It’s very tempting to accept anything and everything that you get offered, especially if you’re new to freelancing or you haven’t got that much work on.
However, it’s important to know when to say ‘no’ to a job.
Outside your sphere of knowledge
I know that if it’s outside my sphere of knowledge, I’ll have a big learning curve to go through. So, if your niche is the healthcare sector, you’ll probably find it tough if you’re offered an assignment in, say, the music industry.
And if I get offered a project that sounds exceedingly boring, I’m very unlikely to summon up enough enthusiasm to produce my best work. Equally, if it’s a project that needs a skill that’s not my key strength, I always find it’s best to explain upfront exactly where my talents and strengths lie. Who knows, it could be this potential client has other work that will play to my talents.
The key here is to suggest another freelancer who would jump at the chance of working on the project that isn’t right for you. The chances are that same person will suggest you for a project that’s not quite up their street.
A fellow freelance writer (who is now an acupuncturist) used to love writing speeches. I have absolutely no wish to write speeches so I always used to pass these projects to her. It’s up to you whether you charge them an introductory fee. It’s my choice not to, as I’m of the ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ mindset.
You’re snowed under
The other time when I say ‘no’ to a job is when I’m really busy. In fact, I turned down a brochure writing project just yesterday afternoon. I don’t generally like to turn away money but I’ve got lots of work on at the moment and didn’t feel I could squeeze another project in without compromising quality. I suppose I could have accepted it and outsourced it to someone and taken a turn in the form of a mark up – but it was my decision not to.
When was the last time you said ‘no’ to a job?