The Power of NO, NO, NO, NO

“No, no, no, no” this is the response I get when I ask my 18 month old anything.  She hasn’t quite figured out “yes” but sometimes will say “Nga” …

In case I ever forget, and I forget often, she reminds me the wisdom of a definite “no” with a head shake from side to side. She knows how to make it clear she will not have another spoon of dinner and will not take a nap.

Why does this common sense approach is so hard to come by for adults, like me?

Maybe it’s years of conditioning to be agreeable and say “yes” and then follow through by doing things I don’t full-heartedly agree with, which go against the best I know. In the marketing profession this might be a common approach (certainly in the 3rd, 4th tier agencies I had the pleasure of working in, this is the norm). We all want to keep our jobs, keep clients, make people happy, be popular, keep polishing turds, etc, etc…

So the latest incident was that I agreed with a guy who wanted to start up a cleaning agency.

It was to be super-easy. I find the cleaners, screen them, find jobs and send them out to the jobs marking up their services $10/hr.


I wrote the job ad on Gumtree and within a second of it going live my phone started getting bombarded by people with names like Mohammed, Sandeep, Priya, Asli, and many other unpronounceables I imagine to be from Southeast Asian countries and the Hindu subcontinent.

Then I talked to the “entrepreneur” who wanted to set up the cleaning business whether he’d like me to develop a training or a screening system to find the qualified cleaners.

He said NO. Why was I making it so complicated?

I was to immediately now find people looking for cleaners and send out these people I hadn’t even met or qualifed to the jobs and he was to pocket the $10/hr and pay me half of it for my troubles.

Hold on – was I missing something?

Where was the value-add, the justification for charging an additional $10/hr to the client? Was he going to go to the cleaning jobs with these randoms from Gumtree to supervise? No… He had a full time job, he just wanted the money.

So I told him that I couldn’t work with him. I didn’t think he had a viable business model.

He was upset and told me I was unreliable and I felt for him… for a millisecond.

Bottomline though, if you aren’t focusing on selecting quality people (or doing the work yourself) to provide a quality service to your clients so that you can start off your business with happy client testimonials, no amount of marketing, blasting flyers, advertising is gonna save your ass.

This is my truth as a marketer.

I will not work for any business not founded on solid values (making $$$ is not a value), who know exactly what their Unique Selling Point is (or willing to hire me to help them figure it out), who want to start with a business plan, some systems and processes, simple contracts/agreement templates, which I can draft for them.

In short, as a business owner, or an entrepreneur, know the value of documentation, having your business plan, strategy and processes in writing as this is what plants the seeds for growing businesses.

And as for me, I should learn to say NO to tyrekickers.

My advice to other creative freelancers out there, don’t get sucked in to do free work by these so called “entrepreneurs” who want to share the profits with you for businesses they’re trying to build on sand.

And if you’re having trouble saying “NO”, I’ll send Lucy over to coach you.

By |2018-05-22T11:53:31+00:00May 22nd, 2018|