When you first start out as a freelance writer, you’re excited to take on each and every job that comes your way.
People are willing to pay me to do what I love? I don’t have to answer to a boss or brave that morning commute? Heck yes!
But once the initial shock and awe passes, you start to realize something: Not every job is worth it.
Sure, every project offers payment (in some form, hopefully) but when you get down to the heart of it, sometimes that payment just simply isn’t enough.
It took me a while to come to grips with it, but it’s OK to say no to a job. Yes, it feels foreign … wrong, even. Turning away money? A chance to get your name out there? Samples for your portfolio? Isn’t that just crazy?
Definitely not. And here’s why:
You need to enjoy what you’re doing
You didn’t get into freelance writing to just clock in, clock out and collect that paycheck. That’s what you’re running away from! Keep that in mind when a job sounds less than ideal. Sure, you’re passing on a few dollars, but you know what? It also frees you up for more enjoyable jobs – ones you’ll be more excited and passionate about. And that’s the whole point of this adventure we’re all on.
It needs to be worth your time
If someone wants to hire you for a few pennies a word or a flat fee that just isn’t enough to cover all the time, resources and energy you’ll put into the piece, always, always, always say no. At the bare minimum, a project needs to compensate you properly for your talents and time – and if it doesn’t do that, wait for the next project that will.
It should further your career
Not all samples are created equal. Just churning out a random ghostwritten blog post isn’t going to give you the portfolio fodder you need to lock down big-name clients, so if that’s what has you saying “yes” to too many projects, get that idea out of your mind pronto. To be truly successful as a freelance writer, you need to choose a niche – and all assignments you take on should help you delve further and further into that space, either in knowledge, through experience or by giving you quality samples to show potential clients.
Following these simple guidelines and saying NO to projects that just aren’t worth it will make you a more effective, more profitable and, ultimately, happier freelance writer in the long term. Believe me, I walked the “yes man” road (and for way too long.) Saying “no” will take you much, much further.
What are some reasons you’ve turned down jobs? Let me know in the comments.