Be Authentic, Say No to Clients

I get it, you're struggling and looking for clients anywhere you can find them. Even if you're not struggling, it takes a gargantuan amount of force for most of us to have the courage to say "no" to a paying client. 

But you have to say "no." 

Saying "no" to clients not only puts energy out into the universe that you are committed to working with and helping a specific type of client, but it just makes business sense. 

Who do you want to work with?

Before you say no, you need to know why you're saying no. Which means you need to know who you want to work with and who you don't. 

This doesn't mean that you set up a consultation to see how it feels. This means you sit down and make a list of the specific type of people you want to work with - and why. Then, when someone approaches you who is not on the list, you say "no." 

Why? You need to specialize. 

When you don't know who you want to work with, you can't specialize in your target market - and you can't say "no."

And when you can't say "no," you can't differentiate your practice. When you say "no" you are telling the universe exactly what you want. Yes, that door closes, but it leaves more space for new doors, the right doors, to open. If you take a client that wasn't right for your business, you leave no room to take on the one's that are right. 


Another big reason to say "no" is because if you keep taking on clients that don't fit your niche, then you can't get referrals for the people you want to work with.

I work with healers, but if I keep taking business from financial consultants, they will keep recommending me to other financial consultants because that's the work they know. Pretty soon, I'll have no time, space, or energetic connection to the healers that I set out to work with in the first place.

My story

When I started my business, I was willing to provide digital marketing services to anyone. I knew I was good at what I did and I knew I could help tons of great people. The problem was I was exactly the same as everyone else. 

When I ran out of networked referrals, I knew I had to re-position my brand. So, I sat down with my consultants and worked out exactly who I wanted to work with. I knew that if I was excited to be working with clients, I would provide better services and they would be more successful. 

After I made my list of who I wanted to work with, saying "no" became easy. I knew who I wanted to work with and why.

Then I said it out loud to myself over and over. Then I told everyone. 


*The cover image is from one of my favorite temples in Korea - Buseoksa. I've had an independent streak but it took a lot of courage for me to travel by myself. After moving to Korea, I became more strict with myself about who I would spend my with. My trip to Buseoksa was one of the first times I ventured out on my own (especially scary because I had just arrived and couldn't yet speak the language). But I knew where I wanted to go and just because I didn't have a traveling partner didn't stop me from sticking to my path. 

Adam Nicholson