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If you don't want to do it, just say no.

As human beings, it's in our nature to want to please others. So when a client comes to us with a new graphic design project we have a desire to take it on even if it's not in our best interest. As a graphic designer, you have to determine if the project affects you in any negative way. If it does, just say no to it.

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I discuss the various reason, implications, and outcomes when you say no to graphic design work. Pless play on the podcast player to listen to the episode.

No is a complete sentence.

Why do we insist on coming up with excuses or feel the need to apologise when we say no? Saying no in itself is a complete sentence. There's no need to follow it with any form of reasoning to justify it.

“I'm too busy”, “there isn't enough time”, “I'm already committed to something else”. These are some of the excuses we use when we say no. Why do we insist on justifying ourselves?

How do you say no?

It's harder to say no to existing clients for fear of losing them. However, if you've built a good relationship with your client like I discussed in episode 20, you have nothing to fear. In fact, your client will probably be the one afraid of losing you as their designer.

So saying no to an existing client is as simple as saying “thanks for thinking of me but I'm going to have to pass on this job”. If they question you, be honest as to why. They'll appreciate you more for it.

When it comes to new clients, especially those that give you a bad vibe, simply say “Thank you for considering me but I won't be able to take on your project” and leave it at that. It's a polite way to just say no without any other explanation is required.

Say no to compromises.

At some point in your graphic design career, someone will ask you for discounts or possibly free work. In some cases, you'll agree but in most, you'll just say no.

  • Say no to discounted rates
  • Say no to haggling over prices
  • Say no to promised publicity for your business
  • Say no to promises of future work.

Just like a fancy restaurant won't serve you a $28 steak for half price just because you asked for it, or because you promise to recommend them to your friends. You shouldn't offer discounted prices for any promises from clients.

Family and Friends

I go into more detail in the podcast about family and friends, but keep in mind that just because you are close or related doesn't mean you can't say no to them as well.

Charities and Non-Profits

I share some tips and tricks for dealing with charities and non-profits you'll want to listen to but the main point to remember is most of these groups do have the budget to pay for your work. So don't feel bad when you say no to working for them for free.

Do you have any instances when you said no to a client?

I would love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Deana

My question is about clients you don't want to work for. Lets say you know a client is difficult to work with, and they have come to you with a job request. How do you NOT take on that work? Do you tell them you are too busy? Refer them elsewhere?

This entire episode was devoted to answering questions like this one from Deana. Please listen to hear what I had to say.

Resource of the week Pencil and Paper

I know. A bit lame. But I'm always amazed by how many people don't use these simple instruments in their business. There's nothing like the feel of pencil on paper to get the creative juices flowing. Whether you are doodling, drawing out ideas, jotting down notes and reminders there are no easier tools to use.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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