Saying ‘No’ is one of the most difficult things in the world for me.

I like making people happy. I like designing and developing awesome internet things. I also really like making money. So why the hell would I say no to projects that help me do all of these things?

OMG! People will pay me to make websites?!?!

In the beginning saying ‘Yes’ to every project that came my way was exciting. Hell yes! People think I’m awesome enough to make something AND pay me for it!!! While this was awesome for a while, I ran into some projects and clients that were’t a great fit for me.

When you are first starting out, it’s difficult to turn down jobs. If you don’t work you don’t get paid! It took me a while to figure out which kind of projects weren’t the right fit: outside of my skillset, or outside of what I enjoyed doing, or clients that weren’t the right fit personality wise. It’s ok to pass on work, and odds are you probably know someone who is a better fit for the job!

Remember why you are freelancing!

One of the reasons I quit my 9-5 was so I could choose the projects I worked on and the people I worked with. While I was saying ‘Yes’ to everything I was forgetting the very reason why I wanted to work for myself.

After a few not so great experiences I finally trusted my gut and said ‘No’ to a project.

There were a few red flags (or rather animated neon flashing neon marquee tags) that came up:

  1. Visual design was not a priority
  2. Technical specs of the project were hard to pin down
  3. Timeline was very short

Part of me wanted to work on this project because the subject matter was cool. But my gut was telling me this will turn out badly, overbudget, over hours and may ruin my upcoming out-of-the-country vacation. So I took a risk and said NO!

Recommend someone else

I emailed the client and informed them that after the initial stages of the project, it turns out that this was just not going to be a good fit. I was short and sweet with the email and referred the client to a few other designers and developers and that was that!

I was a bit scared of saying no because this would have been one of the biggest projects to date that would have landed. I was also a bit scared because if I say no to this WHAT ELSE WOULD I WORK ON?!?!?

Long story short: other awesome work came in (thanks to other friends who pass on projects as well). I was much happier and I enjoyed my vacation.

So moral of the story: Trust your gut! Say ‘No’ when you need to.

Have you said no?

I’d love to hear about your experiences with saying no to a project. Did saying no turn out well? Did it turn out horribly? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Photo by mslavick