One of the best words you can learn in your business is the word NO. Using it copiously helps make sure that you don’t get overwhelmed with things to do that really aren’t a priority.

Getting comfortable with the word no will mean the difference between burnout and long term success.

Knowing how important the word NO is doesn’t make it any easier to say.

Ways to say no

The first and most obvious way to say no to a client is to simply say:

Thanks for getting in touch about your project but I’m sorry I’m not interested in the project at this time. Have a great day.

It’s polite and obvious, but it’s hard. I more often end up waffling around trying to find someone to do the work for the client because just saying no is uncomfortable.

Another way I often ‘say no’ is to double or triple the price or say I’m booked out many months. Many times this is totally effective and the client thinks the work is way overpriced (which is right) or their deadline is to close to match with availability.

Fake no may not work

That’s not always how it works though. Recently I charged lots for a fairly simple plugin install and configuration. I was charging so much because I really didn’t want to do the work but had no obvious reason to say no to the client.

Then they wanted more work and I said I was booked out for months and they said they’d just wait. By this time I knew I didn’t want to work with the client and I knew they had a tight deadline so I was hoping that they’d just find someone else.

I was finally able to get up the courage (hat tip to my mastermind group for the push) to just tell the client that I wouldn’t be able to do the work and I didn’t have anyone to recommend.

In many ways it feels terrible to ‘abandon’ a client but when you really don’t want to work with someone (because they call you after work hours daily and text and ….) you shouldn’t even be recommending them to people you dislike.

No is hard, I may talk tough sometimes but I still have a hard time saying it.

Getting more comfortable with the word NO is a great way to focus your business on the things you really like. So that next client you’re not sure about: Just say no

photo credit: [noone] via photopin cc

One response to “Saying no to potential work is hard”

  1. carrie Avatar

    Ugh. Tough subject! You’re right, it doesn’t seem like it should be so hard to say no, but I do feel a sense of obligation and don’t like to feel as though I’ve left someone hanging.

    “Fake no” made me laugh. Been there, done that. 🙂