The ART of Saying NO!

…Last week I went to a seminar. It was great for networking and I met a few potential clients.

This week, after following up the contacts I made, I had a few people contact me to request that I write articles and blog posts for them.

I’m so touched that they want me to write for them, but sadly I’ve turned down most of the work I’ve been offered.

The reason has nothing with me getting “too big for my boots” or me thinking I’m “too good” to write for people. (My mentor Parris has an uncanny talent for keeping me very humble! My butt is still sore from Saturday’s 4am call!)

And this may surprise you… it doesn’t even have anything to do with money.

What it comes down to is the simple principle of “sticking to what you’re good at.”

Can I write articles and blog posts? Of course, I can!

Do I like writing them? Yes, I do.

Is it the best use of my Emotional Direct Response “Copy Chops”? Not at all!

And this is why I turned down the work.

I specialize in writing Sales Copy not content writing (there is a massive difference!)

But sadly, a few people got a bit offended and said they thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get more “exposure” … so I guess I’ll just have to live with that regret.

And I’m sure I’ll manage. (I have never fallen for the “more exposure” magic bean offer, and I’m not about to start now.)

What they are missing is… that’s not where my best talents lie.

And what I know is, if I say “YES” to their project… I instantly say “NO” to a project that would be better suited to my abilities.

And the reason I have this discernment or filter is that early in my career, one of my mentors taught me…

Knowledge Nugget #99: Do The 10% You’re Good At AND Enjoy Doing… and Work On Delegating
or Outsourcing The Rest (OR Refuse To Do It!)

Take for example…

When I was a nurse, I never saw…

  • An obstetrician perform bowel surgery
  • An orthopedic surgeon deliver babies
  • A brain surgeon remove an ingrown toenail

And in the Army, I never saw…

  • A Colonel do the job of a Private
  • Or a Corporal do the job of a Major (they probably thought they did… but that’s another topic for another email!)

(I won’t labor the point because I know you get it.)

They all had their particular specialties and they stayed within the scope of their skills.

I have copywriting friends who are brilliant and highly successful at writing for the big US publishers. And as great as they are, they would never try to write a Direct Response Shock and Awe Pack. (The kind of copy I honed my copy chops on). It’s not their thing.

And there’s NOTHING wrong with that!

I think it’s important for you to know what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Because when you do, it will come through everything you do in life.

I have worked out that I’m a bit of an “over achiever” though. I do a bit more than the recommended 10%… but for the time being, I love it! I enjoy discovering what I’m good at.

So, if you had to only do the 10% of what you’re good at and enjoy doing… what would that look like for you? What would you be doing differently? What would people know you for?

I bet it’s different than what you’re doing now.

For me, knowing what my 10% looks like, helps me to stick to my lane and get great results (for both me and my clients). And I know that I’d be doing myself and others a HUGE disservice to do it any other way.

So despite having a few people being offended that I don’t want to work with them… I make up for it with the right kinds of clients who do appreciate and value me.

Until next week… take care and find your 10% : )

Pauline xxx

Pauline Longdon
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”


P.S. I hope you don’t think I’m a “job snob” by turning down work. The thing about writing “articles” for businesses is that they rarely want articles. They really want an advertorial… which is way different in both style and price. They usually want an advertorial written, at an article rate. And well, that is kind of insulting!

A great mentor of mine taught me to know what I will and won’t do for money… and not being ripped off is at the top of my list.


P.P.S. Now, I know the judgmental people who read this (not you of course!) will write to me and tell me I have positioned myself incorrectly. And at the surface that looks like it’s the case.

But when I am mentioned from stage as “The Go-To, worldclass copywriter and you need to get her card now!” … it kind of makes it difficult to filter prospects when you’re being mobbed.

So I can’t complain considering I got a few great leads from the day.


P.P.P.S. Can you believe next week is Knowledge Nugget #100!

I didn’t think these emails would last this long, which is probably why I told Rae I’d do them. She had been at me for at least a year prior, wearing me down, telling me I needed to write emails for my copywriting business.

So one day, out of sheer frustration and in an attempt to shut her up… I finally succumbed to her wicked spell and I reluctantly wrote my first Knowledge Nugget email. But it seems the joke is on me because here I am… still writing emails.

And I couldn’t do it without you reading them. So thank you for sharing this wonderful journey with me. I truly appreciate you reading what I write and your feedback. Keep an eye out for next week’s email… I’ll be putting something special in it 🙂

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