4 Subcontractors to Avoid When Consulting
When you are running your own consultancy, it’s easy to get caught up in how to get clients, keep clients, and how to get more out of clients. The client chase as I like to call it, is probably the number one consumer of a consultant’s time, outside of doing actual consulting work. We’re so obsessed with getting and growing that we sometimes fail to take the time to think long and hard about the people who we have supporting us.
Because at one point or another, you will come to depend on the services of a freelancer or subcontractor to help you with your client work. While you’ve heard me talk about the kind of clients to avoid, there also quite a few subcontractors to avoid, too. Here are a few subcontractors to steer clear of:
The Diva Don’t let the feminine title fool you: a diva can be male or female. It’s the attitude and behavior of this dangerous contractor that will clue you in. Divas are generally very inexperienced and lack business acumen; they don’t understand the ins and outs of running a business so their actions and attitudes indicate as much.
The diva wants to do all of the glamorous things-attend red carpet events, get photographed, hook her friends up with VIP tickets, mix and mingle with the client or worse yet, the stars. But the diva does not want to do the simple tasks that keep the firm afloat. The diva does not want to be told what to do; the diva wants to tell you what she’s going to do.
There are service-oriented divas. The copywriter who can’t stand to be edited.The graphic designer who refuses to grant client requests because said requests will diminish “the integrity” of his “artistic work”. Whatever the case may be, all divas have similar core characteristics: they think that somehow they are above instruction or menial tasks. They think you’re an idiot, and that they should already be running the show.
The Ditz Don’t we all know a ditz? This lovable character somehow makes it past even the most stringent screening processes and finds him or herself at work in the best firms. You know the ditz: you have to repeat everything to him 3 times. You spend so much time explaining a task that you wonder to yourself, would it have been faster to have just done it yourself.
Jitters at the onset of a new position are normal, so I’m not suggesting by any means that you shouldn’t forgive a few mistakes. But if it’s a matter of competence, you may want to rethink whether this person has a role in your organization, even in the smallest capacity. Because after all, time is money. And if you have to spend too much time compensating for someone else’s incompetence, you may as well be throwing your money in the garbage.
The Free Spirit He shows up late or turns in key assignments way after the deadline. And worse, he doesn’t acknowledge that the deadline was missed. The free spirit is oh so dangerous to a business because he doesn’t understand how his incompetence impacts the bottom line. If you start relying on a free spirit to perform important tasks, or ground level tasks that are important in the overall success chain of your operations, you may end up regretting it.
Because free spirits don’t necessarily see what they’re doing (or not doing, rather) as wrong. Sadly, free spirits can’t see much at all.
The Opportunist Everyone knows that interns and assistants and subcontractors eventually move on; and if they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, they will not only move on but up. When you hire someone to work under you, especially in a role that gives them access to your professional or media contacts, you’re always running the risk that they will eventually take the proprietary information they obtained while working with you and set out their own shingle.
When dealing with interns or entry level PR workers, you may even expect this.
However, if you’re dealing with a subcontractor who has indicated the diva attitudes mentioned above, and is a little too eager to get his/her hands on the database while ignoring the other somewhat mundane but absolutely necessary tasks you’ve put before him (follow up calls, database management, filing, etc) then you’re in for trouble.
At the end of the day everyone has to pay their dues. The opportunist does not understand this. Like the diva, the opportunist wants to waltz in and run the show. But unlike the diva whose meanderings are annoying and counterproductive, the opportunist has almost malicious intent and may end up costing you a great deal of professional embarassment if they end up trying to steal your clients.
What subcontractors have you run into?