Over the last fifteen years of work experience that I’ve accumulated…. over the last twelve years of supervising people…. and over the last 2+ years of running my own business…… one of the most important skills I’ve acquired is something so very simple – I’ve learned to say “no.”
Yes, it sounds easy, but depending on who’s asking you to do something, it is not easy at all. Pressure tactics, guilt, and temptation all make it quite difficult.
I have built Rizzo Tees into the tiny micro-company that it is by keeping things simple. I have a website – that’s it. I’m not doing wholesale, I am not in stores, and I don’t do custom tee work. Back in early 2009, I had a very interesting offer come across my desk. A very kind gentleman offered me a free storefront in an up-and-coming local shopping district in the city of St. Louis.
(No, that’s not the store – I just had to spice up this post with some photography!)
I have to take that deal, right? Temptation! I mean, this is what being an entrepreneur is all about Taking risks? But…… it’s free! Where’s the risk? After initially declining, the deal got sweeter. The gentleman (who was a really nice dude) offered to help me get all set up in this space. It had broadband, a kitchen, offices, the retail area, and basement storage. Plus, he would assist in finding someone to run the store (after all, I have a day job), and we would just deduct their wages from the tee sales. Easy peasy. And spring is fast approaching, so we have to get started immediately. Pressure tactics!
Who knows where the road not traveled would have taken me, but running a store, while trying to succeed at a day job, improve my website and sales by night… this just didn’t make sense. I never pretend to know what I’ll be doing in two years – maybe a store will make sense in the future. But this was completely offtrack – it was nowhere near where my business plan was taking me. Who would this person be that runs the store? Shoplifting? Break-ins at night? Insurance? For a small company being run out of my basement, this would have added so much complication.
So I said no.
My wife and I own a 4-family apartment building. When we bought the building back in 2004, there were tenants with a chirpy dog. During our inspection of the building, we found a nice pile of steamy excrement on the hardwood floors. The owners of this dog also happened to like to yell at each other and throw remote controls at each other in fits of rage (I am not kidding). Goodbye people, time to move! Ever since then, we’ve stuck to a strict policy of no pets and no smoking. It keeps the building quiet and not smelling like smoke.
Every once in a while, we will have a vacancy that’s just a little hard to fill. When the calls come in, and the people have pets, I get tempted! Maybe I could just have them pay a little more. More money is good! It is at this point where my wife contorts her face just right, shooting me that look, like “What the hell are you thinking? Stick to the plan!” I even told a woman no, and she said, “Well, would you like to meet my cat?” No ma’am, I would not like to meet your cat.
I even had a person that said they had a dog, but it was dying. So after a few months, the dog wouldn’t be around any more, and so is that OK? No! (story was likely not true anyway).
Similar to my cases above, have you ever had a difficult time saying “no?” Leave a comment below and share your story.