Next in our customer service series is an important topic: Sometimes we need to say no. It is hard to do. I know. But it is incredibly important. There are many reasons to say no, and developing the ability to do so without guilt and in a professional way is essential for success.
I have invited Molly from Spearmint Spruce to share more on this important topic. I love how Molly handles her small business and her approach to customer service.
Take it away Molly...
As a maker, it is a constant struggle to find balance. To not overload yourself, but also to push and challenge yourself to grow. And who wants to turn down a chance to make some extra money? So I have comprised a little check list to help decide when you can (and probably should) say no! And a few examples to follow.
If you are saying yes to these questions, then it might be time to say no:
1. Will it take away too much time to be with your family and those around you?
2. Will it add unnecessary stress or anxiety to rob you of the joy of making?
3. Will it take more time to figure out than is worth your profit?
4. Do you already feel stretched too think or overloaded?
I know, this is supposed to be a blog post about saying no. However, if you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should absolutely say no to the request. It does not have to be a permanent no, but it should be a no for now. Let me explain a bit why it is important:
Every maker is different - some are students, some are mamas, some are part-time, full-time, any-time makers. Family and those you consider family, should never take a back seat to your business. This life is too short to spend all your time working (no matter how much you enjoy it!) and not enough time with family. The balance is hard, but oh man is it worth it.
If you take on more orders than you have time for, your quality will suffer...either the quality of your product or the quality of your life. If it stresses you out or adds anxiety - say no! You want to enjoy what you do, and if taking on too much robs you of that joy, then it is time to say no. Make notes of how much is too much and be diligent on sticking to that number. The number that still allows your success, but also your enjoyment.
So many times I get asked, "can you make this for me?" and usually the answer is yes. However, unless it is something fairly simple, then the amount of time it will take to figure out how to do it will significantly take away from my profit as well as my time to be working on my specialty items. For so long I was a "jack of all trades, master to none". Basically saying, I could do several things pretty well, but it wasn't until I truly found my niche that I could perfect my items and offer them with great pride. So yes, I can probably make that for you, but it isn't worth it at this point. I would rather point you in the direction of someone who specializes in that product! And we will all be the happier for it!
If you already feel like you have too much on your plate, chances are it is time to say no. If you are stretched too thin, you will break. And that extra order or collaboration will do you no good. Your sanity is more important than anything. The holidays are a time especially when we find it hard to say no. I am in the midst of still trying to remember that it is ok to say no. Even if it is a friend or family member, this is your business - something that you worked hard to build. It is ok to do what is right and healthy for you and your business!
I wish I could say I have arrived - I have finally figured out how and when to say no every time. Alas, I have not. But I do know how to be more aware and to work harder to have boundaries of when to say yes and when to say no.
I hope you are encouraged to say no when you need to. Get rid of the guilt or that feeling of missed opportunity. You will see growth and success when you are more balanced and are enjoying what you are doing! Happy making, friends!