Article | 23 Jan 2015

Choosing the job that best suits you

Posted in Freelancer,

As a freelancer, it can be overwhelming when presented with certain jobs – which job do you accept and which one do you reject? You wish you could accept every offer, both because of the experience you will gain and because of the money it will put in your pocket.

But this is unrealistic. While many of the same criteria stand, deciding on a freelance position differs slightly from looking for a permanent role. So, how do you decide which jobs to take on and which to decline? Here are a few guidelines to follow and some questions to ask yourself along the way.

Can you work with the boss?

Even in a short-term position, management plays an important role in deciding if a job is right for you. Is the supervisor someone you feel comfortable with and can look up to? You can usually decide this during the interview process. It can be difficult working for an employer with whom you just don’t get along with, and it all starts with the interview.

Consider the risks versus the rewards.

“We all have different tolerances for risk,” says Dr. Laurel Felt, a Communication’s Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Are you risk averse, or prefer to avoid risk? Is your motto ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’? If so, then you probably want to snap up a safe, sure thing as soon as it comes along. That’s because risk adverse people tend to feel anxious as they wait for a better possibility that may or may not materialise and often regret their decision to turn down the first offer. They don’t like being in limbo, the uncertainty feels really uncomfortable for them.”

“But if you’re risk prone, or tend to take on risk, then you’d probably prefer to reject a less than ideal offer and hold out for the possibility of something better. This gamble would feel less stressful to you than it would to a risk adverse person, and would free you from wondering, ‘did I settle too soon, for too little?’ That kernel of doubt, that potential regret, that’s what feels uncomfortable to risk prone people.”

Do negotiate your rate.

In the freelance world, negotiation is a huge part of setting your rate.

“It’s helpful to consider the number of hours you see yourself spending on the project,” Felt recommends. “If you’re someone who spends many extra hours critiquing and perfecting their work, your hourly rate may come out low, and in that case, the job may not be worth your time. If you see yourself banging out the project really quickly, then you could stand to make a bundle. Crunch those numbers!”

Have you the time?

Have you taken on other projects at the same time, or is this project going to be your priority and main focus? If you do have other projects, does this project fit into your schedule and will you be able to reach the deadline while also producing quality work?

Decide what you want.

Bottom line, you need to think, “Is this a job I want?” Put aside everything else and decide if this is something you have a desire to work on. If not, then you are probably doing it for the wrong reason. One of the great things about being a freelancer is you have the power to decide what you want to do and what makes you happy. If you don’t want this job and it’s not going to add anything to your life, don’t take it. Besides, if you’re not interested, you probably won’t produce your best work.

By Jeanne Peterson.