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Stop Saying "Yes" to Stuff You Don't Do (Or Shouldn't Be Doing)

In this episode of the Happy Client Show, Andrew and Ben talk about the importance of saying "no" as an agency owner.

At an agency, it feels we never have enough money coming in, or never enough business. So we do whatever we can to take on more work to get the money. We say "YES" to everything.

This is a BAD habit that many new agency owners need to get out of. And FAST!


When GuavaBox was still young, we offered video production services. Results were lackluster and required a lot of time. Looking back, time that could've been used elsewhere in the business. GuavaBox didn't have the proficiency to be doing it.

Ben laments the time he took on a project for a large amount of money and the long process of regret and wishing it was all over.

It's a big mistake when we say "yes" to what we should say "no" to.

Saying yes may fix money issues fast, but will bring in long term headaches. You're less efficient, and the quality is lower when it's not a focus of your agency. This costs you time. Time that could be spent pursuing business that is right for you and building a more enjoyable agency.

It's always the toughest to say no when the money or offer is significant. Big money usually means big mistakes though if you're not ready for it. Making a misstep on a project risks hurting your reputation as an agency as well.

Here are two ways to avoid falling into the trap of "Yes."


Define as an what your guidelines are.

What type of business do you say yes or no to?

What's the smallest budget you'll take?

What type of services do you have the ability to fulfill?

What type of work don't you want to do?

What does your ideal client to work with look like?

If it does fit into your criteria, then don't take it! There are lots of businesses that need your help. Stick to your numbers and goals and what you need to do. Know your strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on what is best for your agency, you'll deliver better work and attract better clients.


Practice, practice, practice. Practice saying "no." This can be difficult at first. We want to make the client happy. We see a dollar sign and think "Oh, we need it and how hard can it be?" Wrong answer. It's always easy to get excited about potential business. But as an owner, you need to do your business a service and say "no" to prospects that aren't a good fit for you or your business.

Anyone that has been in the agency world long enough has war stories about the client or project they took on that they totally regret. Agencies have more regrets about clients or projects they said "yes" to than those they said "no" to.

What about sub-contracting?

You want the money. You're sure it'll be okay. It'll work out alright.

Ben advises against it. In his experience, it's difficult to manage and ensure the quality of output. You have less control. If a subcontractor drops the ball, you're responsible. With subcontracting, sometimes you'll find less about what to do than you do!

It's generally better to work on a partnership basis and be up front with the client the relationship. If you need to, make yourself the project manager but be clear that someone else is handling the work. This avoids any confusion and distrust. It will cause a lot of headaches as well if you don't and get found out, and quality suffers.

Saying "yes" to what you should say "no" to will hurt your ability to grow as an agency.

Saying "yes" all the time will make your life and business far less enjoyable.

So, take action today and start saying "No!"

Topics: Sales, Operations

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