Secrets of a Master:
“Big-Money” Jobs

In the last few days, I knocked out a couple of little assignments that came my way. One was for $2,000 and the other was for $300.

And that reminded me of something I learned a long time ago, when I had a woodworking business: Sometimes you make better money on the little jobs than the big ones.

For example, I used to get excited whenever I signed a big custom kitchen for my shop. And I remember how ecstatic I was when I landed one job that included a small custom kitchen, some custom doors, and trim for a house renovation. (The total for that job was around $42,000 – and this was over 10 years ago.)

But almost invariably, those "big money" jobs took much longer than planned and more materials than planned

And the profits would get eaten up.

But often, I would knock out a countertop for someone in a couple of hours late in the day. Or an odd cabinet for an odd space in a house or office. I would make a few hundred to a thousand bucks – but almost all profit.

Without a doubt, I pocketed more money on those little jobs than I did on the big ones.

Same thing is true today. I may have a big job – a full direct mail promotion, like a magalog, that pays really well. But it takes quite a while to do it.

Small jobs I can do very fast. And once again, undoubtedly, there's more profit in the little jobs.

So my message today is: Don't get too hung up on landing the "big" jobs. Yes, there's more "glory" in them. But I say, "Give me the money and keep the glory." I'd rather meet my financial goals than stroke my ego. I don't have time for that anymore.

Don't sneer at the "little" jobs. You just might make more money turning out professional work rapidly on jobs that "big shot" copywriters sneer at.

And, as always, your clients will appreciate you and keep coming back.

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Published: December 9, 2002

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