How to Be More Selective and Start Saying No to Clients

Sep 21, 2020

Saying no to prospective clients is one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to learn. The fear of losing an opportunity or losing the revenue you desire can be hard to look past. The truth is that you will never be able to create a truly successful PR agency (and stop trading dollars for hours) if you don’t start being more selective. 

It’s more about WHO you work with than how many clients you have. You don’t have to pursue every lead that comes your way. You can start saying no and be more selective.

The Biggest Hurdle Is Fear

When you’re just starting as an entrepreneur, it’s not easy to turn away money. You might be worried about making enough to cover your expenses. So when a client comes your way and wants to book your services, it’s hard to turn them down. 

The biggest hurdle you’re facing is fear. You’re afraid that nothing better will come your way, and you’ll wind up having to shut your business down because you aren’t making enough. 

When you’re this focused on making money, you’ll end up working with clients that aren’t the right fit. Have you ever worked with clients that make you want to pull your hair out? If you book with every client that comes your way, you’re going to run into a lot of problems, and eventually, you might end up hating your job. 

You don’t want that, right?! 

Of course not! That’s exactly why you quit your 9-5. You wanted to enjoy every second of your workday instead of dreading your task load for the week. 

Related: Why You Should Say No More Often

You Don’t Have To Offer Everything

If you aren’t selective with your clients, odds are, you probably aren’t selective with your services either.  

I know it sounds profitable to be the jack of all trades, but doing every service type for everyone can be exhausting! One client has you running Facebook ads, while another has you doing email marketing, yet this client wants you to do social media management… the list goes on and on. 

It’s so much harder to try and manage several different clients doing several types of services. Doing everything is an easy way to spread yourself thin. You’ll end up losing the opportunity to become the expert for something! 

Think about it this way…

When you hear Jasmine Star’s name, you probably think about her exceptional social media knowledge. She is the go-to expert for all things social media. You don’t hear about entrepreneurs who are experts in every service under the sun. 

Don’t be afraid to be selective with your services. Do what you love! 

Start With A Planned Vision

One thing that will help you get away from operating from a place of fear is to have a clear vision for the business you want to run. Plan out the kind of clients you want to work with and the kind of services you want to offer. 

Anything that isn’t aligned with that vision should be tossed to the curb! Planning your vision for business (and life!) will help you learn to be selective with the type of services you want to offer and the type of clients you want to work with! 

Your business should be an enjoyable experience. Plan out everything that would make you excited to start work every day. You decide what type of clients you want to work with, what niche you want to work in, how many hours a day you wish to spend in front of the computer, and how many days a week you want to take off!

Then add in the exact services you want to offer. Do the services that you enjoy the most. 

Don’t just focus on work. Your vision should also include how you want to spend time in your personal life. What are your dreams and goals?

My Vision

My business is a massive part of my life. I work from home, and I've had my company the entire time I've been a mom.

I love that my kids know that their Mom runs a PR agency. They see that I am pursuing my dreams and running a successful business. 

Having my children know this about me and seeing how I work and live is a massive part of my business’s purpose. 

I want my children to know that if I get a lead, that could be fine but not the right fit for me. I have no problem saying no because I am sticking to my vision and what I love to do in my business. 

I know precisely the type of clients I want to work with, and any leads that come our way that don’t fit, I send them to someone else who might be interested in the type of work they need.

Related: 3 Reasons It’s Important to Know Your Why 

Stay True To Your Vision

You can build a business that you love. Every choice you make is a stepping stone that gets you closer to your vision. 

You need to stay true to your vision. It allows you to bring on clients that align with it. And as you have success with those clients, you will attract more established clients with bigger budgets in the niche that you love. 

When You No Longer Love A Project

If you did take on a few clients and found that they no longer align with your vision after a few months or bring you joy, it’s okay to give them time to find someone else. Someone else may find greater joy in doing that project than you do.

When you don’t have enthusiasm and passion for what you’re doing, you don’t do great work anymore. 

It’s okay to let those opportunities go. 

Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

Many people are stuck with the limiting belief that money is a limited resource. They believe that you either take what you can get or you’re out of luck. 

That belief is driven by fear, which leads you to make bad decisions.  

There is so much opportunity out there. You could be doing the exact same thing that I do, but it doesn’t bother me because we’re different people. If I share my secret sauce, I’m not afraid that I won’t be successful because you could take it and run with it. 

That’s a scarcity mindset. I believe there’s enough to go around even if you’re in my niche and serve the same clients as I do. 

Fear Attracts The Wrong Clients

When you feel afraid, you attract the wrong kind of work. 

I’ve been in business for 15 years, and when we have one client leave because they’re not a good fit, the next day, we’ll get a more established, well-known client with a more significant retainer. That type of scenario has happened several times. 

The client that left wasn’t serving the vision for my business or the kind of life I want to have.

But I get it! It’s hard to let clients go or say no to working with someone. If you do turn down clients who you don’t really want to work with, you’ll be able to choose clients that you love, and you’ll do the kinds of services you love as well. 

Within the services we offer, there are parts of it I love to do. And there’s part of it that I have no interest in doing. That’s when I’m happy to pay the pros to come on board and be part of my team. They get great results and make us all look good. 

Saying No Gets Easier

Your mindset is the key to overcoming the challenge of feeling bad for saying no or feeling like you’re disappointing a client you no longer want to work with. 

Saying no is an act of service to them. If you think of it that way, you’ll find it much easier to do. It’s an act of kindness for them because it allows them to keep looking for the right fit for them. 

Remember that you want to build a business on your terms and with your vision. Your ideal client is out there waiting for you. Saying no is also much easier when you know and believe this. 

Saying no to clients who don’t fit with your vision will help you get filled up with the type of clients you’ll love to work with. This is part of the joy of building a profitable PR business.