When I made the move from working in insurance to working with authors, it took a bit to get used to. I had to remember that I was working for myself. The authors are my clients, not my employers. There’s a subtle difference there, but an important one. With accepting that difference, I had to learn the art of saying no.
It’s incredibly hard to say ‘no’ when you work for yourself and have a small but growing list of clients. Turning business away seems like a counter-productive concept, and what that you can’t afford to do. The truth is you can’t afford ‘not’ to say ‘no’.
I run through a mental checklist when I’m considering saying no:
– Are the client’s demands unrealistic? If yes: Are they willing to change them? If they aren’t, time to say no.
– Do I have time for this task? If the answer is no, it’s definitely time to turn the project down.
– Am I uncomfortable with the task or project? If you’re uncomfortable with what you are doing, you aren’t going to give 100%, time to say no.
– Do I have the skills to complete the task? If no, can I learn them in time? If I can’t, time to say no.
– Is this something that falls into my current contract with the client? If no, either expand the contract, accept that it’s work you won’t technically get paid for, or say no.
What do you consider before saying yes or no to a project?