Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of participating in the merry-go-round often referred to as dating knows firsthand the challenges that come with translating the other person’s level of interest. The first date went well; lots of laughter, eye contact and in your mind you even managed to have the perfect first kiss too.
But days go by and you’ve not heard back from them. You want to call or text but at the same time, you don’t want them to mistakenly confuse you for being a stalker or uber needy. So instead, you just over analyze and wonder, was it something I said?
No it wasn’t. He or she’s just not that into you.
About eleven years ago, a groundbreaking book debuted and changed the way women, in particular, looked at dating forever.
He’s Just Not That Into You—based on a popular episode of Sex and the City—was tough love advice for otherwise smart women on how to tell when a guy just didn’t like them enough, so they could stop wasting time making excuses for a dead-end relationship. Authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo wanted women to know that—despite good intentions—you’re wasting your time. Men are not complicated, although they’d like you to think they are. And there are no mixed messages.
I believe this theory also applies to our careers and businesses.
When a company values who you are and what you bring to the table, there are no mixed messages. Your time, experience and opinions matter and should be respected. Many of us are wasting our times with companies that are just not really into us.
For my fellow business owners, when a client is serious about hiring you, there is no haggling or questioning the value you and your services bring. We set rates based on the cost of doing business, not just for fun. Yes, there is sometimes room to wiggle a bit and most small business owners are open to working with a client when it comes to reasonable budgetary concerns, but by no means, should you ever compromise the integrity of what you and your business represent. Many entrepreneurs waste their time with clients who are just not into them.
When I first started working for myself many moons ago, I was so desperate to get a client that I was doing so much for free. I also used to take on projects that honestly weren’t in alignment with my personal values nor what I really wanted to be working on. Mainly because I thought it would help me get my foot in the door and build a name for myself.
Now let me say that there is nothing wrong with working for free at times or taking on projects that aren’t shiny and fun all of the time. Over the years, I have always tried to give back and donate my time to many causes and brands that I truly believe in. Emphasis on “at times”. There should be a solid reason for doing so. It shouldn’t be a business development strategy.
After that last bologna sandwich and bowl of Ramen, I began to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to survive (mentally and financially) if I kept selling myself short.
Twelve years later, I stand firm in what I bring to the table. I don’t waver or ever question it and it has made all the difference in the world. Just like with potential dates, not everyone is for you and I believe the same goes for companies and clients. There have been some killer projects that I would have loved to have been a part of, but how you start is how you finish and I refuse to devalue the work and experience my team and I have accrued for over a decade. This also means I’ve had to make the choice to end projects and collaborations as well.
When it comes to building your career or business, be strong, be brave and be aware of how others treat you and your talents. They may not be that into you, but there is someone who is.