“You cannot say yes or no until you touch the books”

A very wise woman said this to me last week. It’s a great reminder that, as freelancers, we have the power to turn down gigs. Awesome little org doing terrific work, with a QuickBooks file that hasn’t been updated since 2015? You can say no. People you dig, a mission you love and a balance sheet so messy it makes your heart sink? You don’t have to say yes. Reflect on your personal capacity and your stress level. Do you want to be a hero, or do you want to have a personal life? It’s all up to you.

I also liked the tactile image she used—”until you touch the books.” I’ve said to clients, “I can’t answer that question because I haven’t really had my hands in the books.” Sometimes I wiggle my fingers for added effect.

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