Should you take the money?
Welcome to part two!  Yesterday, Naomi answered a question from a student taking the Emergency Turnaround Clinic.  Today, Dave gives his answer to the same question.

“Hi Ninjas,

I’m just a few days in and the Emergency Turnaround Clinic is already working. It’s only Thursday morning of the first week, and I am already feeling a shift. I took a leap of faith and decided to follow in your footsteps with pay what you can.

So, Monday, I slapped up a post offering my creativity consulting services for whatever people can afford through the end of April. I also decided to offer a giveaway for three free sessions, winners drawn at random, for anyone who shared the post on social media and left a comment.

And… crickets. So I asked several of my well connected, hustling friends to share it yesterday (why was this hard for me? I share their stuff all the time) and woke up this morning to find that I had a couple of comments from people hoping to win a freebie and two new pay what you can consults lined up.

It’s not a ton of money, but it is forward motion. Things are starting, finally. It was the little push of encouragement I needed to keep going.

The one issue I’m facing is that I am buried in freelance writing work, and squeezing in little bits of time here and there for the ittybiz that is my one true love is hard. I can’t afford to lose that writing income just yet. My over the top supportive partner suggested using her tax return to buy me a new laptop (mine is dying a hideously slow death) and to cover the income I would normally make in two weeks of freelance writing.

This is all so that I can have those two weeks to fully focus on my business and crank out some products. This is so generous and wonderful, yet feels so risky. What do you think? Should I take her up on the offer and just do it with the trust that the time I put into it won’t be wasted?

Thanks for all you do.”

Dave’s Answer!

A good way to deal with a complicated situation like this is to look at what’s making it complicated in the first place.

Generally, our first thought is that the situation is what’s complicated, and that’s why it’s hard to decide. But more often than not, what’s making things so hard to figure out is that we haven’t gotten clear on what it is we’re trying to figure out.

When options are vague, decisions are impossible to come to. Once we get more clarity, the answer’s a lot easier to make.

In your case, what I’d say is vague is the consequences and details behind each decision. On the surface, it’s “should I take the money or not?”. There’s probably a bit of “If I took the money, I could do X, if I don’t, I’ll have to do Y.” It’s hard to make a decision based on just an X and a Y, and part of what makes it hard is your brain knows there’s more to the story.

So what I’d recommend is to first figure out what the rest of the story looks like.

If you take the money, and buy the laptop, what are you going to do next? Play out the next few months of effort.

Is the new laptop going to solve specific problems you currently have? (As in, “It keeps crashing so it takes longer to finish jobs, with a new laptop I can get them done faster and get ahead, so I’ll make more money.”)

Do you have a plan in mind for the products you’re going to create, how fast you can get them done, and how you’re going to market them?

Do you know what specific things fall under “fully focusing on your business?” Could you write them on a list, picture how much time you’d be spending on them and realistically schedule them in?

In other words, if you were taking this money as a loan from a bank, and they said “Tell me what you’re going to do with this money over X period of time,” you’d be expected to have a plan they could look at and say “Ok, that makes sense. I can see how that could work.”

The bank wouldn’t expect that you had a plan that was guaranteed to succeed. They would just expect a plan that let them see that you’ve thought through all the moving pieces and they all made logical sense and fit the laws of physics. That the money would not be lent in vain or not be lent based on a vague sense of hope and a give ’em hell attitude.

So that’s one side of the coin.

The other side is to do the same thing from the perspective of what you would do if this offer wasn’t on the table at all. If you didn’t have this option, but you were still focused on succeeding, what would your plan look like for that? Would you hit up your parents for money? Eat ramen for a few months? Squeeze every last bit of life out of your laptop and put 10% away from every job to buy a new one?

If you didn’t have this offer of money, you’d do something. Write out what that plan would look like, and keep the same level of detail.

Now you have two detailed scenarios. They each have their upsides and downsides. They each could work or not work. But they’re detailed now. They have a solid basis in reality.

What you’d do then is look at each of them and decide which one you’re more comfortable going with based on the upsides, downsides, and short and long term consequences in each.

You don’t have to be comfortable with either option. Life rarely hands you options you’re comfortable with in these kinds of situations.

But now you’re acting from a place of strength. You can look at two scenarios, say to yourself that you’ve thought them through, and roll your dice on whichever one will let you sleep better at night. Both plans may be equally risky, but you’re choosing your risk consciously now.

Sometimes, it’s just like they say: “You rolls your dice and you takes your chances.” But this way you’ll at least have a sense of both the odds, and how much you’re putting on the line for this particular bet.

Go through this exercise, and factor in the things that Naomi addressed in her answer. It will help you be a lot more confident in whatever choice you end up making.

All my best,


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