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Last week I spoke about taking time out in January to set goals for the new year. One of the comments I made was that in order to take time out it might be necessary to say no to your clients for the sake of your own business. It was not surprising to see many comments expressing how hard it was to do that.

Peter Cook explained to me how important it was to spend time working ON my business years ago. When weeks went past and I hadn’t done that we had to address the reasons why.

WFD 20140115The biggest issue was that I didn’t know that it was OK to say no, sorry, that doesn’t work for me. I thought that growing my business meant that I had to say yes to everyone. What would they think of me if I said no? In my mind, saying yes meant I’m a nice person so saying no would infer that I wasn’t, wouldn’t it? The more bookkeepers I speak to the more I realise most suffer from this misconception to one degree or another. Pete gave me permission to prioritise what’s important to me and I would like to do the same for you.

It’s OK to put yourself, your family and your business first. When you do that you’ll find that you’re still a nice person, your clients who value you will respect you for it and you will be able to grow a bookkeeping business feeling fulfilled rather than burnt out. Stephen Covey, in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things”.

So if a client rings with an “urgent” matter and you’re tempted to push aside your priorities, once you’ve assessed the urgency, polity explain that you have another “appointment” at that time and suggest another time.