any proposal is what other sites the potential client likes
and what he or she likes the most about those sites. This particular man
just loves animation. Using a butterfly as part of his logo, he wanted
a butterfly that continually flew all over the pages of his site. He also
talked of a background of butterflies. This just isn't my style or an
approach that I would be proud of incorporating into my work. I turned
ask yourself, "What will I learn and how will I grow from completing
this project?" I don't know if learning and growing are as important
to you as they are to me, but the perfect project in my mind is
the one that challenges me in new ways. It pushes me to try new approaches,
learn new ways of accomplishing outcomes, and helps me achieve a higher
level of expertise than what I had when I began the project. I know that
it is impossible to always be offered the perfect project, and sometimes
it is a relief to work on a project that is comfortable and familiar.
If, however, I can honestly say upon completion of a project that I learned
at least one new technique or fact, I am satisfied.
It's time to be completely honest with yourself and ask, "Is this
a project that I am capable of doing well, professionally, and within
the designated timeline?" I know that I just finished suggesting
tackling projects that are challenging and that force us to grow, but
we do need to honestly consider the other side of the story. If completing
a project will take up so much of your time learning new techniques that
you can’t possibly complete it in a timely manner, it is probably
better to be up front and say that at this time the work is not within
your realm. If the potential client still wants you to do it, and is in
no rush, you have been honest and professional, and you may just surprise
both of you by finishing more quickly and easily than you ever imagined
And the final question, and perhaps one of the trickiest and hardest to
answer is, "Do I want to work with this particular client?" We all know that there are "clients" and there are other "clients"
both good and bad, both easy and difficult. Some are so delighted to work
with a professional that they give minimal direction, value our suggestions,
give us all of the information we need when we need it, and reimburse
us quickly for completed work. Most clients are not this wonderful, but
are still bearable if we do our part as a professional. Unfortunately,
there are clients who border on the impossible. They are demanding, unpleasant,
rude, and hard to please. They "know it all" and will tell you
that immediately. Personally, I avoid working for these people, even when
I desperately need the money. Because often these same people who are
so difficult throughout a project are the ones who also have difficulty
when it comes to paying their bills. I don't need the stress or the hassle
and neither do you. In this case, the customer is not always right.
Remember to take your time accepting when offered a project. Be sure
to ask yourself all the questions, and even more than I have highlighted.
You will be glad you did, and so will the future of your career as a free
agent, independent professional, and freelancer.
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
When I started doing the research for this book, I knew that my own experience as a Portfolio Careerist (having more than one career at the same time) wasn’t going to be enough.
After all, those of us who love and maintain Portfolio Careers also love the variety and thrive on doing things our own way. So, I put out a call to those I knew have or have had Portfolio Careers and would be willing to answer a series of questions.
Thirteen Portfolio Careerists answered my call, so you will get the full story
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Freelancing: The Complete Guide
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Freelancing: Home-Based Careers
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