Stress Management Series – Section 5 – Just Say No!
After being a work-at-home entrepreneur for over 10 years, I can attest that the toughest item on this list for me, personally, is learning to say no to potential clients or customers. When you work for yourself – especially in the early days – you’re not always sure where that next paycheck is coming from. And even when the customer roster is full this month, you can’t be positive the same will be true next month or the month after, so you tend to take on more work than you can comfortably perform. After all, aren’t a few nights of burning the midnight oil well worth the benefit of having a little more padding in the bank account?
The problem is, working too much to stay ahead causes us stress and job burnout – and it also makes spouses and families a tad angry! So we just exchange one stress point (finances) for another (overwork and family pressure). There is a solution, although you’re not going to like it. Set a limit and stick to it.
I know, I know, this is easier said than done. But I can honestly say that I’ve never had a customer or client disappear into thin air when I told him or her they had to wait a few weeks or months to work with me. In fact, it often shows that you’re in demand and that you can pick and choose who you work with, and when. And that’s a valuable trait, particularly when you want to command top rates for your expertise.
Think about the busiest restaurant you know of: the Hard Rock Cafe, the Cheesecake Factory, Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant, etc. The advance reservations notice these establishments require actually increases their mystique and reputation. Making your customers and clients wait can do the same for you!
Decide how many products you’re going to release, how many interviews you’re going to do, how many coaching clients you’re going to work with, how many articles you’ll write, or how many hours you’re going to work per week, and then stop. That’s it – no more.
One of the best ways to keep your work commitments at a tolerable level is to make a commitment to your family. You can start with committing to attending every softball game, every Scout meeting, and every recital. You can promise dinner each evening, or read out of a chapter book every night to your children. This will make you accountable to your own scheduled work day. You may feel a momentary pang of regret or anxiety when you tell a potential client “no” or “wait.” I’m willing to bet it will soon fade when you realize how much less stressed you are on a day-to-day basis, and how much happier your home life is!
You’ve set boundaries for your commitment to your clients. You’ll say the words “no” or “wait” to a client when the time constraints of a new assignment don’t fit within your agenda. You have now become the boss of your time. Does your family know that?
There you are sitting at your desk in your home office, available to everyone – kids, spouse, neighbors, friends – at a moments notice. You wanted to work at home so you COULD be available to your family, but what are the limits? We’ll explore the dichotomy of working at home in order to enjoy the flexibility and availability to the ones you love, and working at home in order to create a successful business which requires focused time away from distractions.
Stress Management Series
Download Entire Report [PDF]
I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis