The Greatest Business Advice I Ever Received
Today I'm gonna share a piece of advice I got from my dad when I was little that has dramatically changed my business and life. It's simple, easy to implement, and practically guaranteed to make a huge difference in your life. Ready for this wisdom? Here it is:
SAY YES TO EVERYTHING UNTIL YOU CAN SAY NO
There it is. Simple right? Seems easy enough. Well, that's the trick. It's easy to say but it's hard to execute, and execution is the name of the game.
Let me share an example with you so you can better understand the impacts saying yes to everything can have. My sister and I both grew up with my dad telling us to say yes to everything we could. He told us a bunch of other stuff too but that wisdom is for another day.
When opportunities came up, and they did, I would jump on them. No matter how shitty they were. Want to mow the lawn for $15 bucks - yes. Want to shovel the snow off the neighbor's path for $10 - yes. Want to watch someone's cat over the holidays - sure. I need someone to clean the cages at work for $1 an hour - okay I'm down. Because my dad had trained me to say yes, I always said yes.
My sister on the other hand always had her own another agenda. She'd always say yes unless a friend wanted to hang out, or a good TV show was on, or she was tired and wanted to chill. She ended up saying yes only about 40% of the time. People would ask me first to do odd jobs because they knew I would say yes. They wouldn't even bother asking my sister.
As time went on things started to build on each other. People who I always helped started telling their friends and family that I might be available for their odd jobs or pet care needs. Then they would call me and I'd say yes. I basically said yes to everything that came my way unless I was already booked.
Fast forward a few years and now my entire pet sitting business is built on the fact that I said yes to everything when I was younger and things grew organically. Even now when I get stuck in my business I just say yes to everything and anything that comes my way. Saying yes to things just seems to have a magical way to pulling you out of any kind of slump you are in.
My little sister on the other hand? Well, she never got the reputation of saying yes, so people stopped asking, and now when she is strapped for cash she can't rely on a stream of odd job requests because she has built a reputation for saying no.
At this point you might be thinking, "cute story Kelsey. Glad you could made some extra cash. I'm trying to get high end clients though and everywhere I look 'experts' are telling me to be picky and say no, so why would I start saying yes to everything now?" Well you are right, everywhere you look people are telling you to say no and be picky and if you are well established that makes sense, but if you aren't and you don't already have a steady stream of great clients then it's time to stop listening to everyone else.
When you are starting out you simply can't afford to say no. It's just plain business. If you just opened a store and are struggling to pay rent and all your expenses and a potential customer comes in looking to buy are you going to turn them away because you didn't like their accent or hate their hat? You're going to be heading straight for bankruptcy if you do!
Take my current business for example. I have said yes to the worst jobs ever because I needed money, and I didn't have a fully booked month. I had to say yes to keep things going. I didn't have the luxury to say no. Like my dad said, say yes until you can say no.
Now that my business is growing, there are months when I'm so busy that I can pick and choose my jobs. If I like one job more than the other then I will say no to the one I like less. When you work your way up until you finally reach a point when you can start saying no it's just magical. You feel like you are really on your way. It all starts with saying yes though and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
What's important to remember is that when you say no to something you aren't just saying no to that job. You are also saying no to every opportunity that could arise because of that job. Not every opportunity is going to lead to a string of new opportunities but some will and if you say no you could potentially be missing out on multiple great connections.
If you don't believe me go listen to a few episodes of Gary Vee. The guy is a freaking multi-millionaire and runs a 100 million dollar company and he still talks about the importance of saying yes and taking opportunities when they arise. It's that important.
How do you execute and actually say yes to everything?
Let's be real. It's not hard to understand what 'say yes to everything' means but, it can be hard to figure out if you should say yes in a few different situations. Here are some guidelines to make sure you don't get tripped up:
- If your schedule is tight. This can be tricky because you don't want to put yourself in a position where you simply can't deliver. If there is a way to pull it off (even if it kinda sucks) I would advise you to say yes, but if the scheduling is going to put you in a really tough spot or make it impossible you for to accomplish something I would say give it a pass.
Conflicts that aren't work-related generally get rescheduled so I can take the job. When I have to build in free time because my schedule is overflowing is the only time I will say no to a job because I made personal plans. I am pretty strict about this but you can make your own guidelines.
- If you aren't an expert in what you have been asked to do. If you get asked to code a website and you have no idea how to do it obviously you are going to say no, but if you are asked to take someone's pictures and you aren't a photographer but you dabble a little I would strongly consider saying yes. The key is just to make sure that you communicate appropriately with whoever asks you and tell them that you aren't a professional but you can still provide X services.
If it's a reasonably simple task then you can fudge it and learn on the job. Don't be scared to say yes to something because you don't know it inside and out yet!
- If you think the job is unethical or dangerous in some way. I feel like this goes without saying but if you have a bad vibe about the job give it a pass.
Those are pretty much the only guidelines I have. It really is about saying yes and then making it happen. One thing is for sure though, when you open yourself up to possibilities and never turn down an opportunity there is no way your business and life won't change.
If you are feeling stuck in business or are struggling to get something off the ground try not being as narrow in your thinking and start saying yes to whatever comes your way. You never know where it will take your business!
What do you think about this? Leave a comment below and let me know!