The art of saying no…

When you’re just getting started in the world of freelancing, it’s not unlikely that you’ll pick up projects or clients that aren’t exactly the dream. It’s inevitable. Thankfully, saying no is something I’ve never really struggled with, which definitely helps. Of course, when I first got started a few years ago, I was working on projects that were so mundane and badly paid it was a joke. But it’s was a sacrifice I made to build my portfolio and skill set that has allowed me to bag my ‘dream clients’ pretty early on since going fulltime freelance in September.

That being said, even though anyone that knows me would tell you that speaking my mind isn’t exactly something I struggle with, saying no to clients wasn’t always on the agenda for me. Why? Because I was afraid to rock the boat, worried I wouldn’t be able to find a replacement or holding out for the promises they never fulfilled.

Now, I’m saying no to bad clients, no to boring projects, no to long calls that are totally unnecessary, no to badly paid gigs, and no to replying to a ridiculous amount of WhatsApp messages at midnight.

The purpose of this blog post isn’t to boast about my wonderful clients and exciting projects, but to tell you how I got here. I often get told that I’m lucky, to work from home, to choose my hours and to work with the brands that I do. But, is it luck? Is it fuck! Projects for some of the worlds leading travel & fashion brands and clients that are a far cry from the type of companies I was working with when I started out haven’t just fallen into my lap, I went out and got them. When I tell my friends what I’m working on, they don’t see the hundreds of rejected proposals, the bad clients, the unpaid invoices and the hours of calls that have resulted in sweet FA.

Previously, when work would dry up, I would find myself on platforms like PPH submitting proposals for jobs I didn’t even want to do, and that was a problem from the offset. One bad client can have a domino effect on my whole approach to work, and when I’m working from home, that’s the last thing someone with the attention span of a fish needs. For me, that’s when I knew something needed to change, my other clients were suffering because I had one bad client that was taking up far too much of my time and energy. I used to make up excuses to drop clients I didn’t enjoy working with, but they were lies. Straight up lies. Earlier this month, I waved goodbye to four clients that were no longer right for me, no excuses, no lies, just the truth. Guess what? They took the news just fine, and even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t have made too much difference to me because my mind was made up.

I’m thankful that quite early on, I’ve been able to recognise the effect of saying yes to everything can have on my work and more importantly, my mindset and mental health. I truly understand the value of saying no, not only for me but my clients too. Even when it means walking away from what I would have seen as ‘easy money’ previously.

If you’re just starting out, here are a few tips that will help you through:

  • Vet your clients
  • Have a watertight contract in place
  • Manage your working hours
  • Set boundaries and realistic expectations from the offset
  • Be consistent, authentic and honest

And most importantly, do not be afraid to say no when necessary. It’s easy to fall into a trap of saying yes to everything, particularly when the world of freelance is so uncertain, but it will come back to bite you in the long run. Whether you end up working with clients that aren’t suited to you, they take the absolute piss, or it affects your entire productivity and you burn out, it’s just not worth it.

Four famous faces that have nailed social media

Celebrities on Social Media usually means one of two things, a PR dream, or a PR nightmare, finding the right balance on oversharing, voicing opinions and self-promotion can be more difficult for certain famous faces than others! Social media has become one of marketing’s most powerful tools over the years… For those in the public spotlight, it gives them the opportunity to share updates in real time, give behind the scenes access into their lives and interact with fans on a daily basis, and when it’s done right, it can be great!

For me, it’s always great to see public figures using their profiles to raise awareness of important issues, breach difficult subjects and support causes that need it. BUT it’s also important that the content rolled out is entertaining or informative, to ensure followers are interacting. Below are four celebrities that (in my opinion) have nailed social media recently…

Maya Jama 

Maya Jama is the QUEEN of keeping it real on social media.  A huge advocate of realistic beauty standards and supporting other players in the industry, a lot of influencers could take a leaf out of Maya’s book. Her Instagram is the perfect combination of funny, endearing content, giving an insight into her daily life, from the glam room to the finale of her biggest projects. Maya uses her social media to openly discuss her anxiety body positivity. She really does come across as the person that EVERYONE wants to be best friends with.

Professor Green 

Rapper, responsible dog owner, documentary presenter AND social media kingpin. Not only does Pro Green give fans an insight into his daily life, from chilling at home with the dogs to the hitting the road on the tour, but he also produces some really valuable content. He actually made a new account called ‘I Used To Rave But Now I‘ dedicated to food, homeware, and doggy care recommendations. But for me, what sets Professor Green aka Stephen Manderson apart from the rest is his consistency in breaching difficult subjects, mirrored in his documentaries, from dangerous dogs to mental health and homelessness, he offers an honest insight into sensitive subjects encouraging others to talk about it. It’s no exaggeration to say I share or receive a post from Professor Green almost daily. 

Check out The Book of Man for more on mental health from PG.

Chrissy Teigen 

Similarly to Maya Jama, Chrissy is a big advocate of realistic beauty standards and keeping it real for her fans. The mum of two unapologetically documents the true realities of motherhood. Chrissy is particularly good at making light of headlines, especially those concerning her, her husband John Legend or her arch enemy Donald Trump. Chrissy constantly hits the headlines for her activity on social media, and more often than not, this is a good thing for her! From sharing recipes from her cookbook, cute videos of her children, or trolling her husband, Chrissy has nailed the perfect combination!

50 Cent

Now, 50 Cent is one of those that is definitely on the cusp of PR nightmare, but he is HILARIOUS. His posts get huge responses, although not always glowing responses, people are definitely talking about and sharing his content a lot! You can usually find him on Instagram trolling celebs or leaking information about his own show Power…

For me, there are a few things all four of these celebrities have in common… and that is that they are raw, unfiltered (it may be debatable whether that is good or bad in some cases), honest and relatable. If followers can resonate with the message an individual or brand is putting out there, it can have a really positive impact. Whether it’s intentional or not, these guys have really got it right!

In marketing it’s not always just about looking at what competitors are doing, it’s about finding what appeals to your target audience and using that for your brand and important topics surrounding it, social media is a marketing powerhouse when used correctly!

Thanks for reading! xo