I used to work in the travel business for a major travel agency and, at the time, it was an absolute crapshoot.

I’d go into a room full of clients and they’d all be trying to get me to drop everything and do the same.

I had never heard of any of them, and I didn’t know what to expect.

The best thing I could do was stay the hell out of their offices.

I would never have known what to do in the world if they’d said, “Here’s a $500,000 fee you can pay if you can get a hotel reservation in your hotel.”

They were just going to charge us whatever they thought we would be willing to pay for a room in their hotel.

This was not the way things were done.

If you can’t do the job, don’t do it.

You don’t want to get in a room with them.

You want to stay at the hotel where they’ve booked you and talk to them, try to understand their business, and try to negotiate a price that’s reasonable for you.

If that’s not possible, then get a car and go somewhere else.

If the people you work with are going to say, “We’re going to drop you and your agency, and we’re going take your business elsewhere,” you have to know what you’re getting into.

And that’s the hard part.

If there’s no way to make money from the business, then I’ve got to figure out what’s the next best thing.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.