Today's Questions: How do you say no?
When I first started freelancing I took just about any and every job, even those that did not pay. It was worth it to build my portfolio with lots of different projects. At that time my portfolio was pretty thin, and my time working on free or trade assignments helped me easily build a portfolio and gain experience working with customers. I must admit working with un-paying customers is actually easier than working with one who is paying (paying customers really want to get their money's worth and aren't afraid to ask for it.)
After a few years my portfolio is finally filled with lots of gorgeous projects and I feel comfortable charging my clients a fee that reflects my time and work. I still try to take as many collaborations and commissions I'm offered (because I love my job, I love drawing... and luckily I'm more often than not offered really fun projects. I also do need to pay rent every month so if I have to make a compromise I'll do it, or if I'm promised with some great exposure I'll try it (the exposure may lead to lots of traffic to my store and many new clients). I also hate saying no. I feel really bad; as if I'm letting someone down. But if a project just isn't a fit for me and my style, or if the payment is just too low, or if I wouldn't be compensated with a lot of exposure; I have to say no... and I of course say no nicely in a professional way.
Oh my goodness there are a few jobs that I wish I had said no to. But I unfortunately can't take them back. At least I can say I gained experienced and could pay my rent.