As freelancers and small business owners, it is often challenging to find the balance between our work life and personal life. It can be tempting to take on every job that we are offered, even if only for the financial benefit of landing an extra contract. There comes a point for each of us when we realize that we’ve stretched ourselves too thin in our business life, and that’s when it’s important to dial it back and take a look at our priorities. There will be times in all aspects of our business where we will have to learn to say no to our clients; either because they aren’t a good fit for the direction that we want to go in, or because their requests are too time consuming or unreasonable. Learning to tactfully and confidently set boundaries is tough, but it is also necessary for your personal success.
Identify Your Reasons Why
Part of our hesitation in saying no comes from not having a clear idea of why we want or need to. If you’ve got a client whose needs are beyond that which you’re willing to give, sit down and ask yourself why. It may be that you aren’t experienced in the body of work that they’re requesting that you do. You may feel as though this client takes up too much of your time. You may feel that a particular job is overwhelming you and running your life. These are all genuine and acceptable reasons to distance yourself from a contract.
Identify The Solution
It’s always easier to say no to a client when you have a follow-up suggestion to make for them. In many cases, you can decline taking on a case while suggesting another company or colleague who may be better suited. It’s possible that you’re not comfortable with the level of experience you’d need to take on a job, and you can explain that plainly; tell your potential clients that you’re planning to take a workshop to boost you in this area, but that currently you’re not taking on jobs of this nature. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by a client or group, it’s okay to revise your business plan in order to create boundaries. Professionals will completely understand.
You don’t have to take on every job that comes your way; you’re allowed to be selective both about your clients and the jobs that you do. Always answer requests by being true to yourself and your vision for your future.