Find the No-Brainer Scenario: The “Good Enough” Opportunity

In honor of my upcoming class about decision-making, I’m sharing some posts where I do real-life demos showing the No-Brainer Scenario in action…here’s the second post in the series.

Here’s an especially tricky decision someone emailed me about recently:

I’m trying to decide whether or not I should create a proposal to write for this company. They’re bigger than the kind of client I’m happiest working with. They seem perfectly nice, and it’s not like I hate writing for companies. But it’s just not the ultimate experience I want to have.

So do I turn them down before my business is booked up with my new target audience? Or take them on and grit my teeth because they’re, in a way, funding my transition?

When do you say, “Sure, as long as I’m not totally annoyed all the time, it’s good enough?” And when do you say, “NO! I want to be delighted ALL THE TIME!”

What makes this situation tricky is that we’re talking about someone asking us for a dance when our dance card isn’t full.

Except this person doesn’t make us swoon. And what if that certain someone who does make us swoon can’t dance with us because we agreed to dance with the un-swoon-worthy guy or gal?

It’s really easy to spin off into all the possibilities, so before we dig in, here’s what you need to do:

Ground and center yourself.

If you have a way that you usually do that, do it now. Don’t know what I mean by that? It simply means to reconnect with your body and let go of all the what-ifs and yeah-buts and whatever else makes you feel swirly about this decision.

If nothing else, spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing.

Ahhh…that’s better.

The most important thing

Same as last time, the most important question to answer is:

What would make it a No-Brainer to write for this company?

Considerations and questions

The No-Brainer Scenario process is the same for most (if not all) decisions, but some of the considerations will vary depending on the situation.

Here’s what I would consider and ask myself in the process of defining the No-Brainer Scenario for this kind of decision:

Will saying yes to this project help me shift my target market?

That’s what you really, really want, right?

It’s easy to see this project as something that will “fund your transition” but I’m going to challenge that.

My guess is that you need to get the word out that your target market has shifted. Which means doing stuff like sending emails to your network and updating your website to reflect who you want to work with.

If this non-ideal project will pay you and still allow you to do those things, then yes, it’s funding your transition.

But if saying yes to this project will delay your ability to get the word out, you’re actually delaying the transition. You’ll pay your bills in the short-term, but after this project is over, you’ll still be in the same boat you’re in now.

Is there something you could put in the proposal that would make writing for this larger company feel more like you were writing for your ideal client?

This is part of exploring whether it’s possible to turn a Meh opportunity into a great one.

In order for this to be a No-Brainer, would you need to charge more?

If you write the proposal using your normal pricing, will you wind up resenting the work because it’s a project you’re not in love with? Resenting the project is definitely not a recipe for doing your best work.

A hypothetical No-Brainer Scenario

As always, the specific items in the No-Brainer Scenario will depend on what’s important to you, but maybe it would look something like this:

  • The project fee needs to be $x (20% more than what I’d charge an ideal client)
  • I need to have only one person I’m dealing with (I don’t want to report to a committee)
  • The deadline needs to be longer than what I’d normally commit to, so that I have time to update my website during this project.

Now you’ve got your “first draft” of a No-Brainer Scenario, which you’ll use to write the proposal (or not).

Check in with yourself

Imagine having the No-Brainer version of your proposal accepted. Would it feel like a No-Brainer to say yes to this project? If not, what remaining concerns need to be addressed?

Sometimes the process of defining your No-Brainer Scenario will show you that there is no set of conditions that would make this project feel like a No-Brainer.

This is valuable information! Because it tells you that you really don’t want to work with them, and you can focus your energy on finding your ideal clients.

Once you’ve found your No-Brainer Scenario

At this point, you can either use your No-Brainer Scenario to create your proposal, or you can move on.

If you submit your No-Brainer proposal, and they say no, you’ll have your answer. The project as you needed it to be doesn’t exist. Focus instead on spreading the word about who your ideal clients are, so they can find you.

But if you submit your No-Brainer proposal and they say yes? You just went from a so-so project to one that’s a…No-Brainer!

How about you?

Can you relate? What decisions are you working on and what makes them tricky for you? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

And if you’d like to dig a little deeper into this decision-making process, check out my August 12 teleclass. Early bird discount ends tomorrow night!

4 thoughts on “Find the No-Brainer Scenario: The “Good Enough” Opportunity

  1. Maryann Devine

    “The project as you needed it to be doesn’t exist.”


    The No-Brainer Scenario seems so practical, and yet can be so mind-blowing. So glad you invented it!

  2. JoVE

    “Sometimes the process of defining your No-Brainer Scenario will show you that there is no set of conditions that would make this project feel like a No-Brainer.”

    Yes. I wasn’t even using your process properly about a recent decision. Kind of doing a sort of pros and cons thing in my head but with little hints of what would make it a no-brainer. I even thought of the “charge more” thing.

    And you know what. It came up that I really didn’t want to do it. That there was nothing I could ask for that would make me want to do it.

    So I said no, sorry, I’m not available. No one died. No bridges were burned.
    .-= JoVE´s last blog ..Eyes wide open =-.

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