Working for the Bad Man

Coworking spaces are full of freelancers, small businesses and startups. For all of these people there inevitably comes a time where you have to make an ethical business decision on who to work with. Do you take on the church as a client? Do you take on as Murdoch as an investor? Where do you draw the line?

Many Frameworkers are working for themselves, or at least joining up with others to start something new. This gives you the freedom to work the way you want to, but the responsibility of keeping the business alive is also firmly clamped around you neck. Saying no to any revenue or investment money is a big and scary decision.

My humble opinion is that you should base these decisions on the identity of your brand. I realise that sounds a little buzzwordy coming from a director of a creative agency, but whether you are a freelancer or small business owner, your brand should be the driving force of your business. You want to build something you are proud of. For some people this just means financial success, for others it is about making something valuable for society, or perhaps it is just building something cool that you are proud to talk about at parties.

Does that brand, that business that you are proud of, chase money at any cost or are you selective about your clients? I actually think people can go too far in either direction here. Obviously you don't want to be the PR company of the KKK, but should you really turn away business because the potential client doesn't exclusively use recycled toilet paper?

As a general rule, I try to make sure that every project I work on I would be happy to show as an example to my next client. This means maintaining the standards of your work, but it also means maintaining your integrity. If you're not happy to put your name beside your work, for whatever reason, then perhaps the work shouldn't have been done in the first place.

While the decision is yours to make, there is no shame in asking a second opinion. Whether it be from a trusted friend or just a good guy you know in your coworking space, a different perspective can make you feel more comfortable with your decision and reassure you that you aren't freaking out over nothing.

Staying true to your brand and morals may lose a job or some quick money in the short term, but building a business you are proud of is the only way to ensure long term success and that illusive work satisfaction.