When to say no, in business & life

September 15th, 2017
Location  •   Rowayton, CT

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Overall, I love every aspect of my job and I’m very fortunate for that. This doesn’t mean that I’m good at every aspect, but I love being challenged. Whether that means learning a new photo editing tool, researching a new social media platform or dipping my toes into vlogging; my job is interesting because it challenges me, and boy did it challenge me the other day. 

A big part of my job is working with PR firms and brands, both of which I love doing. I would say 99% of my interactions with PR firms and brands are fun, exciting and most importantly mutually beneficial. 

The other day though, I cracked.When to say no, in business & life-3652

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Recently I’ve had a few encounters in my inbox where I look at Matt and sigh, YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING. 

Before I go in any further into this topic, I want to start by saying I’m not naturally a pushover but rather I’m an aggressor. I like to take a problem or a challenge and tackle it head on, I like to talk things out in person until it’s done and I’ll admit sometimes I have to go back and beat a dead horse, but it’s my way of processing and in the end, I do give and take. 

So when someone emails me wanting something, instead of just ignoring it (passive) or saying YES to EVERYTHING (pushover), I try to find a common ground. 

My goal is to always be rational and kind. I try to use phrases like ‘mutually beneficial’, ‘I see where you’re coming from’ and my favorite line ‘I understand’ because the truth is, I do get it. 

But recently, I’ve had to learn to stop beating a dead horse and just say NO sometimes. & guys this has been really hard for me and I’m sure many of you can relate.  Saying NO to a possible long-term collaboration or job offer is horrifying especially if it’s with a brand or company you love, but in life knowing when to say no is essential. When to say no, in business & life-3648

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Anyway, back to my story, so I was chatting with a firm that reached out to me representing a brand I loved and I really didn’t want to turn them down. I was basically jumping through hoops, spending hours pitching ideas, making budget sheets and being over accommodating which sometimes isn’t a good strategy. 

& the emails I was receiving back basically had no regards for my time, the energy I’ve spent on the project or the money I would have to spend to carry out the collaboration. 

To sum it up, it was TOTALLY a one-sided deal and when the twelfth email came back with just a quick four lines and a passive aggressive … ending, 

I cracked. I had tried every angle to make it work, and instead of wasting any more of my energy, I turned down the collaboration. 
Not only was the overall conversation tone belittling towards my blog, brand and myself; & it reminded me that IT’S OKAY to stand up for yourself, to stop jumping through another hoop; it’s okay to say NO sometimes. 

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So after experiencing similar encounters more and more frequently, I wanted to touch base and talk about it. Let’s talk about how I decided when to say no, in business and life. 

NO in Business:  When to say NO in business is when a deal is not mutually beneficial. 

I can’t tell you the amount of times, I’ve had brand’s ask me to create high-quality content for them with no ROI. Now ROI doesn’t always mean money, sometimes it’s product, sometimes it’s attending events and sometimes it’s as simple as creating content for exposure or to get reposted. 
But no matter how big the brand or boss is, don’t feel like your time isn’t valuable. If your gut is saying, you’re being taken advantage of, it’s time to step up to the plate and say something. At this stage in my career, I’d rather lose the collaboration and maintain the quality and aesthetic of my content; then be pushed around. 

NO in Life: When to say NO in life is when you’ve encountered a TAKER. 

I’ve talked about takers before in this blog post, but basically, it’s okay to say NO to a friend, extracurricular or event if they are running you dry. 

What I mean by that is, you should surround yourself with people and things that inspire you and fill you up with energy, life, and excitement. Don’t constantly say YES to getting coffee with a friend that spends the whole time talking about how amazing they are or how much they get paid. Blah.
Time is your most valuable resource, so it’s okay to say NO to situations with bad energy. It’s not worth wasting your time on, to be honest. 

THE DELIVERY OF NO – Most importantly let’s talk about the delivery of NO. It’s all in the delivery/approach, so keep it short and simple. For business, I usually say: ‘Hi, At this time our crew will have to pass. Thank you for thinking of us and I hope to collaborate in the future.’ Short, simple and sweet; we aren’t looking to burn any bridges here. 

Personal NO’s can be a little more difficult to construct and really it depends on the person you’re dealing with. Overall I find coming from a place of transparency is a good place to start. 

Okay, now I’d love to know what cracks you to the point of NO? Let me know below. xx Aubrey 

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5 thoughts on “When to say no, in business & life

  1. Kristen from Pugs & Pearls

    I cannot agree with this post more! Learning to say no is hard, especially because naturally we want to help and say yes. SO many brands/people contact me with zero intention of a mutually beneficial relationship. I am so close to just not doing sponsored/collab posts at all.
    Loved reading your thoughts on this!
    Kristen from Pugs & Pearls recently posted…Book Club: The Almost SistersMy Profile

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