I really liked Seth Godin’s latest blog post:

No, we don’t take clients like that.
No, that’s not part of what we offer.
No, that market is too hard for us to service properly.
No, I won’t bend on this principle.
No, I’m sorry, I won’t be able to have lunch with you.
No, that’s not good enough. Will you please do it again?
No, I’m not willing to lose my focus, and no, I’m not willing to compromise.

“No” is a hard word to say. (Well, not for little kids, I guess.) But it can be very empowering.

In my business this year I’ve been doing a little more of it, and not only does it feel good to stand firm, but in a few instances my client backed down and came up with an alternative that we were both happy to do. I’m slowly figuring out that being a good consultant doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing to any request.