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How to Decline a Project with Grace

Lesson 17 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

How to Decline a Project with Grace

Lesson 17 from: Command the Fees You Deserve

Ilise Benun

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Lesson Info

17. How to Decline a Project with Grace


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Big Ideas: Your Mindset


Deciding Your Goals


Do You Have What It Takes?


Overview of the Top 5 Marketing Tools


Tool #1: Your Elevator Pitch


Tool #2: Effective Networking


Lesson Info

How to Decline a Project with Grace

Lesson fifteen is about how the decline projects with grace so I have language for each a different type of red flag client with example so the chaotic says to you I need this tomorrow but we don't have all the content yet can you help right which is clearly impossible if they're not ready and you don't want to stay up all night so in my opinion, the way to respond to that is I've got two options here so sorry but my plate is full right now, right? I just don't have the capacity or I'm sorry and as I said before that is not possible what you're asking for is not possible and then you can propose here's what is possible because sometimes especially with these chaotic people their deadlines are actually not there there little fluid because they have cushioned for themselves because they know how they are and sometimes you can wiggle a little bit of space and time out of them if you say here's what I could do and then it becomes a negotiation. In fact, with this editor who emailed me this...

week with the february eleventh deadline I could have assumed that was a fixed deadline or I could have said which I did can I have more time and she gave me two extra weeks two weeks that I can do right? So we don't want to make assumptions or jump to conclusions about what? How firm their information is whether it comes to budget or deadline or anything there's always wiggle room plus things are always changing so even if today they say I need this tomorrow, you might reach out to them tomorrow and say, do you still need that because today I have some time right? And then they may have a little bit more flexibility all right? How do you say no to the no budget here's someone who says I need a website but I have no budget can you help up, right? And of course we're trying to figure out what no budget actually means but if no budget means no budget, you can simply say I simply can't afford to do what you're asking I can't afford I think this is actually very powerful language because it's not about them now it is about you I cannot afford to do what you're asking people usually respect that all right? How to say no to the clueless so a clueless person might say how much does a website cost or how much does a brochure cost? Whether you're a designer or a writer or an illustrator, it doesn't matter how much does a blank cost is a sign of cluelessness, right? Because they don't realize that it it depends and sometimes you can say I didn't put this up there but you can say how much is a car how much is the house? You know? You can respond with a question that shows them that what they're asking doesn't really make any sense, and then you can say I don't know enough about whatever it is you're asking to do a competent job for you, that's how you say no to someone who you can tell his coolest and you don't want to do it. I don't know enough about this, I actually use this line a lot because it's true, if someone comes to me and says, I'm in this industry and I need help, how much is it going to cost? Actually, I had a prospect last week who called me and said, I need your help with marketing can you tell me how much it's going to cost? And I said, we were going to have to talk first before I can pry something for you to know exactly what you need and what I'm going to provide and he said know, but can't you just tell me approximately what it's gonna cost and three times he said this? And finally I said, I'm sorry, no, I can't, and I never heard from him again and that's, okay, because I have many other prospects, I don't need that one, you need to not need any particular one that's what makes it possible to say no and finally, how to say no to the disrespectful? Sometimes this is the hardest you would think it would be the easiest because it's so obvious, but there's some perversions out there in our minds, and we want to say yes, or we want people to like us, we want to change their behavior and make them less disrespectful, but we can't so stop trying and in this situation, if someone says to you, for example, I don't have time to fill out your form. Can't you just send me a proposal to me? That's a disrespectful request when you've got a process and a form and everything that you need to get the information that you need? And someone says, I don't have time for that. Can't you just do this to me? That's disrespectful? I would say, no, I'm sorry, I can't I'm afraid my this is my policy and my process again, we go back to this idea of a strong core and the fact that you're not a corporation, so the the policies don't come with the corporation. That means you have to decide what your policies are, so that in this moment you consider a I'm sorry, that is not my policy, this is my policy, all right? This is officer you're working very hard on your personal branding and marketing and how you approach things but let's say that corporation turns around said we tried to work with the least banana but she's just too difficult and that work begins to spread I'm not worried about that actually because there are plenty of fish in the ocean and I'm not being fair that's coming up in the chapel I'm not going to be disrespectful I'm just going to say this is how I work and I have clients who it's it's difficult to work with them because they have their process but that works for them and that's fine and they have all the work that they need so I hear your question but I wouldn't be too concerned if you're doing the best job you can and uh being respectful don't worry about what people say also by the way because when people spread bad words like that usually you can tell it's more about them than about the person that they're talking about it reflects on them okay so here is the exercise for how to decline projects with grace and in the workbook actually I have the actual scripts from the power point in case you need the actual language in your hot hands so that's for people who are getting any time access but the exercise is similarly can you think of a situation recently in which you should have said no why didn't you what price did you pay right because you pay the price when you don't say no and how much you respond differently based on what you've learned if you're watching this at home and you have any time access then go ahead and pause and think about that but let's try to do a little bit of this in the studio and in the chat room to see let's hear some of these nightmare stories where people did not say no let's get it all out on the table there's no nothing to be embarrassed about because you know we can improve we can learn from these experiences so who's going to be brave thank you raina um I have a client that I've worked with for a while and the more I work with somebody the more invested I feel in their product or company and usually I like the people that's my problem I realized that um so these are people who notoriously have dramatically low budgets and need something at the last minute I think they fall in the chaos and no budget but they're good people and I you know, I started I did the whole branding and everything so when they came back to me and said oh, we really need this stuff for the fancy food show really quick can you do it? I felt like I saw the red flag right there and I I said yes anyhow because I kind of want to stay involved and that's my problem it's not that I need the money because it's not that much money anyhow on dh then in the end it was it was chaotic again and it was it's last minute and I didn't get to do it the way I would have liked to do it and I was just so why did I do that? It's a conundrum that comes up for sure, yeah, yeah, so here's my thought because what you said was I like them and I want to help them, which is valid, obviously, but I think sometimes what we don't understand is that there's a beginning, a middle and an end for everything and every relationship, especially these early working relationships in the beginnings of our business, I don't know how early that one was for you, but but early on we say yes to things that later on we will not say yes too, and I think that there are often situations where you outgrow a client, but you haven't broken the ties yet, and so when they come back, you feel compelled to say yes and I'm not advising that you should say yes or no either way in that particular particular situation, but I think to have an awareness of when you've outgrown someone and when it's time for you to move on and them to move on so that you can do a better job for your clients and they can find someone who can help them. And that is very tricky sometimes, but so important to let go. And yeah, I fled golf. Others good. Any other? Yes. Take murray who's asking, how do you respond to charities or benefits who are wanting you to work for free? Okay, so, again, this depends on where you are in your process and what the value beyond money could possibly be of that engagement again. Whether it gives you can negotiate for exposure, you can negotiate for access to people. You couldn't negotiate for credit, right? So if there are other valuable items that you could negotiate for that's one way of looking at it, but another strategy, it is a lot of my kinds do this. Actually, they have a quota for non profit work every year. They do maybe one project or one client or x number of dollars of pro bono work, basically or x number of hours of pro bono work. And you can say, you can choose that what you choose, who you want to give that to and once you've done it and used it. Then the way you say no to the people who ask is I'm sorry, I have a quota. This is my policy, and I've already done that for the year, but you know, you can apply for next year. Essentially could be an application process, literally. I have client who have an application process for the nonprofit work. Lise. Um, do you have any advice for people who have done their best to structure everything up front? But as the project has gone on, it's actually turned into a nightmare in about disengagement once you're committed, uh, yes, do I cover that somewhere else? I think so, but we could talk a little bit about it now. Is that does seem to be a trend that I'm seeing here on the q tech and chat room as well. A. They they felt pretty confident they set it all up, but then the time client did turn out to be a nightmare, and now they'd like to get out of it. But they're committed, right and it's hard to give advice in general about that type of. Things so that's a perfect opportunity to sign up for my free mentoring session, by the way, and I will chat with you personally about that specific situation. But in general, I'll try to give general advice because I think that even if you've committed, if it gets out of hand, you don't have to follow all the way through. If you disengage in a respectful way, if you disengage in a way that doesn't leave someone hanging, if you do it in a way that says, I'm sorry this is not working and here's, why? And perhaps even propose alternatives like the lance or, oh, desk or, you know, somewhere where they can go and find other resource is that you don't have to. I recommend them to a friend because you wouldn't recommend them to even your enemy, right? But but you're not leaving them in the lurch, and you're saying, you know very clearly I'm sorry, but this is not working and here's why?

Class Materials

bonus material

Ilise Benun -- Command Your Fees Workbook.pdf

bonus material

Ilise Benun - Chapter 1 - Creative Professionals Guide to Money.pdf
Ilise Benun - Do You Have What it Takes Quiz.pdf
Ilise Benun - Jill A Case-Study.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Rashida B.

I wasn't able to catch this during the day, but I stayed up literally all night for three nights watching the replays. AMAZING. This definitely goes up there with the best of the best and most useful Creativelive courses ever. Pricing isn't the most exciting topic in the world. However, Ilise was passionate about the subject and her enthusiasm made this not only interesting but fun. I loved how she infused it with her vast knowledge and real world examples. Her guests were just as interesting. This was all around GREAT!


Helping others help themselves. Ilise Benun is clear and well-organized. The methods she shares are easy to understand while honest and straightforward in approach, stating from the git-go that work on my part is required. Ilise draws on her own experience as well as the methods and experience of other professionals in this course. She welcomes us into a proven plan for successful growth embracing an attitude of progress rather than perfection and attraction rather than promotion. This is my kind of mentor!


Oh wow! My favorite course to date! Ilise's expertise was tremendously helpful. Thanks to Ilise, I'm not "stuck" any longer and I'm so excited to implement the wealth of knowledge I've gained from this master Marketing Mentor. This course is well worth the cost at any price!! Thank you so much Ilise!!

Student Work