When Is Saying No The Right Thing To Do?

Recently Glen Allsopp wrote a follow-up blog post to his announcement that he was writing a “For Dummies” book.

His new announcement? He was NOT writing the book anymore.

You can read all the reasons why Glen said no to a book deal in his blog post.

To put it simply, he didn’t like the format that the “Dummies” books are written in. If he wanted to be an author of one, he would have to conform, and he decided it was not for him.

Becoming a published author is something many people – especially bloggers – aspire to, Glen included based on his blog posts. I certainly feel the same.

Yet Glen decided after saying yes and announcing it with quite a bit of excitement to his audience, that he changed his mind and withdrew from the deal.

That’s not an easy decision to make, and I should know.

When No Is Right

Reading over Glen’s explanation for changing his mind I was reminded of a similar experience I had a few years ago.

It was 2009 and I was back in Australia after traveling around the world for most of 2008. I was sitting down with Andrew and Daryl Grant, two internet marketers who specialise in running live workshops, usually four day events that cover many of the core concepts behind successful online business.

Andrew and Daryl have become very good at using the live stage to teach and sell – and wow, can they ever make some big money doing it. Their training programs usually cost $15,000 to $25,000 and it’s not untypical for 30% of attendees at their weekend workshop to apply. They can easily make a million or two in sales from just one live event if enough people show up.

Since they became so good at this method of selling through teaching on stage, they started testing it with other people. They called it the “Ultimate Business Model“, partnering with other experts to run live workshops, offering coaching packages starting at $15,000.

They experienced success with other people, proving that they had a model that could work for different niches. They wanted to do the same partnering with me.

The plan at the time was to focus on the buying and selling websites aspect of what I can teach, although I was looking to massage that into a more 2-Hour Work Day concept since that was where I was heading with my training products. It also allowed me to expand into blogging and information marketing, not just website flipping, areas I have more experience with.

The Deal Was Done

I sat down with the Grants at the Gold Coast and enjoyed lunch poolside at their classy apartment complex.

They explained how their model worked. I was interested. It sounded challenging because it included lots of time on stage, something I have grown to enjoy, but it requires a lot of energy from me.

I felt ready to take the next step and become a stage speaker, at least for a year. The money of course sounded amazing. Although they weren’t promising anything specific, I could do the math. Running just four workshops a year could potentially net me a million dollars. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

We talked it out, I gave them a tentative yes after lunch and then left.

Driving back to Brisbane from the Gold Coast I started thinking about what I was up against. I’d have to do a lot more talking on stage, that I thought I could handle, although I know it would tire me out. I’d have to prepare a bunch of new presentations as well. Not a quick job, but doable.

The other challenge would be teaching all the people who paid such hefty amounts to join my coaching program. With them spending thousands of dollars I’d feel very obligated to deliver something worthy of their investment.

It wasn’t a small commitment. I’d basically be using most of my work time for the rest of the year on this project. It would be worth it financially for sure, but was I willing to invest the time?

I Changed My Mind

After about a month of pondering I decided I wasn’t going to do the live events.

I emailed the Grants asking to book a time to chat with them over the phone. We were due for a conversation to talk about the first event anyway, so they were ready to go.

My reasons for changing my mind were quite simple. At the time money wasn’t as important to me as growth in another area – relationships. I wanted to spend my time socialising, making new friends and dating, not preparing for and delivering events.

In the end it wasn’t a hard decision to make, but it certainly felt like I was giving up a pretty amazing opportunity. I was potentially saying no to a million dollars. Even writing that now makes me think wow.

The Grants were surprised by my decision – I was the first person to say no – but they were understanding. They know I have always been about lifestyle first, so my decision was inline with this ideal. I thanked them for the opportunity, they wished me good luck and got back to doing what they do.

That year, 2009, was a good one for me, both financially and socially. I set myself on a course to meet my relationship goals, which I know would not have happened if I said yes to live events. Financially it wasn’t too bad either, just doing what I always do. Not quite that million dollars, but good enough!

You can read more about how that year turned out in my 2009 recap article.

Knowing What You Want Helps You Say No

Clarifying what parts of your life you want to work on the most will help you decide when to say yes or no to certain projects.

At the time I had just done some serious traveling, so I didn’t need to expand my horizons on that front. I had made good money while traveling and was able to continue to make good money from my business without needing to invest too much more time. This was because my business model was highly leveraged.

Money, travel, time freedom – I had all these fundamentals aligned with my goals. On the relationships front, I didn’t. My friendship circle at the time was small and I wasn’t happy with my calendar – it needed a lot more fun events and fun people.



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What Are You Focusing On?

The important point I believe when it comes to any big decision like this is not to say yes just because it’s an “amazing opportunity” that other people would die for. You should never look at something as a one-time-only option. If you really want it, it will come again, probably in a better format at a better time.

Peer and societal pressure, not to mention the general notion that we should always be striving for bigger and better, especially when it comes to money, is a major pitfall to watch out for.

Bigger and better is good, but not to the detriment of other important areas of your life. At the risk of sounding like a cliche – balance and harmony is what life is all about, in my opinion.

The funny thing for me as I finish writing this article, is that I realise the pendulum has swung a little too far in the socialising direction and I need to get back to the business and money area (at least a little bit).

There is one particular stark reality this year in particular has shown me. Given I have a finite resource – my time – I almost always have to sacrifice something social in order to do something business, and vice versa. If I am to fit in exercise, family, food, business and social life (and throw in spiritual life for many people too), I can’t do every single one to the level I want to every day. There’s just not enough time.

You have to pick your focus on a day by day basis, say “no” when it’s the right time, say “yes” when it’s the right time, and do your best to maintain a stable balance across all areas, so no one part gets too out of whack.

…And thus is the key to a fulfilling life!

Easy right?

Yaro Starak
Saying Yes And No

About Yaro

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • “No” is the first two letters of “not yet”. To me ,saying no can also really build credibility and demand. thanks for the reminder.

  • Great post Yaro.

    Part of what you’re saying starts with clear awareness about what we want in life and how we want (and do) control our time. I can relate because in my “B” job I’m a real estate salesperson, and typically we do a lot of work up front, sometimes for months, for free. Realtors in the U.S. only get paid if a sale is made and the deal closes. Because I’m passionate about my website topic and want to spend time building my website, when it comes to selling real estate, this week I consciously decided to insist on “employment agreements” signed by people when they request my real estate services (e.g., showing property). The traditional thinking is not to tell prospects you want an employment agreement, but to work yourself silly to “get” the client and the sale, basically hoping months later that you get paid. This is because the thought is that prospects can just as easily get a realtor to work with them with no agreement. And they can… and now if they don’t want to sign an agreement with this realtor… they should.

    The working for free with no agreement has always felt wrong to me on a lot of levels.

    To get back to your topic, am I (or any of us) willing to invest time poorly? To invest time in other people’s agenda? To be paralyzed by societal “norms” of what we’re “supposed” to want and do?

    I challenge myself and others here to have the courage to say no and feel the empowerment that comes from it.


  • I am reminded of the phrase “luck favors the prepared.”

    Just think of how much you have to say “no” to in order to, for example, win a gold medal at the Olympics. Those athletes cannot say “yes” to cake and cookies every day like I do!

    I said “no” to television and video games for a few years. Built a business. Sold out for big money and my life has been amazing since then.

    Sometimes we can create our own opportunities, too. That is what I did when I used extreme focus to work on my site for so long. I pushed everything out of the way for a while and worked my tail off.

    This is an inspiring post, Yaro…thanks for putting it out there.

  • Good post. Anyway all your posts are good. However it’s important to stay in the middle and not get too far to one side, this throws us off balance. Yes, money is important, but always keep in mind that you want to be in control of it and not the other way around. That’s where meditation, at least for me, comes in. It shows us how to stay in the middle, no matter how poor or rich we are. Keep in touch and good luck, Hans

  • Saying yes all the time can often lead to down fall. As Patrick has said, he said No to most of the things people say Yes to all the time and those people are now still working their butts off an complaining. He isn’t 🙂

    Saying No to the right things is a very powerful move.
    Great post thanks.

  • I am in a position where I can start saying NO to clients who I am not really keen to work with. Saying YES to the right things or opportunities and working a little harder has given a lot of freedom now.

    Saying no to financial opportunity that conflicts with your beliefs or goals isn’t always easy, but it pays off in the end. I think you made the right decision. I have been to several live events where people sell from the stage and walked away thinking I’m glad I said no to their offers.

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