Two rules I live by, or ‘No on No’
I really should get back into the habit of blogging, so I will by writing about something I have been telling some people lately.
When it comes to working with people, I have learned a really crucial rule: It isn’t your job to give someone a reason to tell you ‘no.’
This is really, really important. I used to do that total bitch move of, when people asked me to work on something with them, saying “Are you sure?” Whiny, insecure validation bullshit. The simple truth is that I should trust people to be sure of that when they’re asking me to work with them. Or when emailing someone about a job, I would put in my own caveats and make myself sound weaker, sound insecure. I’m giving the person I want to convince to hire me reasons to tell me “no.”
I learned to stop doing that. I will accept “no” as a response, and if there’s an issue that I think I would be irresponsible in withholding (like, say, my availability), I will put that upfront. But I no longer act like someone who needs validation in order to “feel right” about getting a job.
As a result, I have received more work. You can to. Just stop being an insecure tool. Hell, you don’t even have to stop, just *pretend* that you aren’t. Fake it ’til you make it, baby. Just don’t make it easy for a client to want to tell you no.
Related, it’s okay to be confident. You might be worried about sounding arrogant or cocksure or whatever, and thus be afraid of that being off-putting. Stop that.
If you’re worth working with, I want to know that. And I want you to know that. I have little patience (some, but not as much as in the past) for people who need hand-holding. Have confidence in yourself and your decisions. Show me that you do. You’re only being truly arrogant if you’re throwing it in my face and refusing criticism in return.
I used to equate showing confidence with showing arrogance — which is to say, I was a fucking moron. When I decided to show more confidence, suddenly I got more work and more people interested in said work. The trick is still simple: as long as you’re not throwing how “right” you are in others’ faces and as long as you’re willing to take criticism, you’re not being a cockbite. (If you’re afraid you’ll become a cockbite, surround yourself with awesome people who will tell you you’re being one and be willing to listen. This is why I am proud to be in the Evil Hat family — we do this.)
Just try it. Don’t hide behind weakness. I understand the impulse to do so — if you do, then you’re in control of your own failure and lack of progress, and there’s something to be said for being in control of *anything* in your life. All I can tell you is that three years after starting this new life, I find putting myself out there and struggling with my own success far, far more fucking satisfying than being in control of my own failure.
 This is one of those times where my advice with being a freelancer overlaps with dating advice. Mildly.
 Clearly this is my favorite word to use on my blog.