The Power of Saying No

As entrepreneurs one of the most powerful yet difficult things you can do is to say no. We are somehow programmed to say yes to any opportunity that comes our way, to any client that wants to book us, to any collaboration that seeks us out. Saying yes to everything though means that often we are over worked, under paid and not fulfilled creatively. It’s somewhat counter intuitive but actually the more we say no to things, the more of the right opportunities actually present themselves for us to say yes to.

Working in the wedding industry, it is absolutely vital that you ‘get’ your clients and they understand you in return. If you are routinely saying yes to people who are not right for you, you’re less likely to be able to attract the right ones because you’re not going to have your best work there to show and put out to the world.

I love to design weddings in open spaces; in private homes or country estates. It’s where I feel I can add most value both creatively and logistically, and I am inspired so much by our surroundings that it feels like my natural habitat. I am not inspired by city hotels or gritty urban venues; there are planners and designers out there that are, and create the most incredible weddings in them but if a client came to me with that as their brief it’s not necessarily something I would immediately say yes to.  It would have to be a really great fit in other ways for me to work with them, otherwise I would refer the couple to someone else I thought would absolutely nail it creatively. It’s why understanding who you are as a creative is so important, so that you can identify quickly whether the client is a right fit for you, and in turn whether you’re the right fit for the client. Potential clients will respect the fact that you have this conversation with them. It shows that you have integrity and understanding, and ultimately they will benefit from working with someone who is completely aligned with them.

It’s similar with collaborations. Now don’t get me wrong I love a styled shoot – I have worked with some incredible suppliers over the years and have gained a tonne of exposure through them being published globally, but again they have to be the right fit. Think about who you want to network with as suppliers. It’s vital that everyone you work with are on the same level as you, wanting to have similar clients and to create something aesthetically aligned. You are absolutely allowed to politely say no to these opportunities; otherwise ultimately it’s going to be a waste of your time, creativity and often money, to work on something that you don’t then want to show to the world.

It’s not easy though is it?! It takes practise, and goodness I have taken on various jobs over the years that with hindsight I shouldn’t have. But do you know what, looking back I think every single time I knew – my gut was telling me that something was off and I pushed those feelings to one side, grateful and hungry for all the work I could get.

Working in the opposite way, by deliberately seeking out those clients I know I’m a good fit for, is so much more fulfilling – both creatively and financially. So next time you get a potential new client or are asked to collaborate, just stop and have a think before diving in and saying yes. Sometimes it’s definitely more powerful to say no.

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