Episode 85 - The Power of Saying No

Season #3

Jessie and Quynh discuss how powerful it is to say no to certain projects. Learn how they judge when to turn down work and which factors you should weigh.


When starting out as a paper florist, every paid project feels like a blessing. You’re grateful for the money, the exposure, and the experience. But at some point, you’ll have to say no to a job. Maybe you don’t have the time, or maybe it’s more complicated: you’re starting to lose the joy that you first felt when making paper flowers. 


So how do you decide when to say no to new work?

It’s not easy, we know. That’s why we talked all about it in our latest episode of Paper Talk. We delved into the factors you should consider, red flags to watch out for, and how to structure contracts to protect yourself when unforeseen circumstances turn a yes into a no late in the game.

We covered a lot of ground in the episode. Here’s a little taste of some of our advice when it comes to making a decision about a new project.


Find Your Style

Yes, we know—this is a big topic that is worthy of its own episode (like this one!). While we don’t have the space to discuss how to find your artistic voice here, we do want to emphasize why it’s important when it comes to saying no. 

When you do the work to find your style, you’re really figuring out what brings you joy. You know what will feel authentic and satisfying. You’ll make things that you are proud of. If you can articulate what your style is and recognize it, then you can identify which projects will be the best fit for you. When you are approached by a potential client, it will be very clear if you are a good match for one another stylistically. 

As Quynh said in the episode:

“You need to try it all at the beginning of your journey, but once you start clicking with certain clients and clicking with certain bouquets or flowers or projects that bring you joy, you need to bring that into your life even more and start doing less of the things that don’t make you happy.”

KonMari your paper flower journey and make more space for things that fit your style.


Trust Your Intuition

You’ve probably heard that you should trust your gut. We agree that this is usually sound advice when it comes to paper flowers. If a potential client feels shady and your gut is screaming at you to run, then run! Is your intuition telling you that something doesn’t fit your style or that you really don’t have time for it? Then say no. 

Jessie did offer a useful insight in our episode, though. She pointed out that sometimes our first reaction to a new job is nervousness. Maybe it’s a type of project you’ve never done before. Maybe it’s a new flower. Maybe it’s a really famous client. Feeling nervous in those situations is completely normal! 

 Make sure that you take some time to examine your gut reactions. Is your intuition telling you something is wrong and not a good fit? Or are those butterflies a sign of excitement tinged with fear? Only you can tell.


Give Yourself Time

As Jessie said in the podcast,

“It takes time to learn when to say no.”

We gave lots of sound advice that will help you better decide when to say yes or no. But like many things in life, experience is the ultimate teacher. You should experiment and try new things, but you’ll also end up making mistakes along the way. That’s okay. You’ll be better for it in the end. Be gracious to yourself and give yourself time to figure it all out. It does get easier the longer you’ve been in business. 


Listen to the podcast to hear even more things that you should consider when making these decisions, and how you can gain the confidence to say no. 


Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:

  • Factors to weigh when deciding to say no or yes.

  • How to find what kind of work you want to focus on.

  • When you should step out of your wheelhouse and try something new.

  • How long you can negotiate back and forth with potential clients.

  • Why you need a contract and if you should have an out clause. 


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