When I first started freelancing out of college, I worked with many clients. My only requirement at the time was "If they can pay me, I will take on the project."
I quickly burnt out taking on projects that didn't interest me and worked with teams who weren't quite the right fit. And I'm not alone -- dozens of freelancers and entrepreneurs I've spoken with have taken on clients and projects that weren't the best fit for them. Over the years, I've learned to be more selective in the projects I take on and the teams I work with. Now when I'm evaluating a potential project, I ask myself these three questions.
1. Does the team have a great product?
Product is important. If you're not passionate about what you're selling or marketing it can be very hard to create a great program around it. Interest is number one. If the product or service you'll be working with doesn't interest you, don't do it. You'll quickly find yourself in a creative rut when you could be working on a project that you feel passion and excitement around.
2. Does the team have a big enough budget to execute marketing initiatives?
I've worked with companies the past that had potential, but also zero marketing budget. I would sometimes take these projects thinking I could make marketing magic out of thin air. But without an executable marketing budget, it's hard to scale a marketing program.
When evaluating a potential client, make sure they have enough runway to pay you for the duration of your contract to avoid billing hiccups along the way.
3. Will our working style be compatible?
It's important to find teams to work that share a compatible working style with you. When I was building my team, I looked for people who shared the same morals, work ethic and sense of humor giving us a fun and supportive working environment. I look for the same in potential clients and professional partners.
It doesn't matter if a company has an enormous budget and the best product in the world -- if you don't feel you'll get along with the team, you won't enjoy the work. It's important to make sure that you don't only love the product you'll be working on but also the team.
When you're working for yourself, it can be easy to take on a project just because you need the money. But if you can--hold out for clients with a compatible team, product and budget. It will make doing the work you love even more enjoyable.