3 freelancing projects that I just had to turn down


I get a steady flow of enquiries from prospective clients through my site, but not all turn out to be worthwhile. Here are a few examples of projects that I had to say no to over the past year.

Project 1 – Shopping cart toolbar

This project was about creating a toolbar that sat above a variety of websites, including Amazon and Tesco, that provided a “meta shopping cart”. Essentially allowing a user to add products from multiple sites. The products were then to be shipping to a third party before being sent to the customer.

Why did I turn it down?

The project would have breached the terms and conditions of the sites being aggregated. Using a middle-man for shipping was also potentially illegal.

Project 2 – Google Adwords Accounts Aggregator

This project was all about combining multiple Adwords accounts into one payment source, with the ability to set budget limits per account.

Why did I turn it down?

The service required by the client already existed — and it’s provided by Google!

Project 3 – Business partner

One enquiry was from a business owner wanting a partner with technical knowledge in order to build and sell an online training course.

Why did I turn it down?

The project was highly risky — it was an all-or-nothing type project that required a massive amount of time investment. At the time, I preferred to work on several smaller, lower risk, projects to keep my income at a steady level.

In summary

It’s always exciting to get a new enquiry, but sometimes scratching beneath the surface reveals details that are off-putting.

I always make sure I’ve researched new clients thoroughly before choosing to work with them, and have steered away from projects that sound too good to be true.

I’d love to hear about the freelance projects you’ve turned down, and why — please use the comments section below.

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Photo credit: no? by fotogail, on Flickr

Glen Scott

I’m a freelance software developer with more than 10 years’ professional experience in web development. I specialise in creating tailor-made, web-based systems that can help your business run like clockwork. I am the Managing Director of Yellow Square Development.

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One thought on “3 freelancing projects that I just had to turn down

  1. Alan Hollis

    Here’s a couple for you:

    Client who had bought an off the shelf software package and wanted it to do something different to it’s intended purpose. The code was horrible, the idea not very good and I just couldn’t take the guys money.

    A guy who wanted an API built, but didn’t really know what an API was, or what exactly he wanted the API for, but my god he knew he wanted an API.


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