Getting to 'no'

One of the toughest things for anyone in business is saying no to a client. It could be saying no to doing a task a certain way, saying no to a certain timeline or saying no to working with a client at all.

Saying no often means saying no to work, to cash flow. Saying no can sometimes mean hurt feelings. And it’s not always clear when saying no is the right thing to do.

But saying no is also about saying yes. Yes to sticking to your process. Yes to your ideal clients. Yes to maintaining balance - in your business and in your life. Yes to the work that gets you up in the morning.

One way to make saying no easier is to develop a list of client responsibilities in your statement of work. Send it with every proposal. Ensure your client is aware of it even if they don’t take the time to read it. When a project appears to be going off the rails, refer back to this list. It will tell you when saying no is the right thing to do.

Using gravity to your advantage

I’m not the person who will tell you to leap head first into starting a new business full-time with no financial safety net. I’m all for maintaining a part-time gig to maintain some stability while your passion project gains momentum.

This balance can be hard. Running a business means there is always work to be done, a deadline approaching, an urgent client need. Working part-time means there are times when I am simply unavailable to my clients. There’s also the small problem of finding the time to actually work on my business, set goals and figure out how I’m going to get there.

In permaculture, there is a principle known as to catch and store energy. Yields harvested during times of high productivity help to get us through the lean times. In food production, this could mean using rocks on a south facing wall to trap heat from the sun during the day to be released during the cooler night when plants need to be kept warm. Or a gravity fed irrigation system.

On days when I wake up wondering how I’m going to fit everything in, I reframe my job as a means to catch and store cash to draw on later. But it also helps me to focus on energy flows in my business.

Which projects give me energy rather than forcing me to draw on my on reserves? What trends are occurring that I could jump on and benefit from the existing momentum? Rather than trying to push everything up hill.

Are you using your current situation to catch and store energy to use later? How can you use gravity to get you to where you want to go?