TIDKT: It’s okay to say ‘No’

It’s been a while since I wrote a ‘things I didn’t know Tuesday’ (TIDKT) post, my previously regular series about things I have learnt since I became a professional knit and crochet designer 3 years ago. But I’ve had a couple of thinks and thoughts lately so I thought I’d revive the thread. (If you’d like to find the other posts, head here)

just say no

It’s okay to say no. No, really, it is.

We are taught to be grateful and to be polite and to have a can do attitude but I am here to tell you that you can be all of these things and still say no – loud, proud and frequently.

In fact as a successful (or soon to be) business person it is your DUTY to say no: Saying no to things that aren’t right for you and your business frees up your time to seek out opportunities that are.

Here are FIVE reasons you should say no to a piece of freelance work:

  1. The timing isn’t right for you,
  2. the terms and conditions aren’t right for you,
  3. the pay isn’t enough,
  4. it doesn’t fit your brand, or
  5. you just don’t want to.

Remember these all apply equally whether you are approached by them or you made the initial contact.

And can I just emphasise number 3 again. IF THE PAY ISN’T ENOUGH. Tons of times you’ll be approached with great sounding offers of work that offer “GREAT exposure” but poor or no pay. Frankly, if anyone uses the word EXPOSURE at all its probably worth running screaming for the hills. Mostly they are just mistyping EXPLOITATION (but this is a post for another day I guess!)

Number 5 is also well worth visiting for an extra comment. You went self employed/freelance because you wanted to be master of your own destiny. Own it. The inner foot-stomping six year old can be listened to. “I just don’t want to” is perfectly valid.

The big worry, as a freelancer, is that if you say no you won’t be asked again. I’m here to tell you that is not the case. And next week I’ll look at great ways to say no to work that don’t close the door on future work.


  1. says

    I agree absolutely! When I first started I didn’t realise that no was even an option! But I have said no, and have saved myself a miserable time making things that I didn’t want to make :)