It’s Okay To Say “No”

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Melissa DiVietri

The more experience you have, the more you will learn the value of your time. I can’t say yes to every project or email that comes across my view. I can honestly tell you that I receive at minimal – 2 referrals per day and sometimes the strangest ones too. I am seeking for opportunities that will benefit me.. or that I can tell the business owners are passionate, they can open a lot of doors and I know they will be available for communication. I don’t want someone to just hire me for marketing and let me run it. I want to spend the time to educate you on what I’m doing so you can understand how the ROI is tied into all of this.. how conversion pixels on social media can be measured with analytics to show dollar value amount. There are too many instances where I get a lot of cold emails with urgency to work with them right away.. no no no.. I want to get to know you first, build a relationship and learn more about your products and services. I can’t accept every single job that comes across my desk – there isn’t enough me. So I pick and choose who I really want to fall in love with their business.. and than I run with it. I’m an independent individual that doesn’t need a lot of direction to do things. I find avenues and programs that are necessary for you business. That’s why all of these referrals come in — they find me. They were referred. they saw me on social media – what have you. But like I’m about to say, you can’t say yes to everything because you need time for you too. And this is my short rant about a crazy person who wanted the entire marketing package for no budget lol.. those are my absolutely favorite.

I Did Not Expect This Referral Today

One referral from today really topped the cherry on my referral list. I have to give you a back story on how this person even received my information. I hosted block parties in Detroit last summer outside my art gallery at the Russell Industrial Center. I was the hostess who brought artists and musicians together for one afternoon of art & music. I pushed the promotion on landing pages, social media and email blasts. One business offered to be one of my sponsors – she donated a certain amount to have the best spot at the block party. That amount went towards the event insurance and electricity. Well long story short — she really loved the event, had a great time even but weeks later when I ran into her at the shop in Eastern Market – she pulled me aside to tell me that I didn’t deliver what she was expecting. When I asked what she expected? The DJs did not announce her business on the speaker system – the banners were not high enough to showcase her business. As a hostess, I can’t control 8 different DJs with 8 different sets.. especially since they didn’t show up on time for sound check. I had to keep a few hundred people out of the warehouse after a tenant came and cussed me out. Like really.. I had a few other things that needed to get shut down – sorry if you’re feelings are hurt. Mine weren’t.. Being a one woman hostess – is the hardest thing to do in a city where you are trying to make a name for yourself.

Not that I really had to get into personal involvement; but I was going through a lawsuit three days before the event on using a name that wasn’t trademarked but this ridiculous company tried to shut me down. Tried to shut me down.. I wasn’t going to cancel the event over a 7 page lawsuit.. pff. My security dropped out ON THE DAY of the event to work a pajama party at a strip club in Greektown and I was being harassed by the tenants of the Russell Industrial Center to not allow anyone in the warehouse. How can I control what other people do? Well — text my friend who is a Detroit Police officer of course.. Thank goodness, his crew rolled through.

People have ridiculous expectations

I am a person of my word and although she may not have made the sales that she wanted; I offered to give her a full refund for the sponsor donation – she didn’t want it. And excuse me if I seem like I am bashing this person, but I have not mentioned her or her business. She needs to know that her words of advice were unnecessary and not appreciated. Thank you.

Unfortunately, when I thought the friendship was over — I get a call from someone who got my information from her. -_- a heads up would have been nice! This gentlemen called my phone today to help him host an event in Detroit. I’m not a big fan of cold calls, especially when I try to keep my phone private and just work from email… so I wasn’t sure who this person was and I didn’t even recognize the referral because I haven’t talked to her in a very long time since the fall out. I said, “who referred you?” He couldn’t even pronounce her name!

Have you guessed what his industry is?

This person asked me to help promote a medical marijuana event that is supposed to launch in 17 days.. yes – 17 days away from today. He wants to sell $50 tickets to 50 individuals in that short amount of time. I shared a few ideas but not too many strategies – if you want strategies, you pay for that. Always. When I asked his target demographic? All the pot heads in Detroit… I asked a few more questions, “do you have a Facebook event page? What are your current marketing programs? What is your advertising budget? Can you afford a print ad” — uh uh uh … none of the above apparently. This fool kept hanging up on me too. Before he even got into detail, I said that I had a client calling in 20 minutes so we would have to wrap this into a proposal via email with 50% deposit. Can you imagine having this client on my portfolio list? Lol… that would be an interesting conversation in an interview. I gotta keep it professional these days — big brands coming my way lately. There really is no amount of money to have me work on something like that right now. To the left, to the left.

I’m half tempted to reach out to the person who referred (my sponsor at my block party) and ask her to remove my information. Don’t give out my cell number without a heads up.. like fer real. She probably saw me at Eastern Market last weekend and did this as a joke… lol -_- I don’t like having bad tastes in my mouth – but seriously the sponsor donation was not even that much and I offered to give it back to make her feel better about her wasted efforts. I can’t control people’s motives.

“hunni, please don’t waste my time”

Every time someone calls me.. and the number isn’t saved. I quickly Google the number. If I kind of recognize the area in Michigan, I might pick it up. I don’t have voice message set up so Im struggling to check that information. MetroPCs is really not on their game to fix it either. Sigh.

I am constantly moving from one thing to the next simultaneously — that is what smart business people like to do. We enjoy having our minds run 120 MPH all the time — I am motivated about my future. I create a to do list every day, follow up with clients needs and project how to open a dozen more doors with new business. So hunni, please do not waste my time if you are not even serious about this industry. I’m doing this for me, now. Marketing is something that I take to a whole different level – email, search, web, social – the list goes on and one. I spend the time — you should too.

5 Reasons Why I Have To Say “No”

I should say, 5 Things Id Rather Be Doing LOL (sleep, paint, travel, sleep and explore) haha .
#5 – I’d rather take a quick power nap than work for free. I don’t care how great of an opportunity you think you may have, would you work for free? I work so much that I’d rather catch that 30 minutes of sleep.

#4 – If you want me to take the time to create strategies to benefit your brand, you better expect to pay for them. If I’m spending time on research and organizing a list of marketing programs, I expect to have something in return. Very Simple.

#3 – Not every idea is a great idea. So if you don’t have a vision or payment in advance, I can’t put the project on my deck. You have to be ready. Money doesn’t motivate me.. but I was screwed over $7K on freelance last year and that will never happen again. Not ever. I will never open a single document until signatures are present on contracts and deposit is paid. Never start a project without an agreement in place.

#2 – I won’t ask multiple times for things.. I’m an organized individual that provides a lot of details (more than MOST) of exactly what I need, images, font, content, price list, and when I need it by.. (deadline wise). If I have to request the information more than 2 x;s politely, after the fact the deadline has passed, I will never include you on another proposal.

#1 – I simply don’t have the amount of energy in my day to listen to everyone’s problems anymore. If you are struggling with your business, ask yourself — are you putting 100% into your passion%? The moment you drop everything — that crappy 8 to 5 job or night shift and focus on your passions — is when all of the doors start opening. You have to take risks to get ahead.. you have to hit rock bottom and live penny to penny to make it. I remember not even a year ago, I would overdraft at minimal 3xs per month — those overdraft fees hurt. how embarrassing it was to sit at the bank to see what they could do to waive a fee. This happened for so long, especially during college when I worked 4 part time jobs while attending class full time so I could come out debt free!!

When I graduated, moved to Metro Detroit, I focused on my passion of social media marketing – the #1 thing in my world and I am financially free – free to pay for things a month in advance and have some fun money to buy silly things. I TOOK THOSE RISKS — still taking them everyday.. which is why I say no, I don’t say NO all the time – just to things that I don’t see have value or benefit me.

So my advice for those who say Yes to everything.. say yes to a job that only pays $35 for a graphic or $100 for a logo – is it really worth it to you? Is that time really valid.. does it come out to $35 for an hour or are you making ridiculous changes that diminish your value to $4 per hour. You have to think about those things. Always get a deposit ahead of time too.. for those small jobs especially. If you are working with other freelancers, create an agreement – even if they are your friend. Turns out, they probably may or may not have more experience in business development. At the end of the day, you are responsible for the deliverables. So a contract will bind those terms.

There are some things that I will say YES in a heart beat

Passion Projects — but I’m very particular.
I have a few passion projects that I would bend myself backwards to make sure everything looks perfect.. or close too. I will build the website from the ground up, host on my server, take care of all of the strategy behind every page and make those small details in the areas of need. If you are a passion project of mine — you mean something more than just opportunity. You are a bigger part of what I am hoping to fulfill.. I will take you from the ground floor to the penthouse.


I truly do have the most interesting life.. the amount of emails, phone calls, social media posts and the list goes on. Sometimes I can’t even remember what day it is.. I have to leave a post it by my bed saying what the day is. I’ve decided to take weekends off.. well partially. It’s time to do me. I could take on another dozen social media accounts & maybe 3 websites — because I have the bandwidth to do it.. but I just want to take it day by day. I take the time to ask more questions, use templates for proposal costs and wait for the client to reach back. If they really want my business, they will reach back… If they reached out, they will reach back ;p

I want to hop around Detroit to grow my brand.. work on video / photos — all of it. You should check out my new website (www.embracedetroit.com) it’s a blog that I launched to connect the community with things happening in Detroit.

I will not diminish my value because cheap skates want to take advantage of me. So stop — I can smell you a MILE away.