Argh I can’t believe I just turned that down. Did I do the right thing? If you find yourself asking these questions then let me reassure you: the answer is probably yes. Everybody loves to be offered money and exciting opportunities and the more you need the money the harder it is to turn down. Add in the social expectation of saying "yes" and many of us feel that we shouldn't turn offers down. But often saying no is the best thing to do. When you get offered opportunities you need to think about whether they are right for you and your business.  If you want to grow a successful business you should only say yes if it's right for you.

someone saying no to work opportunities for the right reason
Saying "no" to new work opportunities can be the best thing for your business

7 Reasons You Should Say No To Work Opportunities

Saying no isn't always the right thing to do, but before you say yes think about the 7 points below and decide if it's a good opportunity for you.

The offer doesn’t align with your goals

It is really easy to be swayed by a tempting offer, but revisit your goals and make sure that the opportunity is going to support them. If you are a blogger and your main goal for the next 3 months is to review your old posts to improve SEO and affiliate links and you get offered the chance to co-host a podcast what are you going to do? If having a podcast is something you really want to do then you can absolutely review and change your goals. If you think podcasting sounds fun, but it isn't going to support your long term goals then turn it down. It will take time away from your short term goals and not move you in the direction you were planning long term. 

The opportunity cost

Time spent on a project that is of no long term value to you is taking away time you could be spending on something more useful. Examples of tasks with long term value could be improving the SEO of your website, producing better content, finding new clients, building your mailing list. How are you better off spending your time? A commitment to one project that is of little benefit to you can also prevent you having availability for a better project that comes along. 

The offer doesn’t align with your value system

Unlike your goals you might never have thought in depth about your values, but it is worth doing. There are topics I will not touch and products and services I will not support or promote in anyway. We all hold different value systems so what you are happy to promote will be different to me, but an example of one of my absolute no go areas is high interest loans. Personally I think these companies are preying on people who are desperate and they charge ridiculous amounts of interest that will get most of their customers into greater debt. I’m not stopping, or judging people using them, but I don’t want any money from these companies and I don't want to support them in any way no matter how much they offer me.

I will say though my values have changed with my finances. I will turn down companies now because I don't like the tone of their adverts or maybe because they aren't inclusive or representative. I can financially afford to take a moral position, but I haven't always been so lucky.

The price is too low

I get it, bills are going up and fees are going down. If you need money to buy food for your family or to pay your heating bill then you have to take it, but if you are being offered an unreasonable rate for work and you can turn it down then do so. People who offer low rates rarely value your work, they are often taking a big percentage of profit themselves and they are devaluing the market. There is always someone out there who will accept less for a job do you really want to be fighting for lower and lower rates? Is that sustainable? In a global market there are people who have lower overheads and a lower cost of living, they can afford to undercut you. I truly believe the answer isn't to offer increasingly low rates but to provide a better offer.  Value your offering, recognise that you deserve a higher rate and focus on ensuring you have a better quality service that is deserving of the higher rates that are still out there. 

It changes your shop window

If someone visited your website or social media right now what would they think? What impression would they get of your brand? Go look yourself if you aren't sure. Whether you realise it or not potential customers and clients will be checking your online shop window out regularly. The last 12 posts you have on Instagram are important, what’s on your homepage of your website is important. Your recent digital footprint on all your platforms is the first thing people will see when checking you out.  If you are offered work which will impact on your shop window and it isn't representative of what you want your brand to be is it worth it? How many potential clients might you lose? 

You are too busy

There is only so much that you can do each day, each week, each lifetime. Taking on too much work can lead to stress and unhappiness, make you rush tasks, miss deadlines and produce lower quality work.  If you are worried about losing a client by saying no then see if you can negotiate more time for the work or renegotiate other deadlines. Alternatively consider outsourcing or suggesting someone else who can help.  You will be seen as helpful and proactive increasing the chances the client will come back to you in the future.

Your gut says no

There will be times you just get a bad feeling about a client. There might not be any obvious red flags, but something about them or the work gives you a sense of uneasiness. I’m a big believer in trusting your instinct and nearly every time I have ignored that feeling there has been a problem with the work. 

To grow as a business we have to be open to new opportunities, we have to say yes to things that scare us at times, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept every offer that comes along. If you want to be proud of your business and you want to enjoy your work then make sure you are ready to say “no” when the offer isn’t right for you.