How Saying No Helped My Business Grow

Does this seem counter intuitive or what? If it does then read on…

I am one of those YES people. If an opportunity comes my way, my first instinct is to say YES. You want me to present for your students? I would love to! You want me to lead a Saturday morning music therapy group? Sure!

When you are as passionate as I am about music therapy, it’s easy to say yes to every opportunity that comes along. It’s exciting!

But it’s also draining. This hit me hard last year when I was lying in bed not wanting to get up. This was not the usual me! Typically, I spring out of bed, ready and excited to start the day. But this day in particular was part  of another week where I had worked a 7-day work week.

That meant that during the week I worked at UCP (my full-time, Monday-Friday 7:30am-3pm position). Afterwards, I drove and saw my private clients in their homes during the afternoon and evening hours. Following that, I completed all my ‘business’ work at night (blogging, emailing parents, writing reports, etc.). And that was only the weekdays! On Saturday mornings I would get up for my music therapy groups and library programs. Then on Sundays I would wake up for my group at the Friendship Circle. Whew!

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around I was beat. I didn’t want to do any thing else related to music therapy. I had lost some of the pizazz that I once had. This felt terrible because music therapy is my passion! I still felt it, but it wasn’t the same.

That was my wake up call. I needed to be more discerning about what I was saying YES to. And I needed to start saying NO to things that were “extra”….things that didn’t excite me…and things that would take away from the energy I put into the clients I already had.

Here are some of the changes I made:

– Hired a subcontractor to handle any future requests for music therapy services rather than adding “just one more session” to my packed week

– Moved my Saturday morning group to a Tuesday evening so I would have at least one day a week to stay in bed till noon if I so desired

– Carved out Wednesdays and Saturdays for blogging. No more random blogging. It’s scheduled.

Hiring a subcontractor has allowed me to connect inquiring parents with quality music therapy services without overloading my schedule to the point where I’m not giving the best of myself. Moving my Saturday morning group has given me a day to sleep in (always needed), a day to lounge by the pool, and a day to regroup for my next sessions. When I explained the reason for the move to the parents, they were more than understanding. And I know they appreciated me being forthright with them. Setting a dedicated time for blogging has helped me maintain a consistent schedule to get my ideas out and connect with my readers. (I hope they appreciate that, too!)

Saying NO to “just one more thing” has allowed me to put more time and love into treating the clients I already have. I have more energy and can give them 100%, which is what they deserve.

Time to Take Action!

Leave a comment below and let us know: How you handle the multitude of things going on in your life? How do you graciously say no when you have too much on your plate?


Comments (6)

  • Kristin Noel Veteto

    As a new business owner (celebrating our 1 year coming in August) this is a great reminder. I have felt the loss of passion at times with a growing business, masters program to finish, thesis, church commitments…o and being a wife, sister, friend, daughter….all positions we hold that we don’t necessarily schedule in time to do! I am currently in a “regroup and readjust” period..this is coming at a perfect time for me! Thank you for the reminder! I love the idea of scheduling in blogging!

    • Amy

      Hi Kristin,
      You are very right ~ I forgot to include all those other important committments aside from our business – our family, our spiritual life, OURSELVES! I’m so glad this resonated with you!
      Amy 🙂

  • Megan

    I can TOTALLY resonate with this post! I tend to be a “yes girl”, myself and have learned the hard way (several times) that I need to be much more discerning about how freely I give away my energy. It’s awesome that you were able to take a step back and move some things around so they worked for you!! Something we all need to do every once and a while!


    • Amy

      Thanks for your comment Megan! I think many of us music therapists are “yes girls.” I’m glad you can relate to this post!
      Amy 🙂

  • Bonnie Hayhurst

    Wonderful post, Amy! I can certainly relate as I too have hired on several sub-contractors in the past few months to provide services to new clients and maintain a healthy balance of clients and contracts myself. Thank you for sharing this important two-letter word with us! =)

    • Amy

      Thanks for your feedback Bonnie! I’m SO glad to see that so many people out there can relate!
      Amy 🙂


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