Learning When To Say No

September 24, 2014 by Cat


I’m craving some serious beauty and relaxation, preferably at a place that looks like the picture above. I just returned from a whirlwind of a blogging conference. It was an absolutely amazing time, but it was busy, busy, busy. Luckily I left feeling inspired and determined to make a few changes in my business.

One thing I have a hard time with is saying no. I am the primary breadwinner in my family, although it certainly won’t be that way forever. This means that when someone offers me a job, I always say yes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick editing job or a lengthy, well-researched post – I always do it no matter what.

However, this has left me feeling overwhelmed. I do recommend this approach when you’re first starting off as a freelance writer or any type of side hustler. Get the jobs and get the experience any way you can. However for someone like me who has been a paid writer for over three years now, it’s time for me to accept that I actually shouldn’t say yes to everything.

In fact, saying yes to everything can be a detriment to my business, my health, and my family.

So, this week I am doing some difficult things. I am raising my prices, which means that I won’t be able to work with some of my current clients anymore. I am narrowing down the number of sites I write for, which means I will actually stop writing for websites that I love and people I love writing for in order to free up some time for my children and for developing new ideas.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to be inundated with free time. In fact, I expect that I will still be quite busy – I just won’t be SO busy that things fall through the cracks. I will be able to answer my e-mails quickly and not batch them all on a Saturday just because I ran out of time when 100 new ones come rolling in every day. I will have time to work on some new ideas and developing my websites, including this one.

Learning when to say no is probably one of the most difficult things any of us can learn how to do. It just isn’t natural. When the school needs a parent to volunteer, people rarely say no. When someone you don’t like invites you to do something, people rarely say no. We have this idea that we have to please everyone and make everyone happy all the time. I am super guilty of this myself – but it only leaves me drained and not the other person.

So, let’s make a pact. If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, just say no.

If you’re juggling too many things, just say no.

If your kid is in too many activities, just say no.

Our careers, relationships, and our health depend on it.

Have you said no to anything lately?

30 thoughts on “Learning When To Say No”

  1. I usually say yes to the point of driving myself nuts and then when I am at my complete wits end, I realize that no has to start infiltrating my vocabulary. The overachieving type A personality in me hates it, but it is necessary if you want to continue to produce quality work and not alienate the ones you love. Good for you for going through the exercise!

  2. Kassandra @ More Than Just Money

    As you know, I gave up a well paid proofreading contract with an investment company because it would be just too time consuming. It was REALLY hard for me to step away from that because I want to be able to “do it all” but that’s not realistic or even healthy. The cool thing is that they left the door open for me to come back when I’m ready so that was encouraging. I already work crazy hours!
    I believe that it’s important to build your work life around your most important life priorities so yes, let’s learn to say no more often ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Robin @ The Thrifty Peach

    I have a problem with someone I don’t like asking me to do things and I accept every time. I then feel miserable the entire time and think, ‘why did I do this to myself?!’ It’s ridiculous.
    I’m happy that you’re able to recognize when it’s time to make some changes. Hope everything goes well for you!

  4. I have a difficult time saying no, too. I’m getting a little better at it, but you’re right, it’s definitely not natural. Glad to hear you’re realigning to build your business!

  5. I have always been a “yes” person. It’s a great feeling to the person that people depend on, that get things done but at what price? It usually results in a total meltdown at some point. I’m about to deliver my biggest “no” and turn down being in my friends wedding. Hopefully they will be understanding… Ahhhh!

  6. Holly@ClubThrifty

    I am the same way, Cat! In my mind, I can do it all! Unfortunately, reality tends to disagree. It’s okay to let things go sometimes- we can’t do it all!

  7. Erin @ Journey to Saving

    I am happy to hear this! I think it’s awesome you’re raising your rates, getting paid what you’re worth, and putting yourself first. I’m in “yes” mode right now, but I’m not afraid to turn down something I don’t think I’ll be a good fit for / won’t work out. Life is too short to be driven crazy by your workload.

  8. good for you – glad you are making this change and I hope you are able to spend more time with the kiddos ๐Ÿ™‚ (and get paid more for your excellent work).

  9. Melanie @ My Alternate Life

    I am so glad you are starting to say “no” more. I used to say “yes” to everything too, but have been burned when it simply is not worth it. I still say yes a lot, but am more selective with my time, so that I’m not actually losing money in the process! I think after your big award, it is about time you raise your rates! Create a business that works for you, so you can be with your family and friends. That’s the best part of being freelance, right?

    1. It IS the point of being freelance – that’s for sure. I think sometimes a desire for growth and the need for income can get in the way!

  10. Learning to say no is tough. Kids have a way of putting everything into perspective though don’t they? We also need a relaxing vacation, something that hasn’t happened in years. Good luck Cat!

  11. Good call, Cat! I’m the same. I’ve been able to start saying ‘no’ for my full-time job but I’m still in ‘yes’ mode for blogging and writing.

  12. I have a post scheduled for this Wednesday called “Learning How To Say No” – We are on the same wavelength with this one! I think saying no is hugely important to maintain a balanced, happy life, where you’re focused on things that are most important to you. Love this!

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  14. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    Thanks for this and all the info you gave me yesterday. I usually am pretty good about saying no, but lately I haven’t been because of my job situation, but that doesn’t mean I have to settle either. If something is too time consuming AND doesn’t pay a lot, I’m doing a disservice to myself.

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