This post might look and sound grumpy like the famous Grumpy Cat, and its been stewing for a while, so I promise it has some happy thoughts in it for you too 🙂
Freelancing is not a science, nor is it based on luck or who-you-know.
It’s about knowing yourself, and having a plan. Many plans!
Too many freelancers and some businesses don’t know why they didn’t get the job. Why a potential client said no to the quote you carefully thought out. Below are a few thoughts I had on this topic, as well as the importance of not accepting some jobs.
Ask – Don’t assume
You’d be surprised how many people are quite happy to give you feedback. Afterall, its business and one shouldnt take these things personally. Unless they outright told you ‘ I dont like you so thats why I said no’. Then you have to take a deeper look inward and rework some things. Most of the time, its because the other person is cheaper; had less terms and conditions; or because the other person had better qualifications. The point is, whatever the reason, its always good to know. That way, you learn.
Don’t take it personal
I know its hard when you’ve created something from your heart and soul and someone comes along and says ‘ No, thanks!’. But its unavoidable. Its part of the process. Its just business. Businesses find cheaper, quicker, and best ways to do business. So don’t feel bad. Get back up and keep going. And find a different approach if the first one didn’t work. Don’t keep reworking the same approach hoping for different results… that’s just madness… according to Einstein 🙂
NOT accepting some jobs are hard to explain because it runs with ‘gut’ feel and how does one explain ‘gut’ feel?
Did you know that most of us ignore our ‘gut’ feel – our instincts? And that most of the time we do things we know we shouldn’t or didn’t want to in the first place. We do things because our head said so, or our bank account said so, or our husband/wife or cat said so. Why don’t we trust our ‘gut’ as much as our other parts? We should you know. There might be better human beings on earth for it, and better choices/decisions made. Not accepting the job is just as important as accepting the job. Trust your instincts.
The crappy jobs
On another note, not accepting the crappy jobs isn’t always a bad thing. Accepting crappy jobs doesn’t always ensure you better jobs with that client, or a ‘foot in the door’. I’m not saying refuse to do any crappy jobs coz some of those are training and proof to be a reliable and trustworthy. All I am saying is dont ONLY do crappy jobs in your capacity as a freelancer. Why else quit a stable, crappy permanent job for living on your own terms – as a slave all over again? Be brave, trust yourself, and decide what you’d like to do as a freelancer other than just chase the next sale.
Kill the ‘freelancer’
The word ‘freelancer’ should be removed off the planet! because as soon as its heard, then a different mentality kicks in the minds of some. Not all. Just some.
I’m a business woman doing what I love on my own terms. I design books, page layouts, have conversations with people across the globe, and lots of other fun ‘stuff’. I’m not a freelancer, I’m a business person providing a service, and building relationships just like any other business.
“I have to work overtime”
Sometimes these words become so natural to say. It becomes part of the job. It becomes the job.
I had a potential client frown at paying for overtime. He wasn’t willing to pay for it because he never had to. And this, my friends, I don’t only blame the client, I also blame every freelancer who never requested payment for overtime. We teach businesses how to treat us. Fee structures are different for each person so be clear about it. But incorporate overtime work into your fee and that client will not accept your quote. Yes, you heard right. The question is: wouldn’t we all be better off not working for people like that ? Everyone deserves to be compensated for work done – especially in their own time. We all complain about it, but never take the courage to say ‘NO’ or approach it in a different way. Improve your hiring strategy – look for people who not only provide a service, but also those who add value to your business for hiring them. Better yet, improve your work environment enough to take money off the table. Improve, improve, improve!
So next time you get a job offer remember two things: One – if you don’t get the job, ask if they could possibly give you some feedback as to why you didn’t get it. And two – its okay not to accept the jobs you don’t want. Keep aiming for the one’s you want, and at the same time keep reworking your approaches 😉
Tell me what you think in the comments below or share this post with those you think would cringe, curse or say ‘Amen!’ to it.
This post was inspired by rejections I had from clients. It was also inspired by good advice I received from Mark McGuinness at Lateral Action (http://lateralaction.com/).