Work-At-Home Experts Share Their Tips On How To Recognize Your Limits and Tactfully Turn Down A Client


Once you have started on your journey to WAH success, it’s always tempting to take all work that is sent your way. You want to make money, right? However, there are limits to how you can do. The trouble is knowing when you’ve hit your limit. When is too much of a good thing…well, too much? This week’s experts give us their tips on how to not only recognize when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, but also, how to tactfully turn down a client.

Charu Babbar


There are some aspects we never compromise about. For e.g. flexible schedule or leave policy of a company. If factors like these do not align to your working style, it is better to not proceed in interview process. After first few rounds, you can make it clear with the recruiter that some
aspects of organization’s values do not resonate with your personality, hence you would not like take the process forward. This saves time and effort for everyone involved in the process.

There are certain skills, I am not keen in building for e.g. design. If the job requires spending considerable time on those skills, you may want to take a stance at the beginning itself. Most hiring managers appreciate such clarity at the start of the process.

Nate Masterson

Maple Holistics

– Be honest with yourself and as honest as you can be with your would-be employer. The limits in question could be financial or logistical, and not necessarily related to skill or competence. Sometimes it is better to turn down a job now, so you can take advantage of other opportunities which may present themselves later. Think a few months down the road, and see how you feel about it.

– Many times, especially for freelancers but not only, there is a feeling of pressure to acquire new clients and job. Ideally, you should have some kind of connection to the industry or company in question. There is a chance that without a bond of some type, you will find yourself unable to complete your tasks even though you are a pro. Substance matters.

– Turning down a job without burning any bridges can be a difficult thing to achieve, but it is doable. You need to remember that you never know who or what will pop up in your life down the road, so be cautious and don’t step on any toes. Stress the fact that after due consideration, you’ve decided against leaving your current job / decided to take a
position somewhere else.

 Steve Pritchard


To tactfully turn down a job offer, one of the best phrases anybody can
use is to say that they are ‘at capacity’. This is perfectly polite and valid as to why you cannot take on any more work. Simply let the client know that you are currently snowed under with work and can’t possibly find a window to fit anything else in at this time. However, you should also ask when the deadline for the work is; it may be that they don’t need the job completing for another three months, during which time you may be able to complete it. If you know that you won’t have any time in the foreseeable future, be sure to let the client know when a good time to get back in touch would be – the last thing you want to do is burn your bridges.

If you are starting to get confused as to what work has already been completed and what still needs doing; you are starting to get complacent and stressed about looming deadlines, this is a tell-tale sign that you’ve hit your limit. While it is a good thing to be busy at work, because it means your services are obviously in demand, you shouldn’t ever take on so
much work that you start to get lost in your own task sheet.

Every worker should have a set amount of working hours – whether you are self-employed or work for a company. This might mean you work 9-5 or have a flexible working schedule. Whatever your setup, if you find that you are having to work over your allotted hours, this is evidence that you are over the limit with your workload. To do your best work, you need time to get away from it and recharge, otherwise you lose interest and drive, the work suffers and so do you.

Deborah Sweeney

@deborahsweeney & @mycorporation 

One of the easiest things to do is to happily accept a new job offer. It is not as easy, however, to tactfully turn down a job offer. One of the best ways is to communicate honestly. Be open. Share that you may have another position that is a better fit. Always leave a good impression and keep the door of opportunity open. You never know if you may want to re-engage in the future. So, it’s important to (1) communicate honestly; (2) be open and kind; and (3) leave open the door of opportunity in the future. Remain open to future opportunities.




Larry Sternberg

 Talent Plus, Inc.
@larrysternberg or @TalentPlusInc 

  1. Think about tasks/responsibilities you don’t like doing, or find it unpleasant to do.
  2. In terms of aptitude, what are your aces and spaces?
  3. Think about things you believe you could do well if you really wanted to, but you don’t want to put forth the effort to become good at them.”

A tip on how to turn down a job offer tactfully:

“As I understand this role, it requires a person who is very good at X (for instance, diplomacy).  Diplomacy is not one of my best strengths, so I don’t think I’m a great fit for this role. Based on our conversations, I’m very interested in your company, so please keep me in mind if you have something that plays to my strengths.”


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