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Rejecting clients… it may sound completely abhorrent, insane, how COULD you?! After all, as a freelancer or someone starting out in the design world, it's tempting to take on every project that comes your way. Who wants to turn down potential profit, especially when there are bills to pay and life to navigate? But guess what? In this post, we're diving deep into why you SHOULD be rejecting clients who don't see eye-to-eye with your values. Trust us, it's a move that can bring a lot more good than harm. We'll also spill the beans on our own experiences, how we've tightened our onboarding process, and how you can spot those sneaky red flags before it’s too late. Without further ado, lets dive in with the top reasons on why you should start rejecting!

Quality Over Quantity: Putting Your Heart into Your Work

Sure, it's tempting to be the yes-person for every project, especially in the beginning. But hang on a second. Imagine this: Focusing on projects that truly align with your values and passions. Think of it as curating your portfolio with gems that genuinely showcase your creative prowess. When you team up with like-minded folks, your best work comes out to play. Plus, these projects become the shining stars in your portfolio. On the flip side, working with clients who don't share your values can suck the energy right out of you. And trust us, that's not where the magic happens.

Misaligned Values = Creative Woes: Why It Matters

Let's talk design. When you and your client are on different wavelengths, sparks don't fly – and not in a good way. Creative clashes can lead to frustration and a project that never reaches its full potential. Yikes. Imagine pouring your heart into something that ends up falling short – it's like putting your favourite ingredients into a recipe that just doesn't taste right. Healthy partnerships thrive on respect and trust. If a client isn't down with respecting your creative process or waving off your suggestions, they might just not be your creative soulmate.

Why Being Picky Pays Off: Lasting Change and Associations

Here's the scoop: Working with brands that vibe with your values doesn't just make you feel good – it creates lasting positive change. Your designs become more than just aesthetics; they have the power to shape attitudes and perceptions. And guess what? When clients and peers see you consistently working with brands that mirror your values, it's like a magnet pulling in similar collaborations.

Learning from Our Adventures in Rejecting

We've been there too. It all comes down to the fear of rejecting – we get it. Fear of missing out on profit, fear of creating tension. But here's the thing: A couple of misaligned projects won't make or break you. We've been through it and come out wiser. We're not saying every potential misalignment is a deal-breaker, but trust your instincts. If something feels off during discussions, chances are it's worth digging deeper before committing.

Spotting Those Sneaky Red Flags: The Gut Knows

Your gut is pretty smart. If you're in a conversation or negotiation and something doesn't quite click, your gut's usually onto something. Sometimes, you can tell right from the first enquiry – it's like a mismatched puzzle piece. Other times, it becomes clearer during a discovery call. This is when you ask about their brand vision, expectations, values, and goals. Their passion should be as vibrant as a neon sign. If they're lukewarm and nonchalant, it's like a neon sign saying "misalignment alert!".

One big red flag we’ve seen as a running consistency with difficult projects is the client saying during the discovery call stage that they’ve worked with 100s of other designers but nobody’s ever made what they want. This is a sign to us that the client doesn’t actually know what they want and hasn’t respected the creative processes of several other designers in the past. It’s all about taking accountability! And if someone can’t comprehend after hundreds of attempts from different creatives that the problem MIGHT be them… we know straight from this that nothing we do will be able to please them, they won’t value our expertise like the hundreds of designers that have come before us, and they’re definitely not the right fit for us (or anyone for that matter)!

And finally… haggling over prices. If you notice a client excessively negotiating pricing, the chances are that they’re undervaluing the experience, time and expertise required to actually build a brand. Definitely not what you want to be dealing with!

Learning from Rejection: The Story That Sticks

We remember the first time we said "no"… We had this gut feeling during a discovery call that this brand wasn't our cup of tea. Our team left the meeting with an uneasy vibe after it came across that some unethical processes were going on in their business model. We sent a polite rejection email, nervously hitting send. What happened next? Their response sealed the deal – it was dripping with negativity and aggression. This confirmed that we'd made the right call. Trust us, it was way better to dodge that bullet than have a few extra pounds in the bank.

Embrace Your Values, Shape Your Legacy

At the end of the day, it's not just about design – it's about your legacy. Rejecting clients who don't match your values might seem scary, but it's a testament to your commitment to quality, authenticity, and creative growth. It's about crafting a path where your brand's essence and vision shine like stars in the night sky.

So, remember, saying "no" to the wrong clients? It's paving the way for the right ones – those who share your values, amplify your impact, and co-create a masterpiece in your creative journey.

Disclaimer: This blog post offers general insights and suggestions. Each situation is unique, so use your judgment when making business decisions.

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