How to Say No More Often: The Cost of Being a “Yes-Man”

How to Say No More Often

I’ve spent most of my life afraid to disappoint people. This has caused me to put myself after everyone and everything else, especially work. Work first, play last, I’d think to myself. I would take on projects or serve on committees even when my schedule was already full. The new crafts I’ve been dying to do would be put off, and that time would be given to something else. I truly always wanted to help people, and I believed I was being helpful by always saying ‘yes.’ What I’ve realized, though, is that no one really wins when you take on too much. So, I’ve learned how to say no more often, and in today’s post, I cover how you can too.

The Cost of Being a “Yes-Man”

It’s important to realize the cost of being a “Yes-(Wo)man.” While you should strive to be selfless, it is also absolutely OK to have selfish moments. When you commit to everyone and every task, you leave little room for rest, both physically and mentally. But, more importantly, you leave little room for yourself. In fact, Psychology Today advises to actually schedule time for solitude, in this 2012 article by Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy. D.

Solitude, she writes, “helps to improve concentration and increase productivity.” The more you are able to concentrate, the more productive you will find yourself to be. Wasted time can be reduced or completely eliminated through this process.

For me personally, I found myself to always be thinking about the next thing I had to do, instead of just dedicating all my attention to the task at hand. It caused feelings of resentment as well. Granted, at this point in my life, I was also working a full-time job, started two side businesses, and was the Marketing Chair of more than one committee plus served as a board member for my local arts council. As you can see, the word “no” was essentially non-existent. But, I dove into all these side projects because I truly believed in them and enjoy being part of a greater cause. So, how do you know what to say no to? How do you do this without offending anyone?

How to Say No More Often

It is definitely possible to still be helpful while also staying true and mindful to yourself. Here are my suggestions:

Prioritize

When choosing what to take off your commitment list, begin by prioritizing. What is causing you more harm than good? Is there anything that you are not fully connected to or feel you are failing to meet expectations due to lack of time (or energy)? What are absolute musts that you cannot get rid of?

Prioritizing is not just job or community-related; it also refers to friends and family. Do you over-extend yourself to certain people who may not return the favor in your own times of need? Learn to let go of those feelings of obligation for people who cause more stress and pain in your life. It may be time to make some cuts for your health.

Ask Who (or What) You’re Serving

If you serve as a volunteer on a committee, do you believe in the cause? Or, is it that you just agreed to sign up because you were asked and did not want to say no? When using your free time to donate to others, consider why you chose to do so. Commitments in your life that just take up free space in your mind without meaning may need to get pushed aside until you have fewer responsibilities.

Actually Saying the Word No

The hardest part is surely actually saying no, but don’t overthink it.  Once you know how to say no, you’ll see more people understand than what you originally thought. If work is the main culprit, you can also let your employer know when you are unable or unrealistically able to take on more work. Be respectful, of course. Approach your boss in a professional way, showing him or her your present workload. Be sure to explain your concerns about productivity and discuss alternative solutions. Together, you may find other efficient ways to complete the work. This recently happened to a friend of mine, and he was able to show his employer that he needed more help in his department in order to continue with business growth.

You might find that as you begin turning down projects and people more, some individuals may be left disappointed. However, their disappointment (if existent) will quickly dissipate and your mental health will improve. Be honest with not only the people involved but also yourself. Let people know how busy you are right now but thank them for thinking of you. Another way to say it would be informing them you, unfortunately, cannot commit and worry you would not be about to put forth 100% energy to their request, even if it is just a party invitation. How much time can you actually give to extracurricular activities?

When you transform from being on board to everything to picking and choosing, you’ll notice the quality of your current commitments will be better than ever. This process of practicing how to say no creates a healthy relationship with being helpful…and yourself.

Are you a “Yes-(Wo)man?” What challenges have you or do you notice in your own life?

Starting Your Own Business on a Budget: Tips & Tricks

starting your own business on a budget

Starting your own business can seem unattainable, especially when you have limited funds to work with. When thinking about launching, you might feel as though you need a large sum of money in order to even begin. But, I have good news; this is not always the case. In fact, I was able to start my own business for roughly $650, including the paperwork to register as a limited liability company (LLC). I still have yet to take out a business loan. So, fret not; starting your own business on a budget (and without a loan) is possible, and the following are some tricks and tips to help you launch:

Starting Your Own Business On a Budget

Don’t quit your day job:

Normally, “don’t quit your day job” implies you should not pursue anything more than what you are currently doing for money. But, when I say this, I mean maintain your full-time job as you develop your dream. Spend a few hours every night after work (or at your leisure, depending on your level of motivation to start) developing your business plan. Know that you want to start a business but unsure where to begin? Pick something you are passionate about or very knowledgeable in.

As you start the process, plug away some money from your full-time job each month for your business. Even if it is jus $20 a month, every little bit helps and will make launching more of a reality.

Reach out to friends:

Assuming you have already done your market research and developed a business plan, you can reach out to supportive friends who may be willing to help you with certain services you may need to move forward.

For example, if you are a copywriter needing a logo, see if one of your friends in graphic design would be willing to do a trade for service and/or a discounted rate to create your identity. Most of the time, you will most likely find someone willing to help. Even your friends with a background in law may be available to provide some tips on getting started with paperwork or offer a lower rate to help. You can also use the money you’ve been saying from your full-time job to pay for these services up front. Never assume your friends will do it for free; they are, after all, also in business and need to make money too. Also, don’t forget to refer them and spread the love! They will appreciate your word of mouth referral more than you know.

Start online:

The internet is full of amazing opportunities. You can easily start your business online through the creation of a website. Sites like Weebly, Wix, and even WordPress.com all are great platforms to begin on a budget as they all offer templates you can work off of with zero web design skills. With these, you’ll also need to purchase a domain name (AKA your business web address), a process they each walk you through when you sign up. When using WordPress, you will also need a hosting site, which is basically a home for your domain name. Weebly and Wix have theirs built in to their platforms, but their customization is not as advanced as WordPress. Bluehost or GoDaddy.com are both examples of where you can find hosting sites. Again, you may want to reach out to a friend or use a consultation with a marketing company to help you get started with this particular process, as it can sometimes be complicated.

In addition to a website, you can now sell items on Facebook. If you do not want to upgrade your site to be secure enough to sell items (all websites need to have what is known as an SSL certificate when selling items or even collecting emails, which protects private information of site visitors), you can create an account at Shopify.com and connect it to your Facebook page or use Facebook as your store. You will need, however, a PayPal or Square account in order to move forward.

Starting online allows you to save on initial overhead costs (other than your website) on a brick-and-mortar. But, you can surely invest in a physical location after getting your feet wet. This all depends on whether your business would benefit on a physical address or if you can survive solely online.

Make it a side hustle and have supplementary income:

Starting your own business on a budget does not mean you have to wait until you are no longer at your full-time job to begin. You can start with it as a side hustle and continue to grow it until you are ready to be full-time. By all means, you can also make it your primary focus and help your financial situation with a supplementary income until you start seeing a profit in your business. House sitting, dog walking, and freelancing are all examples of easy ways to get this going. You could also use the money from your supplementary income to invest into your business if you needed the extra funding for a special project.

Grow through networking:

Networking is an especially cost-effective way to grow your business. No matter what industry you are in, everyone can benefit from networking. Check your local events calendar to see where opportunities may be for you to meet prospects. You can also utilize your existing connections or memberships to grow. For instance, if you have a gym membership, and you are starting a catering business, you can reach out to the gym manager or members who work at local businesses to see if they would be interested in your services.

All in all, know that starting your own business on a budget can be done. No matter what, though, it always takes consistency and a lot of work in order to make it happen.

Have you been dreaming of starting your own business or have you already? What tips would you add to the list? 

How to Bounce Back from Taxes as a Business Owner

how to bounce back from taxes as a business owner

Running your own business is no easy task, but it can be especially difficult during tax season. From the moment you meet with your accountant to writing that big check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your shoulders tend to be clenched tighter than a boxer in the middle of a fight. But, the good news is that once you pull off that band-aid, there are ways you can easily recover. The following are just a few ways to bounce back from taxes as a business owner:



How to Bounce Back from Taxes as a Business Owner

Create a Passive Income Stream

Relying on one source of income can be straining, even in the business world. When you only have one revenue stream, your business is reliant on customers buying products or services, both of which can fluctuate in different seasons. By creating a passive income for your business, you’ll stress less about sales and be able to put more into the business. Business blogging, YouTube videos, an app for your business are all great examples of a passive income that you could start utilizing this year.

Re-evaluate Your Expenses

Now is as good a time as any to really dive into your expenses. As a fellow business owner, I completely understand how daunting this is; however, it’s important to regularly check on what you’re spending money on in the business and how necessary those expenses may be. For instance, in my own business, we noticed we had a couple subscriptions that really did not give us much more value than their free versions, nor do we use them all that often. We decided to cancel these and use this money elsewhere like more advertising and growing our savings account (more the come on that later).

Reach Out to Leads

Although it may seem counterintuitive to invest in advertising right now, this is actually a prime time to do so, particularly if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) establishment. Consumers will receive their income checks soon (if they have not already) and may feel ready to spend. For those who are business-to-business (B2B), your potential clientele may also be ready to buy now that the stress of tax season is primarily out of the way. They, too, will be looking for ways to bounce back from taxes, and you may just be the key.

If you do have a smaller advertising budget, you can still reach leads through networking. This is one of the best ways to get attention to your company. With options available both online and offline, you should be able to sign up new business in no time. (As long as you are being consistent, that is.)

Start a Savings & File Quarterly

If you dread taxes every year (and who doesn’t?), look into filing quarterly, if you do not already. This is highly recommended and suggested by many to avoid paying such a large lump sum at once. My business partner and I decided from the day we opened our virtual doors for business that we were going to keep a percentage of our revenue in savings specifically for taxes so that we were not worrying about where to come up with the money. Keep a minimum of 30% of your net profit in a separate account at all times so that you have a better idea of where you stand. This will reduce the stress of taxes and keep your head in the game so that you can do what you do best — run your business.

What tips would you add on how to bounce back from taxes as a business owner