As you would probably expect, freelance writers should have a way with words. The livelihood of a freelance writer largely depends on his ability to find just the right combination of words, arranged in just the right way to express just the right sentiment. This much is clear. However, the power of the written word extends far beyond the paid blog posts and feature articles that you may write. More specifically, there is one word in particular that holds a lot of power when it comes to conversing with clients, both current and prospective.

It may appear to be easier to just go with the flow and approach your freelance writing business with an easygoing attitude, but there is one word that you’ll want to keep in your arsenal when the circumstances dictate its use. So, what is the most powerful word in a freelancer’s vocabulary?

Behold the Power of “No”

Yes, you do want to maintain a positive attitude when it comes to running your business and this approachability should extend to how you address your freelance writing clients. That said, it may not be in your best interest to always be so agreeable. If you always agree to every proposition, you may never be able to retire and you will have a much more difficult time growing your business.

Just as you would with your pets, children, significant others, and nearly everyone else in your life, it is important that you establish rules, boundaries, and limitations when it comes to your relationships with your clients. Saying no to someone is much more powerful than saying yes, because the latter simply confirms the person’s preconceived ideas, whereas the former gets them to stop in their tracks and change direction. Think about the last time someone said no to you. It can be quite jarring.

The Customer Is Always Right?

There are going to be times where you will be asked to go beyond the call of duty. For example, you may come to an agreement with a new client to produce a 1000 word feature article. While you are in the process of writing this article, the client may say that it now needs to be 2000 words and it needs to be accompanied with a number of royalty-free images. That certainly changes things!

Depending on your relationship with this client, you may choose to stand out and take on the additional duties at no additional cost, but this may not be in your best interest. It’s not about the extra work being given out for free right now as much as it is about you setting a precedent that the client will always get what they want. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but you may need to utilize the power of “no” under such circumstances.

Believe it or not, the customer is not always right. You don’t need to be mean, but you do need to be assertive when you feel that the client is taking advantage of you. By the same accord, promoting the work of others is somewhat altruistic, but that’s only when it’s under your own volition. If someone else requests that you promote their work without offering anything in return, you may want to reconsider the situation.

With Great Power Comes Great…

Ah, with great power comes great responsibility. It is important that you know when to say no to a freelance writing client, because you don’t want them to take advantage of you. It’s far too easy to let one indiscretion slide in the interest of keeping your business afloat, but making it a habit will ultimately be counterproductive.

As difficult as it may be, sometimes the best way to maximize your freelance income is to learn to say no. At some point, you’ll want to say no to lower paying gigs so that you have more time to dedicate to projects of greater interest and with bigger monetary upsides. Know the power of no, but use it with caution. You don’t want to burn any bridges unnecessarily.