We’ve all heard the saying that the customer is always right and most people understand the importance of repeat business especially for a freelancer like myself. It’s not hard to see why saying no to your clients can often be quite difficult, if not impossible at times.
Every once in a while I find myself in the position of having to tell someone no, and over the years I have come to realize that it doesn’t automatically mean that you will be upsetting the other person. It isn’t really what you are saying that matters so much as how you say it. It is about respecting and valuing not only your time but theirs. If you commit to something but don’t really have the ability to do it, it’s only going to end up costing them more time in the end.
Let the other person know that while you would like to, that you have prior commitments. Perhaps there is another time you will be able to help them. Buy yourself some time to consider things by not saying yes or no. Use that time to determine what is truly the best answer. Sometimes there is a better person for the job. Refer them to someone and they will appreciate your help. And one of the most important things to remember is to thank them for the opportunity before you decline.
All this talk about learning to say no brings to mind the importance of also saying yes. It is all about balance. There may be a time when you think you should be saying no but you really should be saying yes. It is a dynamic process and it’s all about making conscientious decisions.