How to Say "No" Kindly and Professionally | With Grace and Gold

Since 2014, With Grace and Gold® has provided award-winning brand and web design for more than 400 creative business owners.

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How to Say “No” Kindly and Professionally

April 6, 2019

We're award-winning designers, educators, and encouragers. Since 2014, we have provided purposeful branding, web design, and education for more than 300 creative in women in business — just like you!

Here, you'll find an expertly-curated collection of resources and education for your small business success!


We're Andra and Kelly!

@withgraceandgold • 18.6K

The With Grace and Gold Workshop is underway, and we’re so honored to be serving a dedicated group of designers and creative business owners who are ready to experience success and sustainability in their business journey. One topic several of our attendees are experiencing trouble with is: How to say no.

Before we dive in, though, you may not even realize you’re saying yes too often. Some ways to discover if you’re saying yes too often are:

How to Discover If You’re Saying Yes Too Often

  • You find yourself doing projects you don’t actually offer. For example, you’re a wedding stationery designer, who offers wedding stationery design services — but because you’re a designer, friends, family, and prospective clients ask you to do brand design. You say yes, because you’re capable of designing a brand — and you find yourself busy doing projects you don’t actually offer or want to offer.
  • You are too busy and swamped with client work. You’re afraid to miss out on potential revenue, so you say yes to too many projects and are now busy and swamped with client work. Having work to do can be a sign of success — but it can also be a sign you’ve said yes to too many projects at once.
  • You feel like you don’t have time to get back to the parts of your business you do love. We love the quote, “When you say yes to the wrong things, you’re saying no to the right things.” This is so true! If you’ve been saying yes to things that bring you further and further from the business you love running — it’s time to learn how to say no and get back to what you do best!

So, if you find yourself experiencing these hiccups in your business — don’t worry! You’re not alone. Today, we’re excited to share how to say “no” kindly and professionally.

How to Say No Kindly and Professionally

How to Say “No” Kindly and Professionally

  1. First, remember saying no doesn’t need to be an “all or nothing” decision. When you say no to someone, remember, saying no doesn’t need to be an all or nothing decision. Maybe there is a happy medium you can arrive at. Maybe there is an alternative you can present. So many creative business owners we’ve spoken with have said “I’m a people pleaser.” Keep in mind, pleasing people is about doing the right thing for them — helping to put them in a better place than they were when they first reached out to you. Sometimes, this means you’ll serve them directly. Other times, this means you’ll present a better option to them. Be open to the idea that saying no isn’t a bad thing — it can actually be helpful!
  2. Next, provide a reason why. Provide a reason why you’re saying no. Often times at With Grace and Gold, we begin this explanation with “At this time, our offerings include…” Or, “At this time, we are focusing wholeheartedly on…” That way, we’re sharing the reason why we’re unable to help someone. Knowing why can provide peace of mind, and it can also help to clarify what you do offer.
  3. Lastly, provide an alternative. Lastly, provide an alternative option. “At this time, our offerings include only full design experiences. Here, we’ve provided our recommendations for talented fellow designers who can serve you through…” Always provide an alternative so that your decision to say no is still rooted in your desire to serve and uplift the person who you’re saying no to.

We are so hopeful these tips help to guide you toward saying “Yes” to all the right things in your business journey!

Kelly and Andra of With Grace and Gold®


We're award-winning designers, educators, and encouragers. Since 2014, we have provided purposeful branding, web design, and education for more than 300 creative business owners — just like you!

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