This post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclosure for more.

How To Decline A Client Project 5 Ways (Politely & Respectfully)

In This Article

As a freelancer, there will inevitably come a time when you’ll have to decline a project. Every professional working in the graphic design, website design, marketing, development, and writing industries needs to know how to turn down a client politely and respectfully when they can’t take on a project for any number of reasons.

If you’ve shifted from working from 9-to-5 to freelancing recently, you might be under the impression that you won’t ever need to deal with tedious or unwanted projects again. This is true to an extent; freelancers can pick and choose their clients, which days they work on, and which professional goals they aim to meet.

With that said, regardless of whether you’re working for a boss or independent clients, you will occasionally come across a project that you simply won’t want to take on board.

You might encounter a client who expects you to drop everything to help them meet a last-minute weekend deadline. Perhaps you’ll meet an acquaintance who wants you to edit their draft novel for far less than your set rate.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s important to be selective about the projects you take on as a freelancer, recognizing when a project is not a good fit for your skills, values, or interests.
  • When turning down a project, be honest, professional, and respectful. Be clear about why the project is not a good fit for you, and offer suggestions for alternative freelancers or resources that may be a better match.
  • Communicate your decision as soon as possible. This will minimize any potential damage to the client’s timeline or budget.
  • Maintain a positive relationships with potential clients, even when turning down a project. This may lead to future work or other opportunities.
  • Trust your instincts and recognize that turning down a project that’s not a good fit is ultimately best for both you and the client.

Whatever the case may be, there will be times when you’ll need to know how to say no—politely but firmly.

Communicating clearly will ensure that these kinds of unwanted projects don’t keep appearing in your inbox, draining your energy and weakening your business boundaries. Besides, being respectful and amicable will ensure that you maintain an excellent reputation among clients and potential clients alike.

Read on as we show you how to decline a client project with tact and diplomacy. We also describe some scenarios in which you should reserve your expertise for more appropriate projects.

Fostering Confidence, Boundaries, and Self-Trust

“Make sure your client knows you’re saying no to their request—not to them.” – Anonymous

If you’re still learning how to decline a client project, you may struggle to maintain confidence and trust in yourself and your work. You need to stand firm and believe in your abilities, your product, and your worth.

Being able to say ‘no’ respectfully is essential to exercising healthy boundaries in your work life, and may help to prevent burnout and mental exhaustion on your part.

If your gut feeling is urging you to pass on a certain project or client, listen to it.

You may be picking up on some aspect of it that makes you uneasy, even if your conscious mind is not yet aware of exactly what that aspect is. That uneasiness is alerting you to the fact that a boundary is being crossed.

If this is happening before the project has even begun, chances are, it will continue to happen throughout its duration as well.

All too many freelancers who find themselves in the middle of challenging or unwanted projects had a bad gut feeling they ignored when they first accepted the job.

If there is any part of you that feels that the task or the client offering it are not a good fit, knowing how to turn down a client politely can prevent you from over-committing yourself. Plus, it will stop you from regretting it later down the line too.

Reasons You Should Decline a Client Project

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the couragepleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically—to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.” – Stephen Covey

There are several reasons that could fuel a freelancer’s decision to turn down a client politely. It’s important for you to determine the key reasons why you wish to decline a client in the first place.

Knowing why you want to decline will help you plan out a strategic, amicable reply that will make your response clear without offending the requesters. In addition, it will give you the skills and knowledge you need to decline similar projects quickly in the future.

Here are some of the most commonplace motivations freelancers cite for turning down a project or task.

1. You Notice Red Flags

Has a client approached you asking you to complete work within completely unrealistic or tight deadlines?

Are they asking too many questions, pressuring you for discounts or special rates? Are they being controlling about every aspect of the project they have assigned you?

These are all potential red flags that the client in question doesn’t align with your business or values. This is especially so if their actions are making you uncomfortable.

Clients who don’t show respect for your time and services from the get-go will not likely feel inclined to do so once you have taken them on, either.

Saying yes to the wrong freelancing opportunities can leave you burned out, stressed out, and exhausted. Especially if the clients that offer them expect more of you than you can realistically deliver.

2. You’re Pressed for Time

Life is busy already, and being a freelancer tends to make it significantly busier!

Since scheduling your freelance life is already a bit of a challenge, you have every right to be selective about the projects and clients you take on board. Consider your upcoming schedule, your pipeline, and financial situation when deciding whether to accept an offer of work.

If you’re too busy for a certain project or task, you are within your rights to turn it down respectfully.

Turning down projects when you’re too busy will allow you to give your full attention to those that you have agreed to complete. This will ensure that your work remains at a consistently high quality for all of your valued clients. It will also help you minimize errors and offer your clients more one-on-one interactions, which allows them to communicate concisely what they want out of the end result.

Sometimes, whether a project fits your schedule will depend on your ability to work out a reasonable timeline with your client. They need to offer you a clear project scope to enable you to know exactly when they need you, and what you will be doing.

This will help you better plan your time and apportion your resources.

You should consider whether your client’s proposed timeline is too short for the task they require. This is all too common in just about every industry. In this situation, you could offer to do the project on a longer timeline to make it more manageable for you if you do want to take it on.

3. Their Budget is Too Slim

Most freelancers have set hourly, per-page, or per-task rates for their work, and most of these rates align with local industry standards.

From time to time, you may offer discounts or special rates, particularly to close friends and family members. Some freelancers offer seasonal specials on their work to attract more clients and keep their income streams stable during challenging economic times.

With that said, you have every right to turn down clients who approach you with a budget that’s significantly less than what you charge.

Your time is valuable, and your set rates reflect your level of expertise, skill, and respect for the quality of your work.

Don’t compromise unless you are comfortable doing so!

The last thing you want to do is devalue your worth by agreeing to projects that are out of your scope and don’t meet your minimum expectations when it comes to payment.

The prices you charge should increase over time as you gain expertise. Eventually, you will probably want to pass some projects down to junior-level freelancers and take more advanced tasks for yourself. If this is the case, you can offer to put your client in touch with junior freelancers you know and trust, who may be grateful for the referral.

How to Decline a Client Project Politely

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

So, now that you have a reason in mind for wanting to decline a project, you need to find a way to do so without upsetting or offending your client.

Learning how to decline a client project politely can be tricky, but it’s an essential skill if you want to remain in good standing within your industry.

Freelancers and professionals who are abrupt or rude can quickly gain a negative reputation that will follow them for years.

If you’re worried about offending your clients, you needn’t be. The key is to be assertive so that when you do say ‘no,’ your answer is firm and not left open to negotiation.

Make it as clear as you can that you are declining the offer. You can explain your reasons briefly if you prefer, but there is no obligation to do so. Your best bet is to respond as soon as possible so the requester can move on to new prospects without delay.

Consider the three primary communication styles:

  1. Passive
  2. Aggressive
  3. Assertive

You want to be assertive and clear with your client communications, while avoiding taking a passive or aggressive tone.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunity is another polite gesture that will enhance your professional reputation. Thank the client for thinking of you, embarking on an interview process with you, or meeting you to discuss a job.

Most clients will happily respect a clear, polite, and honest answer.

If any of your clients respond aggressively when you exercise your professional boundaries, you’ll immediately know that you made the right decision.

You’re welcome to leave the door open to respectful clients to approach you in the future about additional work, if you feel positive about working with them.

Here are some example email scripts to provide you with guidance on how to decline a client project in a diplomatic way, based on the scenarios above — plus a couple bonus situations.

1. Example Email Script for Red Flag Clients

Hi [client’s name],

Thank you so much for thinking of me for your project. This task doesn’t appear to be an ideal match for [my level of experience / schedule / current professional focuses], so I am respectfully declining it.

Please note that I am more than willing to [share the project on LinkedIn / put you in touch with another freelancer I know who may be interested], if you’d like me to. Please let me know and I will pass along the relevant details as soon as I can.

Thank you once again, and I’m wishing you the best of luck!

[your name]


2. Example Email Script for Busy Freelancers

Hi [client’s name],

Thank you for your email regarding your project proposal. I appreciate that you have considered me for the job!

After careful review, I feel that I am unable to fully commit my resources and attention to your project. I believe that your project deserves more attention and time than my schedule will allow me to provide it at the moment.

I have enclosed a few names of other trusted freelancers that may be able to take on this project right now.

(Optional: My schedule for a project of your scope will be open in _ weeks’ / months’ time. I can gladly add you to my waiting list if you would kindly let me know by the end of the week.)

Thank you once again for considering me for your project.

[your name]


3. Example Email Script for Clients with Slim Budgets

Hi [client’s name],

Thank you for your email regarding your proposed project. I appreciate that you have considered me for this task.

After careful consideration, I feel that your project lies outside the scope of what I am able to offer you right now. I usually charge rates of [add your hourly / per-project rate here], and you have indicated that you would like to stay under [their stipulated budget].

I respect your budget for this task, and my goal is to never exceed your stipulated budget unless absolutely necessary. In honor of that, I feel you would be in better hands with another freelancer who specializes in projects of your size and budget.

Thank you once again for considering me for this task. I wish you the best of luck with your project!

[your name]


4. Example Email Script for Being Outside Your Expertise

Unless it’s a really simple request or you’ve sold yourself on being a perfect fit, claim that the project is out of your area of expertise.

Note: “Outside your area of expertise” can refer to your technical capabilities as well as your specialty or niche.


I need to be honest with you, Patty. This project is out of my area of expertise. I specialize in infographics, but I’m not an illustrator. Can I refer two great digital artists who might be perfect for your request?


5. Example Email Script for No Interest in the Topic

Some industries and hobbies have a cult following (think extreme sports, music, environmental issues, etc.) that require passion to sell a message. If you’re not feeling it, this can be an easy out. There’s no reason to force something that you can’t give it your all.

Here’s what an example might look like:

Mike, I enjoy the outdoors, but I’m not a mountain-biker. I’m afraid I don’t have the passion to share your product like you need. Would you like the name of a colleague who loves outdoor sports?


Bonus tip!

Other than turning down the clients, every one of these examples offer to refer someone else for the project. This is key to maintaining a good impression on this person despite telling them they’re not hiring you.

Think about it: most clients aren’t very good at hiring freelancers (how many do you know that have bad designer stories to tell?). Hiring is also stressful, takes away from “real” work, and is a leap of faith with a total stranger.

So giving them a lead that the designer they wanted to work with recommends is huge. (And you improve your relationship with the designers you recommend, even if they don’t take the job.)

Choosing Projects that Align with Your Values

Any project you do choose to take on board should fit your bill in a few crucial ways.

Suitable projects should:

  • Match your core interests, level of experience, and areas of expertise
  • Pay you sufficiently according to your specified rates for the task at hand
  • Fit your schedule while giving you enough time to complete the project in a way that aligns with your personal quality standards as a professional.

The projects you choose to take on should align with your values and career goals. There will most likely be industries and tasks that you would wish to avoid. Having a clear idea of these will make it easier for you to know when and how to decline a client project that comes your way.

Here are a couple of factors to think about when it comes to choosing projects that are parallel with your values.

  • Will completing this project advance you towards your greater professional goals?
  • Do you find this project interesting on a personal level? Why is this the case?
  • Do you believe that your work on the task will help people, communities, or the environment in a positive way?
  • Does this project support a company or entity with views that you consider unethical or juxtaposed with your own?
  • Have you worked with this client before and was it a positive experience? If they are new, do you have any reservations about working with them?
  • Is this client respectful of your time, resources, and professional integrity as a freelancer?
  • Will working with this client lead to other good potential sources of work in the future?

Carefully consider your answers to each of these questions when deciding whether you should take on a new project. If anything seems amiss, you now know how to turn down a client politely and find a venture that’s better suited to your needs.

An Important Learning Curve

“It’s only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs

Learning how to decline a client project is an essential process for every freelancer, regardless of their industry or areas of expertise.

Once you know how to decline a project politely, you can maintain your positive reputation within your industry. At the same time, you’ll attract projects and clients that align with your values and goals.

It’s good to consider all aspects of a job or client together when deciding whether to take on a task. Lower-paying jobs could still be a great fit for you if they support worthy causes, provide you with important experience, or advance you towards larger long-term goals.

However, if something feels off, or you’re confident that a project doesn’t match your current skills, schedule, or budget, consider leaving it on the table by using one of our example email scripts as a guide.

Keep the conversation going...

Over 10,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!

Profile Image: Nina Sharpe

Written by Nina Sharpe

Staff at

Nina Sharpe is a content champion for various outlets, covering various business topics from finance for startups to small business accounting tips.

Nina's Articles

Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, at Millo.

At Millo, we strive to publish only the best, most trustworthy and reliable content for freelancers. You can learn more by reviewing our editorial policy.

  1. I have a client I’ve started working with and while it was going great at first it’s dragging on into a nightmare and I’ve lost interest in the project. I haven’t been paid for anything that I’ve done so I don’t want to lose my time investment but this client is really rubbing a hole in my other work. I’ve decided to turn him down but how would I go about that after so long? I want to be as transparent as possible but he’s pretty important and I really don’t want to burn this bridge. Is there any way to retain him as a friend and politely turn down this project that’s been in the works for weeks? Please help!

  2. So hard to turn down a client but this is a bullet I have to bite almost every month. I once took a under budget project which I regret the most.

  3. I had a very similar experience. I was offered a project that required me essentially to close my business and become an employé of another firm.. and move country. Yes, it was a longer term and interesting project..but..
    I decided closing down shop to become a temp was a very bad idea. My accountant was also very against it. Losing the freedom and flexibility is a huge disadvantage. It also prevents me from doing side business, which adds additional income.

  4. Brent this is great advice. I’ve only been freelancing for just over a year but have already met circumstances such as these. It’s reaffirming to hear that appropriately saying no isn’t so bad after all and can lead to other opportunities. Thanks!

  5. MakeJoy Studio says:

    This is exactly the article I needed to read! As a designer in my now full-time freelance career, I just got referred to a project where their timeline and budget for the project is not even close to what my experience tells me is needed for a successful project. I had these same thoughts that it would be better to say “no” to this project in order to be available for better-fitting projects. I am hoping the choice will prove to be completely worth it, since it IS hard to say “no”. Thank you for helping me to “talk through it”.

  6. Mark Trevor says:

    This article is spot on, and I’m in a very similar situation at the moment. I’ve just decided not to apply for something that could be a good opportunity to earn money because I have plans to put into action and feel the need to develop my business, and I can’t do that while I’m commuting over 2 hours a day! Difficult decision indeed, but I think it’s the right one for me. This article sums up most of what I was already thinking.

  7. Seraphine says:

    Thanks for your article! It’s very hard to say no, indeed.

    I’m currently having my first freelance job as a side work while i’m looking for full time job. The client is a nice person actually, but i found from my experience in working with him that he’s quite indecisive and like to make a lot of changes at last moments which drags the project’s timeline ( and the pay is low although it’s because of my inexperience ). In the end it takes most of my time and I’m starting to worry because i don’t have enough time to do whatever it needs to find full time job.

    He now offers me another job, but I’m not sure if i should say no since my priority is not freelance work.

  8. Thank you so much! This is the exact advice I needed for my current situation

  9. Miranda Ng says:

    I guess this happen with all kind of freelancing. I am a freelance translator and have met these types of clients/ agency. They offer ridiculously low pay and for big projects that required me to spend most of my time for months on them. I was short of projects at the time but still turn them down or offered a higher rate. It is no surprise that they dont choose my service. And for such low rate, I know the quality involved in that. I just wonder what may result from that bad quality and how much it would cost the clients in the end from that bad quality. Will they ever learn it?

  10. Responsive says:

    Totally love this post. Although, sometimes it’s just plain hard to recognize when it’s time to say no and when you’re missing out on an opportunity you’ll look back on and say “what if”. I guess we all have to ….Trust our gut!

  11. Wendy Butcher says:

    I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is for saying no halfway through a logo design project but that is what I did. I have designed quite a few logos. I was referred by someone coming highly recommended. He insisted on a flat fee and 5 ideas instead of my usual 3. I was very reluctant and should have stuck to what I know. It was a long distance project. I required a signed contract and 50% down. It was a $200 project. He emailed me a bunch of logos he liked (nothing consistent). I presented him 8 ideas that I thought reflected his business. He wasn’t happy with anything. I had spent 8 hours of my time by now and only received $100. He then told me that he didnt like round letters which most of them were because the word “Global” was in it. So after a few “unprofessional exchanges on his part, he asked me if I was “able” or willing to continue.
    At this point, I had grown a dislike for my client and decided to bow out and suggested that he get another designer’s input. There were more unfriendly exchanges and he tried to make me feel unprofessional and unexperienced. Besides the fact that he took up WAY too much of my time. Lessoned learned though. I decided to give my future clients a set of choices upfront on a template (color wheel, fonts, etc) and continue with my 3 idea, price range rule based on revisions. My biggest beef was the fact that some clients such as he wanted me be involved too much in the process and not trust me in what I know. But that is a whole different conversation.

  12. M.Aswad Mehtab says:

    Well i am in favour of saying no to a project which can just not worth the time and efforts , but sometimes clients do not take it as something they hoped for , A few days ago i received a job offer on a job board , i said no as the budget was just peanuts , bu that client kept sending me messeges and asked me to talk to him on skype , we had a discussion and i clearly told him that i do not want to work with him because of his low budget , he just keep telling me tha he wants to work with me and i kept telling him that i just can not do it for him and than he turned nuts .. he became offensive and started sending harsh email … He said i do not provide good customer service lol
    I was surprised to hear that as he was so pissed off because i do not wanted to work on his $10 project … So saying no is not that easy sometimes …

  13. My services are aimed at smaller businesses so I’ve rarely been in the position of having to turn down a big project, it certainly doesn’t appeal to me being stuck in one, big, constipated project over a number of weeks or months. Usually, the projects I turn down are the projects relating to animation.

    Sometimes I’m asked to create opening titles and other in-show graphics for TV, usually a whole package of graphics need to be completed within a week. My hardware lets me down here, so sometimes I have to decline the project. I don’t get enough TV work to warrant investing in the hardware for it, and besides, although the occasional TV work makes a nice change and it looks good to have a big name on your portfolio, I don’t particularly want to do broadcast graphics full time.

    On the other end of the scale, when times are quiet I do take on occasional graphic design work which doesn’t pay so well. I always make it clear to the client that I may need to put the project on hold to deal with more urgent (higher-paying) work. I then get to refocus on another project and come back to the original project with fresh eyes. The mix of projects lubricates the creative cogs.

    Occasionally a low-paying client will expect all the bells and whistles. I hook them up with a cheaper designer who provides a lower level of service, if only to show the client that a job done cheaply is NOT a job done well. (Does that sound bad?) There will always be someone with less experience willing to do a worse job for next to nothing. When I complete a project for less money, I don’t provide a lesser service but it does have to be on my own terms.

    Having said that, it’s all well and good to turn down a project when you believe your services are worth more. What I find most frustrating is when I design a logo for a client who is over the moon with it, gives you great feedback, but they go elsewhere, behind your back, for a lesser-quality web design. Ultimately my logo ends up looking hideous on that website. And all because the web ‘designer’ did it cheaper. Ironically, I thought I was better at web design than logo design!

    I do what I do for the love of it, so on the one hand I need a bit of variety, but on the other hand obviously I have to eat and occasionally I need to upgrade my hardware and software. So whether it’s a big project paying generously or a smaller project paying little, you always have to stay focused on your goals. Don’t be swept away by the magic of a big, well-paying project. It’s about getting the balance right.

  14. Siedah Mitchum says:

    I actually learned the hard way!

    After consultation I was so excited to get another client after I just wrapped up this huge project. The design momentum was there. I was extremely pumped that I missed all the “signs”. After a month of battle my client declined before I had a chance to. We parted ways in a civil manner. But I finally wiped the sweat from my brow and stored the experience in my memory bank.

    Go with you gut! Say NO when its needed! And when it is time to walk away after you’ve tired everything you can. Do just that! Then write it off as a good or bad experience.

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      Well said and some great points made! Thanks for sharing and adding to the post! 🙂

  15. Paul Wagana says:

    Great post indeed, I have found that some clients offer me work that i have to turn down mainly because of the time factor and more importantly the money. Most of the time its a no brainer because the time input is the same but the pay is cut down by half and some clients can be really persuasive. Another factor that determines weather the job is worthwhile is profit and growth question. Do i profit or am I inconvenienced for my efforts and do I grow as a freelance business and as a Designer if not then i cannot take it on.

  16. Such great timing with this post! Just yesterday I turned down my first project. I got the client through E-Lance and spent over a month building him a pretty substantial site (over 80 pages) for a substantially low amount thinking I just needed to add some work to my portfolio and get my rating up on E-Lance. I let the client know up front I normally charge a lot more, but the other day he says he wants another website for (big surprise) just as low an amount as the first one. I’m thinking yeah right I’m going to spend hours working for peanuts when I could be working on my own site which sucks and needs updating badly. I politely declined the project and he asked how much I would do it for. Not surprisingly when I gave him my normal rate he declined and said his new site “can be done very easily for the amount I was offering.” Lesson learned, if you work for someone for cheap or free, don’t expect you’ll be able to raise your prices on them later. Even if they accept they’ll likely resent you forever for raising the price. I feel really good about declining the project. I can look myself in the mirror without shame and now I can spend more time with my other higher paying clients and give my own website a much needed face lift. Thanks for the great article!

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      You’re welcome and thank you for reading! I’m glad you believed in yourself and didn’t undersell your services. It’s a common mistake that many make because of the fear of turning down paying projects.

      Best of luck with your website face lift and thanks for sharing your story!

  17. Great Article! Thanks for the advice..

  18. Leslie Hinton says:

    Great article! I worked on a huge fund-raising project for a well known cancer organization for two years in a row. The first year, I was grossly underpaid, ( my inexperience , not their fault), and the second year I negotiated a more realistic fee. Both projects were creatively challenging and successful. Year three, they offer me “Year One” money again, with a shorter schedule, and actually hire another designer first,( because she was cheaper), but within 48 hours, realize they would prefer to work with me. So they offer me the other designer’s rate, (equal to half my rate), and two months less time to do the work. Now, I know that sometimes we don’t make money on the FIRST project we do with a client, but I also know that we will rarely be paid more by a client than the lowest rate we charge them. I knew that if I took this job at the lower rate, I would never, ( read : ever) get back to a realistic rate. The client would still expect first quality thought and execution, and still eat up the schedule deciding by committee, so while this job constituted a huge chunk of change, I turned them down. It was the most empowering thing I had done in my freelance career. I did not feel anything so much as relief and respect for myself.

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      Love your story (actually all of the stories in the comments)! Glad to hear you have no regrets turning down the work – that’s the attitude to have when making a difficult decision like that.

      Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  19. Dionna Hayden says:

    Great article—-I’m definitely absorbing this key information!

  20. Lyn Fletcher says:

    I have had to turn down clients many times. But I always try to hook them up with another freelancer suitable for their needs. I know this runs counter to my survival as a service business. But in the long run, I find it is very good business because I am still providing a service to the client. The client appreciates it immediately. And over the years, I have found that the artists I give referrals to, return the favor. Not always or right away, but it dawns on them slowly that there is enough work to go around and it doesn’t hurt them to share when they can.

    I have explained to clients that I don’t juggle jobs. When they have me, they have my complete attention. So when I say no, it’s because I am unwilling to make a promise I might not be able to keep. In the end, they respect me for meaning yes when I say yes and not saying yes when I should say no.

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      I think that networking and connecting with other freelancers is a great solution to saying no to work that you cannot do yourself. It almost always pays off – whether you’re teaming up with someone or just building a relationship.

      Thanks for sharing!

  21. I was recommended by a colleague to work with a gentleman who was in on the ground floor of a new technical school as their director of marketing, even though the colleague knew that the director was slightly insane! I was hesitant to work with him from that description alone, but I placed the call anyway. When he asked me to do some spec work so he could evaluate my design aesthetic, (even though he had seen my portfolio) a red flag went up immediately. I explained to him politely that I don’t do spec work and told him I was probably not a good fit for his needs. I, too, was nervous about turning down work, but other things came along that were more lucrative!

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      It makes me happy to hear that you believed in your services enough to turn down a project that required spec work. I’m behind you 100% on that decision!

      I’m glad everything worked out for the best. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  22. Whatever the reason, cost, timing or out of your zone of expertise, if you can’t do the job, thank the company that is offering you the work and if it’s appropriate, you may want to recommend another freelancer. Someday that recommendation may be reciprocated.

  23. Great post! This situation has come up a number of times for my business over the last several years. Sometimes I’ve made the right choice and sometimes the wrong one. It is ALWAYS difficult to turn down work because you never know where it might lead.

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      You’re absolutely right – it can be very difficult to turn down work and sometimes is doesn’t work out. You can learn a lot from mistakes and failures, so just be sure to never give up, because things will always bounce back as long as you stick with it.

      Thanks for sharing!

  24. Love this post! It’s hard to turn down work when you’re a freelancer, but it’s such a must in so many situations. I realized that turning down work, while the money would have been great didn’t affirm my overall mission for my business. Freeing up that time I would have committed also allowed me to be creative and work ON my business, not IN it. Thanks for the great article Brent!

    1. Brent Galloway says:


      Glad to hear you’re keeping *your* business in mind when taking on projects! It’s important to make sure that the work you take on is aligned with your business goals.

      Thanks for leaving a comment! 🙂