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Declining a Project: Why and How

<p>You may need to do this because you are overloaded with new contracts. It may be that you no longer want to work with one of your clients or because you are not interested in what they&rsquo;ve offered you. As a self-employed person or freelancer, you will have to turn down projects from time to time. How do you do that? When should you say no? Let&#39;s take a closer look at this specific situation.</p> <h3><br /> <strong>Why Did You Become Self-Employed?</strong></h3> <p>Before we get to the heart of the matter, let&#39;s take a moment to remember why you became self-employed or a freelancer. Was it because you felt that your values were not shared by the company you were working for? Is it because you were given tasks that you were not interested in or that did not live up to your talent? When you are on your own, you have the final say on what you accept or not. Yes, there are moments when contracts are taken out of necessity or for fear of not being able to pay your bills; however, taking these projects should not be the norm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Listen to Your Inner Voice and Values</strong></h3> <p><br /> Ask yourself whether the proposed work excites you. Or does your inner voice shout at you not to accept? How many times in your life have you felt uncomfortable saying yes to something? How many times have you regretted embarking on a project that was outside your field of interest or values? How many times have you felt this discomfort?</p> <p>&nbsp;In the world of self-employment, word of mouth is very powerful. For example, if you&#39;re a graphic designer and your thing is to create websites, you probably want to do just that. If you are asked to do photo editing, which you do not like to do, and you accept, this client may then bring you more work like this. That means you&#39;ll spend your time reworking photos on Photoshop when you would rather design a website. There&#39;s nothing wrong with diversifying but choose tasks you like. You must remain honest with your values and needs. As Catherine Martel said in <a href="">her freelance portrait interview:</a>&nbsp; &ldquo;your business is you!&rdquo;&nbsp; Don&#39;t reproduce what you didn&#39;t like in your life as an employee.</p> <p></p> <h3><br /> <strong>Why is It so Hard to Say No?</strong></h3> <p><br /> Why do we feel uncomfortable when we want to say no? We addressed the topic in our article <a href="">Learn-to-Say No</a> Once and For All. In short, self-employed workers and freelancers often have difficulty refusing a project for two main reasons. First, this life is full of uncertainties, especially at the beginning of this adventure. We are afraid of not having enough money so we accept anything and everything so that we can pay the bills. Second, in general, it does not look good to say. We avoid refusing something so that we don&#39;t look selfish or because we don&#39;t want to disappoint or displease. However, we&#39;re sorry to say that you won&rsquo;t be loved by everyone and you won&#39;t always have time for everything. You have to make choices and choose what is best for you.</p> <p></p> <h3><br /> <strong>Some Tips for Refusing a Project While Staying Professional</strong></h3> <p><br /> Now that you know you&#39;ll need to say no and why you often feel uncomfortable doing it, here are some tips to do it like a pro.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Don&#39;t wait too long</strong><br /> <br /> Often, the first reflex we have when we receive an offer that we are not interested in is to ignore it. We tell ourselves that we will deal with it later or that we will take the time to think about it. When you know very well that this is not a project that suits you, try to respond as quickly as possible. This will allow the person to find a plan B.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Be Polite</strong><br /> <br /> It is not easy being told that someone doesn&rsquo;t want to work on your project. It is therefore necessary to break it to your client gently, especially if it is a client with whom you have already worked. Stay professional until the end. You never know if you will have to work with this client again or with someone who knows him/her. If the person has taken the time to call you, take your courage in both hands and communicate by phone.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Clearly Decline the Offer</strong><br /> <br /> This is something not to be overlooked. Make your decision clear in your message. Sometimes, because we are afraid of hurting the other person&rsquo;s feelings, we end up beating around the bush. The client may therefore not understand that you are declining the offer. Just get straight to the point while remaining polite, of course.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Give a short explanation</strong><br /> <br /> You don&#39;t have to write a novel, but a few lines explaining why you are declining this project is often appreciated. This may be because you don&#39;t have the time or tools to successfully do it, that you feel that you are not the right person for it, etc. The important thing is not to lie. Stay true and honest. These are two very important qualities in the business world.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Suggest a Solution</strong><br /> <br /> People like someone who is proactive. If you know someone else or a company that could do this job, you may want to recommend this. However, beforehand, make sure to ask if this job is one the person would be interested in. Obviously, avoid sending your bad clients to your friends!<br /> &nbsp;</p> </li> </ul> <p>In conclusion, it is not the end of the world to decline a project. Start by understanding what&#39;s best for you and your business, then say no when you feel it&#39;s not a job for you. You&#39;ll see, you&#39;ll get better with time. Certainly, you have been on the receiving of a declined offer in your life, and you have survived. It&#39;ll be the same with these clients.</p>