Twelve Ways To Destroy Loyalty With Freelancers

Freelancers and contractors will give one thousand percent to a client. The best way to get it is to show them a bit of consideration, decency and respect. Treating them like Uber drivers leads to poorer outcomes. (Photo of Falls Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, by John Flood)

Freelancers and contractors will give one thousand percent to a client. The best way to get it is to show them a bit of consideration, decency and respect. Treating them like Uber drivers leads to poorer outcomes. (Photo of Falls Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, by John Flood)

Holiday spending might have been strong this year, but for the contractors and freelancers that I know, it’s been a long dry season, laden with sharply reduced holiday spending, and deep uncertainty.

Several of my freelancing friends are coping with significantly reduced gigs and writing assignments. Two are completely out of work with few prospects. I’m even coming up short, due to unexpected reversals from several clients.

So, after sharing our common plight and discovering a remarkable similarity in our gig experiences, we’ve come up with a mission statement for the bloodless and unfeeling who couldn’t care less about those of us who live in a world of constant financial uncertainty.

Twelve Steps To Ensure You Never Instill Loyalty With Freelancers

1) Create complicated billing systems that ensure the single mom who’s writing for you doesn’t get paid around the holidays and can’t buy gifts for her kids. Don’t offer an apology of any significance.

2) Use Bric as a time tracking tool. Exporting Bric data is difficult. This will ensure that every week when your freelancer has to submit her invoice, she’ll have to struggle with Bric, which ensures she remains frustrated - and completely vexed by your fascination with lousy apps. 

3) When a freelancer joins the weekly virtual team meeting, don’t acknowledge them by saying, “Hello, it’s good to see you. I hope you’re doing well.” Simply ignore them and get down to business. Common courtesies (among the staff) are no coin in your realm.

4) Make sure your freelancers have to use at least seven apps and project management tools. A recommended list includes: Bric, Gmail, Basecamp, Wrike, Join.me, GoToMeetings, Nelson Staffing, Slack, Asana, and Toggl.

5) Use Wrike like it’s a panacea for all your missteps and failures. You see it as a miracle cure while your team is entrapped in its endless cycle of Wrike updates and notifications, new Wrike assignments, all the dashboards, calendars and reports - segmented by clients - and a dozen tasks and sub-tasks. In other words, Wrike the world until the world bows into submission.

5) As you stoke your start-up, never ever offer stock options or bonuses to your freelancers. Never give a freelancer a chance to be inspired by such notions. By doing so, they’ll only give you their mediocre best, which is what you’ll eventually pass on to your customers - mediocrity.

6) Welcome the New Year by reminding everyone that there are a lot of not-dones in Wrike.

7) Never give a wage increase - even to the most loyal gig contractor who, for years, has navigated your fickle Don Quitoxe-like twists and turns in direction; the unexpected and unannounced management resignations; the new hires that aren’t clearly defined for other team members; the unannounced strategy pivots; the changes in staff roles that are not announced; the new marketing goals; and let’s not forget the constant change of apps. 

8) Never reach out to a gig worker contractor for a one-on-one. Eschew phone calls. That way, your freelancer will feel like an Uber driver, on call at your every whim. There’s no rule that says you have to discuss the journey with them. They are, after all, a disposable resource. Think Uber. They’re there to get you down the road, advancing your own goals, and not for the common good.

9) Absolutely vow to never provide a head’s up that the company is going off a cliff, that assignments are being shut down, and that holiday season will suck for almost everyone on the team. Refrain from holiday greetings and bonuses.

10) Be the sole CEO without a partner, COO, or co-founder. That way, you can run your business open loop without brakes, and you won’t have to deal with a strong prevailing counter opinion. In other words, you are the CEO and the Emperor (with no clothes).

11) Run your start-up (or projects) with part-timers and fractional-time contractors spread out all over USA timezones. And, demand that they act like full-time employees. This will lead to a massive case of gig contractor cognitive dissonance, while ensuring your final products to your clients are mediocre, which will accelerate your company going off a cliff.

12) After you merge the company with another one, disappear.

If this manifesto doesn’t appeal to you, please contact us. We’d like to work for you.