Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Business / Graphic Design / Resources

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

It’s three o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon when you get a call from an unknown number. It’s a cold call! After a quick conversation you plan a time to meet. On Friday you show up to the designated coffee shop dressed sweet and sharp and spend an hour talking to a client you’d love to do work for and leave feeling like you’re on top of the world.

Over the weekend, you digest the brief and write up a proposal with all sorts of options and pricing nailed down. Hell, you even go out of your way and get it printed on that stack of letterhead you never use and hand deliver it to their soaring office in the sky on Monday morning. Later that afternoon your phone rings and it’s the client, and they’re not thrilled.

Your price is way too high.
So, like a good designer, rather than lowering your rate, you trim back. Maybe fewer rounds of revisions, no printouts, etc. They still balk. And now they only want to pay half of your new asking rate.

This is an incredibly tricky situation for even the most seasoned freelancer. You’ve put a lot of work and emotion into a project you really want. Plus, you don’t get calls from clients out of the blue all the time! Maybe this could lead to more work! While every situation is different, it may be time to walk away.

The ability to not take a job can be seen as something only hardened pros have the luxury of doing, but the reality is the opposite. Pros get going in the business only working with clients that want to work with them. Yes, you’re potentially turning down a paying job. And yes, it’s hard to know when something similar might crop up again. And man, would it be great to work with them. But this is the situation where you need to think about the bottom line and how this project might affect your business.

First, they’re not paying what you’ve figured to be your rate. So does that mean you don’t do as good of a job? And remember, them paying less doesn’t mean it takes any less time to complete. So there’s the opportunity cost. How will taking this job affect your ability to get other work done? What if something else awesome rolled in? Would you be able to take it?

While it’s not something you’ll have to do everyday, having the confidence to turn down a job (for whatever reason) is a good sign your business is moving in the right direction.

Photo by Rocpoc. CC BY

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