How to say no without harming your reputation

Sometimes, as freelancers, you have a lot on your plate. The projects keep piling up and you do not have enough time to complete all of them. In such a situation, it is essential that you learn to say NO to clients if you believe you won’t be able to deliver quality work on time. Rather than suffering from a bad reputation caused by late delivery or low quality, you should focus more on how many projects you can manage at one time.

Apart from this, there are other situations where you might be compelled to refuse a client such as not wanting to work with a particular client. This can create a sticky situation as you need to be very careful not to offend that particular client and prevent him/her from writing a bad review about your capabilities. So, how do you go about it? Here are some suggestions.


1. Sorry, but I am really occupied for now.

While, in reality you might actually be waiting on clients for new projects. But if you are not interested in working with a particular client, you can always refuse to take work from them by politely saying you don’t have time to accommodate their projects. By doing this, not only will you avoid working for that particular client, but you will also be able to showcase a positive image of yourself by showing them that you cater to a large clientele.

2. Politely Communicate That You Are Not The Best Fit For the Job.

Too often, you find yourself working very hard for a single client however, you don’t seem to click with that client on common grounds.  It’s best that you confront the client, saying that maybe your capabilities aren’t suitable for the particular job and it would better if they hired someone else instead. If you are considering putting a stop to your relationship with a particular client, make sure you do it the most polite manner possible. You can also suggest them other freelancers that possess the same skill set as yours.

3. Integrity.

Always be honest with your clients and use it the most when asked difficult questions. If you actually don’t have time to accommodate a particular client’s project, make sure you communicate the same to him/her.  You should have a clear roadmap of how many projects you can take at one time and inform this to the client. Similarly, you should be able to communicate the timeframe in which you will be able to complete the project.

If the client is willing to accept the suggested deadline, then you will be committed to take on the project. Speak to the client on how he/she wants the project delivered and organise yourself accordingly.

4. Raising the Price.

In case, you are unable to avoid a particular client and he/she continuously is annoying you causing you to lose crucial time. It is time to say that you have hiked your prices. If they don’t agree to the suggested price, you finally get to go on your separate path, however, if he/she accepts the offer you will have to perform the task. Even though you might despise a client, you can work a bit happier knowing that you have a bit of extra money in your pocket.

Don’t be afraid to say NO to clients that you don’t want to work with. Keep in mind, if you say no on time, you will miss just one client, but will get to focus on other important clients.

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