Thanks to your expertise, people discover your work.
A friend discovers that you’re in tech and do have a website. They then ask you to build their app, whether it’s relevant to you or not. Does that sound familiar? We get that a lot.
Because people know, like, and trust you; business opportunities come your way. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t related to what you actually do. Worse, you sometimes accept work that pulls you to a direction that slows down your big picture progress.
Define Your Flexibility Level
Everyone gets opportunities, but not everyone gets many. There are times in our career when we get less serendipity than we need.
Be clear with how much you need work. If you’re comfortable with your current income for the next year, you can be more selective. At times when you’re firefighting to afford next month’s rent, you want to be more open to opportunity.
Based on how much you can afford to be selective, set your acceptance level. At a scale of 1 – 10 based on a gig’s desirability, choose your minimum. If you have a couple of years of budget to burn, you can choose to accept work that’s at least a “9.” If your budget is tighter, you know how much you should lower the number.
Your Identity Is the Criteria
You’re in a place to accept client work. Not all gigs are equally fit for you, though. While there are many factors, let’s focus on your brand identity as the main criteria.
Based on who you want your brand to be, accept work. That defines what type of opportunity is a 10 or a 1. Complete alignment to your brand gets the score of 10.
For this piece, we’ll focus on building a brand that scales.
Everyone has opportunities. If you want to be a real business owner, your identity is your biggest asset. To build something that scales, your systems need to build on top of each other.
A high-paying contract that doesn’t align to your identity doesn’t scale. It’s one ad hoc thing that don’t sharpen your capabilities or build on your CV. If someone hires you to be a dentist, your expertise as a lawyer doesn’t have anything to do with the job. You’re better off focusing on one expertise and accepting only the type of work that aligns to it.
Building on your identity sharpens your capabilities and ability to be trusted by more people. Your systems will be reusable for all products & services that you’ll offer later. Your CV will be strengthened for all related opportunities in the future.
If you’re an expert at parenting, you’ll build systems that help moms, dads, and their children. Your skills and other resources are built to deal with these people and their specific problems. Your reputation is building on relevant subjects that will appeal to parents who will hire you or buy your products.
Over to You
The first thing you want to do is to firm up your identity. Based on that, set your minimum score required for you to accept work.
Next time an opportunity finds you, give it a score. Based on your identity, see if it hits your minimum required alignment to your brand.
With this pre-determined criteria, you won’t be tempted to give in to irrelevant offers. You won’t feel bad for turning down opportunities, because you know that you’re building something bigger. At the same time, you’ll be more compelled to say “yes” to work that fits your identity.