Monday, December 31, 2018

The Concept of "Team" in the Gig Economy

As the New Year rolls over to the new year, I am struck by the amazing team I work with.

I also had an amazing team ten years ago, but it was very different. Back then, my team consisted of twelve people and about half a million dollars in payroll. I had an office staff, technicians, graphics designer, dedicated programmer, and lots of administrative assistants.

Fifteen years before that, I managed a team of more than twenty-five people, broken into three primary responsibility roles. Each individual team consisted of specialists who excelled at one thing

Today I have one employee on payroll. My administrative assistants are outsourced. I work with two accountants, both outsourced. I have two web programmers and two graphics people - both outsourced. When needed, I hire specialty programmers, voice over talent, layout designers, and UI designers. And, of course, I outsource some instructors for our five-week classes.

Today my team is about . . . twelve people. But total expenses and payroll are under $50,000.

I also have a life coach, who doesn't "work for me" per se. But she helps me make good decisions.

Finally, I have three different unofficial advisory boards in the mastermind groups I belong to. These are all unpaid. But we help each other out, keep each other in line with our stated goals, and brainstorm about the future.

I loved the days when I saw my team every day. I loved walking into the office with a new scheme to change the business or develop a new product. Work would be delegated quickly and everyone buzzed around making stuff happen. And my team loved being my team. It was a great time.

Today I am probably more productive and certainly more "lean" than ever. Most members of my current team have never met each other in real life. In fact, there's a few *I've* never met in real life. But it works.

It's important to think of your team as a team - whether they're local or remote. You need to conceptualize them as a team in order to maintain a picture of the Big Picture. You also need to recognize that most members of your remote team don't see themselves that way. They see you as a client and only know your business in terms of your interaction with them.

You need this centralized vision in order to maintain your branding to the outside world. And choosing outsourced resources is just as important as choosing employees. You need to remember to hire based on your overall culture and fit with the branding you want the rest of the world to see.

I firmly believe that most IT consultants will find themselves down-sizing their teams while taking on more clients in the years ahead. We really are the masters of automation, if we choose to be.

If you haven't broken out of a business model that emerged fifty years ago, maybe 2019 is the year to consider how "else" you can run your business.


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