Many freelancers find it hard to say no.
When work comes their way, they say yes to every project.
They say yes to working evenings and weekends when their clients have a looming deadline.
And they say yes when clients and prospects ask for a reduction in fees.
In isolation, and on rare occasions, there is nothing wrong with saying yes in any of these circumstances. But…
When you make a habit of saying yes, it should tell you something very important about the way you are running your freelance business.
Essentially you are losing control of your business. You are becoming reactive in a very passive way. You’re putting yourself in the role of the “victim” of the circumstances of your business.
Is that what you really want?
It’s going to be tough, if not impossible, to earn a good six figures every year if you take this passive, reactive approach.
When should you say no?
There are a couple of different elements here.
First, let’s look at things simply from a financial perspective.
You should say no whenever you are being asked to work for less money than you ask for.
You have a value as a writer and an expert. Don’t allow others to chip away at that. And don’t compromise it yourself. Know what you are worth, and when a prospect or client wants to pay less, say no.
You can then use the time saved to find a better client.
The second element is the issue of your own self confidence and self esteem.
Some would say that these shouldn’t be a factor at all. But they are. As freelancers we work alone and are susceptible to blows to our self-confidence.
If a prospect or client asks you to do something that is going to make you feel bad, in any way, say no. If the money they offer is going to make you feel worth less, say no.
Our level of self-confidence is a cornerstone of our success as a freelancer.
Ultimately, you need a mindset and attitude that immediately says no to anything that with reduce your income or your sense of self worth.
If you’re not in the habit of saying no, you’re also missing out on a very empowering and liberating aspect of working for yourself.
When appropriate, a firm NO can be a very positive thing to say.
And yes, learning when and how to say No is just one of the issues we can address as part of my one-on-one coaching program.