Give an Easy Out When Requesting Feedback

Despite having a family, a full-time job, and a few pet projects; I still bid on client work.

Why? Because it can be great money.

I'm pretty selective about the projects I take on. They have to fit a certain criteria:

  1. It has to be something I've built before.
  2. It has to be completed in 2 weeks or less.
  3. It has to be above $5,000.
  4. It has to have potential to be outsourced.

I recently bid on a project to build a payment integration for a crowd-funding site. I've worked extensively with payment APIs and after talking with the entrepreneur, I felt it was a straightforward build.

After the initial convo, I didn't hear anything for a week. The ball was in his court. I made it clear what the fee was and the time delivery (2 weeks) and that I would not negotiate, so the only choice he had to make was when I wanted to start.

This was the email I sent him today:

Hey ****,

Just following up.

I didn’t hear from you last week so I’m assuming:

a) your current dev decided to take a crack at the Balanced integration OR
b) you found someone else to do it cheaper

Either is fine. I wouldn’t be bummed either way. Just trying to plan my schedule for the next couple weeks. There are other projects popping up and I’m trying to gauge my availability based on how you answer.

Like I said, no hard feelings either way. Just lemme know…


A couple minutes later I got this response:

Hi Taylor -

Your bid on the project was a bit high. I am speaking with a couple other developers with balanced experience who came in a fair amount lower. I would say not to wait on me if you have other projects in the queue. I appreciate the follow up.



To me, this is a successful email. I got the response I wanted and I got it quickly.

A definitive answer is exactly what I wanted. I've started trying this in a lot of emails and it's been really effective at cutting to the chase and not wasting any time. Here's another example:

I'd love to give you a quick demo.

Are you free Thursday at noon?

If you have no interest in switching, that's fine -- I'd rather mark you as a "no" than bug you. ;)


The response, less than 10 minutes later...

At this point we have no motivation to switch. This system is really sound and our people like it. Thanks Taylor.

Perfect. I didn't waste time on a demo that would've never converted. Better to get a "no" pre-demo, than post demo or worse, 2 weeks after demo.

In a later post, I'll detail the strategy I use to eat "no's".