You have a duty to your employee.
If you've been following along, you know who I'm talking about, but in case you stumbled onto this article, this is written to independent contractors in the food delivery part of the gig economy. Many of you have figured out what I'm talking about, some of you might be thinking, “I don't have any employee.”
As independent contractors, you are considered self employed. Which means your employee is….. you.
And you have a duty to that employee to make a good work environment.
Creating Work Life Balance as an Independent Contractor
I'm sure I cannot speak for everyone, personally I find delivery work far less stressful than 9 to 5 jobs I've had before. You deliver the food, you drop the food off, and that's it. No taking work home, no stressing over a micromanaging boss. I can leave it all behind when I'm done with the deliveries. There's something refreshing about that.
One of the keys to being able to do this well is for this to be the kind of work you CAN do as much as you need to do. If it's easier to stay on the road, and if it's easier to put up with whatever you have to put up with, it won't feel as much of a grind.
I want to talk today about taking some steps that can help us better enjoy what it is we are doing. Here are a few things you can think about.
Focus on your Why.
I talk about this in the article and podcast episode that went with episode 3 in our 31 Day Courier MBA series. I really encourage you to put a lot of thought and effort into thinking about your why. Think about why you are doing this. Understand the reasons that that why is important to you.
Very few of us choose to do this just for the sake of doing this. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about just getting food to people if that is your passion. However, for the rest of us there is something else behind it. We're trying to pay down debt. We need to supplment income. Maybe this is a transition income. Whatever it is, there's something deeper behind your reason. Think about that. Is it family? Are you saving up for something special? Think about the meaning that lies at the heart of the things important to you. Think about what you want to accomplish by doing this gig work.
Keep Your Work in Perspective
One of the reasons that focusing on your why is so important is that you can use that to keep a perspective on what you are doing. Is it to support your family? Make sure that you don't neglect them too much in the time you put into this work.
For me, it's about creating the flexibility to do some other things that I'm passionate about. I have to admit that I can get really caught up in what I'm doing to the point that it takes over the whole reason I'm doing it in the first place. Don't let your work interfere with the things that you are working to accomplish through that work in the first place.
Try to keep your work time in balance with the other things that are important. There may be times that you decide it's better to give up a lucrative shift of delivery because you want to spend time with family. We talked some yesterday in the benefits section about giving yourself time off. Have a clear understanding of the priorities in your life and make sure that you don't let your business usurp those priorities.
Create a Good Work Environment
For most of us, that's our car. I speak about this in episode 10 in the equipment section. Having a comfortable and enjoyable environment is more important than things like fuel efficiency because of the fact you have to spend so many hours in your car. I invested in a better sound system, and may have the only 1998 Buick with a backup camera, because my car is where I spend a significant part of my life. As a result, 12 hour days don't feel like a grind. Those 12 hour days are rare for me any more because other things have priorities, but you see where I'm going.
Focus on a Positive Attitude
I am on the fence about the value of things like facebook pages. It's good to be kept up to date on things and find out what is working well for other drivers. The flip side is most of them are so incredibly negative. There are miserable people who are constantly cussing out the companies, the restaurants, and the customers. I wonder how they survive, seriously, when they're that stressed out.
Here's the thing about all those things: We control how we feel on a lot of these things. Yes, it's frustrating how the companies can dispatch us or how the restaurants can be so slow. Yes, we hate working like crazy and getting no tip. I find that what helps the best is to focus on the bigger picture. Don't stress over things you cannot control, but see them all as a very small part of a bigger puzzle.
Look for things you can enjoy. I'm a big dog lover, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of the different dogs I see while on deliveries. Look for the smiles, look for the positives. One of my favorite quotes is this: “Whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.”
Maybe this is similar to the first tip, focusing on your why. I say that because one of the things that helps us enjoy the work we do is when we find meaning in it. You can find meaning in your why. You can also find meaning when you are pursuing a goal. In episode 8 we talk about measuring your performance. In this morning's Courier Nation Motivation email, I challenged people to set a goal, to pick one of the three statistics that I referenced in that article, and to set a goal that is slightly better than the past week.
Take Advantage of Your Time
We have a tremendous amount of spare time of sorts while driving. It's not TOTALLY spare, in that it's the driving time to the restaurants or to the end users. However, you have a great opportunity now with things like podcasts and audio books. In episode 7, I talked about creating an exit strategy. I encourage you to think about the things you might want to do in the future. Whether it's about an exit strategy, or there are things you just want to learn or grow, take advantage of that driving time.
What are some things that can make your delivery work enjoyable?
Please comment below. Or you can click contact and from the contact page, leave a voice mail. Let us know things that help make what you do enjoyable.