Ever since I started the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, the comment I hear most often is:
It must be nice to be in a position to say “No”.
As employees, most of us feel we don’t have the right to say things like:
- No, I don’t want to work on that project.
- No, I don’t want to work those hours.
- No, I don’t want to work with that client.
- No, I don’t want to go on that business trip to Newark, again.
- No, I don’t want to partner with Stinky Frank the close-talker.
There are plenty of benefits to being an employee. But you have to do what the job requires.
However, now that I am a business owner, the ability to say ‘No’ never crosses my mind. Sure, I’ve heard in-demand artists, actors and musicians talk about being able to say no to opportunities. I know doctors that no longer take new patients (and I kind of hate them for it).
I like having more control over the work my team does. But I approach the opportunity from the opposite direction.
The best thing about owning your own business is being able to say ‘Yes!’ I like to help people as much as I can. So now I say Yes! more than Meg Ryan in the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally. (I’ll have what she’s having).
- I get to say Yes! to obscure requests.
- I get to say Yes! to small projects.
- I get to say Yes! to huge projects.
- I get to say Yes! to ultra-fast turnaround projects.
- I get to say Yes! to demanding celebrities who have unique pet projects.
- I get to say Yes! to startups who don’t yet have the money our work is truly worth.
- I get to say Yes! to novel partnerships with other agencies and organizations so that we can both take on bigger challenges together.
- I get to say Yes! to clients who have never worked with a team like The Weaponry and have no idea how to get started.
- I get to say Yes! when The Weaponry is the mistress agency that gets involved when the client’s lead agency can’t or won’t do what they need.
- I get to say yes to projects that are less that $2 million, less that $200,000, less than $20,000 and less than $2000.
Saying Yes! makes me happy. It makes me feel empowered to help. It allows me to work with the people I want to work with, and make decisions that are not driven first and foremost by the income I receive today. It allows me to think about long-term benefits. It allows me to find creative ways to get important work made. It forces me to think creatively. Which is what people come to The Weaponry for in the first place.
If you are looking for more happiness, find more ways to say yes. Help more. Enable more. Get creative more. The world looks better when you are looking for possibilities.
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