Normally, blogs are meant to speak about the question and answer it by the end, but I am going to answer it right away and then explain–YES. It is absolutely okay to say no as a small business, even large corporations say no a lot. You may think “Well, yeah they can afford to say no,” but honestly so can small businesses. Hear me out on when and why it is okay.
When you do not feel like you and the client connect
It may seem like a “things will get better in time type situation” but if they do not, it is okay to say no. Of course, finish the project at hand to keep yourself looking reliable, but move on from that client after that point.
When you are not getting paid a fair amount for your work
Although you most likely will know what you will be paid upfront, if you feel like you are slowly getting stiffed, payments are taking too long to be received or their pay is no longer the industry average–and they refuse to change it, then it is okay to walk away. Check out Freelancers Union for information about their Freelance Isn't Free Act, if you are feeling unfairly paid.
When you are uncomfortable with the project
This is the opposite of the first two–as you may have not yet worked with this client before. If you are new to working with them and they want you to do something you do not feel comfortable working on or goes against your morals, then stick with your gut. The money will come in another form.
When you are stretched too thin.
Being overworked and exhausted may feel like the only way to make money, but you are failing yourself. If you are stressing yourself out over deadlines, overbooking and turning out work that isn’t 100% then you may want to start saying no. You will not miss that money when you are turning out quality work instead of barely getting by.
Because you most likely went into freelance to control your workflow
Sometimes, in the pursuit of money in freelancing, many lose track that they went into this work to be able to choose who they work for and what they do. Soon they find themselves doing any work they are handed for money and it reminds them of a time when they had no choice at an office where they formulated the plan to go freelance in the first place.
Because being tired and exhausted will not bring you customers
If you are missing deadlines, missing meetings, turning in lower quality work, then you aren’t really endearing yourself to clients who could have potentially been contacts for other companies for future work (when you have the time). You want to put your best work out there so that you can get a good return when it comes to clients and pay.
Because you want to stay on track with your niche
Every so often you may work on a project not quite in your niche, but that may be near and dear to you. At Socially Dedicated, we know if we are ever asked to do anything involving animals we are in (even though our niche is small business work). Taking whatever you can without focusing on a specific niche to master in can make you seem all over the place.
While taking on many different topics can seem like a positive. You want someone to be able to say “He/She is really great at ___ so go to them.” Instead of “He/She is alright at ___, ___, and ___ but this other person is great at ___.”
Have trouble saying no? Why is that? Let’s talk about it!
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.