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Freelancers: You Have The Right To Say No! Freelancers can and should use the same courage to reject a proposal as anybody else

By Rustam Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Freelancers are exactly second in line (right after interns), to be regarded as the most under-appreciated working population on the planet currently. This is especially so in creative fields, such as, photography, arts, writing, or even in project to project basis technical work(s). Excluded from the part of the physical premises of the office which the regular staff is, freelancers have a few obvious advantages and few glaring disadvantages attached with their profile. However, even though your working hours may most likely be extremely variable, as compared to regular employees, you're still bound by deadlines and project submissions. And if you're one of those few lucky individuals that have more work than time, congratulations for having the only problem in your life i.e. being super lucky, and in demand!

You would also be realizing that while excessive work may be brining you a downpour of money, it's also robbing you of your time, both at personal and professional front. Regardless of how you might choose to spend that time otherwise, which is completely your prerogative, there's no denying, the time you spend doing immaterial things can be better utilized in projects that expand your growth. But the question that still remains unanswered is-how do you say no as a freelancer?

Here are some easy tips:

Extend the deadline

Can't seem to have the courage or confidence to say no immediately to an idea? It's a wise idea to delay the answer as much as you can. Try asking for some time to think over it, or that you need to do a rain check. This will give you enough time to make up your mind and get the courage to say no, or change your mind if that's something you'd want to do.

Sugar coat the "no'

Worried how cultural differences in communications may be perceived differently from the way you intend? Just twist around your words and present an indirect rejection. Something flattering, not too apologetic and profusely thanking for the opportunity to be given the choice in the first place is ideal. A good example is "Thank you for the opportunity to be considered appropriate to perform this particular task for your esteemed organization. However, I regret to state that my work schedule currently, would not allow me to practice this task. I once again would like to thank you for the opportunity to be considered worthy of the same and do look forward to having a professional relationship with your team in the near future."

Set your priorities straight

If you're in this position, it goes without saying; you already have the upper hand of knowing the client likes you and your work and want you included. This mean you currently have the ball in your court – why not negotiate the terms and conditions bothering you, instead of completely rejecting the idea? If you're busy or feelings like you're underpaid, why not discuss the same to get a solution?

Stay firm and just say it

If you've exhausted all pros and cons of rejecting the project/idea, just stay firm and say no. Practice in front of the mirror and stay strong. Understand the client will try to coax you back and tempt you, and they may even subtly taunt you of the opportunity you're rejecting – but remember why you took your decision and stick by it. In the end of the day, follow your gut's instinct.

Have you ever had cold feet while rejecting a project/idea as a freelancer? Did it turn out to be a good decision or a bad one? Share your views with us on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Rustam Singh


Tech reporter.

Contact me if you have a truly unique technology related startup looking for a review and coverage, especially a crowd-funded project looking to launch and coverage.


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