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When to say No in Business

By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

Sometimes "No" is the most profitable thing you can say or do. Too many of us are your typical “Yes” people. We try to please everyone and often end up overworked and overscheduled. Saying Yes all the time can tire you out. I have a large sign above my office phone and it simply reads, “NO!” It’s a reminder to me that I shouldn’t get into the Yes mode without thinking all the opportunities through.

Here's an example: I was offered a book deal a few years ago. As most writers, I wanted to say "yes" immediately and I did. After reviewing the contract (a very, very complicated contract), I figured out I was going to earn about one penny a word. I had to make the decision to either let my ego say "yes" so I could have another book under my belt or to say "no" to an opportunity (this opportunity) that, in the long run, would end up costing me money as I’d be stuck writing the book while other more profitable opportunities would have to be turned down.

With pain in my heart, I did say “No.” And I’m very glad I did, as another opportunity came my way that was much more profitable. I learned over time to stay calm, keep a poker face, and delay any impulsive decisions. Always remember that time and energy are worth money. Don’t waste either on jobs or offers that don’t pay you what you are worth!

One of my creative friends recently turned down a job saying that a week off to renew and rest was worth more than what the job offer was paying. As small businesses, we must always look ahead as well as engage in the present task. And sometimes saying, “No” is the best thing to say.

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