Two times I said no to a client

When to say no to a client - freelance
“no! flickr photo shared by jo_web under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Working as a freelance writer in Spanish requires time invested in searching for new clients and projects. When someone writes you asking for a budget or to work on a job, it is a happy moment. However there are some times that it is better to say no.

Why I said no to two clients asking for Spanish texts

The first potential client  contacted me asking for copywriting services. I asked him about the job he needed and he showed me a competitor’s website.

This website was selling a sex health related ebook. In principle I thought, ok this is going to be interesting, since that topic is very easy to promote. Let’s face it; everybody is worried about health and sex.

But when I did the briefing with the client, it turned out that he wanted me to write the book itself. This was a big NO for me. I can promote your products, I can write your posts, I can write original high quality content about many topics, especially related to the economy, business, marketing and sociology, but I can’t write a book to improve  people’s sex lives. Especially in the area of health, giving bad advice can end up causing trouble to readers. Does this mean I do no write about health topics? I can, but only at the blog post level, since for that I can be informative. What I can’t do is pretend to be a doctor that I am not.

So this job was something I am not able to do while keeping my high quality standards; and this is a reason to say no. If you can’t do it well, don’t do it.

The second potential client asked for an English to Spanish translation. I gave a very low rate of $ 0.03 per word and he tried to negotiate. The first time he contacted me, I let him know that I can’t work cheaper and eat every day. So he made me another offer, raising his price, but without reaching mine. This time I said I wasn’t interested even when I thought he would finally accept my budget because he asked me to meet a tight deadline and I think he didn’t have a better option.

Maybe I was being a bit counterproductive when it comes to my economy, but I really don’t like taking advantage of a client in need. I gave a fair price and he didn’t feel the service was worth it. So what can I learn from a small project done and a client feeling that the service isn’t worth what he has paid? This is a loss-loss. I need clients who feel happy with my services, and someone paying more than he wants is not happy. Maybe he was just negotiating, but I chose to lose this client and be sure to work with someone who will value my work.

What to think before saying no

I have to say that in my personal experience it is usually better to risk a little and say yes instead of saying no. A client happy can repeat, and each new client is an opportunity for making future income. You never know who is going to need your services many times in the future.

However, you have to be sure that you are able to provide what the client needs and that he is going to value your work.

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