On Saying No
One thing that is difficult to grasp when you are a freelancer is that you do not have to take every opportunity that comes your way. Most of my existing clients are long-term which means I am not actively hustlin’ for new work 24/7, so right now I don’t have to worry about whether or not I am going to be able to pay rent as much as I have in the past. This means I will not starve to death if I say no, but don’t try telling me that when someone contacts me about a job.
I have a nagging feeling anytime someone reaches out to me about an opportunity that I have to take it and cannot let it pass up and should at least try and what if it’s my big break, OMG what if it means I get to become best friends with Anna Wintour and it affords me a personal trainer and I’ll be able to live in California and retire at 30? You’d think I was risking throwing away a request to get paid to spend all of Bill Gates’ money on myself.
I had someone contact me about a local opportunity the other day. I asked for more info on it and before you know it, she had scheduled a meeting for me with the company the next day. The morning of the meeting I was scrambling stuff together trying to create some legible semblance of a physical portfolio while layering on mascara and flat ironing my hair when I started feeling really weird and anxious. Well, I wasn’t just anxious. I was dreading this meeting. I didn’t want to go and I knew I didn’t want or need to find new work.
I tried deciphering whether the reason I didn’t want to go was because I wanted to spend the afternoon working out and catching up on Downton Abbey, or because I was legitimately not interested in the job. I knew that if I took this, I would have to ditch one or two existing clients. Did I really want to do that? Was this gig going to be better than what I am doing now? I don’t know, and I wouldn’t have known unless I went to the meeting. I cancelled and told them I was not in a position to take on additional work, because I’m not, and the only reason I was going was because the lady hurriedly made me an appointment and I felt obligated to attend and my brain kept telling me “you are not a millionaire, therefore you cannot afford to pass this up.”
Of course I felt like a douchebag for cancelling a few hours in advance, but still need to remember that it is not against the law to say no as a freelancer. Yes, we need to be on our constant hustlin’ game and hope for the best while preparing for the worst, but saying no does not equal career suicide. I am happy with where I am right now and I like the work I am doing, so unless there is an opportunity that knocks everything out of the park, I am not going to jump on it just because I have a constant fear of missing out.
But hey, at least my hair and eyelashes looked FABULOUS at the gym.
February 5, 2013
This entry was posted in Business and tagged freelancing, saying no.