June 28, 2019
As a creative entrepreneur, there’s always a lot on your plate. You’re not just serving clients—you’re also playing CEO, bookkeeper, marketing director, social media guru… the list is endless.
People are constantly asking of you. Clients require proper attention to their projects. Maybe you have employees in need of your leadership. And oh right you’re also supposed to be networking, blogging, posting on Instagram, and keeping up with your taxes.
Most importantly, you should be living your life: enjoying enough sunshine on your face and tender forehead kisses and naptime snuggles. Enough pillow talk and happy tears and hands held. Bear hugs and dancing and music that makes your soul come alive. Enough wine bottles poured and chairs around your table and stories exchanged long into the night.
Your business should support your life… not drain it.
If you want to protect your time, you have to be discerning about the projects that receive your attention. You can’t spend time on everything. You have to choose how to spend your time at the office wisely—so you can LOVE your job and still have time to love your life.
The answer is easy in theory, but difficult in practice:
The old cliché is true: when you say NO to one thing, you are saying YES to something else.
When you say yes to a new collaboration or client project, what’s the tradeoff? Could you have said yes instead to time with your loved ones? Could you have used that time to work on a bigger dream for your business? Could you have said yes to balance, contentment, and restfulness?
Saying no is the only way to protect your valuable time.
But it’s not easy!
You can simply say no.
People don’t need to hear personal reasons, lengthy explanations, or flimsy excuses. Explanations also open the door for questions or negotiation—especially if you’re fibbing. (if you use “I don’t have time” as an excuse… they’ll ask when you do have time).
Just say no. Say it politely and firmly.
Sometimes we struggle to find the words.
We live in a “yes” culture. (Can it be delivered in two hours? YES!) We’re honestly not used to saying (or hearing) no… so we don’t really know how to phrase it.
It’s hard to do, but it gets easier with practice. And remember: with every no, you are saying yes to bigger and better things.
Lucky for you, I’ve been practicing saying no for awhile now… and I’d love to share some swipe copy with you!
I literally save these snippets as templates for my emails. When I open my inbox and see an inquiry for a project I won’t be able to take on, I use a pre-written template to say no. It helps me respond promptly and professionally without tempting myself into taking on more than I can handle.
Feel free to grab this copy and make it your own (or just copy and paste—it’s yours for the taking!). My hope is to empower you to say no, so that you can say yes to protecting your time. Yes to the very best moments life has to offer.
Thank you so much for inquiring with me! Unfortunately I am not able to take on this project at this time. You might check with one of these talented referrals: [referral list]. I wish you all the best!
Thanks for reaching out! As much as I would love to help, unfortunately I don’t have the capacity to take on this project at this time. I invite you to reach out to one of my trusted referrals for assistance: [referral list].
After talking more about your vision, I’ve come to the realization that I may not be the best fit for this project. In order to best to serve your needs, I want to recommend working with one of my trusted referrals. [Referral name] is a talented [job title] who can offer more than I can in this area. I think you two will really connect, and he/she is uniquely qualified to help you achieve your goals. Thank you for your time and consideration—best wishes as you move forward with this project!
Thank you for thinking of me! This looks like a dream project, but unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to take on any non-client work at this time. I hope you’ll keep me in mind for future opportunities, and I wish you the best of luck with this project!
I’m so honored that you would invite me to be part of this collaboration! Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take a rain check on this one. I appreciate you thinking of me, and I wish you all the best on this project!
Thank you for your inquiry! Unfortunately I am not offering xyz at this time, but I’d love to point you to a few of my trusted referrals who may be able to assist you with this project. [referral list]
Thanks for your interest! We are only accepting paying clients at this time. If you think we’d be a good fit, I can prepare a customized proposal and invoice for your review!
Thanks for inquiring with us! We are not currently offering complimentary services, but we’d love to work with you as a client. I’ve attached our rates for you to review; if it’s a good fit, I’d love to hear back from you!
Thank you for your email! We appreciate you thinking of us, but we do not offer complimentary services at this time. We’ll have to take a rain check here!
Thanks for thinking of us! As much as we would love to partner with you, our availability is currently reserved for paying clients. We’d love to secure your date on our calendar: can we send you a few more details about our packages and investment?
Your message has been sent.
we will be in touch soon!