Become ridiculously captivating with this one word
How many times have you taken on a client and instantly regretted it? Those are usually the projects that stretch out waaaay longer than anticipated, or that feel like a special kind of hell to deliver, and that drown us in resentment.
We ask ourselves why we did it. Never again we promise ourselves! It’s so not worth it.
And then the next not-a-great-fit client comes along and we take them on anyway because our brain tells us if we don’t our whole business will probably crumble to the ground and we’ll be eating ramen noodles with a spork in the street this time next month.
Taking on clients who are anything but a good fit is inevitable (and necessary) when first starting out, but as you evolve and learn more about what you love to do and who you love to work with, your business growth depends on you being able to use one tiny word.
Fail to use it, and you could be inadvertently drawing more and more of the wrong people closer to you – and pushing the right ones further away. Probably into the clawing clutches of another.
That word is, of course, NO.
I love those two beautiful little letters. For some reason, I’ve never found it particularly difficult to use them in life situations.
Do I want an espresso martini after that glass of wine? No. And if you buy it for me anyway I won’t drink it and I won’t feel guilty about it.
Do I want to go to that party? No. I’ll stay home with my blanket, slippers, Ben, and Jerry, thanks.
Do I want to apologise and come back to English class even though the teacher was way out of line in the way he spoke to me? No. He can keep his temper, I’ll keep my principles.
However, chuck money into the equation and suddenly those two letters have a habit of burying themselves somewhere inside our throats and before we can find them other letters pop out in their place.
Oh, you want me to squeeze you into my calendar when I have no capacity? Sure, putting myself under unnecessary pressure is one of my favourite hobbies!
You’d like a completely different package from the one I put together specifically so that I didn’t have to create proposals? Yeah why not, I’ll have your proposal over in the next 48 hours!
It’s not your policy to pay upfront and you’d like 30-day terms? Well that sounds like a win-win!
These are all things that I have agreed to, albeit quite a long time ago – even as someone who is generally comfortable saying no.
The point is, when you find the strength to say no – and say it with conviction – something rather interesting happens.
First, it makes the person you’re saying no to want you even more. Think of it like “playing hard to get” in dating. And if you decide to cave in, make sure there’s enough in it for you (like a rush fee, for example).
But second, and this is the less obvious consequence, it means you start to become known for something specific. No longer are you a business owner who says yes to whatever is brought to their table, you are , and you have boundaries and integrity and are fiercely intentional about who and what you let inside your virtual home.
This is when you don’t just start to build a stronger business, you start to build a ridiculously captivating brand.
You’re always the one in control. And the more you say no to the wrong kinds of clients / projects / opportunities, the more space you create to say yes to best-fit ones.