Back in the early days of my business I said YES a lot. Yes to opportunities that weren't a good fit, yes to working with nightmare clients, yes to people wanting to "pick my brain"... and too many more to list.
At the time, I didn't realize it, but all of my yeses meant I was actually saying one big NO to my business. No to feeling confident and secure in my brand, no to working with clients I loved, no to making money, no to having time to spend with friends an family... you get the idea.
Over the years, and after getting some good burns, I got much better at saying no... although it still takes practice!
If you want your brand to thrive... if you want to grow your business to 6 or 7 figures... if you want to help people all over the world and still have a life (a personal life that is), you'll need to learn how to start saying no too.
Start here: when faced with an opportunity or a decision, ask yourself this question: if I say yes to this, what does that mean I am saying no to?
Pay close attention to the answer, because if it means sacrificing your personal or business wellbeing, you need to change your response.
There are many places I've had to learn to say no in my business, but below are 3 that I'd like to share with you today.
You have to be clear about your brand to know which opportunities align and which don't. Once you have brand clarity it's SO. MUCH. EASIER. to spot a misaligned opportunity and nip it in the bud before it ends up taking over your business.
Question #1 - Does this opportunity align with my brand values?
For example, one of my clients has the brand value: "radical body acceptance". If she were invited to speak at a conference that infantilized or shamed women's bodies in any way, her answer to this opportunity would be a clear NO.
Question #2 - Will this opportunity distract me from my own business goals?
First, you must be clear about your goals. If you're not, you'll be swept up any opportunity that comes your way. Back in the early days of my business, before I was fully established and before I had clear goals, I dove into a shiny-looking "opportunity" head first. The "opportunity" consumed half the year and all I had to show for it was stress and about $500. Oh, the progress I could have made if I used that time to focus on my own business goals!
Question #3 - Will this opportunity connect me with new clients, partnerships, speaking gigs, referrals, income or something else that will benefit my business?
If the answer is no, then ask yourself: "do I have the time and desire for a community service project right now?" And be honest with yourself, because that's what this will be. If the answer is no, simply say "I'm honored that you thought of me, but I don't have the time in my schedule right now to devote to this."
Crappy clients drain your energy, rob your focus from your own brand growth, and suck you away from the clients who love you. And all for nothing because clients who are a bad fit will only have negative words to share about you after your time with them is finished.
I know how tempting it is to say yes to someone who wants to give you money, even if your gut tells you no. I'd like to say I've never done this, but that would be a lie. Each time I've said yes when it should have been no, it blew up in my face later. Save yourself the stress by putting an end to this situation before it starts: say NO as soon as you feel something is off!
Here's a simple email template you can use to say NO to a potential client:
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being kind. But when you choose "nice" because you're afraid your clients will get mad at you for sharing the hard truth, you're doing everyone a disservice.
Your clients hire you because they want you to help them make a change. They want to make more money, heal their relationship, be a better speaker, get healthy, or whatever transformation you help people achieve.
Change isn't easy, and it sure doesn't happen by you being "nice" and agreeing with everything your clients say. As your clients' guide to the transformation they desire, you need to drop some BIG fat NOs in their lap... and often. Their beliefs need to be questioned and their habits need to be challenged.
This is what it means to be a courageous, powerful and impactful coach and guide. This is how you will help them achieve real change. And it's a win/win: the greater the transformation you help your clients achieve, the more they will LIKE you and spread the good word about your brand!
So tell me.... what are you saying yes to in your business that should really be NO?
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