Learning to Say NO


A few months ago, I published the article Why You Need To Start Saying Yes. In that article, I talked about how I’m a shy person and I often say no because I am afraid to step out of my comfort zone.

I’ve been learning to say yes more, and it’s been pretty awesome so far. I feel like I have opened up a lot and I have also learned a lot about myself. It’s been great trying new things lately.

Well, on the opposite side of that article, what do you do if you are constantly saying yes?

I recently came across someone who took a freelancing job they absolutely disliked.

Actually, they didn’t just dislike it – they hated it.

It didn’t start as hate though. In the beginning, their freelancing gig started just like any normal job. However, the work and the client were becoming more and more demanding and yet the pay wasn’t increasing.

They didn’t know what to do, and they e-mailed me recently about what their options may be. This isn’t one of their first freelancing gigs, but it is the very first one that they’ve actually ever wanted to quit.

So, what do you do when you want to start saying no in your life? Maybe you want to quit a job, free up some time in your schedule, stop getting stepped on, or get some sleep.

Find out why you have a problem saying no.

Do you know why you’re always telling people yes? There are multiple reasons for why you might be like this:

  • You try to please everyone.
  • You’re afraid if you say “no” that you’ll be hurting someone’s feelings.
  • You fear missing an opportunity.
  • You don’t want to be rude.

In order to determine what your next step is, you need to figure this out. If you’re running yourself ragged just to please others, then you need to re-evaluate your plan.

Evaluate your schedule.

There are plenty of times when saying yes can be very helpful. There is a reason I published the “Saying Yes” post. Saying yes has helped me greatly.

However, if you don’t have time, then it can be a really big negative in your life. You should evaluate your schedule and see whether or not you have time to say yes or no to others’ requests.

Perhaps you just need to rearrange your schedule? Of course, there are plenty of circumstances where you actually need to say no.

Flat out say no.

There are multiple reasons for why you might say no.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

One reason might be because you might don’t have enough time. If you don’t have enough time you should let the person know. They should respect the fact that you have a lot on your plate already. Everyone deserves sleep, right?

Or, you could tell them you don’t think you’re the best fit. Everyone’s not the best fit for everything, and I’ve personally turned down freelancing jobs that I knew for a fact I could not truly do. If you’re not the best fit, then it’s always best to be honest about this because you don’t want to waste your time or someone else’s.

Offer something else.

If you know you don’t have time but you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, then you may try offering something else in order to help them out still.

For example, the person in the freelancing story above could perhaps help their client out by quitting politely but also giving their client recommendations for others who may fit the position better.

Tell them you’ll think about it.

If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, then you may want to try telling them you’ll think about it first. There is no need to say yes right away, and giving it a little thought is probably best anyways.

Of course, only do this if you are actually going to think about it. You don’t want to string the person along if you know for a fact that you will be saying no in the end anyways.

Do you have a problem saying “yes” or “no?” What are you doing to change that?


Image via Flickr by abhi_ryan

How To Prepare For An Audit as a Freelancer

How To Prepare For An Audit as a FreelancerOkay, this is probably a post that isn’t exciting or fun. I’ve never met someone who thought tax returns were a fun subject (except for my tax professor I describe below), and I definitely have never met anyone who wanted to be audited.

Even if you’re doing everything correct, an audit is still not a fun thing.

I took a few tax classes with the same professor in college and my professor was actually a tax auditor. He often shared his audit stories and they were something that would put fear in any normal person.

According to Turbotax, around 1% of tax filers get audited. That’s not very much, but there are little things you might be doing that are increasing your individual chances of getting audited.

Some of these reasons include failing to report all of your income, deducting business expenses that aren’t actually business expenses, and earning more than $200,000.

Also, according to NOLO, once you go over earning more than $200,000 the chance increases quickly to 2.66% and those making over $10,000,000 have a 29.93% chance of being audited. That’s a much bigger chance! Of course, the chance of you making over $10,000,000 and reading this blog is probably fairly slim, but I just wanted to throw that out there 🙂

How will you find out if you’ve been audited?

You will find out if you’ve been audited usually by receiving a letter from the IRS. This letter will tell you mostly everything you need to know about your audit. Make sure you take plenty of time to read this letter from the IRS and that you fully understand each word.

Get help.

For most people, you will need help when it comes to your audit. If you don’t know what you are doing or you don’t understand the letter you received from the IRS, then you will definitely want to seek help from a tax professional.

They can help represent you because they most likely understand tax law better than you do.

Organize your papers.

For most people, their biggest fear of being audited is having to collect all of the needed papers because they are not well-organized. Once you receive your audit letter, you need to start gathering every paper related to your business that you have. You should try to organize them in the best possible way and make sure everything that you have matches what you stated in your tax return.

You will want to find any receipts, invoices, bank statements, and other paperwork that the auditor has requested from you.

Attend the meeting with a smile.

Here it comes, the audit meeting!

You will have to find a time that works for you, your tax professional, and the auditor.  You want to be nice and respect this person. Too many people go into their audit meeting yelling and angry, and that is just not the way to do it. You should be professional and have at least somewhat of a smile on your face.

However, it is also worthwhile to note that this is a professional meeting. You probably do not want to be cracking jokes and sharing gossip with the auditor. You should only share information that they are asking for, and nothing else because that could lead to other time-consuming investigations.

Have you ever been audited? What happened?


Image via Flickr by Joe Hall

Steps To Qualify For a Mortgage When Self-Employed

7134101805_f32bb89296_zI’m the type of person who likes to plan things way in advance. So, it only makes sense that I am currently thinking about our mortgage for our next home.

As a refresher, we are thinking about buying our next home within the next two years. We don’t think we want to stay in St. Louis, and we are looking at moving possibly to Colorado or Florida. Yes, yes, I know these two states are completely different, but they both have some great advantages of living there.

Getting approved for a mortgage these days is a little bit harder in the past. I remember when we bought our first home, the process was a breeze. Our loan officer even told us that we were the easiest loan he’s ever done.. I have been told that I will not be that lucky this time around because rules are more strict and because we are now self-employed.

You will want a good credit score.

A good credit score is needed whether you are self-employed or not these days, but you will need something a little better if you are self-employed. You will most likely want a credit score above 740 in order to qualify for a loan from your bank.

We are wanting to have our credit score be as near perfect as we possibly can get it. Currently, we are both in the 760 range. It would be higher but we’ve been travel hacking, which has slightly lowered our credit score.

You will want a large down payment.

For the home we live in right now, we paid a very small down payment towards it. Because of it, we also pay PMI, and that’s something we don’t want to do again.

Also, most mortgage companies will want a self-employed person to put down more than 20% on a home because they want to know you are invested in it.

I have heard of some banks asking for between 25% to 30% as the down payment. That is a lot of money that we will need to save before we even start looking for a home!

Lower debt to income ratio.

If you are buying a home, then you will need to work on your debt to income ratio, especially if you are self-employed.

Your loan officer will most likely want to see something below 40% so that you are not overwhelmed with a loan. We will be much lower than that thankfully, so this is not an area we need to worry about.

You will want an increased income.

Most self-employed people deduct routine business expenses from their taxes in order to decrease the amount they owe in taxes. However, this may count against you when applying for a mortgage because your loan officer is going to look at your bottom line to determine how much of a home loan you can afford.

The bank will usually average your last two years. However, if you made less money in the most recent year than the year before, they might only take that number.

Work history.

If you are self-employed person, most banks will ask that you have at least two years of self-employment experience. If you have less, then they may turn you away completely or give you a higher interest rate.

How was the mortgage process the last time you bought a home? Did anything go wrong?

If you are self-employed, please, especially, share your experience! 


Image via Flickr by Billy Metcalf Photography