The Art Of Saying NO To Clients + Prospects! Don’t Be Scared – It Gets Easier With Practice

When I started my VA business, I was actually afraid of saying no to clients, prospects, family, friends, and even myself! A habit I had kept from my employee days, where saying no can have negative consequences.

As someone who was an employee for the majority of my life, saying no always came with consequences. Some of them were not too nice, like being reprimanded, written up, or even fired. That’s why saying no to clients or prospects was so tough, even if I knew it was the right thing to do.

I said yes to prospective clients that I knew were not right for me. Why? Because it was a referral from either a family member or client and I felt I had to. There is that “employee” behavior rearing its ugly head.

I got myself into all types of sticky situations because I said yes when I should have said no. The first thing I had to do was realize it was OK to say no and give myself permission to do so. That wasn’t easy!

But I kept looking back on the experiences I had when I said yes instead of no and that gave me courage. So the next time I actually did say no and it was scary. But the world didn’t stop spinning and I didn’t get in trouble or reprimanded. Whew!

The first time is always the hardest, but it all starts with giving yourself permission to say no to clients, prospects, or anybody else. Remember, my motto is “your business, your choice”. You know what is right for you and what isn’t.

Use that to make the best choices for you (not for what others think is best for you) and say NO when it’s not right. Oh, and you don’t have to explain your answer. No is a complete sentence. Always remember, saying no to one thing is saying yes to the possibility of another.

Please read My Ultimate VA Success Guide: 8 Tips On How To Get Clients As A VA if you’re looking for ways to find the perfect clients for you.

Thanks for reading – Susan

PS: Ready to embark on the journey of building a freedom-based business? Join me in Techie Biz in a Box, your comprehensive guide to leveraging systems, automation, and tech. Discover how to streamline your processes and reclaim precious time for the things you love. 

Susan Mershon
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  1. Melissa

    You’re absolutely correct – it’s a mindset shift. With an EA background I’m used to being a catch all. It is hard to say no when it’s not part of the services I offer, but I know how to do the job. I have to remind myself of the bigger picture. I continue to grow my client list if it’s not scalable then I can’t do it.

    • SE Mershon

      Hi Melissa, great comment thank you!

  2. Eileen

    Thanks. Good thoughts for today.
    I have a new client who not only is micro-managing, but also explains things she wants done, then pulls them away from me to give to someone else and says it is because of my rate. I’m going to finish a small research project for her and then end the relationship. She makes my anxiety level rise every time I do work for her because I start thinking that it is taking too long to complete work.

    • SE Mershon

      Hi Eileen, that sounds like a great idea. No need to have that extra stress and you will then fill that spot with someone perfect for ya!

  3. Kellie Simmons

    I SO needed this VLOG! I’m only a year into my business and get caught up in taking on everything thrown my way, whether I know how to do it or not. I find I stress over trying to get my “I know” tasks done on time because all my time is being sucked up with trying to get a “I don’t know task” done by a due date. No fun! For the first time last week I did finally say to a current client that a certain task was not what I was comfortable doing and I wanted it done right for them. I found a person who did this task every day in their job and was willing to take on the task. My client was perfectly fine and I felt as if a log was lifted of my shoulders! Win Win! All I had to do was speak up and be honest with myself that it’s ok if I don’t know how to do it all. But I do know how to make my client happy. Sometimes that’s done by me surrendering to myself! Thank you again for a timely message that reassured me that it’s ok to say no.

    • SE Mershon

      Hi Kellie, I love your comments. You hit the nail on the head with the added stress of trying to get done the “new” tasks. And kudos to you for speaking up!

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