Yes, you read that right…NO…two little letters, one BIG and (for some reason) terrifying word. But what is there to be afraid of? I say no to clients all the time! No, I’m not crazy – I just know my strengths and passions.
No, I’m not a designer or programmer.
No, I will not meet with you with 1 hour’s notice.
But I WILL write your website or ads.
I WILL put you in touch with a marketing agency to work with you if you don’t already have one (ahem, Blue Cow).
And guess what? I have ZERO guilt over it! Why? Because it’s not my job, and I’m ok with it.
When you’re just starting out or trying to grow your business it’s easy to fall into the “Yes” trap. FOMO sets in HARD and you want to bend over backwards to land those clients – whatever it takes – and the next thing you know you’re committed to projects that aren’t in your scope of service, that you don’t necessarily enjoy or (worse) you’re not familiar with and don’t have the skills to execute particularly well. All this does is leave you overworked and underpaid and, more importantly, could leave your clients feeling less than impressed; and bad press may work for celebrities, but it’s nothing but BAD for business.
You know your priorities (and if you don’t you should figure them out), you know your business and you know your skillset, so why the hell would you want to spend your time stressing yourself out doing work you don’t offer in your business? Don’t let fear make your decisions – unless you enjoy being burnt out and making less than you should be, then, by all means, do your thing…
But I’m pretty sure that’s not what you want. And saying no doesn’t mean you have to be rude or leave people hanging – you’re not rejecting the person making the request…or maybe you are, but that’s a different conversation – You can say no and maybe direct them to someone in your network that CAN do what they’re asking.
I know what you’re thinking “Turning away clients is not good for business” or “If I do it this one time they’ll remember me and give me work that is in my scope of business later”…That’s not how it works, you’ll basically just become a professional doormat. Yes, going above and beyond IN YOUR WHEELHOUSE is great for your professional reputation, but let’s be realistic, you wouldn’t go to a taco stand to order a birthday cake so why would you let your clients dictate your services?
Harness the power of NO and you’ll find not only do you have the time and energy to do the things you want to say YES to, but it will be much better for your business!