How to Say No As a Freelancer / Entrepreneur As I was starting to write this section I received a phone call from a potential client. She asked about one of my services - basically she wanted me to perform a variation on a service that I offer. I had to tell her no.
It was really hard to tell a potential client no.
But, after 6+ years of being a fashion consultant I really know what I'm doing when it comes to my wardrobe services. Variations on these services tend to fail. I know because I've tried them. Many times. That trial and error led me to create packages that are successful. It's a formula that brings the greatest amount of satisfaction and success to the client while giving structure to my work.
Yet, I still felt a cringe when I told her no.
I knew as the word, "no," was coming out of my mouth I may lose a client. If I accepted the changes that she wanted it wouldn't have worked, and ultimately she would be frustrated with me. The temporary relief of "yes" would have led to a painful experience.
There is part of me that hates to say no in business because I really, really want to make people happy. I love what I do and I desperately want others to experience the freedom that comes from loving themselves more. I also want to be a successful business woman and need money to keep my business going. Turning down a potential client goes against my instinct as a natural people pleaser. But, saying no in business can ultimately lead to better experiences for everyone.
Many years ago I went to a branding conference for nonprofits. I remember nothing from that day other than this one statement:
"If you try to be everything to everyone YOU WILL FAIL." - Some smart person at the conference
The first couple of years I stumbled a bit while trying to find the center of my company. Because of that I said yes to many things that turned out to be hard learning experiences. I'm glad I went through them because those times made me stronger and more savvy. Yet, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache (and time and money) if I would have just said one word: No.
I don't want to be everything to everyone. I want to speak my truth, work hard, and keep truckin'. Sometimes that means saying no.
How about you - have you ever had to say no in a business situation? How did things turn out? Do you struggle with saying no?