James Altucher is a weird genius I follow online. He wrote this in one of his posts about saying No
“The only way to avoid wasting time is to say no as much as possible. Give a dollar to charity every time you say no. Flush ten dollars down the toilet every time you say yes”
Saying No takes courage, and very successful people tell us saying No is an important skill to master.
Warren Buffet once said “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
But for fear of hurting others, hurting our reputation, living up to expectations, or feeling guilty we ignore the very popular wise song ‘Do not say Yes when you mean to say No’. We still go ahead to say Yes.
I wish I can tell you I now know the perfect time to say yes and no, but I don’t, maybe like you, I really struggle with this too.
Adam Grant, a Wharton professor wrote “if you want something done, ask a busy person. The old saying rings true, but it also spells doom for that busy person,” “When you develop a reputation for being responsive and generous, an ever-expanding mountain of requests will come your way.”
I found a way that works a little bit and I also learn from one of my colleagues, Mark. Mark is British and he handles requests particularly well, he gives you his hourly rate based on how long he thinks it will take him to get it done. He is good guy, fair in his dealings and puts a price on his time.
I was speaking at a Youth event recently and I gave them the simple formula I use to charge for my skills or services (I.e. my time) because I noticed Christians really struggle with this since we feel guilty when we are not doing things for free. The following might help you too.
Let us assume you are working or run a business. First thing is to calculate how much you earn a month and how many hours you work a month.
Find your hourly rate using this formula:
Earnings per month / (divided by) Hours worked per month.
e.g N500,000 / 160 = N3,125 / hour.
This is relatively how much your employer values your time and since you agreed with them, it can be a start to how much you charge for your time too. When anyone asks you to do something for them, figure out how much time it will take e.g it takes me about 4 hours to research, write, edit and publish a blog post. Using the earnings above (not my actual earnings) it means if an organization wants me to write content for their blog I should be charging 4 hours x N3,125 = N12,500
For every ‘unnecessary’ free work I do, I am losing about N3K/hour and at the same time reducing the amount of time left to do meaningful paid work.
Note: This is not written in stone, but it gives you an overview of your current hourly rate.
Is this something you’ll like to learn more about and how I put together the pricing for my services? Subscribe below to let me know maybe I can develop a product to teach you what I do. I will only embark on this if the response is good.
While I am not saying you should not be charitable, for many people, saying yes makes them cry on the inside, but they cannot stop saying it!
Here’s what you need to remember, saying No frees you up to say Yes when it matters most.
Well, here are a few ways to say No courteously and with courage:
- Sure I can help you with that. It will take about 20 minutes of my time and that will cost you N1,000 Are you happy for me to go ahead?
- The Deferral: “I’m swamped right now, but feel free to follow up”
- The Referral: “I’m not qualified to do what you’re asking, but here’s something else”
- The Introduction: “This isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I know someone who might be helpful”
Question: Do you struggle with saying No too? Share your story and how have you overcome it.