Saying NO to a (potential) client

It’s your business, your rules

Yes, that can happen.
Stronger, it surely WILL happen!

When you want and have to say NO as an answer to a request of a (potential) client. Even if it hurts your busy bee, productive, always ready to serve virtual assistant soul. Sometimes there is no way you would or could or should give a positive answer. But why?

  1. Unethical request. The circle of unethical requests is broad. It can cover many smaller, bigger points, from ToS (Terms of Service) violation to flat out theft of intellectual property. The thing is, as a freelancer with a spotless profile, you don’t want to get to the dark (gray) side of the task force. You must gently reject such. It’s never worth the money to risk reputation, your name.
  2. Got only two hands. You have a business, probably at home, but it’s a far cry from a virtual assistant/design/video production company. You are alone, you have only two hands and the demand is (for the moment) very high. There is only so much time in a day, and so much can be done, alone. Especially if you always deliver quality results and you want to keep doing so. Sometimes you need to (temporarily) reject additional projects, with a short, professional and polite explanation of demand-supply relation.
  3. Offering under your price. Because some clients think they’re entitled to ask anything on the lowest price they can imagine, no matter what’s your gig’s usual cost and the beautiful references, reviews. That exists. You have choices. You grow a pair and you play hardball negotiator, or you tumble down to price regions where it simply won’t be worth doing the tasks requested by your customer. And while you’re doing so, just because you want to be nice, you might miss out on clients and projects which would pay you what your work is really worth, plus tips. Or even on well-payed, regular jobs. Because you are too busy with a cheap order demanding a lot of your time and energy. Do not do that! Negotiate or reject. You and your qualities are worth that price.
  4. Space for high end projects. You simply do the math like a student, for a moment, and you realise: you accepted too much low paying jobs, together with some better ones, and while you thought business is going better than ever, dividing the earnings with the hours worked….your smile doesn’t stay on. You see a drop in your hourly rate. And even worse, no more room for improvement with orders which could dramatically change on the situation, because there is only so much one can do ’til reaching the limit. And you didn’t enjoy life itself yet. Not even a bit. Just worked.

Bonus: Because it’s your X-weeks holiday. Don’t feel guilty about those earning rates and demands. They will be there after your two weeks Thailand trip. We all need to rest and recharge ourselves, we are humans. Nobody can go on and on without a break or two. Not without a “punishment” sooner or later. Exhaustion, physical health issues, relationship troubles…we just can’t sacrifice certain things in life, or shouldn’t. Of course, leaving a note on your site for possible customers about holiday dates, and having a nice automatic answer for e-mails can help a lot.


5 Replies to “Saying NO to a (potential) client”

  1. Golly … I’m moving back to London in a few weeks (husbands next posting to be confirmed) and I’m going to get my little business back up and running again. Think I need to pin this post up in the kitchen to remind me about efficiency and not reducing my rates because I feel a bit soft. Thanks for the reminder ☀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy to serve and thank you for the fun comment. You cannot go on with being productive without breaks. That would sooner or later tax your mind and body heavily and thus also your productive capabilities. Burnout isn’t the answer to life’s financial questions. Efficiency is.


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