4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time

from Forbes

There’s no denying how difficult it can be to make it as a freelancer. A lot of potential clients are out there to take advantage of you, and no one’s going to spontaneously offer you more money unless you ask for it.

If you want to succeed freelancing and earn income that make you happy, then you’ll need to toe a hard line. Here are four questions you should say no to, every time.

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8 Responses to 4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time

  1. Erik Peterson September 14, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    As a freelancer, it can be extremely difficult to make a consistent living. Freelancers are people who are primarily self-employed, and are not committed to long term jobs. A lot of times, freelancers run into issues with their clients, because they have to deal with the clients directly. It can be difficult for a freelancer to say “no” to a client, for fear of losing business or just because the freelancer is a nice person. However, it should be important to people who are freelancers to realize that in order to be successful, you have to deny clients sometimes.
    One instance that the article claims that a freelancer should say no to a client is when the client asks if they can pay later. I absolutely agree with the article on this point. Clients, especially new clients with whom you have no history with, should always pay for the good/service up front. If a freelancer performs a service for a new client, the freelancer has no idea whether the client is trustworthy or not, therefore payment is required at the time of the service. The article even offers a compromise for those who believe that the client will pay eventually. The article says to require at least a 25% payment for any goods, which is a great idea. This way, even if the client does not pay, the freelancer does not take a 100% loss on their work.
    Another instance where a freelancer should deny clients is if the client asks for a redo. Again, I think that the article is spot on. The article gives a situation where a logo designer creates a logo for a customer, and then that customer asks for a different one, because they have “changed our tag line”. If the freelancer were to redo the whole logo, they would ultimately make less money than they would have. Although the article says to just say no, I believe that there is a solution to this problem. The freelancer should charge the client for the extra time that he is putting in, assuming that he made no mistakes on the original logo, as was the case here. If the original took 5 hours to make, and costs $250, and the remade logo takes 2 hours to make, then the freelancer should charge $100 for the revised logo. This way the customer gets exactly what they wanted, even though they changed their tag line in the middle of the freelancer’s project, and the freelancer gets fairly compensated for all of his time and work.
    The third instance where a freelancer should just say no is when a client asks them to do extra work. The article mentions the term “scope creep” which is when a client keeps asking for extra things for free. Much like the last situation, it makes the most sense for the freelancer to have a fixed rate per hour for his labor, and every time he or she has to put extra time into the project, to charge more. If the logo creator from the situation above created the logo correctly, and then the client asked for a tweak to it, because they had a new idea, and it takes the freelancer 3 hours to make the tweaks, then they should be compensated accordingly.
    The final situation where a freelancer should say no is when a client asks them how to do something on their own. I have had personal experiences with this type of situation during my job as an irrigation repairman. A lot of times, customers will ask my partner and I how exactly to make a repair on their irrigation system. We always kindly deny. My partner once told me “The customers don’t pay us for our labor; they pay us for what we know.” That statement is 100% correct. If a freelancer were to give free lessons to all of his clients on how to do what they do, then the freelancer would no longer be needed.

    • Benjamin Jaros September 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

      I know who freelancers are, I wouldn’t be reading these comments if I didn’t. Stop scrambling for word count and add a substantive comment on this issue. You just reworded and added word count to it. Do you have any substantive input on the idea or the reality of a freelance economy?

  2. Lucas Nieves-Violet September 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    Working for yourself requires one to be more active but on top of that know how much their time is worth. Making it as a freelancer is hard and means that there is one particular skill that you are specialized in. You are your boss and your income as well if you don’t work you don’t get paid, you don’t get to go home early or say I’ll do it later because it’s your own money and time that you invest in your projects. Working as a freelancer is additionally particularly hard because the clientele might be scarce. Since you are the only person working, you don’t have as many resources as large enterprises do which will also mean that you have a much smaller clientele. An advantage is that some companies like to have a personal touch with who they are working with, because you are the only one in your business it is easier to know your clients on a personal level.
    Being that freelancers work for themselves, I will agree that every penny matters to them. The questions in the article asked by Abdullahi Muhammed are critical and relevant for achieving success as a freelancer. To this day I still here my mom telling me “If you don’t ask for something you’ll never get it.” It’s true no one in life is going to hand you anything ever unless you ask or work for it. Even then after asking for something most times people will still ask you why ?, and that is where freelancers need to say, that they work by themselves, so the work they produce is more personalized and paid closer attention too.
    Can I pay you later? Is a big issue that I am sure most young students have heard before. I remember my first job being at a restaurant and often the boss would say “Do you mind if I pay you later ?”. Well actually I do mind, everyone should be able to get the money they worked for when the time is due. It was time that required effort but most importantly time in its essence that was invested in working at location or in this case on the project. As a freelancer “time” is your job, it’s how much you get paid around the clock. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep track of it and not waste it. The 25% method discussed in the article seems fair and smart at the same time. It is a sort of insurance in a way since the client has already sent some money it gives the person the purpose that they are working toward something as opposed to not seeing a dime until the project is done
    The biggest advice I would give a freelancer would be to make a contract with a client each time. That way it lets them know exactly what you charge as well as includes how much you should get paid instead of facing issues like Can you do this for free? Or, Will you do this extra thing as well?. All the terms should be added and defined in the contract so that there should be no surprise or problems throughout the accomplishment of the project. Failing to have conditions set up in the agreement will make it harder for the freelancer to deliver an excellent product as he will feel as if he did the work asked of him and should not have to do it again. The complaint can also be acquitted to the company side as they don’t feel they should have to pay more money if it wasn’t on the contract terms. As mention by Muhammed in the article try freelancers should try to include “scope creeps” in the contract so that both freelancer and client can be on the same page about what is asked of another.
    Lastly, when paying someone to do something, the employer should not ask the freelancer to teach them the skill they were hired for. The reason why the company hired the freelancer to do a job is that the person knows what they are doing. They have a particular skill that the firm does not have which is why the person was hired for. Additionally, to gain this skill the freelancer mostly spent time, money, and research practicing that very skill to become not only good but have a sort of mastery. If the freelancer had not acquired this particular skill and gain control of it, he would not have been hired for the job. Every skill achieved by a person is worked for, and it should not be given as a “hand me down.”

  3. Valerie Dorsett September 15, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    People sometimes ask for things when they do not realize it will cost extra money. For example, a graphic designer may make a design for an online business. However, if the customer asks to make some slight changes to the freelancer may agree, but regret it in the long wrong. Freelancers can have a hard time making extra money because of this. Freelancers need to learn to start saying no to some of these requests unless they get paid extra. It can sometimes be hard for freelancers to stay financially stable. In order to so do, they should follow the tips given in the article, “4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time.”

    There are some rules that you should follow if you are a freelancer. No matter what type of job you have, it is important to always say no when someone asks if they could pay you later. In the article, 4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time, it states, “It doesn’t matter how friendly or genuine your new client is, don’t rely on their good word alone,” which means you do not know if their word is trustworthy or not (Muhammed). Many freelancers who agree to a future payment do not get paid at all. If your customer is not 100% sure if they really want to commit to the work then would could put down a deposit. The article recommends offering them to pay 25% that way if they do back out you get paid for the work that you have already done.

    Sometimes an issue can be small to use to large to other people. Someone may want a custom table painted brown but then when they receive it they realize they color does not match with their kitchen as well. They may ask the freelancer to change the color expecting it to be for free. However, the freelancer must inform them that they will have to pay extra. Muhammed adds that, “If you work at a fixed price rate, redoing work for free is money lost,” which means that if you worked all of those hours to make the product you have to be paid while you are correcting it as well. This is something that freelancers may be scared to say because they do not want to lose a customer but it is necessary since you are putting in more time and effort. I would expect to pay extra if I was in this situation.

    You always want to get paid the correct amount of money for the type of job you are doing. Know your worth so that way you will always get what you deserve. Your skills are very important and you want to treat them like they are. The article even states, “When a client asks you to teach them how to do your job, explain that it’s a quite complicated process. It would take a lot of training to reach your knowledge level,” which helps you earn more money in the end (Muhammed). You know your skills are valuable, so make it believable that your skills are so valuable that is too complicated to explain all at once. It takes a lot of training to catch on, which will make your client seem like they are not just paying anyone to get the job done, but that they are paying an expert to get the job done. If I believe that someone truly knows what they are doing, I would pay them more because I know they will do the job right the first time. Some people may even tip you. This will make you remember that your skills are unique to your field.

    Being a freelancer can be a hard job when it comes to making money. You just have to remember to know your worth. There may be times when clients may try to take advantage of you but do not allow them to do so. This article by Abdullahi Muhammed, makes it easy for freelancers to gain back their confidence and make good money, which is something everyone should want to achieve. Do not be afraid to say no in order to succeed.

  4. Nicholas Birchby September 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    The term “Freelancer” is used to describe someone who is not committed to a single employer, and is constantly searching for jobs to work. It is difficult to thrive in this process since you never know when a job is coming. Also, you are not always dealing with the most reliable people. This article lists four different scenarios describing situations where a freelancer should always say no. It begins with when an employer asks to pay you later, which should obviously always be no. An employer giving you their word they will pay you is worth absolutely nothing, and should never be accepted as the answer. Of course, an employer will not want to hand out 100% of the payment before the task has been started, so a middle ground must be reached. I personally think the third party option is the best idea, where a third party holds the funds until the task is complete and both parties are happy. The next question is “Can you redo this for free?” One of my favorite movie quotes of all time, which I thought about when reading this, “if you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Yes, this quote comes from The Joker. However, the message is perfect. As a freelancer, jobs may not come around as often as you’d like, so your hourly wage is not something that you want to drive down. By redoing a project for free, you are spending time working for nothing when you could have been finding your next opportunity or working on another project. The only exception to this rule would be if you made a mistake or did not follow instructions. If so, you should redo the project to the correct standards to assure you are not disappointing your employer. As a freelancer good relationships with employers and high quality of work is important because if you cannot do it, someone else can! You will not get additional work opportunities if you provide average work. Another way an employer may try to take advantage of a freelancer is by using the scope creep method. This is when the employer tells you what they need done, and you give them back a price. But after it is resolved, the employer remembers he forgot to tell you something, and asks you to also complete an additional task. To avoid this, a freelancer should tell the employer from the beginning that he will charge for scope creeping. In response, you will either be compensated, or the employer will be forced to complete the extra work themselves. Lastly, ALWAYS say no if an employer asks you to teach them how to perform your work. If you give up your secrets, and teach them how to do the work that you are providing, you are making yourself completely useless! They are paying you money to come work for them, because they cannot do it themselves. If you teach the employer how to complete the work, you are stuck with nothing but less people calling you for work. As a freelancer, you probably have some unique skills that a company will want to take advantage of. Which is why you should always say no to any of the questions I have mentioned. A company would much rather have someone they already pay do the work, do not give anyone a reason to replace you.

  5. Adis Hoti September 15, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    In Abdullahi Muhammed’s, ‘4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time,’ Muhammed gives four suggestions on what freelancers should always say no to. Muhammed begins by suggesting that freelancers should say no to a request to be paid later. The next thing freelancers should say no to is when a client requests a redo on a job. The second to last thing a freelancer should say no to is doing extra work after a quote has been provided. The last thing a freelancer should always say no to is when a client asks the freelancer how to do their job. I agree with all of the suggestions Muhammed makes, these methods will ultimately save freelancers money and time.
    As a freelancer, the author of this article recommends not to allow your clients to “pay you later.” Do not rely on a client’s word or good will because there is a good chance you can lose a lot of money. The author suggests that the freelancer requests 25% upfront pay from the client before starting the project. Muhammed offers another suggestion for ways of payment, “The other option is to go through a third-party service like Upwork.com Guru.com, or Escrow.com, which keeps project fund safely for both parties until the project or a defined milestone is completed.” These sites can help ensure that both parties are satisfied. In this case, the freelancer is paid as soon as the project is done and the client is happy. I agree with using a third party service because there is no way for anybody to be schemed or manipulated. If the work is done correctly, as requested by the client, then the freelancer is paid in full. If the job is not completed then the client is avoids being scammed because the freelancer will not receive a payment.
    Redoing projects free is a trap Muhammed warns the readers about committing. He gives a great example when talking about graphic design when he says, “Say it took you 5 hours to design a logo for $250. Then it takes another 2 hours to fix it. Suddenly your hourly rate went from $50/hour to $35.71/hour.” The difference in the amount you made changes drastically. I strongly agree with what Muhammed is saying, redoing projects should not be done free. Time wasted is money wasted, so there must be a charge added if a client requests changes. Redoing a project free of charge is only acceptable if the freelancer did not meet the client’s specific requirements.
    Muhammed talks about “scope creep,” which is when clients specifically make requests on what they want, receive a quote, and then say they forgot to add something to the list of requests. The client is attempting to receive minor services for free but it is important that freelancers mention to their clients that they will charge for scope creep. It is also important to let the client know that they can do the services themselves if they decline to pay the extra charges. I agree with charging clients for scope creep. It is not fair to the freelancer to complete certain aspects of a project for free. Clients pay for the services, so they should pay for scope creep.
    People hire freelancers to perform services, services that they cannot perform so they need someone to do it for them. If a freelancer teaches a client how to do his or her job then they might as well kiss their job good bye. Muhammed talks about the value of a freelancer’s skill until somebody else learns to do it as well. Muhammed says, “Your skills are valuable enough that someone wants to hire you, but only until someone else on their team learns how to do it instead.” If you teach your client how to do your job, then you will no longer be needed in the future.

    Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2017/09/11/4-things-freelancers-should-say-no-to-every-time/#66e7829d162c

  6. Brian Ayoub September 15, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    I really found the article, “4 Things Freelancers Should Say No To, Every Time” really interesting and relevant to my life. After I become an established public accountant, I would really like to become a soccer coach and instructor. As an instructor, I would definitely do it as a freelancer, and not through a company. The tips that Abdullahi Muhammed, the author of the article, presents aided my knowledge of how to become a successful freelancer. I found it interesting because the situations that Muhammed brings up are situations that I would breeze under the table and not think much of. If I was a freelancer and was doing a job for my friend, and he asks me, “can I do it later?” I wouldn’t be too bothered. However, Muhammed opened my eyes to alternatives and tips when this situation comes up. As a freelancer, I learned that you should never give up your integrity and treat your self as if you were an established company. Would Verizon ever give you an iPhone after you ask if you can pay them later? The clear answer is most definitely no. So why should you, as a freelancer, act any different? By saying no, you raise your seriousness as an entity, and portray a level of professionalism to your clients. I understand that new clients who have yet to experience your company and its services would be a bit skeptical, so a 25% fee up front does make some sense. It is safe because you receive a security deposit, while also ensuring the client that they don’t have to pay the full cost until their desires are met.
    Another tip that Muhammed presents is that you should never redo your work for free. I agree with this because if you do a quality job, then you should not waste your time doing excess work because a client was picky or unsure. That is their problem, and again ties into my point of treating your company as a professional entity. Would Chipotle ever give you a free burrito after you already ate the previous one, just because you asked? Again, the answer would be no. If your work is quality, then your standards should be high and never compromised.
    The next point that Muhammed brings up is the “will you do this extra thing also?” situation. I am guilty as a client of doing this. When I am ordering food, sometimes I forget to ask for an ingredient and ask for that ingredient after I already pay. It is a pretty scummy move, however employees never charge me a second time. If I was a boss of a company and this sort of situation happens to me, I would not be happy to say the least. The standards of your company become compromised and that shouldn’t happen if you want to really succeed as a freelancer. That $1.50 for guac may not seem like much, however it adds up in the long run if you don’t take Scope Creeping seriously.
    As a whole, when I read this article it reminded me of what my parents told me when I was young. They said, “never undervalue yourself and always be confident.” This really transcends to everything in life, including freelancing. If you treat your talent seriously and work hard, there is no reason you should do any of the things that Muhammed references like doing an extra thing for free or letting someone pay you later. That is called undervaluing your entity and that is how you fail.However, if you follow Muhammed’s tips, work hard, and be confident in yourself, you will succeed.

  7. Adam Rakowski September 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Freelancing is undoubtedly one of the most misunderstood practices in any working field and it is interesting to see an article highlighting 4 big problems freelancers face on almost a daily basis. Freelancers make a living without working for a specific employer and thus, are usually on the move to find someone for whom they could work with no long-term employment agreement. Unlike working for an employer, you have the possibility that you may not be at work for a certain amount of time until you find opportunities that will allow you to do so. Short-term employers often try to take advantage of freelancers by putting them in uncomfortable situations that this article clearly sums up. The first one of these scenarios where a freelancer might be used to an employer’s advantage would be when an employer asks to compensate you late for your work. Logically, this does not make any sense because as a freelancer you do not have a particular contract that states you will be paid so relying on an employer’s word does not guarantee you that you will be paid for your services. For the same reason, expecting to be fully paid for work that has not yet been completed is foolish, so it is important to find a middle ground through which both the employer and the freelancer can undergo. Usually such middle grounds are found with deposits. Another point that was brought up was a situation where the employer requests that the freelancer redo something upon request with no extra charge. Asking to redo something free of charge actually decreases the amount of money you initially earned per hour so the time you dedicated working on a particular project ended up being worth a lot less than you intended. Even if they kindly ask you to make a small change, be sentient of the fact that you are a freelancer and demand that you be compensated no matter how hard the task may be. Granted if you were responsible for an error on the project, then you should not demand compensation for your own failure. Only if the employer altered his or her request should you ask for additional payment for your extra work and time dedicated. To go along with the second point, the third point: scope creeping, also has to do with employers utilizing a freelancers work to their benefit and request more work than originally intended. I can see how employers might utilize the tactic of scope creeping on free lancers but it only makes it that more critical for free lancers to notice these things and demand that they be paid for the additional work that the employer is requesting of them. They need to keep in mind the time and effort they will put in addition to the originally asked request. The last and probably the most important point is to never give up your secrets and teach an employer how to perform your craft. Simply put, if your employer finds another way of doing your job for a cheaper cost, you will be out of a job and your worth on the market decreases substantially. You are being paid because you are particularly good at something and can perform a skill that will be beneficially to an employer for whatever reason. If they ask and pry into your work to find out how you do something, you are pretty much giving them a long-term amenity for a one-time payment. Essentially, the purpose of these points is to know your worth as a freelancer and despite not having an employer, you should be treated fairly and act accordingly if an employer tries to use you free of charge.

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