Biggest Artisan Mistake #5

Posted in Common Mistakes

Not saying “no”

Growing up, saying the word “no” usually got us into trouble.  And even though as adolescents and adults saying the word “no” usually kept us out of trouble, we still carry around a deep-seated bias to tell people “yes” when we really mean the opposite.   Artists, especially performers, have a strong need to seek approval from their audiences, and saying “no” isn’t usually a crowd pleaser.  But there are times when saying “no” is the better choice… for your business, for your artistic career, for you own sanity.

Why should you want to say “no” to something?

  • it isn’t in line with your long-term plans
  • it keeps you from accomplishing more important results
  • it doesn’t provide you with learning or growth
  • it’s not worth the headache or heartache you’ll feel doing it
  • it doesn’t pay you timely

These questions apply equally to potential jobs as well as your daily activities.  When a client calls with a request, don’t just say “yes” automatically.  First, consider if what you’re being asked to do is in line with your business plan.  If it isn’t, turn down the work.

Some film crew friends recently complained that they haven’t been paid for a job.  They’ve spent more time collecting their pay then they did earning it.  Even if the production company eventually makes good, my friends won’t do another job for that company… because strong cash flow is a key component of my friends’ business plan.

Saying “no” to potential customers, to potential income, can be one of the most difficult actions a business owner can take.  But if it’s in line with the vision and written plan you have for yourself and your business, it can be the right action.  Marketing guru Seth Godin offers some reassuring advice:

You can dissipate your gift by making people with the loudest requests temporarily happy, or you can change the world by saying ‘no’ often.  Saying ‘no’ to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.

Learn to strategically say ‘no’ to others and say ‘yes’ to your success.