This is a LMBDW member submission by Kimberley Tunbridge.
My gut told me that this client was going to be difficult – their operations were a mess and full of conflict and unprofessionalism.
My gut told me to say no to their work – but saying no is something I’ve struggled with since starting my business.
My gut told me to instead focus on the clients I adore and are doing amazing things with – but there was that voice from my childhood telling me that income was most important and I should never say no to ANY work.
So I didn’t listen to my gut, or my heart, I listened to my head. And what happened? The client was difficult. The job made me miserable. The money – unsatisfying. And the worst part of all – I didn’t feel like drinking. What had happened to me? It’s almost like someone, somewhere knew what I had done was against my gut. Karma is a bitch.
And then something magical happened.
Yes, you guessed it, I said no to a client. I’m serious – I said no. Obviously I positioned it constructively. But the words ‘no’ crossed my ruby red lips. And it felt AMAZINGGGGGG. It rocked my world. My gut sang with delight – no more fight. I looked at the clock – it was past 12pm so I cracked a champagne to celebrate this huge milestone in my business.
And guess what happened then? 3 new clients contacted me over the next 3 days. And no ordinary clients. The most incredible clients I could ask for in my business. Work that made my heart sing. Work that wasn’t work – it was playing.
Here’s some hot tips that I’ve learnt along my business journey. Some hard life lessons and some liberating.
#1 Listen to your gut…
Your gut screams out to you in your business for so many different reasons. But I am guilty of being ‘too busy’ to give it the time to listen to it. I’m not saying to judge people, but I’m saying to think and make more decisions with your gut and your heart vs your head. If something feels shady, it probably is. If someone feels dodgy, they probably are. If someone feel inspirational, they probably are. And if someone feels like they are connected to you in ways you’ve never felt before – that’s magic – embrace it.
#2 Saying no is a-ok…
We’ve been conditioned from a young age that we aren’t allowed to say no. You do as you’re told, you fall into line, you conform. And then one day you realise that you don’t want to conform anymore – you want to be your own person, make your own decisions and you don’t give a fu@k what people think you should or shouldn’t say.
Saying no is empowering, liberating and enthralling in business and in life. It gives you the freedom and time to pursue what you really want. I love saying no in my business and sometimes to family and friends too. No longer being a ‘yes girl’ has worked for me and my business in incredible ways.
#3 When one door closes a better one opens!
I honestly believe that when a door closes it wasn’t meant to be. Yes, it hurts, especially when the door is slammed but soon after a better opportunity comes. Saying no has given me time to go after the ‘dream clients’ and ‘dream jobs’ and now I am working with people that I need to pinch myself often because they are so amazing. They know the power of the word no too! Getting bitter about the doors closing doesn’t help. Getting better at opening the right doors does.
#4 Put agreements in place that allow you to say no without losing out
I was working with a client who was effectively using me for my IP, question after question after question and then when I positioned my pricing and my offering they slammed the door hard. Why? Because they had already sucked my IP from me and spat me out. So I learnt that I my IP is bloody valuable. My time is bloody valuable. I don’t give away anything more than I need to. I position my offering (which I know is like nothing the market has seen) and I show them that what I can do for them is like nobody else. They need me.
#5 Say no to the things that don’t light you up and say HELL YES to the things that do…
The times I love in business the most is when I feel like I’m playing, I’m having fun, I’m going with the flow. And that all starts with me saying NO. What I’ve had time to say yes too lately are amazing things like a writing a government program to connect parents to their children through nature. Or producing a fantastic mum blog that connects isolated mums to people who care. Or working with banks to give back to the community through emotionally connective campaigns. And my personal favourite – a program to teach young women communication, connection and confidence. Wow – I seriously get paid for this?
Go on, give it a go bitch. See how it feels!