Earlier this summer, my client was negotiating a Big Contract. This was going to be quite a commitment for her and involve her in working with a few sub-contractors too, but it was what we’d been talking about and the sort of income she had been desiring and taking steps towards and following up leads and going to meetings in order that she would manifest precisely that; a big chunk of work and cash. Her intentions became her reality.
And next, her immediate fear was that the new juicy Big Contract would limit her freedom, that most precious of precious reasons why most of us become self-employed. Her concern was that it might compromise that freedom.
But she was still at the contract negotiation stage and a contract doesn’t close unless both parties get what they want out of it. So she still had the power to negotiate how she would deliver the work. She could work from home and only go into her client’s offices for vital meetings of a certain nature. They couldn’t come to expect anything else if a precedent was set from the get-go and she stuck to her guns and exercised her boundaries, all tasks in which I shall support her. She will still be free to travel and do her work remotely. She could, if she wanted, write into the contract that she would do the work at midnight wearing a pink hat while living in Ibiza.
We seem to forget how much power we have in every negotiation when we are self-employed, at least initially when a newbie and, to some extent, that never goes away as we always lose perspective when too close to any particular aspect of our work and business.
No one can ever take away your personal power except that you surrender it to them.
You always have the power. (You always have The Power too.)
Another story illustrates this rather nicely. When I asked my Club 100 for contributions to this book, one client replied as follows.
Client: What immediately comes to mind is the big block I was giving myself on our call this month about needing loads of clients, and at the same time worrying that that would mean I didn’t have time to write my own stuff. Then you pointed out that I actually only needed a few clients, and that still gave me time for my own writing. We took off the brakes, and within 2 weeks I have a new client.
Me: “took off the brakes”, love it.
Client: You said it!
We have power and choice and freedom at all times, both as human beings and as people who employ ourselves for money. Sometimes, in both places, that’s compromised for all sorts of reasons. But mostly it isn’t. Don’t give away your power. Pay attention. Do not allow it to be taken from you either. If any contract has draconian terms on the other side to which you are not prepared to agree, then don’t. By saying no to the wrong things, you leave room for the right.
- Where are you putting the brakes on in your own biz and what’s your underlying fear?
- What might happen if you simply lift that foot a little, or a lot?