How to say NO when you don’t really want to do something

Last week we talked about how NO is the single most powerful word in your brand vocabulary.


In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of why you should say NO to certain clients:

  • Saying NO increases your reputation. If you’re not 137% confident in your ability to deliver the highest quality service, then you’re risking your brand’s reputation. Nothing is worth that.
  • Saying NO increases your profitability. When you agree to do things outside of your thang, you’re losing valuable time learning new systems & processes. And time = money, right?
  • Saying NO strengthens your message. Your messaging shows your value to the world and builds trust with your audience. If you say you ONLY work with “X” because that’s how you provide the most value to your clients, then you’ve gotta’ stand your ground. Strong brands aren’t willing to compromise their standards for a few extra bucks.

and finally…

  • Saying NO increases your happiness. It saves you from stress and headache when you reealllyyyy just don’t want to work with someone.


But how do you know when you should say NO and when you should just do the work?


Here are somethings to think about when deciding whether or not to say no to a potential client:

  • Will you be able to complete your job to the highest possible standards? You know me, I preach to OVER deliver on everything you do. If you think saying yes to the client will in ANY WAY affect the quality of your work, then say no. You absolutely cannot afford to put anything out into the world that isn’t up to your standards. End of story.
  • Are you okay with getting more clients like this? If you do the work, then that person will likely refer you to other people they know. (that’s the goal, right?) Just remember that the people in their circle are probably a lot like them. In that way, you’re not just deciding if you’re gonna’ say yes this one time, but potentially create a network of referrals of the same type of clients.
  • Is this in the best interest of your bottom line? Sometimes clients will ask you to do things that are just a little bit outside of your wheelhouse and you have to decide if it’s worth it. If it’s not something you usually do, then it might take some trial and error to get it right. Just don’t forget to add in the extra time and expenses when you’re deciding.

So let’s say you’ve decided to say NO to a potential client… how do you do it?


You want to turn them away, but you don’t wanna’ hurt their feelings or give yourself a reputation of being a dick, right?


Here’s the trick.


Be honest.

Be firm.

Be graceful.


Here’s an example:

Hey Gertrude,


Based on our conversation, it looks like you are needing help with [thing that you don’t usually do]. Unfortunately, that isn’t really in my zone of genius. I primarily work with XYZ and it’s really important to me that I’m able to truly help my clients succeed. For that reason, I’m going to have to respectfully decline.


However, I have a couple of other amazing colleagues in mind that I think could knock this out of the park for you. Would you like me to introduce you via email?


Looking forward to hearing how I can help,


 Honesty is always the best policy. Try not to make excuses or brush them off… they’ll just come back later.


Also, notice the firmness. It’s clear and concise. There isn’t any room left for argument. It just is what it is.


And finally, it’s graceful. It isn’t rude or mean. It’s clear that I have Gertrude’s best interest at heart because I am genuinely offering to help her get what she needs.


It takes a little bit of practice to start telling people no.


But here’s the cool part…


It’s totally up to you to set these boundaries. YOU get to decide what’s okay and what isn’t okay for your business. That’s kinda’ what being an entrepreneur is all about!


And once you master it… dang. It’s really good.

Your brand message gets stronger.

You’re more engaged in work that you love to do.

You even make more money.


Have you ever had to do it? Or have you ever WANTED to say no, but couldn’t make yourself do it? (been there) Comment below and let me know how YOU handled it!

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Hey, I’m Brooke!

I’m a Creator archetype, INTJ, and music snob. I will fight you if you try to convince me that a MacBook is an instrument. It’s not.

But as far as this whole business thang goes… I’m basically a weird mix of creative-big-picture-thinker and analytical strategery all rolled into one.

I can help you use your unique personality to stand out BOLDLY online and attract your ideal clients like a freakin’ magnet – just by being YOU.

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