If you’ve been either a freelancer or part of a web design agency for some time, opportunities will come and go. The good ones can be satisfying and help your bottom line. Maybe you even learn a new skill or two during the experience. The bad ones cost you in just about every way possible – but at least you can get a good life lesson out of it.
Then there are those rare opportunities that can really make a big impact. It’s a chance to rewrite the script. Perhaps it means a big boost in salary or more responsibility. It could mean fundamental changes to the way you work or even the way you live.
The thing is, those changes could be a positive or a negative. These types of projects do carry some risks. How do you know whether to make the commitment?
First, I’ll share a bit of background. This subject hits close to home for me as last year I was offered a potential project that would mean some major changes. It would fundamentally change the structure of my business. The situation required a lot of soul-searching and was quite nerve-wracking.
I’ll take you through some of the pros and cons I had to consider when trying to figure out whether I wanted to take a chance on the project. And, while every opportunity has its own unique possibilities, I hope that the following can at least serve as a general guide. No matter the situation, there’s a lot to think about.
The first thing you should consider when deciding on whether to get involved with a major project is figuring out just what kind of changes it will bring. From there, you’ll have to decide whether or not you really want to accept those changes.
As an example, let’s look at that project I mentioned above. I’ve been working at home as a solo freelancer for almost two full decades now. This project would have meant combining forces with someone with whom I share a mutual friendship and respect. So, it wasn’t a matter of whether we’d get along or do great work together. It was more that I’ve been working this way for so long – did I really want to give that up? Besides that, there would be a lot of work involved in meshing our existing businesses. Could I handle such a thing? Third, I’m used to being the sole decision maker. That would no longer be the case in the new arrangement.
There would also be some really positive changes to get excited about. For one, I would no longer be responsible for some of the business tasks I don’t enjoy – like accounting. Then there’s the potential to grow the new venture on a scale neither of us could do alone. It could also mean working on higher level projects over time.
It’s a hard thing to weigh those potential positives and negatives in your mind. But it’s important to take a look at the everything – even the finer details should be considered. They can all have an impact on your business and life.
Sometimes, saying “no” has repercussions. If, for example, you decline the opportunity to start a new venture with a longtime client, does that mean the end of the relationship? While you hope to at least maintain the status-quo, a negative consequence may be unavoidable.
Frankly, this type of situation might make you wish the big opportunity had never shown up at your door. It may feel like your current life is being held hostage.
Either way, you’ll have to come to terms with what your decision means. And it’s entirely possible that no ideal outcome can be achieved.
So, do you pick the lesser of two evils? That may depend on if your current business situation means that can afford to say no.
Beyond just thinking about how everything will affect you, it’s also important to think of who else may be impacted. One of my biggest worries turned out to be how my decision would impact my clients. Many had been with me for years and the last thing I wanted to do is disrupt their operations. My family also would be affected because (gasp) I might not be working at home as often.
If taking advantage of a big opportunity means leaving your existing clients flapping in the breeze (thankfully, mine didn’t), you have to think really long and hard about what’s going to happen. If it’s not possible for you to still be involved in the long term, it might be nice to at least line up someone else that they can transition to. Simply saying “see ya later” probably isn’t your best strategy.
You might also have to consider any existing contracts you’re involved with. It may not be easy or cheap to fundamentally change or get out from under those types of obligations.
And, it might just go without saying that anything that impacts your family is a big deal. Bringing changes into their lives, even minor ones, needs to be considered.
There are so many factors to consider when faced with whether or not to take on a “big gig” – both personally and professionally. Ultimately, you have to decide if the positives outweigh any potential negatives. You also have to consider what it all means for you and the people around you.
As for me, I certainly did more than my fair share of thinking and worrying. Funny enough, I actually decided to go for the big change – only to have the opportunity fall through before we could really get started. From the outside, it may look like I went through all that effort and worry for nothing.
Still, I’m glad that I had the chance to consider such a gig – even if it didn’t happen. I learned a lot about business and myself during the process. And, as a bonus, it gave me an idea for this article! It just goes to show that you can take something positive out of every experience.