3 ways saying yes is hurting your personal brand

Written by Megan MacNeill

Three Ways Saying ‘Yes’ is Hurting Your Personal Brand
September 2, 2020

I recently did an interview with Katrina Tite for Big Ideas Rural where she asked a few business owners why saying no was important to their business and even helped grow their businesses. It got me thinking…

We are all guilty at times of saying yes to the wrong people or people we feel we can’t say no to or saying yes to too many things at once. We are all human after all and yes sometimes it feels like the easier choice when it really isn’t.

But I want you to think of this from a personal branding perspective.

Sometimes it is important to say no not only from a capacity viewpoint but from a reputational viewpoint.

Consider these scenarios.

Saying Yes Too much

You have the same 24 hours as everyone else. Yes, the same 24 hours as Beyonce but unlike Queen B most of us don’t have the intensive team surrounding us that she does. So cut yourself some slack.

So back to these 24 hours.

  • You have some basic needs that need to be met. Sleeping, eating, drinks etc…
  • You will have commitments with family or friends. This will differ from person to person depending on your situation. Nevertheless, these are the VIPs in your life so they should be factored in.
  • You have bills – so there will be some work time thrown in there too hopefully.
  • You should have some you time in there – gym, reading, Netflix – whatever you want really, it is your time after all!  

After all this there isn’t much wriggle room. Yet most of us will say yes to things we really want to do but really don’t have the time for.

This then leads to one of two things happening.

  1. You let people down because you aren’t really present. You make mistakes. You don’t fully engage. Depends on what you’ve said yes to. But it will lead to damaging your personal brand.
  2. You let people down last minute or you just don’t show up. Life happens, people understand this. If it happens regularly – it’ll damage your personal brand.

Saying Yes to the Wrong People

This one is hard, sometimes you don’t know you’ve said yes to the wrong people until it’s too late.

What does that look like?

  • On paper it looks like the ideal client.
  • During the interview it seemed like the ideal fit.
  • When you swiped right they said all the right things.
  • It was great while you were still in scope. Now you are so far out of scope you don’t even know where you are anymore.
  • They were real charmers. Now, not so much.

This applies just as much to dating as it does to the business world. We sometimes get swept up in the moment by an offer so good that we miss the red flags.

This situation starts to damage your personal brand when you start to be actively engaged with the wrong people.

We find it hard when we aren’t someone’s cup of tea… I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t want to work with you? But we have to remember that we also have the ability to say no to those who don’t align with us. Not just at the start but at any point. Cut your losses before the damage to your personal brand is irreversible.

Saying Yes to People You Can’t Say No to

We all have people in our lives we can’t say no to. Not always out of pressure but because we really, really want to be able to help them.  

If you are building a strong personal brand, then you know how important it is to niche.

Often, we find ourselves saying yes to people because we don’t want to let them down but it pushes you out of your niche and can undo all the hard work you have done. Of course, if you feel you have the time and it is someone you really want to help – go for it. Just be careful not to get pulled into the trap of doing it over and over again for more and more people.

Sometimes you have to say no because it just doesn’t align with you no matter how much other people want it for you or how much you want to be the answer to everyone’s problems.

This will damage your personal brand because it will send mixed signals. One of the main benefits of building your personal brand is to make more money.


Because when you are a specialist and have a strong personal brand you are worth a lot more than if you are a generalist that no one really knows what you do.

So even though you want to help everyone, don’t! It will not help you in the long run.

Don’t confuse growing with adding things to your plate. Growing happens not when you add things but when you rid yourself of the things that don’t matter so you can focus on the things that do.

Ready to start saying no and start building your personal brand around the things you actually want to say yes to?

If you are, let’s chat.

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Kate Toon’s Story

Kate Toon’s Story

Kate Toon is a talented writer, a successful entrepreneur and above all else, a master hula-hooper who was kind enough...

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