Happy New Year, Courier Nation!
Another year has passed. Another decade has passed. Today is a new chapter.
What is your chapter going to look like?
Of course there are always going to be those resolutions that everyone will make. We'll go to the gym. We'll eat better. Maybe we'll read more. You know how it is: The gyms will be packed for about 2 weeks and then we all forget about it and we're back to normal.
I want to offer up some resolutions for independent contractors for Grubhub, Dorodash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and other gig delivery companies. This isn't about things you'll have to do. This is about mindset, this is about how you think. I'm not sure that mindset is any easier to change than habits, other than to say that mindset has to change before habits change. So here are some things I hope you'll resolve for 2020.
Resolve to Be Proud of What You Do
Do you do this? I know I do. I still find myself thinking, I'm “just” doing delivery. How many times do we get the question “what do you do?” How many times do we wish we didn't have to answer that?
My friends, there is no “just” to what we do. I don't think there's ever a “just” to what you do, no matter what it is. I don't care if we're delivering food or being the ones to prepare the food. Here's the bottom line: You are doing what it takes. In doing this, whether it's full time like myself, or it's a side hustle, you're doing it. That's something to be damned proud of.
Here's something else to think about that I say a lot. “Remember your why.” There's a reason you do this. While I don't know that it's ever anyone's passion in life to deliver food for a few bucks at a time, it IS something you can do to allow you to realize your passions. It can pay the bills so you can realize your passion. It can be training or a next step to your passion. I've had a few times that I've answered the “what do you do?” question something like this: “I run a business delivering food for Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats. I love doing it because it's flexible work that pays better than I expected, and it allows me to pursue my passions.”
Be proud of what you do. Be proud of why you do it. Embrace what you do.
Resolve to Think Like a Business Owner.
Maybe I should have put this one first, because it makes it easier to be proud of who you are. Because here's the deal: You ARE a business owner. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise. More than anything else, don't let YOURSELF tell you otherwise.
I get tired of the people in the Facebook groups who scoff at the idea you're running a business. You set your schedule. You round up your customers (Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, Uber Eats, possibly all sorts of other gigs) and then you choose how you go about things. No one else decides when and where you can be profitable, only you.
And, you set your price. That's a common misconception people have of gig delivery, that we have no control over the fees we are paid. No, we can't determine the fee structure, but we can determine whether a delivery meets our price. There are a lot of businesses who can't set their price. I ran a telecom company that brokered phone and internet services. We couldn't set the price or change the commission structure. But we could determine which products were worth selling. You get to decide, is this delivery worth doing.
So, get into a business owner mindset. Start each day reminding yourself, I'm running a business. Start thinking about what a business owner would do. Begin looking at how your money coming in would be treated like a business. Maybe check out the series called the 31 day Courier MBA that kicked off the podcast. MBA stands for Mastering Business Attitude. You ARE a business owner. Embrace it.
Resolve to Take Control.
One thing I notice a lot, especially when the delivery apps go and change up their pay models, is that people feel out of control. There's a victim mentality: They took this away from us, they won't pay us enough.
Let me be blunt. None of these companies owe you anything more than the delivery fee they promised for the delivery you performed. They don't owe you more deliveries. They don't owe you better paying deliveries. There is no obligation for minimum wage or overtime pay or anything like that.
Remember that you run a business. If you open a store on the corner, is anyone obligated to come to that store? Are they obligated to buy when they get there? Absolutely not. It's completely up to you to get them to come in, and it is completely on you to provide products or services that the customer wants to buy and to create the kind of value that makes it good for them to buy.
And if the market or the business idea are not sustainable? It's up to you to decide that this doesn't make sense to open the business or to keep it open.
Being an independent contractor means it's on YOUR shoulders.
That's a good thing, my friends.
It's a really really good thing.
Now, I will admit, I have mixed feelings on this. The fact that these companies are thrusting people into business owner relationships that they aren't ready for is a problem. That they try to get you to think like employees without paying you for the privelege of your thinking like employees is a real issue.
But the bottom line is, you decided to take this on. You decided to pursue it. And just like running any business, if it isn't sustainable, you have the freedom to decide to shut it down.
Here's the deal: The one that controls your fate is solely determined by you. It's all in how you look at it, not how anyone else does. You decide what is profitable and what isn't. Only you can determine how you will do these deliveries, how you present yourself, how efficient you will be.
This past year, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Doordash dramatically changed their pay models. None of the changes were in the favor of the contractors. Postmates simply slashed the rates in their formula. My estimations are that it added up to pretty much a 20% reduction in delivery fees across the board. And yet even with the cuts I was able to increase my hourly profits by 15%. That's because I took control of how I was doing things.
When you decide you are in control, you truly become the one in control. You take away the opportunity for companies to take advantage of you. Take control. Be the Boss.
Resolve to Enjoy Yourself
There are a lot of bitter people out there. I do spend a bit of time in forums, on Reddit, in Facebook groups mainly to get a pulse of what people are thinking or asking, but I gotta say, it's hard to do. There's unbelievable negativity.
If you choose to focus on how insulting that $2 delivery offer is and to dwell on that, you will be miserable at this. If you finished a high paying deliver but found out there was no tip and that eats at you, you'll hate this. When you are more miserable based on the bad circumstances, this is going to be a miserable business to run.
Life is too short to be miserable at what you do.
But you can choose what you focus on. Start thinking about what you love. Start looking for things that give you joy. Make it a point to look for as many things that make you smile.
There are frustrating things about this. But I gotta tell you, I love the fact that I can go home at the end of the day and not worry about deadlines or bosses or meetings or anything like that. I love interacting with the restaurants and customers, and I find that when I choose to look for it I notice more people are good than not.
You get to choose how you look at it. You get to choose whether you love it or hate it. Choose to love it.
Resolve to dream
Where do you want to go from here?
What do you love about this? Do you love the freedom and control? Do you love being the boss? How can you do more of that?
Think about your why. What is it that makes you go out there every time and do this delivery thing? Is it family? Is it saving for a dream? What about paying the bills so you can pursue your passions? Start with that why… and how can you pursue that why? How can you do more of that?
What do you want your life to look like?
The market may change. The industry may (and probably will) change. This can look very different by the end of the year in your market. What do you want life to look like if and when that happens? Or maybe you will change. Maybe this no longer fits what you want to do. Maybe you accomplished your why or you found better ways to pursue your why. What do you want to do then? Perhaps you just enjoy the heck out of this being a business owner and you want to take it to the next level. What would that look like?
Dream. Think about what you want to be and what you want to do. And then ask yourself how you can get there.
And then think about this: You get a lot of 'empty' time while delivering. Can that help you get there? Are there podcasts or audio books that help you? Maybe you just need time to think and dream and plan.
Dream. Give yourself permission to think about what you want to do.
And make it happen.
Do you have resolutions you think would be good?
What do you want 2020 to look like? (Guys, I'm soooooooo struggling with making a 2020 Vision joke here…. and I guess I just did it. Oops?)
What would you add to this list? What are some things you would love to do with the year ahead? Where do you want to be? I'd love to hear it. Comment below or shoot me an email at Ron@EntreCourier.com.