Neediness is the problem
Two hopeful suitors walked into a bar.
The first hopeful suitor went up to the eligible person lounging at the seating area and saith, "Oh eligible person: Please take pity upon me your servant. I'll do anything to get a date. Please consider my plea with mercy and allow us to acquire coffee at a certain time of your choosing and convenience."
The eligible person promptly saith, "Oh hopeful suitor, please to be getting out of my personal space," and turned away.
The second hopeful suitor came up to the eligible person lounging at the seating area and was a normal person and might have actually gotten a date.
What is the difference between the two hopeful suitors? The biggest difference: Neediness.
Neediness is the state of being where you don't have enough of a thing and you start acting weird and other people can tell. It is very unattractive in general and makes the needy person do things that they wouldn't otherwise do. Like groveling, deferring all decisions to the other person, and generally being what is often called "creepy." It is what some might call a "scarcity mindset" compared to an "abundance mindset."
In dating, getting over neediness can be a process that involves self reflection, self care, and self improvement. I don't claim to be a dating coach, I just know that when I act needy the person I ask on dates don't have much attraction.
Now, I'm not really qualified to talk about what the normal person in our story above did to get the date, but!
But in today's issue of "how consulting and dating are literally the same thing," the single straightforward solution to neediness in consulting and freelancing is literally one thing:
Don't have no cashflow.
That is, don't get into a situation where you have to take a gig to pay the next month's rent.
When you don't have to take a gig, you can say no to work that isn't in your specialty and refer it to someone else instead of taking it and causing friction in your own process.\ When you don't have to take a gig, you can stick to your principles without worrying about losing the only possible source of income you have.\ When you don't have to take a gig, you can be upfront about reservations and talk about them without worrying that you'll lose your rent money if the client has a bad reaction.\ When you don't have to take a gig, you can take risks with your positioning, have strong opinions that will turn away some but strongly endear you to others, and be more of a badass.
This confidence that comes from not being needy will make it more likely you'll get the jobs you do actually want. You can take on the mindset that you yourself are the prize that the client must win instead of the client's gig being the prize that must be won.
I certainly can't boast here about my own amazingness here. A few months ago I was scrambling for work and had to take some jobs that I wouldn't otherwise have, especially after taking a large risk last year and quitting a number of good paying gigs and letting my savings drain. But now that I'm solvent again, I'm looking very forward to being able to be choosy with my work again. Basically everything I talk about in this newsletter is easier when you don't have to worry exactly about where your next rent check will come from.
Are you interested in starting to freelance but currently have a job? My suggestion: wait to quit your job until you have money in the bank or enough work coming in to not feel crunched. When out on your own, think ahead and try to avoid getting into a bad situation. Just because money has become unto you right now doesn't mean it'll last forever. If I had taken this advice myself last year I wouldn't have gotten into a low cash point in the first place.
I send everything I make first as a letter to my mailing list. New letters go out each week!
Learn freelancing from someone who's gone down this path before. In the the Less Boring Letters, I'll teach you everything I know about ditching the 9-to-5. Build a profitable new business that you love, benefitting from all of my trial and error.
"I send all my newsletters straight to an email box I almost never read... except David's! Insightful, honest, sometimes downright hilarious, and truly helpful even after years of freelancing."
It Must Bee: Websites with a Buzz!