Saying “no” can be hard. I think it depends people’s background. French people say no all the time. I personally don’t have problem saying no and you shouldn’t either.
What is a yes man?
A yes man is someone who will always replies yes, yes to work, yes to changes, yes to everything they got asked to please the client. You are maybe generous and you want people to work with you and to like you. You don’t want to disappoint anyone.
So you might think that’s a good way to make your client happy. I disagree.
No matter what you do you will disappoint someone, the client if you can’t deliver on what you agreed, your family if you work too much, yourself if you are putting too much pressure on you.
Learn to say no
Saying no is not wrong. It’s not disrespectful either. You must be comfortable saying no and turning work down.
People respect you more when you express your opinion clearly and when you are not afraid to say no
Give it a try. As long as you have good reason to dismiss queries, don’t take them to make someone happy. However, no one likes rejection so you should handle it nicely, be honest and explain why you are saying no.
Saying no to work offers
When you apply it for new project you should always think about your situation and the project. You need to target the good projects. Is it matching your skill set? Why are you taking the project, is committing to this project good for you as a person and as a business? Why are you adding this project to your current ones?
Make conscious decision for your future and wellbeing
One of my past experience
Last month I met with the head of design at the advertising agency of Apple. He liked my profile and wanted to meet for a chat and potentially offer me to work on a project with the team. When he described the project I realised it was super easy, 3 weeks of work, paid my normal rate. However, he didn’t need someone with my experience for it, and the duration sounded far too much for the task to accomplish. I could build it in 3 days. However, with the deadlines and predictions of changes he wanted to have someone in-house to commit for the full 3 weeks duration. This would probably mean a lot of down time waiting for new round of assets and client feedback.
At first, I thought it would be nice to work for them and Apple, but realistically this specific project would have been a waste of my skill and time. Especially as I had some bigger projects coming up, so I couldn’t devote much time to this. I had to decline the offer and I felt a bit bad for not helping, but they didn’t need “me”. A more junior person could do the job. As a result I focused on more productive projects. We had a nice chat, he appreciated my honesty, and I hope I will work with them on a different project with them in the future.