“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”
Do You Take The Gig?
Just because you’re in business doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to every person who has the ability to send an e-mail or dial 7 to 10 consecutive digits, correctly. It’s okay to sort through business opportunities. Don’t take too much time or you will lose business and get a bad reputation, and don’t do it for a bad reason like, “I don’t feel like working today,” but you will have to pick and choose. Do it professionally, and do it wisely, but do it. Don’t over-extend yourself and ruin your business by “biting off more than you can chew” or repeatedly taking on jobs you regret.
First, remember the fundamentals of business: (money in) - (money out) = profit. What remains is what you get to keep. Money is a measurement for any project, but it isn’t the only one. However, a business that is spending more or almost as much as it costs to do business is not a sustainable model. Be aware of this at all times and know your ‘bottom line’ to keep afloat. The following considerations have also served us well:
Can we do the job, or do we have too many other commitments? — Saying yes but then short-changing that job or others, or having to later decline or postpone a commitment is essentially robbing your customer, and ultimately, your business and your reputation. Better an honest no, than a yes that later turns into a “not really”, “not now” or a “no, not ever”, wasting everyone’s time and potentially creating hard feelings as well as inconvenience all around. Protect your reputation!
It has to be interesting. — Not everything is a 10 on the excitement scale, but make sure you’re not constantly doing jobs you hate, or you’ll grow to resent your business.
It has to contain a level of challenge, so that we can learn from the project as an extra benefit to our business. — Sure, doing easy things is occasionally okay, but growth is where it’s at.
Does this project afford an opportunity to learn about an area, or subject, new to us, that may result in additional diversity of work down the road and give us a strategic advantage? Look to the future, expand horizons and keep one finger on the pulse of your technologies and potential developments down the road. Keep an open mind!
Is it worth it financially and will the client be able to pay the bill? — This is where we started, but it bears repeating. It’s great to do what you love, but it’s greater to get paid for doing what you love, especially if that is your livelihood and your means of supporting yourself and others.
Not every question must be answered with a yes, but it is a good starting point when we are deciding — do we take the gig or not? If doubt exists, it is an indicator that we need to ask more questions and examine the situation. At the end of the day, trust your intuition and go with your heart.