Three Clients to Say No To (Without any lingering regrets).


Oh, yes! There are bad, no, terrible offers out there- and there are two classes of them: the ones which are outrightly bad for any freelancer, and the ones which are bad specifically for YOU.

So, how do you recognize these bad offers? Truth be told, we often know when offers aren’t good, but its in most freelancers’ nature to go on doggedly, regardless of that intuitive knowledge within that the offer isn’t adequate for you- and mostly for the sake of money.

As a matter of fact, anyone who has been in the educational system (apart from the rebels!) aren’t used to saying that two-letter word NO. Its almost sacrilegious to say no to assignments, tasks and what have you (except if you want to fail, or if you have really ‘long legs’ and are considered ‘untouchable’- but that’s by the way).

Even when we recognize an offer as inappropriate for our skill sets, the ‘hustler’ in us wants to give it a try, and push to see if we can do it for some more cash, and the traitor in you might want to neglect your niche for that juicy offer (if you’ve ever said something like ‘who niche epp?’ I forgive you!)

This post is about saying no to those bad offers. Which offers do you pass up? And do you just close your eyes and watch them pass by, or how exactly do you go about it?

1. The Client Who Wants to Work Without a Contract

Have you read my post on how to make a contract as a freelancer? I think you should.

The client who doesn’t want to make a formal contract with you, Mr./Miss/Mrs/? Freelancer, isn’t a good fit, and here’s why: more often than not, you’d be exploited when you don’t have a contract. When you have it at the back of your mind that you are never to accept an offer which isn’t backed by a contract, you’d have automatically weeded out a substantial number of bad offers, and be left with potential clients whom you can work with, with ease.

For the client who wants to work without the premise of a contract, you can communicate that you don’t work without one and wait for his or her response, which could be either to agree to work with a contract or to outrightly disagree. If the client disagrees, this is your chance to take a walk, and please, do so.

2. The Client Who Isn’t Interested In a Down Payment

Ah! No down payment? I suggest you run as fast as your figurative legs can take you, except you already have a business relationship with such a client, and can vouch for their character. Nonetheless, it isn’t advisable to start working for a client who doesn’t want to make a down payment. How else can you be sure that you are even the only one working on that project? What if the client doesn’t pay you when you’re done with the job? These are only a few of examples of things which could go wrong without the benefit of some down payment.

Taking a down payment isn’t all about the money, it also signals that there is a mutual trust amongst both parties, and if for instance, the work doesn’t turn out the exact way the client wants it, because there’s money involved already, the client is likely to work out something with you- in form of revisions, and other stuff.

Basically, to avoid throwing your efforts to the wind, the offer which isn’t associated with a down payment, is one you should say a big NO to. It’s that simple (NO, NO and NO! Practice saying it)

3. The Client On An Impossible Mission

Some clients are like Superman or Zoro, looking to save the world, with their impossible tasks, which aren’t worth the amount of money they would be paying you, except of course, you don’t plan on sleeping for the next month or so.

How do you know these clients? I don’t think I need to even tell you about them, but nevertheless I will, for the sake of completeness.

The client who wants you to write something which you can’t find much research on (except you are directly involved in that field), within a few days; or the client who is interested in you designing something which the tools aren’t available for, OR my personal favorite- the client who wants you to do something for which there’s a legal or ethical reason for which it should not be done (e.g. designing a website exactly like Facebook!). Except you eat trouble for breakfast, I don’t see any reason why you should consider these offers, they just aren’t worth it.

Have you ever had to say no to a client? On what premise? Comments are welcome in the section below.


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