After 9 years working for Big Law, I’ve now been working as a contractor for 2 years. I love it! It is absolutely the best gig I have found so far. By now, I have worked for several training companies (large and small). Each one has things I love and things I wish were different. So what would Utopia Training Company (UTC) look like?
Open the Books. Many years ago I read a book that absolutely inspired me: Open Book Management by John Case. It was an amazing story of a company on the verge of bankruptcy that became profitable in a short time by being totally open with the financials of the company. For instance, everyone knew what everyone made. Scary to some for sure but it builds enormous trust. So, what would this look like in UTC? I know three numbers: what you are charging the client, what gross margin you need to be make a reasonable profit, and what you are paying me.
Make the travel easy. First off, maintain a travel profile that has all my preferences and frequent flyer numbers. Then, let me know what flights and hotels you think are a good fit and give me a chance to approve or reject them. Book and pay for the flights and hotels.
Get rid of the receipts. For daily expenses, reimburse me at the Federal Per Diem rate. For ground transportation, give me a flat rate adjusted for the city I am in. On both counts this lets me spend as much or as little as I want without having to deal with the hassle of keeping receipts.
Let me teach. Some companies want you to follow a detailed outline. Others give you pretty much total freedom. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. In UTC, you are given a list of “must cover” items complete with an accompanying fill-in-the-blank handout. As a professional trainer, I am responsible for covering the required items but I have the flexibility to adjust the class based on the needs and wants of the participants.
Put the check in the bank. As a contractor, this one is probably the most crucial. What does it look like in UTC? I turn in my invoice on Saturday and the following Friday the payment is in my bank by direct deposit.