Turning down nonprofit consulting clients can be no sweat
How desperate are you for clients? Do you take anyone because you need the money? Do you take anyone because if you turn someone down, you might not have another come along for a while? When was the last time you turned down an opportunity?
In Michael Port’s book “Book Yourself Solid” he calls it the “red velvet rope policy.” Just like the screener at an upscale night club, you unclip and pull back that velvet rope to only the clients that meet your criteria. For the others? Refer them out, or simply say “I’m too busy.”
Yes, this is counter-intuitive. You want to be busy, and the best way to stay busy is to get clients. What Port is suggesting is kind of a human, “law of attraction” thing. He knows that people want what they can’t have. If you position yourself as selective, your clients will feel privileged to work with you. That means you can charge better rates. Maybe even more important, it can also mean you only work with the clients that you are enthusiastic about, which means you’ll do a better job for them.
This approach may not be for everyone. It could be that you simply can’t bring yourself to turn down work. That’s okay. If you can, it might be the small risk you need to take that can bring the best dividends for you, making turning down consulting clients a no sweat experience!