If you’re a freelancer, chances are you know what I’m talking about: a potential client or agency calls up and asks if you’re free for a certain time period. You say yes. They ask for an option for that period. It’s not a booking, it’s not not a booking. It’s not really anything. Except the dumbest thing ever. Hear me out.
In a perfect world.
- Hi, do you have time between these dates?
- Yes. / No.
- Great! / Too bad!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I can give you a straight answer because I just need to take a look ay my calendar and that’s it. And you get direct feedback and can make your decision instantly.
A 30 second phone call. Or two messages. Things could be so easy!
Ah yes, but it’s such a commitment to actually know what I want!
So you think you might need support sometime soon. Maybe you’ve even got a rough idea of when. But you don’t know whether or not you really will need help. You can’t commit to any decisions yet. Anything is possible and you’re just a passenger to your own uncertainty.
Enter the option. The magical tool that lets you feel like you did something without actually having done anything. Why waste your own time figuring out what it is you need, when you can waste your own time and someone else’s too just to feel like you have options available.
Reserving someone’s services with an option is like draping a towel over a sun lounger early in the morning before heading off to the breakfast buffet.
You get to feel incredibly German because you’ve thought ahead and organized something. And you get to feel like that sun lounger will be there waiting for you. No matter how busy the pool gets and regardless of whether you decide to turn up after breakfast or days later.
Sounds silly? That’s because it is.
The reality is even dumber though.
The truth about that option: its worth nothing. It’s actually worth less than nothing because it causes more problems than it solves.
- It adds phonecalls and emails to the simplest availability questions.
- It can actually cost jobs. While I’m busy chasing up option A, job B isn’t going to wait around to see if I’m free or not.
- It adds bad vibes. You feel like you’ve already booked me, so you won’t be happy if I ask for a quick decision now or if I end up taking a different job because you aren’t getting back to me quickly enough.
So why even bother with options?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while and I can’t come up with a scenario where the option makes my life or that of the agency that’s asking any easier.
Because it means nothing, it does nothing. It’s the promise of an additional few E-Mails or phonecalls at best, a complete waste of time, energy and planning that results in nothing at worst.
It. Makes. No. Sense.
I’m not doing it anymore.
(Is this what paradise looks like?)
I’ve decided that I won’t be giving out options anymore. Call me when you know if and for how long you’d like to book me and I’ll give you instant feedback if that works or not. No more back and forth, no more guessing games, no more bad vibes, no more missing out on jobs or waiting to hear back from each other, no more keeping each other in the loop constantly.
None of that.
A 30 second phone call. Or two messages. This is going to be easy.