Earlier this year, I was approached by a potential client that wanted to hire me to do targeted marketing to nonprofits. We had two calls to determine if I was a good fit. Once we determined that my background could serve the skills of the organization, the executive proceeded to offer me an insanely low rate for my work. I balked but ended up settling for far less than I was worth on the market for the job.
That project when to hell in a handbasket fast. Because I gave him so much control upfront, we had scope creep, that turned into reporting about reporting, that turned into micromanaging, that turned into a distrust of what was getting done. It’s hard to push back at that point after you have already let someone run you over.
Here is what I learned:
When you are plagued by issues in another part of your life, they will creep into your work. At the time the client approached me, we were deep into treatment for my husband’s cancer, and I was scared. I started taking on every job like I was trying to bail water out of a sinking ship. We needed the money, and I needed the distraction, but that doesn’t justify letting someone take advantage of me.
When you pick up a contract with someone who has no respect for you, by the time you attempt to push back, it ends up being a point of conflict rather than an opportunity for dialogue. But it does not have to be this way!
My advice to you:
Do you have what you need to make it from point A to point B in your career? If not, write down your gaps and pursue ways to close them. If you do have the tools and skills you need, trust yourself. Which leads me to my next point.
Be confident – I mean confident down to your bones. When you are not, it comes through in your body language, writing, and voice. The client is coming to you to solve a problem. Listen to their needs and tell them why you can solve the problem. You are the expert here. Act like it. One call is all you need to start a project. Discuss scope, who you will report to, the underlying problems, and the price. And do not waiver!
Know there is something better waiting for you. If the project doesn’t fit your skills, you don’t believe in the product/solution/client, or if something doesn’t feel right, MOVE ON.
Be very clear about what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. You do, you boo. I promise you will not be sorry!