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Do You Have A Hard Time Saying NO 
To Voice Over Clients? If YES, Read This ...

By Paul Strikwerda
Voice Actor, Coach & Author

I don't know where I heard it first, but it's an expression I really like a lot for many reasons. It's the line: "No is a complete sentence." 

Somehow, the word NO has gotten a bad rap. 

In sales we are taught to always go for the YES. People who say NO are seen as negative and uncooperative. 

But "NO for now," doesn't have to mean "NO forever." 


Especially if you're a people-pleaser who longs for validation, you probably have a hard time saying NO to others, particularly to authority figures. 

I mean, you're a helpful person and you don't want to disappoint anybody, right? You want to be liked and accepted, so you say YES, even though deep inside you wish you would have had the courage to say NO. 

People who can't say NO have trouble setting boundaries and eventually they will pay the price. 

Think about it. It's impossible to say YES to everything and everybody. You'll end up feeling depleted, used, and emotionally burned out. Believe me. I've been there and done that, and it wasn't healthy. 

Plus, by saying YES all the time you are creating an expectation. You teach people how to treat you and they will use you like the subservient doormat you are. 

I've seen parents who can't say NO to their kids, and these kids don't turn out so nice. They become entitled little brats wrapping mom and dad around their tiny manipulative little fingers. 


If there's one thing I've learned in dealing with clients, it's that the word NO can be a very positive thing.
  • Can we pay you in 60 days? NO. 
  • Can you deliver tomorrow? NO. 
  • Can you record this over the weekend? NO. 
  • Can you do this job for $250? NO. 
  • We just changed the script a little bit. Only two paragraphs. Can you record them without charging us? NO.
Did I lose clients over these things? YES, but those were pain-in-the-neck clients I didn't want to work with anyway. 


And by the way, when I say NO, I usually don't offer an explanation. 

Remember, "No is a complete sentence." If they need a reason they can ask for it, but I don't owe a client I don't even know, an explanation. 

And you know what? Being assertive tells the client I am a confident professional. I know what I'm doing and I am worth what I am charging. The clients I like to work with, respect that. 

Remember: most people know that you usually get what you're paying for. When you put your foot down, you will often get an exchange like this:
"Can you do this for $250?" "No." 
"How much would you charge?" "$500." 
"How about $450?' "Deal."

The first offer a client makes is never the real offer. It's a way to test the waters and see if you are stupid enough to bite. 

It's no accomplishment to accept a lowball offer. 

Asking for a better rate may require some practice, but if I can do it, you certainly can! 

What I've found over time is that when I started to assert myself more, people still liked me. Some even admired me for having the guts to say NO. It gave me a renewed strength and sense of self. 

So, to me, the word NO is a very positive word. And yes, it's a complete sentence!
Paul Strikwerda is a 35+-year veteran of the voice over industry. Born in the Netherlands, he has worked for Dutch national and international radio, the BBC and American Public Radio. From his secluded studio in Vermont, he records voice overs for clients on all continents. Paul is also a voice over coach, and author of the book Making Money In Your PJs: Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs. You can find him on social media as "nethervoice," and also at the links below.

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