Successful freelance writers know when to say No. That means that they have the willpower to tell people they won’t do the things that can sabotage their success. For some freelance writers the list is different than for others. Some writers freelance precisely because they want certain freedoms and they want to be available to do certain things. In general though, it is easy to pick out what to say no to.
No, I won’t reduce my rate
I work hard and I know how much money I need to live the way I want. Thats why my rates are what they are — because it’s what I’m comfortable with. If you’re too cheap to hire a good writer, go out and find a bad one.
No, I won’t pick your kid up just because I’m “at home anyway”
Working from home allows for some freedom, but I am running a small business. If you need to take off to get your kid, you can at least claim paid time off (PTO). There’s no PTO for freelance writers. If we aren’t producing, we don’t get paid. Go get your own kid.
No, I won’t watch TV during the day
Sometimes the person you have to say no to is yourself, and this is one of those cases. There are a hundred little temptations such as watching TV, going for a swim, going out to lunch or taking a nice little nap. Those are reasonable breaks if you are otherwise productive, but when they become a daily habit the difference between freelancer and unemployed lump narrows considerably.
No I won’t travel across town for an impromptu meeting
There’s nothing worse than meetings. For more information about meeting avoidance read: Successful Freelance Writers Avoid Soul Sucking Meetings
No I won’t answer the phone or respond to email all day
It’s good to be available for your clients, but for the most part they are paying for results, not availability. Twice a day is plenty of interaction — too much in most cases. Unless you are conducting an interview or negotiating a contract, most phone calls are unproductive.
Ways to say no
There are many ways to say no, gently or firmly. Here are a few:
- I’m too busy.
- I have a rule against that.
- I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
- I have a scheduling conflict.
- I’m not taking on additional work at this time.
- I think I can recommend someone more suited to your needs.
- That isn’t the sort of work I do.
- My fee structure is higher than that.
- I have other commitments.
- I can’t fit that into my schedule at this time.
- That would be outside of my skill set.
- Isn’t that a job you should be doing?
- That is not the best use of my time.
- Are you insane?
- What makes you think I would do that?
- Have you been drinking?
- Stop bothering me you co-dependent leech.
- I’ll put that on my list of things to not get to.
Need more practice saying no? Try these articles:
- The Power of Saying, “No”
- 20 Ways To Say No
- Saying No
- The Gentle Art of Saying No
- Assertiveness: The Art of Saying “No”