Written by Natasha Argyri | June 20, 2021
The Entertainment Industry (or any industry for that matter) can be an exciting place, especially for someone who is just breaking into it. Whether you're a student seeking an internship, or a musician being asked to be a part of a special project, opportunities can present themselves in a multitude of ways. But how do you know which one is right for you?
When you're young and/or [for lack of better term] inexperienced, it's hard to see why you should not say yes to every opportunity that presents itself to you. Receiving opportunities can be very exciting, and sometimes can possibly lead to promising futures. The problem is not the opportunity, but the integrity of the individual or entity offering it to you. You haven't made your mark on the world yet so you feel as though what you can offer at that given time may not be as valuable to others, therefore, you feel as though you need this opportunity in order to prove yourself. Although it is true that you have to build your own credibility through experiences and opportunities, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take extra care when considering to accept. We all know or have been told that time is a very valuable concept that you cannot control, and when it is spent, there are no returns. I can say from personal experience that there were certain opportunities (if we can call them that) that although have given me valuable life lessons, did indeed waste time in getting to my ultimate goal.
The problem is not the opportunity, but the integrity of the individual or entity offering it to you.
Don't get me wrong, making mistakes is of course essential for growth in life. Every mistake I have ever made has taught me so many things like how to have better communication, how unprofessional or unreliable others can be, or even how I could have handled a situation more effectively, etc. More importantly, I've learned more about my own weaknesses, or areas of opportunity rather, not without the fact that I have struggled with the concept of saying "no." Rejecting an opportunity is not to be confused with having too much of an ego. It simply means that you have done your research, weighed out your pros and cons, and have foreseen what it could do or not do for you in the future to come. Do you see growth in yourself and in the project that you will be committing to? Asking yourself and your offering partner essential questions can assist you in deciding what's ultimately right for you. Keep in mind that the only individual that truly understands your own needs is yourself.
Time is a very valuable concept that you cannot control, & when it is spent, there are no returns.
In order to confidently accept or deny certain offers, here's three ways that you can ensure that you have throughly thought out your ultimate decision. These ideas were written with most industries in mind and may apply as such, but mainly derive from the experiences had in the music industry.
1. Do your research!
This is undoubtedly the most important step. If you are considering pouring your time and efforts into a particular company or project, you must have a basic understanding of a few things: the basics of the people that you will be working with, the morals and values of the company or entity, and what your exact role in that project would be. Some would even take it a step further and research the morale and history of the individual(s) you would be working with. This part is completely up to you, because although I do (now) recommend it based off of my past experiences, I can also understand how it may seem a bit intrusive. Here's my advice - even if you choose not to research them further, I can guarantee they will be or have already researched you. It's a bit weird, I know. I felt really weird knowing that I had been researched by someone that I knew nothing about. It felt very invasive, it felt weird, it felt wrong...partially because something about their energy was off, therefore, intentions were also unclear. This is a part of being prepared and knowing who you will be going into business with, which can ultimately help you make your decision.
I have heard some horror stories about con artists, specifically in the music industry - ones that have stolen thousands of dollars untraced from individuals to whom they had given false promises to. This is not to scare anyone, I just want to keep it real. It's out there.
Here's my advice - even if you choose not to research them further, I can guarantee that they will be or have already researched you.
2. Talk to an industry professional (or someone) that you trust.
Aside from taking on your own research, reach out to industry professional that you know and trust. One thing I've learned about the music industry, a concept that also applies to other industries, is that it is a lot smaller than you think and word travels lightning fast. People talk. They talk about both good and bad experiences they've had with people and chances are that even if they don't directly know the company or individual that you are considering involvement with, they know someone else who does. Talking to someone with industry experience can also help you decide if the move that you are considering can be right for you. Remember, they have had their fair share of mistakes and can offer you advice that they wish they had when they were standing in your shoes. This is also why I would recommend having a mentor, if you can.
The industry is a lot smaller than you think - people talk & word travels lightening fast.
3. Weigh out your pros and cons / ask yourself these questions.
Now that you have done plenty of research, have spoken to someone that you trust for advice, it's times to write everything down and plan your next move. Once you've gathered all of your information and have reviewed it, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
How long do I see myself with this opportunity? Is it an opportunity with longevity, or is it a stepping stone?
Do I see how this opportunity will help me achieve the growth that I desire?
Is this company or individual offering me fair compensation? Will I need to negotiate terms?
Does the values of this company align with my own?
Does the values and morale of the individual(s) involved align with my own?
Does this opportunity align my goals for my career?
Will there be areas in which I will need to compromise? Is the compromise a deal-breaker or is it something that I can handle?
Will I be happy with this decision? Will I have any regrets?
Is this project something that I would feel proud of being a part of?
Once you have answered these questions for yourself, you should start to see the pros and the cons of this opportunity. Of course, there will also be questions that you may not have a definite answer to, and that is also okay. That is the beauty of weighing out pros and cons.
The last step is to confidently make and state your decision!
By this point, you should be able to see whether or not this opportunity is for you. Sometimes it takes a few days for the information to sink in, and that's okay! Allow yourself to step away from it, if you need to.
The most important thing to consider is your happiness. You've got this!