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Why Saying NO to Income Can Increase Your Income

Okay, so maybe that sounds mental, right? Advising you to turn down income, especially if you’re a new business? And that’s somehow supposed to make you MORE money?

Of course, in the absolute short-term sense of the word, turning down income of course means you’re not getting that income. But bear with me.

One of the things I always say is “Never forget that saying no leaves space for what you really want.”

We’ve all done it, especially when we are new to business ownership and have the stink of desperation on us. We say yes to:

  • Clients we don’t like
  • Work/tasks outside of our normal or desired offerings
  • Less money than we quoted
  • Taking on too much at onces
  • Branching into a new area that doesn’t even interest us
  • Partnerships and group memberships that don’t really serve us
  • Free work “for the exposure”

The list goes on and on. And we say yes to all of it because inwardly, we’re thinking “Who am I to say no?” or “I can’t afford to say no!”

Let me tell you, unless you literally cannot keep the lights on and foods in mouths, you can’t afford to say YES.

Because every time you say yes to work that doesn’t light you up, you’re sending the universe a message that this is all you deserve. That this is just fine, go on, keep sending me this crap work I don’t want, keep piling on and making me feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. And it’s eating up the time you could be spending on clients you DO love. On work that brings you joy. On the right amount of money. The money you deserve!

If you’re constantly saying yes to things you don’t want, how are you ever going to get what you DO want?

You know what happens when you say no? Sure, maybe you freak out a little. You get the bubble guts, worrying that you just turned down your last chance to work (irrational, but a common fear). But don’t you also feel relieved? Because you don’t have to take on that work you were dreading, or that wasn’t going to pay you what you’re worth? And aren’t you sending a message to the powers that be that “Hell no, I’m not taking this crap. I’m a business owner and I get to decide how I’m spending my time, who I’m spending it with, and how much I’m getting paid for it.

I’ve gone through this. I’ve taken on clients that were not the best fit simply to achieve some income goals by the arbitrary deadline I set for myself. I know by now that if I’m not excited to take on a client, that’s my gut telling me it’s not a good fit for WHATEVER reason, and I don’t have to figure out exactly why. (I like to think sometimes that it’s a future me telling me what’s up). Each time I’ve done this, I’ve eventually ended up “offboarding” the client and finding them another bookkeeper. Every time. And every time it is a tough decision, and I torture myself over it, and then I get through it.

And every time, another client comes along that is a better fit, that I AM excited to work with. Every. Damn. Time.

Because I’ve sent a message to the universe that I’m not willing to accept what I don’t want. And THAT leaves space for something better to come along. It also helps me a lot with affirming my business owner mindset. Every time I say no, it reminds me that I am the boss now, the boss of ME, and I get to make all the decisions, rather than just accepting assignments handed down to me.

So try it. Next time you are offered work from someone you don’t want to work with, or something you don’t want to do, or less money than what you asked for: Say NO. Do it politely, you don’t want to burn any bridges. But try something like “I’m unable to do any unpaid work at this time.” Or “I’m sorry, but I only work with XXX. I wish you luck in your search.” It’s a mere moment of discomfort for a lifetime of a more joyful business.

Betcha anything you’ll get something better within a few days or weeks.