When I started my freelance journey I would say YES to every job that I came across. I’m not sure if it was because of the money or just the excitement of starting a new project but I would take it without realizing it may not be worth it.

After some time and some bad experiences I learned that I couldn’t always say YES, it doesn’t fit my way of life. I first started freelancing so I could do what I love and saying YES to every job may bring lots of things that I don’t love as much.

I got myself into a few projects where I wasn’t the designer anymore; instead I was just taking orders from a client and doing as he pleased. I realized this happens a lot on the design industry, where clients who don’t have any knowledge of design but have this idea in mind of what the final product should look like. So they hire a designer to execute their ideas instead of using their expertise, which is what they are actually paying for. This quote really hits home in that regard.

“ You don’t see people hiring a doctor and tell him exactly how you want him to work, that’s not how it goes. You tell him your problem and hope for a good fix. It should be no different with design.”

I would be lying if I said I had never been a client’s puppet before. I got through it just so I could get paid but at the end was it worth it? Well, not even a minute of it. It’s stressful to do something I know isn’t best for the client; it’s shameful to work on something that I’m not proud to say I did. Thanks to all that I learned to say NO.

The Art of Saying NO

I understand that a lot of times financial situation may get ahead of us and it gets hard to turn down projects, but I believe in the Gods of Design and I like to think that it takes a few NO to bring a good YES. Therefore I have been saying NO to many projects, and been blessed with many YES. To be honest it feels good to turn down a project that you know it would be nothing but a headache.

When I turn down a project before saying NO this project isn’t a good fit for meand sending the client out the door. I try to educate the client as much as I can, show him the best options and why I would say NO to the direction he wants to take. My philosophy is to always do the best work, but after going over the options and educating the client, he still wants it his way, a big NO is my way of ending it.

Being in Peace with saying NO

At first it can hurt you a bit to say NO, you can always think ahh, I should taken that project, but once you start realizing most of the clients that you come across are a NO instead of YES you will start appreciating even more the work you say YES to and be thankful for saying NO to certain projects.

Once I started saying NO I have not worked on a boring project, I have been focusing on creating the best work for my clients and let my experience lead the way and deliver great results to those who believe in my work. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and say NO when necessary.

Further Reading

Hope you enjoyed the ready and I invite you to share some thoughts on the subject.