There has been quite a bit of chat recently about saying no to work. Having a set of principles in place which define whether you take on a piece of work – the big questions include:
- Will it be profitable?
- Will you enjoy it?
- Does it play to your skills?
- Do you have the capacity to deliver?
- Will you be able to work with the client?
These are all the considerations that I am sure influence whether you decide to take accept a contract. Then can come the task of having the confidence to say no! But what about sometimes saying yes and accepting a contract, despite it not meeting your criteria and having reservations?!
Over my years of consultancy I have learnt the value of sometimes saying YES to work despite all of the above including feeling massively out of my comfort zone, perhaps feeling I haven’t got the necessary skills, knowing that as a result it may take me more time than I have available and that capacity will be tight. When no is the loudest voice in my head why did I say yes, and what were the benefits of this?
I am guilty that there have been times when I
have accepted work just because I didn’t want to say no, but more often than
not I have said yes because I was interested in the work despite knowing it may
not my skill area or because it provided a new opportunity to work with a new
client. It’s not an easy or safe path
though, but sometimes testing new roads and taking risks is worth the fear!
Never regretted saying yes to contracts, there are always positive takeaways
Sometimes saying yes can be harder than saying no to work! You have all these doubts about your ability and confidence to deliver the work or frightened by the risks that things could go wrong but saying yes despite all these doubts and lack of confidence can be the absolute right thing to do for your business and your skill set. To date I have never regretted saying yes as there are always some positives that I can take away from the contract, no matter how hard it may have been!
Opportunity to grow skills and work portfolio
Without saying ‘yes’ to work at those times I should have said ‘no’ I wouldn’t have grown my skills and in turn my portfolio of work. My offer has developed and diversified over the years partly due to saying yes. Don’t get me wrong it is never easy to say yes when there are alarms bells mostly around confidence to be able deliver, but by saying ‘yes’ I have developed my skills and been able to work across a wider area of work. Imposter syndrome can certainly raise itself and a level of anxiety that can be uncomfortable but at the end of the contract there is so much satisfaction and learning that outweighs this. You may even find that you have a skill or interest in an area of work previously unknown. You will also now be able to access a new client base.
Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you
So next time reflect before saying no when you think a contract might be too hard or that you haven’t the skills don’t immediately jump to say no and pass the work on. You can do this and it is an opportunity for you to develop your skills and client base after all …..
- The client has confidence in you to deliver the work so you need to have the confidence in yourself.
- Recognise the transferable skills that you bring and that can be used.
- Do your research. Invest in the time to develop your knowledge and skills to do the job required
- Acknowledge the risks and look at how you might be about to plan and mitigate them
- You may have fears. It may be hard and be out of your comfort zone but so was starting work as a freelancer and you managed that so there is no reason why you cannot continue to develop.
- Go on, give it a go, your network of freelancers will support you!