More work is better. One can increase the hourly rate to reduce the work load for sure. But when one should actually say No to more work from clients?
The sweet spot in the freelancing career is when you have more work than you can handle. It is when typically we all want to be saying NO to more client work.
But at times, you may even have to say NO to more work clients.
Let me share when you know you are dealing in such a situation.
But first, I know for sure it is quite challenging to say no.
I am horrible at saying NO.
I can’t say no. Am horrible at saying no and am continually reminding my inner self that I should be saying NO.
I realize I should have declined that proposal.
A friend once asked for my new bike for a day, and though I wanted to say no to him, I couldn’t find a reason to say no. I could have told no without any reason. He may have felt bad at the very moment. It would have been much better than what I felt when he returned the bike with scratches on the petrol tank.
I am aware I should be rejecting a lot of opportunities. It’s just that I couldn’t say NO.
The same also happens with clients. So I have formed a checklist that I say no to clients. And if you wish to know how to say NO, check out here.
1. Don’t Love What You Do
I loved working in vBulletin but after ten years of development experience in vBulletin. I am bored with it. There is nothing significant happening in vBulletin. So I wanted to try something new like Xenforo or iOS App Development.
So I had to say no to my existing vBulletin client.
I had a major client where I was doing PHP and vBulletin development for a few years with almost 40 hours billed each week. We were developing some great functionality, and I was paid very well.
As time went by there was very little new development work. Everything was redesign work. We had more and process to follow than the actual development. Though I was being paid for the time to follow the process, I did not love it.
I wanted to move on with this client, but then it was a big client for more than two years with good pay that I was not willing to let go.
On weekends I would tell my wife that I will be reducing work for this client, but on Mondays it was, as usual, working for the same client as nothing happened. The reason could be that I had some immediate requirement of money as I moved from Kolkata to Surat, and so had this inner fear of not getting new clients instantly.
One day I just decided to let the client know I will reduce the number of hours per week I can commit to him. Slowly things started going the way I always wanted to.
We parted ways, and in a couple of days, I had a lot more opportunities in my inbox and have a pretty big client where I am doing a lot more work than I love it.
2. Doing Things That Pays the Bill
You should do what you love, but then it should be a financially viable option as well. You can’t pursue your hobby long enough if you cannot find a way to pay the bills for your hobby.
Continuing with the example of my above client, I loved what I was doing. When I moved to Surat, we purchased a new flat, and we decided to get the interior of the apartment done as soon as possible. I had this client, and so I also committed to working for them.
Things changed on the client’s end. I wasn’t working on things I love.
But I kept working or else I may have ended up in a position where I may have issues paying the bills.
I knew it was a matter of 6 months then, but then I manage to sort things out well within three months.
You can be stuck working for money but then plan your way out of such a scenario.
Move to do what you love and make that option a financially viable option. Once you have worked your way out, it is ok to say NO to more work from the same client. Again, the idea is not to make the client stranded, but over time, reduce the work and move on.
3. No Outlook for Growth
Whatever you do, focus on growth.
If it is something that doesn’t help you grow, it may not be the right choice for you. It’s always better to say no to such opportunities.
Growth can be financial, knowledge, technical skill, or any other aspect of life, but the critical aspect is growth.
If you aren’t growing as an individual, you may be doing what you love, and it may be financially feasible, but soon it will become boring.
I am rejecting vBulletin work because it has not been able to provide me any growth to my learning curve. I am not too much focused on financial growth and am more interested in knowledge growth.
Similarly, I am working hard on blogging because I see the potential for growth on both the front – financial as well as knowledge.
4. For The People Around
You should not only be proud of what you are doing but should also benefit the people around you.
I work from home and have kids moving around and can see what I am doing. I had clients who own adult sites, and I cannot take that job no matter what.
If you can not share what you do with your mom, avoid it.
Once you develop the habit of rejecting things that comes your way, you will have a lot more time for your business.
It means you can work more on the business (being more productive, adding values, fewer distractions, delegating) than working for the business (design, development, deliverables, deadlines, meetings) and in the long run make it more profitable.
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