A couple of weeks ago, I was offered the chance to shoot quite a big job. I was excited initially. They wanted to pay me well, and the shoot was going to involve quite a lot of work. But work that I enjoy! And when you're freelance, getting offered a job is always exciting.
However, after a few emails, I began to feel uneasy. Something in my gut was telling me there was something off. I ignored it at first, and put it down to nerves. I thought that I was just feeling a bit intimidated it all.
Eventually though, that changed and some warning signs began to appear. My gut had been right, and I decided to pull out of the job.
I won't go into the specifics, but it just wasn't going to be the right job for me, I didn't feel comfortable working with the team, and I felt they'd do better with a different photographer.
I was extremely hard to turn this job down. I thought about it for a few days before I pulled out. I discussed it with friends, but everyone agreed: if it feels wrong, don't do it.
Now I can happily say that it was the best thing I did! Here's why:
saying no is empowering
I didn't think that I'd feel so empowered by saying no, but once that initial email had been sent and the butterflies subsided, all I was left with with pride. I was really proud of myself for sticking to what I believed in! I'm quite lucky in that I don't often get approached by people who aren't a good fit, so I rarely need to say no. This was a good reminder that sometime you do need to say no, even if it feels scary.
I need to listen to my gut from the get go. It's always right.
This was a big one. I consider myself to be very intuitive. I'm super empathetic, and I can walk into a room and literally feel the vibe. So when my gut begins to scream at me that something is off, generally speaking, it's right. It can be so hard to go with a feeling, especially when the logical part of your brain is saying: "But think of the money!" but being really in tune with your intuition always pays off. I'll be sure to listen to it far more in future when it comes to booking jobs.
Its important to protect my mental health
I have worked jobs in the past where I've felt used and a bit violated. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often anymore, because I learnt those lessons. However, due to my history with mental health issues, I know how important it is for me to look after my mind. By saying no to jobs that aren't the right fit for me, I'm keeping myself happy and comfortable so that I can work at my best for the clients who are a good fit.
there's always more work around the corner.
The best bit about this whole story? I replaced the job I turned down with another job within two days. Woohoo! And the business I'm now working for is lovely, my intuition is saying: "full steam ahead!" and I can't wait for our shoot. How sad would it have been if I'd agreed to the client that felt off, and had to tell this amazing, lovely client that I was already booked?!
So there you go. If nothing else, I hope that this post has given you permission to say no. I'm giving you permission! You don't need it though, you're allowed to do what you want, when you want. After all, this is your business! So listen to your gut, empower yourself, and say no to anything that isn't a perfect fit.
PS. I know that this is harder when you're just starting out with your business. I've been running for a few years, so it's easier for me to turn down work. Did I take on jobs that I didn't like at the start of my career? Of course I did. But the longer you go on, the less of those jobs you have to do. It's up to you to know when that shift can take place.