Virtual Assistants Have a Hard Time With Saying NO

I’d like to chat about a VERY important topic.  It’s a little word but it’s one so many of us in the Virtual Assistant community have trouble with.
It’s the word NO.
When was the last time you said the word no …

  • to an unrealistic deadline?
  • to a client that you really weren’t that interested in working with?
  • to a current client that you didn’t really want to continue working with?
  • to just working way too much?
  • to a project that you really didn’t have the skills to complete?

Let’s face it — it’s a common ‘issue’ amongst the Virtual Profession — we have a genuine interest in helping people – even if it means putting ourselves in a not-so-great situation.
The problem is, when we continue saying yes to everything and everyone, we’re really doing a disservice to them (and to ourselves also).
I’d like you to turn the negativeness of the word no into a positive.
Think of it this way.
When you say yes to every request, every client, everything …. you end up working all the time, you disappoint yourself by not sticking to your boundaries, you overwork yourself, you get tired and eventually you start to question whether it’s all worth it.
Not to mention, you start to slip and your client’s notice this … they become less and less satisfied, think you’re not paying attention to detail and so on.
Eventually a bit of tension may result in your client relationships.
So what if you said ‘no’ instead of yes to everything? 
Let’s explore this ….
You say no to an unrealistic request or deadline >> you stick to your boundaries, your client starts to realize and understand they cannot make these kind of requests and they understand what you can and can’t do.
You say no a potential new client who you’re ‘pit of the stomach’ feeling says is not a good match >> you avoid any uncomfortable situations with them, and realistically, by saying no, you are really saying “I’m not the right person to assist you — you would be better off working with someone who can really benefit you.”
When you say no to a current client who you feel you can no longer (or don’t want to work with) >> you are allowing them to work with someone who can better support them.
So next time you feel ‘ick’ about a situation,  and before you say yes, listen to your gutt and really determine if this is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ situation.
It may be a bit challenging to say no at first, but over time it will get easier and easier and you will better for standing your ground and working within your own boundaries.
Remember, you are a professional and people come to you because of your expertise.  Stand up tall, be confident and be clear about what you want.


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7 Responses to “Virtual Assistants Have a Hard Time With Saying NO”

  1. Ana Lucia Novak Says:

    Hi Cindy,
    Great post. I’ve been struggling with saying “No” to new projects clients give me. Granted, I love my clients and am passionate about helping them. The issue I have is, I get caught off guard, and my mouth speaks before my brain can absorb, analyze the situation and weigh it out. I also need to be
    proactive in asking questions to them and myself, “how much more time do I allot this for”?,
    “Will I be compensated for this additional piece of work”? etc.

    I want to do a good job for my clients, but I think it’s important to realistically assess
    timelines – now that I’ve been in the trenches, I have a better idea on how long it takes
    to upload articles into 10 directories, and and setting up accounts, etc. Anyhow, great article!! Thanks for the timely tips!

  2. Lisa Olinda Says:

    Cindy I recently let a client go and said “no”. They kept wanting to give me more money but I stood firm. It was not a good fit for my business. Thank you for reminding us to say “no”!

  3. Angelic DAvila Says:

    I think this is exactly what I am facing now. I sent a letter of inquiry about a post and got back a response the would be anyone’s dream job. However, he expects me to act as an employer and not an independent contractor. I know I am going to have to turn it down, but its hard.

  4. Shauna, Secret Secretary Says:

    Love the use of the word ‘ick’ that’s exactly what it feels like for we “YES” people!

    I’m slowly getting better at realising I’m a professional now and not an employee, that’s the hardest adjustment I’ve had in starting my own business.

  5. Jaylene Gonyea Says:

    Hey Cindy,

    As usual, your advice is timely and extremely helpful. Saying no is truly a challenge for a lot of us, but it is also very important to both our own and our clients’ success! Kudos to a great article.

  6. Teresa Says:

    ICK. Yes , have new high profile client and he asked me to work Memorial day ( previously discussed me being out of town) . I stated I would be out of town.
    Memorial day he texted to ask me again . I did not respond as a way to ” train” him that when I am out of town, I am OUT of town.
    Difficult for me as the urge is to please……….

  7. Theresa ABetterYouCoach Says:

    Yep, I’m a firm believer in the concept that we teach people how to treat us, and by sometimes saying No we actually let others know that we have needs and boundaries that they might otherwise not recognize.

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