There’s this guy. Maybe you know him. His name is Abo. There's probably a lot of ways to pronounce that but he really doesn't care. It's his story that's important.
Abo makes money in the on demand delivery world, for places like Grubhub, Postmates, UberEAts, Doordash. Amazon Flex. Shipt, etc.
A great way to make money
Abo heard there could be good money in this gig. Companies were advertising “as much as $25 per hour,” all you need is a car, a smartphone, and you just have to drive things from point a to point b. Abo thought that seemed easy enough, and it sure beats the heck out of slinging burgers for minimum wage. When signing up, ABO was warned in the contract that this was an independent contractor position. “Yeah, whatever, just give me the money.” ABO loaded up the app, hopped in his car, and took his first order.
The work was easy. There's no boss breathing over his shoulder and micromanaging his work. Abo could pick his own schedule. When he went home, at a time he CHOSE to go home (which was pretty sweet) the job didn’t follow him there. No staff meetings, no office politics, no employee reviews.
And the pay wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as good as he’d been led to believe, but it was enough to pay the bills. It’ll probably get better with practice, right?
Abo gets a rude awakening.
One day, Abo got that order from hell. He had to drive forever to a restaurant to pick up food to deliver to a customer, but the food wasn't ready when he arrived. He waited forever. Then he drove forever. Again. There were a lot of forever's in this order. He took the food to one of those apartment complexes where you have to wonder what the architects were smoking when they figured out the numbering scheme. How can building 10 be on the opposite side of the complex from buildings 9 and 11? He climbs four flights of steps to get to a grumpy customer who's not happy that the food is late. An hour and a half later, the delivery is complete and Abo barely received enough money to pay for his gas. There was no extra money for all his wait time, there was no tip from the customer.
Abo was frustrated. But, he thought, the company has to appreciate the hard work. They'll make it up with a better order, right?
The next order was almost as bad. And the next one. There never was that “makeup” order to thank him for his efforts. He wondered, did the dispatchers just think of him as “Abo the Sucker?” Was he such a good employee, taking they sent without complaining, that they took advantage of him?
That day, his total earnings were below minimum wage for the time he spent delivering, and that was before figuring in his car expenses.
He wonders if he should have turned down some of those orders. Maybe he could have done some deliveries for someone else? No, no, that wouldn't be good, he'd mess up his ratings, so things would only get worse. He doesn't want to get in trouble here, this has been a good gig so far.
But they at least would make up the difference, shouldn't they? You know, give him enough to cover his gas and get him at minimum wage. He just put in a long day busting his butt for them, they'll take care of him, right?
No. They won't do anything. He's not an employee, they explain, so things like minimum wage, overtime, none of those things apply. “You agreed to this, it's in the contract. You are a business, not an employee.”
Abo thinks, “what do you mean I’m operating as a business? That's not what I signed up for. I just wanted to earn some money.”
Abo is the Accidental Business Owner.
This website is for Abo.
You may know Abo. You may see some (or a lot) of Abo in yourself.
You may BE Abo.
This is for the the A.B.O.s or accidental business owners out there. This site is for you. Running a business probably wasn't on your mind when you signed up for one or more of these delivery apps. It seemed like a good way to use your car to make money, and it's a bonus that there's no drunks throwing up in the back of your car. Maybe this is a side hustle for you, to pay down some debt, get spending money or save up for that special something. Maybe this is a transition income for you while you look for something else. Maybe it's just a great fit, you just like doing this.
You probably don't care about whether you're running a business.
But that's exactly what you are doing, whether you planned for it or not.
Most of these on demand delivery companies hire their workforce as independent contractors. They choose not to pay the extra costs or to provide the protections that go with being an employee. They figure they can duck out on their responsibilities to the people that do the work for them, and they label you as independent contractors instead of employees.
What that means is that you are legally considered a business, not an employee.
That's a whole ‘nother world. It's a world they don't tell you about. They really don't want to tell you about it, at least not much anyway, because they prefer to have you think like an employee and act like an employee. They just don't want to pay for you actually being an employee. They want the best of both worlds.
It's exploitative, it's unfair, and it's immoral. But they don't care. They just tell you you're a business owner. They won't tell you what it means to be a business owner, they won't tell you the dangers, they won't tell you your rights as a business owner. They just tell you that you are one, and to just suck it up.
(Any guess about how I really feel about this practice?)
What these companie really don't want you to know is that when they make you a business owner, they make YOU the boss.
This is extremely important to understand.
And it's incredibly empowering.
That is what this site is here for: To help you to be the boss that you have every right to be.
Companies cannot control an independent contractor like they can an employee. They cannot require that you do certain things, and they cannot punish you when you fail to fall in line.
They cannot be the boss. They gave that right up.
If they try, they can get in a lot of trouble.
When they made you a business owner, they made themselves the customer. Think about that one for a minute. That changes the whole relationship, doesn't it? When you understand that you are a business owner, when you know your rights in this relationship, you get to take control. They are not the employer. They are not the boss.
You have every right to take your control as the boss.
You SHOULD take control.
And here's the thing – you probably already know this, if you don't , you should know it: YOU have what it takes to be an incredible business owner.
EntreCourier is here to help you think like a business owner.
The Entre in EntreCourier stands for entrepreneur – someone who is in business for themselves. That's you.
I started this site because I saw so many accidental business owners, people coming into the gig economy, still thinking like employees. They let the companies boss them around. Due to my years of business management with both employees and independent contractors, and my years of running my own businesses, I know the rules, and I know the rights that belong to you as a business owner.
EntreCourier exists to use that experience and knowledge to help you to think like a business owner.
I want to help you understand what it means to be an independent contractor, and to use that role of a business owner to take control of your work, your opportunities and even your life.
I want to help you understand your rights as a business owner, to keep you from being victimized in that role. I want you to know what they can NOT require of you, and I want you to claim your rights and use them to build a profitable delivery business.
I will provide information to help you utilize business principles in your own business. That information will give you a framework to use those principles to make profitable business decisions. I'll help you understand the business / customer relationship and to use that knowledge to empower you. I'll help you think beyond getting food and items from point a to point b.
I won't be the hero here. That's your job. You've got this. I'm just here to point the way to tools or ideas that can help you along the way.
And the most important truth that you need to know on your way to business owner heroism?
YOU. ARE. THE. BOSS.
Introducing the 31 Day Courier MBA
You can expect information to be posted here weekly that looks at delivery work from a business perspective. We'll look at finances such as taxes and profit and loss. We'll look at business strategy, making business decisions. We'll look at the markets so you can adapt your business to what's happening in the industry.
On June 13, we'll begin a special program we're calling the 31 Day Courier MBA. It's not a degree or anything like that. MBA here stands for Mastering Business Attitude. Each day, for 31 days, we'll look at a business principle and apply that to your delivery work – to your business. When it's all said and done, the goal is for you to Master that Business Attitude, to walk away understanding that you are the boss of your business.
And of your life.
You may never want to be an employee again.
Join us in the journey, will you? Come back each day and Master your Business Attitude. I invite you to sign up for our email list, you can have the 31 day Courier MBA delivered right to your email.
But for now, go out there and be the boss.