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When You’re So Busy That You Have to Turn Away Business

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It’s the dream of every small business owner and yet a nightmare at the same time. What do you do when you have so much business that you have to turn new clients away? If you’ve been running your own business for any length of time, then you know that there are times when you are so busy that you can barely find time to brush your teeth and times when you are so slow that you sit and stare at your computer screen in vane. Turning away a client in this economy, even if you are too busy to take another one on, is one of the most heartwrenching things you’ll ever do in your business.

Solutions for Too Much Business for Your Business

When it comes to solving the problem of having too much new business at once, your main goal should always be to keep as many clients as possible for future times when work may be lean.

Extend Deadlines

If your reputation proceeds you, and it likely does since you have more business than you can handle, you may be able to talk a new client into scheduling their project out a month or two. This will allow you the time to wrap up current projects and make room for the new client.

  • Ask when they need the product or service by
  • Ask if that date is flexible
  • Explain that you have to work in new clients, so there is sometimes a delay and how would they feel about that
  • Offer a discount if they can extend their deadline to a time when you aren’t so busy

Bring in Extra Help

If you are busy enough that you can’t handle all the work, hire someone to help. One thing I’ve done recently is bring in my younger daughter to help with some of the promotions and research for my businesses. This gives her the extra spending money she needs and gives me someone I know has the skills necessary to do the work. This has allowed me to offer additional promotions for my clients but has also freed up my time for other projects. I’ve been able to bring in three new clients as a result of hiring her and will likely give her more responsibilities as time goes on.

  • Start by hiring someone you know you can trust and who is trainable.
  • Pay them a decent but affordable hourly rate. Around here, minimum wage is $7.25/hour. I started her at $10.00 and she can do it when she has free time. On top of that, I plan to give her raises as we go along. I think this is more than fair and so does she.
  • Spend some time thinking about what tasks you can most easily delegate.

Refer the Client to a Trusted Colleague

There are times when the help you’ve hired is at maximum hours and you are at maximum hours, but you don’t have quite enough work to hire another person. It is a good idea to have a backup plan in case you get this busy or in case you have an illness or emergency. Try to find a like-minded individual who can do most of the work you do and will take on your clients. However, and this is very important, you must be able to trust this person to also refer clients back to you and to not steal your current clients.

  • Have you worked with this person in the past?
  • Will he/she make an agreement to share workloads back and forth?
  • Does the level of their work and professionalism match your own?
  • Do you trust him/her?

Here at Rat Race Mutiny, we truly hope that you run into this problem with your business. If you use the tools and tips found at this site, it is very likely that you will run into the issue of having more business than you alone can handle. When you get there, you’ll know how to fix the problem.


Lori Soard has worked online designing websites, writing, editing and promoting clients since 1997. Through Promo Warriors, she's consulted with over 100 clients to help them figure out what online presence works best for them. In addition to helping people learn how to start their own businesses, she writes feel-good books about the way love and the world should be.