How to Say No to a Dream Customer | Free Scripts for Business Owners

saying no to client inquiries

One of the best things you can do for your business is say no to clients who are a bad fit. Saying no to a bad fit clears not only mental space, but literal calendar space so you can say YES to the jobs that are a good fit – and in turn, deepen your creative expertise and the work you want to be known for.

Saying no to a bad fit is easy

Here’s a script you can use to say no to the kind of inquiry that raises all the red flags for you:

Hi _______ [potential client],
Your company sounds really [use a nice adjective here], but unfortunately I don’t think [my company / services / etc.] is a good fit for your project. We typically best help [describe your dream customer here] with [describe your typical offering or service here].

You might check out _______ [resource or friend] – they may be able to help you with what you need.


Saying no by still describing what you do can actually get you the work you want. We’ve used this exact script to say no only to have the rejected potential client send someone who IS a good fit our way.

saying no to clients who can't afford you

Saying no to the dream client who can’t afford you is a little trickier

This is harder because you know the project has the potential to be perfect – but keep in mind that if you say yes, you could potentially regret it down the road when you’re not being compensated for all your hard work. Because even the coolest projects are still work … and worthy of compensation.

Here is a script you can use to say no to a potential dream client who can’t afford you:

Hi _______ [potential client],
Your company sounds really cool, and I think what [my company] offers is a great fit for what you need, but I totally get it that our services are out of your price range.

If you’re still interested in our work, you might check out my more affordable [or even free!] _______ [ecourse / ebook / digital product / blog posts / podcast / newsletter].

And if you find that your budget changes in the future, we would love to work with you in a one-on-one engagement.


Saying no to the dream client who wants what you don’t offer

As a creative entrepreneur, you’re probably resourceful and really great at figuring it out as you go. So when a dream client asks you to do something you can technically do (or figure out how to do) but don’t want to do, it can be really hard to say no. But just because you can do it all doesn’t mean you should. That would only distract you from what you’re best at and what you really want to be known for. When you say no to this kind of dream customer, be sure to let them know what we’re best at – they may just hire you for your expertise anyway!

Here’s a script for saying no to the dream client who wants what you don’t offer:

Hi _______ [potential client],
Your company sounds really cool, but unfortunately I don’t think [my company] is a good fit for your project. We typically best help [dream customer description] with [your services or offering]. So if you ever find yourself needing [examples of deliverables you do offer], I’m your person.

Otherwise, you might check out _______ [resource or friend] – they may be able to help you with what you need.


Want to dive in a little deeper? Download our free 7 Ways to Brand You and What You Do eBook:

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets


stand out in a saturated market

I recently received an email from a follower of Braid who admitted to wanting a career path very similar to well, what we do here at Braid. And then she said this:

“I can’t do that, you [Braid] are already doing that.”

She followed up by asking for a no-nonsense response to how you make it in a saturated market where it feels like everyone is doing the thing you want to be doing.

Whether you’re a coach, photographer, painter, marketer, leadership consultant – or even a whole team of people working toward a common goal – it can be easy to question whether you’re adding to the noise or actually contributing something special with your services and talent.

The feel-good response to this self doubt would be: “Only you can combine your personal + professional experience to offer something special (like a unique snowflake!) that nobody else can”

And while there’s truth to that sentiment, I can think of far more practical and straight-forward insights that will help you cut through the noise and stand out among your competitors. And that’s what I want to share with you today.


If you follow Braid Creative, it’s probably because you value how branding and marketing help grow your business. And yes, they’re totally necessary! But what’s even more crucial than branding what you want to be known for is working toward becoming the best at what you offer.

Yes, we’re all unique snowflakes, but the momentum comes from rolling that snowball up that hill! Then you see what sticks, what’s working for you, and what you can really start to build.

We all want to be different and “brand” what we do best, but are the hours and attention you’re putting in focused on creating what you want to be known for?

create what you want to be known for

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, says that it takes 10,000 hours of intentional and deliberate practice to be an expert or leader in your industry. So don’t be so concerned about what everyone else around you is doing – start putting in the time.

get focused


The world is a very big place and there is enough work for all of us. Even here at Braid Creative, there is no way we could meet the demands of every single person who needs branding. Branding itself can be a pretty elusive word that we’re constantly defining in order to attract the best fit for the work we do.

If you can get incredibly clear about what you do (and don’t do) and what your customers can expect along the way, then you’re going to be able to serve the people who very specifically need exactly what you offer.

Fit matters for the clients you attract. It’s not just what you deliver, it's your philosophy and how you work together. If specializing on a niche is unrealistic for what you offer – then “fit” can help you narrow in on who you work best with.


This is where our expertise (that would be branding) comes into the equation. There’s a lot of pressure to be completely, wildly different from everyone else to cut through all the clutter – and that’s just not true. You don’t have to be one-of-a-kind to stand out. You just have to be able to articulate what you do and for whom.

be clear about what you do

When you clearly articulate through your messaging, design, photography, tone – both your practicality and purposefulness – you will absolutely stand out from the competition. You will attract the people you’re for and repel the ones who might be best served by someone else.

Don’t take for granted the impression a cohesive brand makes. From your website to your storefront to your social media feed – your dream customer is smarter than you think, and they’re seeking too – not just for the “stand-outs” but for the simple, clear, confident message that helps them really decide where their dollars go.

Need more ideas on how to articulate your brand to stand out?

Download this PDF: 7 Ways to Brand You and What You Do


The Chalkboard Method | Manifesting in Your Business | Braid Creative

The Chalkboard Method

When we first launched Braid Creative, we spent a few months developing our brand, solidifying our positioning, and designing our website. We launched with a big hurrah and a bottle of bubbly. And then… crickets.

We needed clients, stat.
At the time, we were working with our executive coach, Jay Pryor, who held us accountable for doing things to help move our baby business forward. He helped us navigate feelings of uncertainty, but he also helped us get clear and practical when it came to growing our business. When we shared with him how freaked out we were that we didn’t have any clients he said this:

In order to get clients you have to make space for them.

The Chalkboard Method for creative entrepreneurs

Our coach put us “on the hook” for developing a system to visually track our clients. Jay promised that the universe abhors a vacuum and that we simply needed to make space—literally and metaphysically—for clients.

I had an entire wall in my home office painted with chalkboard paint at the time – and as daunting as it was to “make space” for clients I didn’t have yet, I drew 12 lines that I hoped would fill sooner than later. I remember sitting back down at my computer, which faced my chalkboard wall, a little freaked out about the constant, oversized reminder that we had NO work. But through a combination of a lot of hustle while launching our business and a little bit of magic (#hustlewoo), all 12 slots were filled by the end of the week.

The Chalkboard Method for manifesting clients

What started as something that felt a little silly or superstitious has become a business tool we come to rely on every single day and what we refer to as “The Chalkboard Method.” Our own Chalkboard has evolved from just 12 blank spaces for clients, to a place where we track (and attract) dream clients, digital products, new offerings we’re experimenting with, and even grow our social following.

Anytime I tell someone about The Chalkboard Method, they want to know more details! “How does it work? How can I make my own?”

I’ve got you! Here is a worksheet that will walk you through The Chalkboard Method step-by-step so you can make it your own.


And if you’re still wanting more, I did an entire podcast episode on The Chalkboard Method over at Being Boss. You can listen to that here.



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