I call taking on business that you really shouldn’t take on as being in “the yes trap”.
For example, saying yes to:
- Business which involves excessive amounts of time in ratio to what you have charged.
- A demanding client who drains time and resources.
- Business which is well outside the core focus of your business.
I can recall making this mistake frequently when I first started out in business. I still find myself doing it occasionally!
Why did I say yes to work that I really should have said no to?
- I wanted as much experience as possible, no matter what shape it took.
- I thought something is better than nothing.
- I didn’t want to miss a golden opportunity … what if I accidentally said no to the perfect opportunity.
- I wanted to impress and please all prospects.
- Fear … what if I say no and then no other work comes along?
- The potential for more work resulting from an opportunity.
The consequence of not setting boundaries is that I wasted a huge amount of time and energy for little reward. It limited my ability to take on more good business as well as limiting my time to work on my existing business. I ended up feeling frustrated, unvalued and unhappy with the work and I may not perform at my usual high standard as a result.
I have learnt many valuable lessons by saying yes when I shouldn’t have, which prevents me from doing it so often now:
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- There is always more business – so don’t be afraid of saying no.
- Saying no builds respect for the work you choose to do.
- Setting clear boundaries is important.
- I am a better coach when I am doing the sort of work I really enjoy.
- I have limited time and energy – so it is important to respect what sort of work I invest myself in.
The yes trap is an important part of the learning curve of business. It helps you gain clarity about what sort of business you really want to take on and understand the importance of setting boundaries to support that.
Are you in the yes trap? If you are, consider what you need to do to step out of it…