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What do We Do When Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates etc. Pull the Rug Out From Under Us? Introducing the 31 Day Courier MBA

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It's Launch Day! I'm so excited to launch the Deliver on Your Business Podcast and the 31 Day Courier MBA series. The podcast will normally be a weekly production, but to get it off the ground in style, we're going to do 31 straight daily episodes. We'll get more into that in a bit.

MBA – in this case it stands for Mastering Business Attitude.

On Demand Delivery Has Some Great Things About it.

This website, and this podcast, is for the Independent Contractor doing deliveries for gig economy apps like Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar, Instacart, GoPuff, Shpt, Bitesquad… the list goes on and on. It focuses on the business and logistics of delivery as an independent contractor.

There are probably a whole host of reasons you are doing this delivery work. And I don’t know about you, but I find a LOT of things I really like about doing this.

  • Flexibility – I can go out when I want, where I want
  • Freedom – not having a boss
  • The pay – I’m amazed how good it is for relatively easy work.
  • The work doesn’t follow me home, I can leave it behind
  • Driving around – listening to my music or podcasts or eBooks and getting paid for it.

I didn’t expec to enjoy it this much and find it easy to tell people that this can be a really good gig.

But what Do You Do When they Pull the Rug Out From You?

Because there’s some real crap that happens. I’m amazed at the timing of starting this series because of things that have happened lately.

  • Doordash has been under fire for their policy of using tips to subsidize base pay. They said they’d look into it, surveyed drivers, and came out with their conclusion this past week. They gave us a whole chart of things people responded to and what things concerned drivers the most. Guess what wasn’t on the chart. AT ALL. Pay model. “Oh yeah guys, we’re doubling down, that pay model remains and you really didn’t seem to care anyway.”
  • Postmates promised to improve our pay. Two different times they improved our pay and that improvement totaled about a 20% reduction in delivery fees.
  • Grubhub saw all that and said “Hold my Beer.” They said we’re improving the way we pay you. They said we’ll add in time and distance to the restaurant, they’ll start paying for estimated wait time at restaurants. They got a lot of peoples’ hopes up thinking there’d be an increase…  only to find out as they rolled out the pay model that it’s really a pay reduction. They’re just taking away more in other areas to add those elements.

The delivery driver community has a lot of frustrated drivers.

They’re ticked. Some are saying it’s no longer worth it. There’s a huge sense of betrayal out there in the driver community. You look at forums and social media and…  the emotions out there are not good. I think that it's especially intense with Grubhub drivers because of the way that hopes were raised and then dashed.

And what do you do with all this? There’s the one side where it seems like it could be such a good gig, but they pull this kind of stuff on us? You feel like it’s just a big bait and switch.

And the thing I think I see the most out there?

Helplessness.

Like…  you’re just stuck. Doomed. Victimized. I’m busting my butt, my costs go up, I’m wearing out my car, I’m giving my all and THIS is how you reward me?

The timing of all these events and the launch of this series

The timing of all this just blows my mind. Because when I started mapping all this out, I didn’t know all this was going to happen. But it’s that very frustration that… just really seems to feel like the message in the 31 Day Courier MBA couldn't have been any timelier if I'd known these things would happen.

This isn’t about a degree. It’s not a Masters of Business Administration – there’s no syllabus, there’s no coursework, no certificate. MBA stands for Mastering Business Attitude. In the face of all that’s going on, the best way we can overcome what’s happening, the best way we can get to where we want to get with what we are doing, is to take control ourselves. To take it into our own hands.

And the key to that lies in being independent contractors.

Now it’s real easy to get on a soapbox about the whole thing of them making us independent contractors in the first place. But that’s another story altogether. I will say the Independent Contractor thing…. That’s all part and parcel of the overall garbage from these companies. It’s exploitation. I’ll just put it this way: If any company, large or small, is using people to do their work for them, if they are making profits because of the work of people doing their stuff for them, they have a real responsibility, legal AND moral responsibility – to take care of those people. These gig companies instead are shirking that by making people independent contractors.

If you’ve heard of the AB5 legislation in California, that’s what that is all about. Companies aren’t supposed to do that, but the definitions between IC and employee are vague. The California legislation will much more clearly define it and as a result, companies may not be able to use Independent Contractors for delivery, they’ll have to buck up and pay people as employees.

See, when you are an independent contractor, you technically are not working for the companies as an individual. That would fall under employment law. You are doing the work as a business.

You are, technically and legally, a business owner.

I know,  you’re thinking…. Pfffffft, yeah right.

I don’t set my prices. I don’t do marketing. Or maybe you’re thinking….  I didn’t sign up for this.

Most of you…. You could care less to be honest. It’s not about being an independent contractor. It’s about making money. It’s about fair pay for fair work. You don’t care how you’re designated, you just want the money.

But there’s a plot twist:

When they made you an independent contractor, when they said you are doing the work as a business, that made them your customer.

Not your boss. Not your employer. Not your supervisor. Not your master.

Your customer.

THAT changes the dynamic of the relationship dramatically.

By making you a business owner, they gave you rights and they gave you opportunities.

They’d rather you don’t know about those things because they want you to think and act like a good little employee.

But you AREN’T an employee, and they can’t TREAT YOU like and employee.

And THAT….  Is the key to everything here.

Taking control of an uncontrollable situation

Here’s the thing….  Pay structure changes… they’re rotten, they suck, they show you justhow important you really are to these company and that can be demoralizing….

But they don’t control you.

YOU control you.

Your mindset, how you see yourself, how you approach everything….  THAT has more to do with your success than buck less in delivery fees.

How you see yourself makes all the difference in the world

And your decision to take control here is the key to not only avoiding the losses that come with pay reductions, it’s the key to being more profitable and more successful in SPITE of those changes.

Folks, I came from the telecom world. This dates me some…  but I go back to the days when businesses paid 25 cents a minute or more for long distance calls, and we could make a big commission on that. People don’t pay for long distance any more. Equipment like phone systems sold for double or triple what it sells for these days. The things where we made money – prices were going down far worse than any of these cuts.

But that didn’t have to mean a pay cut. It DIDN’T mean a pay cut. We adapted. We did things differently. We got more efficient. We made up for it.

And that’s the power you have when you see yourself as a business owner. You have the power to decide how you do business. You have the power to look at other opportunities. You have the power to control what you do.

Steven Covey says that one of the important habits of effective people is to focus on the things we can control, not worry on what we can't control We CAN control how we see things.

WHEN YOU CLAIM THAT POWER….   YOU MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.

You are no longer a victim. You are no longer at their mercy.

YOU are in control. YOU are the BOSS.

Boss identification plate with engraving

This is the purpose of the Master Your Business Atttitude series: to help you see things through the eyes of a business owner.

To help you think like a business owner.

To help you BE a business owner.

Over the next 30 days, we’ll look at 30 different business ideas. We’ll look at 30 different things that are important for businsses in their success. We’ll compare those to what we do.

What you’ll find is that it’s not a stretch to call yourself a business owner. What you’ll see is that these things – you can apply to what you do. You’ll see that you can take control of your business.

Thirty business principles in five business categories

We’ll look at a business plan – you never would have thought you’d need that for doing delivery work huh? But there are reasons that the components for a business plan are there and it’s not about the plan itself – it’s about creating that mindset, a foundation you build everything on.

We’ll look at finances – understanding profit and loss, how things are costing you, the money side of things.

We’ll look at operations, which is the process of making business decisions, of the strategic part of the work you do.

We’ll look at customer service – understanding all the customers in this weird customer caption of a customer within a customer within a customer (if you ever saw Inception, that might make a bit more sense) – because there are three levels of customer here – the app, the restaurant and the diner.

And saving the best for last, we’ll look at employee relations. Remember what I said about all companies, large or small, have a responsibility to take care of those who do work for them. But… I don’t have employees. Think about this: You’re self employed. YOU are your employee – you have a responsibility to take care of that employee.

And that’s it in a nutshell. Tomorrow we’ll be diving into part 1 of the business plan: Understanding who you are and what your business is. I look forward to you coming along for the conversations. And I’d really like to ask you to make it a conversation. Not just me talking. I covet your feedback, comments and questions. Comment at the bottom of the episode pages. Go to our contact page and click the microphone to leave a voice message, or send an email with comments and questions. Think about the five categories: Business plan, finance, operations, customer service and employee relations – are there questions you have in any of those areas? I’d love to address them on the show.

Thank you for joining in on this launch. Now, go and be the boss!

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Master of Business Attitude: 31 Day Courier MBA Schedule
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Who Are You? What is an Independent Contractor, How is it Different than an Employee, and Why Does it Matter?