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How to say “no” gracefully

June 30, 2021

Where are my people pleasers?! *RAISES HAND* I hate to admit it but I am a recovering people pleaser. I love to say yes, mainly because I think I can do it all. Of course I “can”, but should I?! I’ve said my fair share of “yes’s” when really I wanted to say no and the idea of letting someone who I respect down is a hard pill for me to swallow. Especially when it comes to business because I love to help others. Reflecting on my two years of full-time entrepreneurship, I realized that the moment I learned to gracefully say “no” was the moment I started thriving. So today I’d love to share with you a blog post titled, how to say “no” gracefully. Ready? Let’s jump in!

Do you find yourself saying “yes” to something and then have major regret once you have? Let’s start with a small exercise first to help you identify if you’re overdoing it with your yes’s!

Are you saying yes too often?

  • Do you find yourself doing projects you don’t actually offer (or want to do!? For example, you’re a wedding photographer, who offers engagement, bridal, and wedding photographer — but because you’re a photographer, friends, family, and even potential clients ask you to do brand photography? You say yes! Because you’re totally capable of photographing anything — yet you find yourself swamped doing shoots you don’t actually offer or want to offer.
  • Do you find yourself too busy and overwhelmed with client projects? Let me guess, you’re afraid to miss out on potential payday, so you say yes to EVERY project and now you can’t keep up with the work. Believe us, we have been there! While having work to do can feel like a sign of success — but feeling burnt out can not only be a sign that you’ve taken on too much but also means this lifestyle isn’t sustainable for you.
  • Do you feel like you can’t get back to the part of business you really love? We’ve said it before in our post about burnout but “when you say yes to the wrong things, you’re saying no to the right things.” Trust us when we say this is SO true! If you’ve been saying yes to too much, it takes you further and from the business, you love running — it’s about time to learn how to say no so you can get back to more balanced work life.

We get it, its not easy, but if you find yourself experiencing these speedbumps in your business — don’t worry! You’re not alone. We have you back! Today, I’m excited to share how to say “no” gracefully.

How to say “no” gracefully.

  1. First, realize that saying no isn’t an “all or nothing” decision. Realize and remember, that saying no doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing decision. Perhaps you can negotiate to find a happy medium. Present an alternative, just as long as you are respecting the boundaries you set for your business.
  2. Next, provide a reason why. Provide a reason why you’re saying no. At Leona Collective we begin this explanation with “At this time, we are focusing specifically on…” That way, we can build that trust factor by sharing the reason why we’re unable to help accept. Giving the potential client a reason provides clarity in a professional approach. 
  3. Lastly, provide an alternative. It’s not easy as an entrepreneur but we’ve had to say “At this time, our offerings include strategic branding, web design, and social media management.” Then provide recommendations for talented designers who can serve them! Providing an alternative not only allows you to say no but also still serves the potential client.

We know it’s easier said than done, but saying no gracefully is key to maintaining a sustainable work-life balance. Heck, it’s even necessary to scale your business. Perhaps you realize you’re ready to hire more team members! I’m so hopeful this blog post guides you toward saying “Yes” to all the right things, and “no” to those that don’t serve you. If you found this helpful please share how to say “no” gracefully with your fellow people-pleasing entrepreneurs.

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