But can you chew gum at the same time?

I've got a great idea!

You probably don't, but what do I know?  I'm just the professional you're asking.

Have you had this exchange?  Granted the latter is internal - but you want to gently tell them that a mime performance at your husband's funeral is going to go over like a lead balloon (We've seen such requests!)  You can insert your memory here....

Not every opportunity is going to work out.  You want it to, and you want to be loved and celebrated for excellence.  It's human nature.  I've never met anyone who truly loved negativity (they may be addicted to it, but that's another issue.)

In entertainment, people love "something different" and "something new" and "something popular" and "something to entertain the kids" and "something for the adults" and so on and so on.

So what to do?  Be clear, check for understanding, provide a visual when at all possible, and put anything you can in writing to refer to.  Communication is the first step.  

Here's an example from one of our agreements:

"Services to be rendered: Hand-drawn caricatures in "black-and-white", "heads only" on recycled-content card stock."

Pretty clear?  You'd hope so. I could tell you stories.....

Secondly, you just can't be everything to everyone. Diversification is one thing, but jack-of-all-trades (and master of none) is the trap.  If you're YOUR best at what you do, make sure that's clear and get the gigs.  

Thirdly, don't lose the love!  This business can be very stressful.  Back-biting, under-cutting, sycophant-filled, ego-laden and messy. Do it for the love and the money will follow.  The reverse is not true.