Here’s a lesson I learned early in my career: If a contract is too challenging to complete, it’s just not worth the effort.

Back in March 2007, I was a brand-new freelancer, and a new client and I were barely capable of sealing a deal for me to produce a fashion event. She needle-nosed the contract to death over and over again. There were lawyers and then more lawyers. It was ridiculous.

At the time, though, I was too naïve to realize what was happening and too worried about my financial future to listen to my gut, which was screaming, “This feels gross! Something is definitely not right.”

I was being manipulated by my client but couldn’t push my ego to the side and make a rational decision. I didn’t yet know how to pause and tune into my feelings.

That experience helped me realize that if a contract is enormously challenging — more than four or five rounds of edits — it’s not going to be a good deal in the end. I lost thousands of dollars in March 2007, but I gained an important lesson that has stuck with me since.

Yes, sometimes you have to push through and have hard conversations to get deals done and business isn’t all roses, but it certainly shouldn’t be all thorns — especially from the get-go. And quite frankly, a good deal means a fair contract for all parties. I now trust my gut, and quite frankly, this is where being a woman is helpful. I have learned, like so many women before me, to listen to my feelings and navigate tricky situations by being emotionally available.

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