Learning to say NO can change your relationship with YES - #IMadeTheAsk with Stéphanie McGuirt

Welcome to the #IMadeTheAsk entrepreneur spotlight series, where we share the stories of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have made the ask...and lived to tell the tale.

Read on to learn about Stéphanie's business journey, how learning to say NO changed her relationship with YES, and why taking the time you need is crucial as a business owner.

entrepreneur negotiation skills spotlight stephanie mcguirt bookkeeper

Tell us a bit about yourself, and your journey as an entrepreneur

I'm Stéphanie! And, I love working with small business owners to help tackle the bookkeeping headaches as well as come up with solutions to eliminate pain points in systems and workflows. What else do I love? The great outdoors, exploring new places, downtime to reflect and enjoy good company, and flying on the trapeze!

My journey into the world of bookkeeping started, believe it or not when I was immersed in film and tv production. Video and editing were my first passions, but, in 2010, I was drawn down a very different path... one that I tend to get very excited about!
In a nutshell: In between production work, I was offered a temporary position with a local accounting service that worked with production freelancers. Fast forward five years and this new venture turned adventure transitioned into a full-time career move. I completely light up when I'm able to help others find easy to implement solutions that will save them hours and lots of money. I believe that business isn't all about hustling and going into massive debt. It's truly meant to be an exciting, profitable journey that allows us to live life on our terms!


What's an Ask that you chickened out of making...and regret?

When I was working as an Independent Contractor, I regret considering myself more of an employee, and not realizing that I still had power and control over what I made and how I made it. At that time, I played by all the rules all the while completely forgetting that I could raise my rates, and control how and when I completed the work. I regret that I wasn't more mindful of this when starting out solo. It wasn't until I formed my LLC that I felt "official". But, it doesn't have to be that way. As an Independent Contractor, YOU are officially in business and can go by the same rules for yourself as you would if you had an LLC.


What's the Ask that you're most proud of making - whether or not it worked out

Nipping scope creep in the bud is always something I'm proud of. When I started my business, I did almost anything asked. Have you ever met a Bookkeeper that also does web development? Yep, that was me. I felt obligated, to not lose clients, to help them with whatever they needed. Man, that was a bad idea. The more I did outside of scope, the harder it was to redefine my role.

After about a year of spreading myself pretty thin, I FINALLY set boundaries. I revised engagement letters and made sure clients knew exactly what I offered, and what they could expect. Now, saying no to a request that's not part of my service offering is easy! It means that I'm saying yes to myself. And, I can refer work out to someone in my network, which always makes me happy!

entrepreneur negotiation mindset motivation

Which Ask has been the biggest win for you - professionally or personally?

I am most proud of transitioning my business from an hourly to a flat fee and value priced model. That was hard, and I was scared to lose clients because of it. However, with Devon's help, I was able to transition everyone smoothly while showing them how not billing hourly for an ongoing service was most beneficial for everyone. Since making this switch, I provide more value to prospective and current clients, I am WAY more excited to do the work, I'm making more profit, and am finally able to grow my business at a pace that's right for me!
{Note from Devon: Big kudos to Stéph for not only taking action on the work we did together, but also being consistent in applying it from then on. Proud Negotiation Momma over here.}


What's your #1 piece of advice for other entrepreneurs or business owners who are gearing up to #maketheask?

If you're nervous or feel as if you're overthinking a big decision, then it's clearly essential to you. Take your time with it. It's okay. Talk to your inner circle. Work with a professional to help you sort through the nitty-gritty. Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and help is just a phone call or an email away. It's better to take your time to respond while taking charge, rather than reacting without a solid plan.


Learn more about Stéphanie's work and connect with her online

Website: StephanieMcGuirt.com
Twitter: @stephmcguirt
Instagram: @stephmcguirt
Facebook: @stephmcguirt