Should you just say no?

Starting a new business is difficult. It takes time and energy to establish connections and turn them into paying customers. If, like me, you’ve taken a leap of faith into the uncertain world of self-employment, it’s an anxious time. You’ll want to start generating an income as soon as possible, not least because you have to pay your mortgage and bills.

So, when you’re offered that first piece of work, what do you do if you have reservations about it? For example, what if you find it difficult to establish any rapport with the potential customer. Or perhaps you don’t have any affinity with the company’s business. You may even find what the company does distasteful, unethical or even slightly dodgy. Should you accept the business – or just say no to it?

At a recent seminar, the speaker had no qualms about saying we should reject any work that doesn’t sit well with us. His argument was that if it’s not right to start with, it’ll never be right. The longer the association continues, he argued, the worse your feeling of discomfort will get.

Listening to your gut

I do agree with him, in theory. After all, I’ve talked in previous blogs about listening to your gut when making decisions. But when your livelihood is at stake, that’s easier said than done. If you’ve got no other income coming in, you may not have the luxury of saying no.

Obviously, I would draw the line at anything that is illegal. I also have personal reservations about working within certain industries because I am essentially a pacifist (so wouldn’t want to work in the arms industry) and vegetarian (so wouldn’t want to work within the intensive farming industry). However, I would find it difficult to turn down work simply because I didn’t like someone. After all, I do have to pay my bills!

Some businesses are lucky in that they offer a unique service. Others are well established with a loyal client base. In these cases, it may be possible to be choosy about who you work with. However, if you’re like me and are just starting up, turning down business may not be an option.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this moral dilemma. Please comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *