Work and life completely blew up the last couple of days, and I have suddenly been overwhelmed with work and very busy. Just starting out my self-employed career this is a very good thing, yet the stress is building and needs to be managed better. I also know it is a transitory situation stemming from the previously schedule vacation days next week and next month.
When do you decide and how do you gracefully turn down work, though? I have a couple of CPA firms referring potential clients right now, and some of the inquiries are just tedious enough or the potential client difficult enough to make me want to pass. Yet I feel like I cannot quite do that yet. Small one-time jobs still pay the same, and money and experience are both good things to have. Besides, I really want to build a solid reputation as a dependable referral source, so I truly feel as if I cannot be too particular or picky.
I am quickly learning that I need a minimum fee/hourly commitment, particularly for one-time projects. It does not seem worth my while to meet with or talk with a potential client for an hour and take on a project on an hourly basis that takes 90 minutes start to finish. The policy is taking shape, and I need to stand firm with myself in implementing it. I like helping people; it seems like part of who I am as a person. With no overall firm absorbing my overhead hours, I must fine tune and work smarter.
Other than my inability to say no to new work, things are shaping up nicely in my professional roles. My former full-time job has someone else in place to handle day-to-day office matters and while I want to decline my official officer seat, I am the financial advisor and will have to stay in that role for the time being. The less time I spend in the office the less disturbed I am about the owners’ short-sighted quirks, so that is a positive. Law firm client is going very well, keeping me busy, but I set the pace of my work and it is primarily work I enjoy. The rest of my existing and expanding client base chugs along to fill any and all gaps in the workday and evenings, yet still leaving time to prioritize and pursue my personal projects and endeavors. Actually motivating myself to prioritze and pursue personal projects is another matter entirely. I am just not interested in organzing my disaster zone guest bedroom, which has become the holding pattern room for everything we have to do something with or make a decision about. It has not yet reached the tipping point where I can no longer stand the mess and must deal with it, so for now I can close the door and pretend it does not really exist.
Sometimes denial is my friend.