How to play with the big people when you feel like a lil person

September 14, 2016

Isn’t it so exciting when someone cool pays attention to you?

When you were in middle school, and your crush laughed at your joke, you felt like the sky was raining gummi bears.

When you were in college, and you shotgunned a beer without spilling it all over your shirt, you felt awesome.

And as a professional, when someone way more accomplished than you says “Hey Person, you’re really awesome,” you grin like a cat with a bird foot hanging out of its mouth.

But can you keep your cool when the cool person approaches you? Are your values gonna stay in check? What happens when your dream opportunity turns out to be… not that cool?

In today’s Whackadoodle, I’m sharing how to stand up to the big people when you feel like a lil person.

Whackadoodle #6: How to stand up to the big people when you feel like a lil person

Whether you’re a freelance writer, a manager, or an individual contributor, work can feel like a slog.

If your commute has a ton of traffic, too bad.

If your company gets bought out, goes out of business, or your favorite direct report leaves for a competitor, tough stuff.

It can feel like no one gives a shit about the hard work you do.

So when a cool company pays attention to you, it can feel magical. AHHHH. Things are looking up.

It can be tempting to make all kinds of concessions. It’s tempting to work for free, offer consulting services, or write up a free sample. You wanna impress the big people!

The truth?

You shouldn’t make these concessions, even for the coolest of companies.

Recently, a well-known SaaS approached me, wanting me to edit their eBooks. I was psyched. I was imagining their logo on my website, and having people say “YOU WORKED FOR THEM?”

But then they asked me to complete three writing samples… for free.

I was tempted! C’mon. Their logo would’ve looked so good.

But I had to stick with the way I run my business. I told them I didn’t do free samples, but that I’d be happy to share some insights on how I’d approach the topics.

I never heard back.

Yeah, it was kind of disappointing, but ultimately I stood by the things I believe about business. That can be hard to do when you want to secure the next client, the next customer, or the next job. That can be hard when the company or person is “cooler” than you.

The key to playing with the big people is to act like a big person yourself. Act like you have the authority to say no. Be firm. Stick by your guns.

In the end, you won’t have any regrets. I promise. I assure you, you’re a big person yourself.

Happy writing & editing. Until next whackadoodle.

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