As a freelancer, it is tempting to say “Yes!” to every opportunity that comes along, whether it’s a graphic design job or a long-term marketing contract. After all, there are dry spells in every career. You don’t want to take the chance of having created one yourself. There are, however, times, when you should resist temptation and wait for the next project to come along. How can you tell what time it is?
- Too rushed–If your client doesn’t have time to give you detailed instructions, is too busy to get together to sign a contract, or has a deadline that seems unreasonable, this might be a skip.
- Not enough money–Don’t sell your skills short. If a client is not willing to pay your usual rate, you will spend the whole project wishing you had said yes to the next one, the one you don’t have time for.
- Unpleasant manner–You don’t have to be friends with your clients, but if your impression is that you are not going to get along at all, trust your gut. Having difficult or even rude people around all the time affects your company culture. In a business world where we are all entrepreneurs, you are the company.
- Unappealing project–Being too picky could find you eating beans out of a can, but if you can’t think of one interesting or creative quality you can bring to a project, it might be better to wait for the next one.
- Big learning curve–Although we are in favor of learning new skills and keeping your current skills up-to-date, getting your education on the job–especially on a deadline–is a sure route to pulling your hair out.
Taking on a project that really isn’t right for you is definitely worse than having some free time between contracts and probably worse than getting a bit tight on funds. Pay attention to your instincts and you will know when to say “Yes, of course!” and when to say “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative