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When freelance writers need to say no

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It’s common to get stuck in a trap of saying yes to everything to keep working. Sometimes, freelance writers need to say no.

When it comes to business, you mean hear that you have to say yes to a lot of things you don’t want to do. When you’re starting out, that may be the case. There are going to be times that you do a project just to get your name out there. That doesn’t mean you need to be walked all over, though.

You don’t need to say yes to everything and everyone. Freelance writers need to set boundaries, and that means saying no to some situations. Losing out on a client could actually end up being the best thing you’ve ever done.

Here are five times I’ve said no in the past, and when you should too.

When the pay isn’t enough

While you may not want it to be all about the money, there are times that the pay just isn’t enough. You have a minimum hourly or daily rate that you need to make, and if you don’t make that then you shouldn’t be taking projects. The whole point of becoming a freelance writer was to avoid the grind of working.

Clients have all sorts of excuses for not being able to meet your desired rate. Some clients will even say something like “next time…” or “in the future…”

Don’t believe these promises until you really get to know a client. Chances are they’ll run away with your work and not come back, knowing that you won’t fall for it a second time. If they do stay, they may end up continually promising an increase but never make it. Once you get to know a client and you see that they do honor deals made, then you can believe the “next time” statements about pay.

This is a business you’re running. If the pay isn’t enough, freelance writers need to say no.

It’s out of your comfort zone

Not all the work you’re offered will be something that you’re comfortable doing. I remember being asked to do content for an adult website, and it’s just not an area that I’m comfortable writing in and I definitely didn’t want my name attached to that when I mostly do family-friendly content.

The money could be great, but do you really want to feel uneasy while writing. Do you really want to go against your morals? For example, you could have students asking you to do their homework! That’s very common, but I refuse to write someone else’s homework.

It’s a time like this that there is nothing wrong with saying no. In fact, you should say no. There will be other clients who come along with projects you are happy doing.

It’s a PITA client

I’ve spoken about PITA clients in the past. These are the “pain in the ass” clients. When you’re faced with one, there is nothing wrong with saying no to project offers.

Most of the time, it’s more hassle than it’s worth doing projects for PITA clients. I’ve been there, and there have been times when I’ve looked at the pay and just thought it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t want to have to chase for payments afterward, and I didn’t want to deal with nitpicking when I know the work is good.

Do freelance writers need to say no to PITA clients and that’s it? Well, there is another option. You could increase the rate that you charge for that client for the hassle caused. If the client is willing to pay it, happy days. If not, then you’ve found another way around the situation.

When you can’t do the work

There are times that you won’t be able to do the work. You may not have time to work on more projects, or you may be taking time off work. Whatever reason, freelance writers need to say no when it comes to this point.

The last thing you want is to affect the quality of your writing. That will just end up with you losing clients and not getting referrals. You could also start resenting your writing because you don’t get time off.

Instead of an outright no, you could say not right now. In some cases, clients will be happy to work with your time off or your other needs. They may be able to extend deadlines. In other cases, they may find a different writer on that one occasion and come back to you the next time.

If freelance writers don’t want to do it

There are times when you just don’t want to do the project. It could sound like too much work, or you just may not be feeling it. There may be nothing wrong with the client or the scope of the work. It’s just not for you, and you can tell from the beginning.

Freelance writers need to say no when it comes to this. Think about how you’ll feel if you take on the work. You’ll be miserable and that will show in your writing. Do you really want the client to get a bad impression because you forced yourself to do something?

It’s okay to say no at times. In fact, freelance writers need to say no now and again. It will not only keep you sane but also keep you in profit. The next time you have a questionable client or project, don’t be afraid to turn the work down.

MORE: What is a good hourly rate for freelance writers?

Have you ever told a client no? Maybe you’ve taken on a project when you shouldn’t. Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

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