Day Eleven // The Best Yes

The Power of the Small No / Ch. 11 – Pages 125 to 141

Today’s post comes to us from the host of The Intentional Filling, Bree Blum.

If a support group of “People Pleasers” opened up in my town, I could easily be elected President.  Okay, maybe not President.  I’m an introvert after all, but at the very least I could be appointed as Secretary!

“No” is not a word often found in my vocabulary, unless I’m babysitting my friend’s toddler, but that’s another story altogether. It’s not a word that is frequently uttered from my lips simply because I cannot stand the look of disappointment in the eyes of others.  It’s as if something breaks inside of me when their eyes give away their sense of defeat.

I used to run my own graphic design business a few years ago.  I enjoyed working with my clients, giving life to the designs they dreamed up for logos and websites for their businesses.  That was until I took on the impossible with one client.

There was a language barrier that limited us to communication via email and there were many instances that information lost in translation.  She desired a logo design with a very specific style, and explained that she need it to be completed for the following week.

As was customary, I reviewed the terms of the agreement which outlined that it was the responsibility of the client to keep communication lines open so that design work could continue and be completed in a timely manner.  And she agreed to these terms by checking an electronic box on the form.

I made note of the date that she requested the design to be completed by and went about developing the design.  I spent quite a few hours perfecting a new technique that would allow the overall look of her requested style to look crisper and more professional.  Then I sent her two samples for review.

And I didn’t hear back until two days before the requested due date with a laundry list of items that needed to be changed immediately.

I busied myself in making the requested adjustments and sent off the new samples.  Instead of a decision of which design to pursue, I received a response twelve hours later with another list a mile long for changes to both designs.

Not only had we not made any progress in selecting a design to pursue, but I now had only twelve hours left to get the updated samples to her and pray that I received a “ok” for one of them.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the next message I received was one full of complaints and inappropriate-for-a-Christian-blog language, stating that I simply didn’t understand the importance of her design choices and she refused to pay me until I produced for her what she had asked for.

Even though it had only been a week working with this particular client, I had had enough, and as professionally as I could, I explained that fact to her.  And with that explanation, I said a two lettered word that I don’t often find myself saying to people, especially ones that are in possession of my pay check.

I understand your urgency and wanting a design as you have envisioned.  Every business deserves a well-developed design that clearly represents them in their line of work, however, I believe that you will be better suited in pursuing your design with another graphic designer.  I am no longer able to assist you in the manner as you have requested and therefore all work for your project will cease immediately and a refund in full will be returned to your account.

Did I lose out on a decent pay check?  Yes.

Did I lose out on the opportunity to make a happy customer?  Yes

Did I lose any business because bad word of mouth?  Not to my knowledge.

Did I lose any sleep over my decision?  Absolutely not.

Quote from The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst via The Imperfect Vessel Book Study -

“The more we practice the power of the small no in the small things of life, the more capable we’ll be at exercising the small no when bigger things arise.”  – Lysa TerKeurst

Was the decision to walk away from this client difficult?  Absolutely!  But I learned a lot through that process.  I learned how to better handle situations with clients who would not respond to my requests for feedback, I learned what areas to be more flexible in with my design process and what areas that I was not willing to be so flexible.

I have since closed up shop on that particular chapter of my life and though I served up some hard-worked designs to some doozy of clients, I cherish the lessons that I learned in the time that I spent working with them.

What small no might you need to exercise in your life right now?

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Bree is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored. Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life. Read More