Most people will tell you freelancing is a lot of hustling and gaining new clients and adding new work to your workload.
But, is there a good time to say "no" ever? Yes. There absolutely is a good time to say no, even as a freelancer.
We have come up with this idea that as a freelancer work is hard to come by, sometimes you need to do free work for your portfolio, and that every opportunity should be taken. While, this may be true to a point, you also have your own self-worth and it should never be taken advantage of--even for the sake of business and future opportunities.
Below are some times when saying no may be the best practice:
When you feel taken advantage of:
If you were positioned for work that would be X amount of hours per month and all of a sudden your inbox is full of emails, work is piling up and it seems like nothing you do is enough, then you may be getting taken advantage of. You agreed to one thing, but now you are handed another. You have two options, keep working--which may not end well as more work is handed or walk away. Walking away may feel like quitting, but if you are being taken advantage of, you need to cut the power hold the individual has over you.
When the work does not have a pay off:
A lot of times you may find yourself doing work at a lower price or even for free (take free tasks on wisely) and you may put a lot of work into these projects. Ultimately, you will know whether or not your work will have any payoff just be how you are treated. If you feel that you are doing a lot of work but the recognition will never be yours, it may be time to say "no thanks," and move on. You always want your work to have some sort of pay off, even if the pay off is simply credit for what you have personally done.
When you feel antagonized:
While work can be tiring, you should never feel awkward, put-out, or upset over the work you are doing or people you are working with. If you ever start to feel "off" with anyone, you may want to re-evaluate whether this opportunity is worthwhile or not. Your ideas are your ideas and as long as they don't break any social protocols or norms, they are not wrong. If you feel that your work is being treated in a negative manner, you should feel free to walk away without feeling badly about it.
When to hold on:
On the flip-side, we offered ideas of when to walk away, but should every instance of discomfort mean you should walk away? No. You should evaluate why you may be feeling the way you are feeling. Could it be you just have too much on your plate and may not be utilizing your time well? Perhaps, or maybe you just are having a rough patch with creativity and work is seeming harder to come up with and complete. These are not means to simply walk away, but should be used as a time to evaluate what may be best for you. if walking away to free up time for other opportunities seems best, then follow your gut, but if you feel that it is just a passing rough patch, then hold on.
Ultimately, you know when you are not being treated fairly or as an equal. These are the moments you need to make a call for your own self-preservation and say "no."
When have you had to walk away from something because you felt "off" or unappreciated? Let us know!
Socially Dedicated's team regularly contributes to our company blog. Check us out!
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.