Monday, February 2, 2009

Contracting and Optimizing your Time Part 3

This is part 3 of my blog on contracting and making sure you are doing it right. This week I will go into detail on the importance of work load balancing. Let's face it, it feels good to know that you are good at your work and hence it is even better to know that you are getting a lot of clients into your business. It is because of this, that it is human nature to take on every project at your fingertips. If you can take one thing away from this week's section on contracting, it is that this is the worst thing you can do. You are one person (or even a couple of people in a company), and this doesn't mean you are en expert in every field. Even if you are, it may not be your niche...something that you do in your sleep....something that you can turn around in a short amount of time.

For example, I was offered to build an Iphone application that would sync with a system and update it whenever possible. "Great", I thought.  I have done some Iphone applications before and this although the process seemed straight forward, when do some short analysis, I realised I would have to do a lot of (unpaid) ground work to get up to speed on building the application. In the meantime, I have a small company wanting to build a web site that would take half the time, I would be much more confident with doing, and would be a quick and easy "tick" on the list of web sites I have built through Jerrong. So what did I do? Well seeing that I know someone who spends a lot more time working with Iphone applications, I decided to give them the job. 

  • Was it a loss?
  • Should I have done it to get more work in the Future from that source?
  • Have I just diverted all my business to a college for free?

The answer is NO.

Flip these questions on their bum and see what is produced :

  • Have I just done a bad job for a client that could potentially want more work out of me?
  • Have I just spent 2 days learning about the Iphone SDK, when I could have been much more efficient on other projects?
  • Have I just opened the oppurtunity to hire subcontractor for work?
The answer is a potential YES.

The bottom line is, if you are good at what you do and have built up a reputation, then their will always be work...and most importantly...work in your niche role.

I have forgotten to talk about one aspect that has definately effected me in ways in the past few days. An aspect that is by far the most important of them all. EVERYONE NEEDS TO TAKE IT EASY NOW AND THEN. You can't over-exhaust yourself or you will burn out. It is not smart. It is not productive. It is not healthy. So, in contridicting myself, even if you have been given a project to do that you would feel quite comfortable doing....you don't HAVE to do it. Sure, some other contractor/company might get to do it, but hey, when it comes down to it...you still have your sanity, a clear head and your loved ones. (It only took me 4 years to realise that!!! :) with a little help from another TW.)

Hope this helps, 

 -Tim

1 comment:

Henri said...

Good advice and good to see that I am not the only one who thinks this much about things as well :)

So what percentage of contract work do you turn down because of this?