Andrea’s Afternoon Delight: Ten Reasons Contractors are as Awesome. . .as. . .AstroTurf. Yeah, AstroTurf.

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Delighted while the Broncos took down Brady, and then again while frosting key-lime cupcakes.

You know how AstroTurf (or any artificial turf) used to be a no-no. Cheesy? Trashy? Too golf-like? And a luscious lawn of green shiny blades was all the home-owner hotness? 

Well, things are changing. And in the same way grass has fallen a bit out of environmental fashion (work with me here), traditional employee-dom is waning just a wangdoodle. Like green grass, FTEs will never completely go away.  But as artificial turf is trending for factors such as efficiency, freedom, convenience and low-maintenance, contractors are on the rise for the same reasons. 

And, of course, the grass, in this case, really is greener. Like, all the time. #couldnthelpmyself

According to a circa 2013 Intuit study, by 2020 (that’s like 4 years away, even though it seems all space odyssey-ish), 40% of the workforce will be so-called “contingent” workers. 

Indeed, the world has  made it easy to be independent. Building a personal brand is convenient, inexpensive and empowering. Networks are easily expanded. Co-working provides an affordable business community. Traffic still sucks. 

But lets start with a little scenario. Because I've seen it happen many times.

 So, there’s this pendulum, right? And it swings back and forth at big companies.

 First they say:

Must reduce headcount! Contractors are the only way to go! Eliminate FTEs. Specialize! 

 Then 9 months later, it shouts:

 Must eliminate additional budget items at all costs, ha! Hire one person to do everything. People are desperate for jobs! They’ll agree to the most ludicrous job description!

Companies then often hire a full-time employee to do a million things. #exaggerationishelpful The employee burns out a bit, but keeps at it. Inevitably, a third of their job description suffers.

The employer then identifies this gaping hole and finds a specialized contractor to take care of what's missing. Email campaigns, research, blogs, editing/writing, social media, case studies, RFPs, and all the project management that goes along with it.

And suddenly, the employer's days feel like astro-turf. Clean. Shiny. Efficient. Pet-friendly. And maintenance-free.

 Enter Top Ten Definitions (and Benefits) of a Star Contractor

  1. Someone with industry skills.
  2. Someone who isn’t impacted by office politics.
  3. Someone who on-boards in days.
  4. Someone who WFH and avoids colossal, fire-drilling, interruptions.
  5. Someone with inbox management skills.
  6. Someone who socializes mostly with outsiders. 
  7. Someone who's a bit of an industry nerd.
  8. Someone who works regularly with other clients. #freshperspective
  9. Someone without brand fatigue.
  10. Someone who’s started their own business and gets the big pic.

Contractors are not for every structure or every company or every budget. But they have a hell of a place. And as a content broker, it’s what I do.

 The next time you’ve got a gap, don't just mind it, consider your options.

Do you need an employee?

Or would a specialized, productive (potentially part-time) contractor be faster, more innovative and less expensive, plus allow you to take a nap instead of mow the lawn?

Jus' sayin'. 

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