Choosing Who You Work With

I had one of those good evenings where I went out with a bunch of people I really like from a community I’m a member of and had a great time.  Out of one of the conversations sprung a really good topic for an email…

“What do you do if you have someone approach you to hire you for some work and you’re just not feeling it?”

Ok, so a bit of context and background.  One of the people there tonight had mentioned that a potential client had approached them to do some work and this individual didn’t feel right about taking on the gig.

There were a bunch of reasons but mostly, they didn’t think this client was at a point in their business cycle where they were a good fit for the service.

This individual is a seriously nice person and when you scratched the surface, they really felt that this client was going to be a bit of a pain to deal with.

I’ve been in this position a bunch of times over the years myself and it’s genuinely not easy for some people to deal with.  It has to do with confidence and the fact that most of us have this built-in scarcity mindset problem when it comes to our business – we hate turning away clients because we’re always worried deep down that everything could dry up in a moment.

The question I asked this person was pretty simple, “If this potential client paid you double, how would you feel about working with them then?”

That kind of question basically forces you to put all of your cards on the table when it comes to whether or not you really want to do the work.  The simplicity of the question is that if you say that you would take them as a client if they paid double, then you have your answer, only offer to work with them at double your rates.  If on the other hand, you’re still hesitant then you know that this is something you really don’t want to do, so decline the work.

I need to be pretty clear and upfront with you about a few things.

First of all, beggars can’t be choosers.  If you’re just starting out and you’re struggling to make ends meet, then unless the client poses a pretty substantial risk to your business, you should get over it and take the work.  We can’t all just work with clients we like, sometimes we have to take the ones we don’t like when we need the money.

Secondly, you need to set some criteria as to the type of clients that best suit you and your business.  In the example of the person I was speaking with tonight, they had a clear set of guidelines that they could articulate as to why this potential client was not a very good fit for their service.  That’s really important because it increases your chances of only working with clients that you have the maximum chance of having success with.

You want to be able to quickly qualify yourself in or out for work!

And thirdly, if you’re still unsure, have a good night’s sleep on the decision and look at it with fresh eyes.  If at this point you still haven’t made up your mind, don’t take the work.  There’s something that just isn’t working for you and your subconscious is telling you not to do it, so don’t.

That’s probably a little different advice than most people would give you, but I think it’s important to remember that we live in a world of abundance.  If you pass on an opportunity for some work today, then that means your schedule is clear for the next opportunity to come along tomorrow.  If you take rubbish opportunities for fear of having nothing, then when something good comes along, you’re going to have your hands full with the bad stuff.

Remember, you’re in control – you choose who you work with and you do it on your terms.  Life is much more fun when you’re dealing exclusively with great clients.

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