The 4 Big “NO’s” Every Freelancer Should Start Saying

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm by David M Becker 1 Comment

I’ve been dabbling in web development for ten years now, but I started freelancing just a year ago. During the time, I was very eager to get any online job that would provide some cash. Due to my eager nature, I was ready to say “Yes” to anything, regardless of the skills and time I would take to complete the task. Ive worked with some wonderful customers and some horrible ones.  The bad side is that I found myself working full time, or should I say all the time. Making way too many edits and changes just to satisfy the customer.  The worst part was that I ended up with free or cheap work.  Hence, I am writing this piece to help other freelancers on how to avoid the steps I made to this “bad business” of freelancing;

Ten years after suffering in search of anything to do, I discovered that a freelancer’s financial stability requires the answer “No”. I have learned to say no to;

Would you mind showing me a mock-up to help us choose a developer/designer?

If you are not careful, this is very tempting especially for a young and naive developer. I was there, made no money with lots of time on work. Never do unpaid work hoping to get a chance to be paid. It doesn’t fly in any other industry, and so why here? The more likely scenario is where the client will reply with “rejection of your work” when he still use part of it. You end up with no pay and a lot of time wasted.

Can you match this cheaper freelancer or offer a discount?

Others may also frame it like this “your rates are very high, I have others who are offering at…” there are lots of companies who needs web design but don’t see it as a service worth paying for.  When you are still new, you’ll find yourself taking inordinate load, little do you know that though you may be helping that company, in future you will end up getting hurt.  Simple mathematics, if doubling your rates makes you loose half of your clients, then you are making as much in half of that time. Ensure you do great work, and get paid for it. In fact, what you say is double, there are other firms charging double your rate.

Hope you don’t mind copying this site…?

This should be an obvious “No” from the Ethics and oral standpoint. First, if the company is getting copied content, it means they have shady ethics themselves. So, what makes you think that you will be the lucky to be paid on time or get the full amount of the work? Secondly, accepting such a project moves you do a simple execution machine. Though you may end up paying some of your bills, why pursue it purposely?

I will pay the whole amount when it’s done, for sure…

What if he ends up disappearing with the whole project? Why should he not get committed the same way you are, and give a 50% up front? You need assurance that the client has “bought in” on the project and on you. Furthermore, you need to plan on your income, pay bills and eat. People who claim to pay at the end are likely to blackout after you’ve done whole months work. Stay Safe guys!!

You might also likeclose