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The Power of Saying No

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Mar 29, 2013


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You might be surprised how much more successful your business will be and how much freer and healthier you'll feel if you start saying no.

  • No, I don't just need more clients. I need happy clients.
  • No, I don't do spec work. But I am happy to book a two-hour strategy session with you to create a plan for working together to achieve your goal.
  • No, I'm not available to help you with [insert boring project here]. However, I'll be happy to help you to find someone who can help.
  • No, I can't work on this project. You deserve to work with people who will be excited about this, and I need to stay focused on my other commitments.
  • No, I don't do that kind of work in-house. But I do know a contractor who is really, really good, and if I manage the project, then I can help you achieve the outcome you want.
  • No, I can’t do this for free. I charge so that I can make your project a priority.
  • No, I can't give you a discount. But I can assure you that I'm worth every penny.
  • No, I can't accept late payments without charging a late fee. The mortgage company, utilities company, and my wireless carrier expect me to pay on time.
  • No, I can't do this last-minute project without charging an expedite fee. I need to be able to justify rearranging my workflow and all my other responsibilities.
  • No, I can't cancel this project without charging a cancellation fee. I've already invested a significant amount of time in it.
  • No, I can't wait until next month to get paid. The mortgage company, utilities company, and my wireless carrier expect me to pay on time.
  • No, I can't start working until I receive the deposit. I need to honor my other clients.
  • No, I can't in good conscience change the [design, layout, copy, deadline, etc] again. To accomplish what we set out to accomplish, I think we need to stick with this.
  • No, I cannot meet with you at that time. If you'll explain the project over email and send me all the necessary materials, I'll be happy to get started.
  • No, I can't meet again to discuss the project. If you're ready to get started, then I'll send over an invoice.   
  • No, I cannot meet with you without charging for my time. My ideas are even more valuable than my skills.
  • No, I can't do that by end of business tomorrow. I need more time to give you my best work.
  • No, I can't work on it over the weekend. My friends, family, and passion projects take precedence.
  • No, I can't do that for you right now. But I'll be happy to start a new invoice and look at my schedule to see when I can help you.

And two more for all-purpose use:

  • No, I don't want that super sized.
  • No, I don't want whipped cream on that.

Saying no creates opportunities to say yes with gusto.

Yes, I do respect myself enough to get paid what I’m worth, to fulfill my potential, and to spend my days on this earth doing work that matters deeply to me.

Categories: Business, Complete Elephant, Growing | Tags: saying no


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