Early on, I took on just about every project that was offered to my marketing company. Sometimes there were projects I really wasn’t qualified to take on, and I paid the price in the time it took to get them done (and with the less-than-satisfied customers). I was just desperate to get a foothold, and to pay my bills.
Fast forward nearly six years after I founded Egg. I know how to say no. I know how to turn down the projects that I can’t excel at, and I do so regularly. What shifted for me?
Step 1: Identify What You’re Good At
I started paying attention to the projects I got done quickly. The ones I could turn out stellar work on, and deliver before the deadline. Turns out, these were the ones I enjoyed the best. I wanted more of them. But when I was still being dragged down with projects I didn’t enjoy, all for the sake of money, there was no way I could focus on taking more of what I was good at.
Think about your line of products or services. Some realize better profits, take less time to complete and are more fun to work with. These are the ones you want to zero in on.
Step 2: Admit What’s Dragging You Down
On the converse, I had to take a look at those projects that I dreaded doing. I had to admit that saying yes to everything wasn’t beneficial for the growth of my company. I began to look at the industries I received leads from, and identified the ones I didn’t feel qualified to deliver stellar results in. I looked at types of services that took too long to complete. I mentally made a list of what I didn’t want to do more of. And the next time a lead came in that was on this list, I politely turned them down.
It can be scary to turn down business, especially when you’re not making a lot of money. But as soon as you do, you start to attract more of the types of customers you really want more of.
Step 3: Keep Focused
As any small business owner knows, it can be scary to swing from project to project. You may not know what’s around the corner financially, and that can make you more inclined to take on work that you shouldn’t. But trust me; I speak from experience. It’s best to get really good at the handful of things you enjoy working on and let someone else handle the rest. The added perk is that you beef up your experience in this field, and start getting word-of-mouth referrals for your great work!
Now…what will you let go of?
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
Photo: JefferyTurner on Flickr.