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Am i doing enough?
My "bosses" make me feel like im not doing enough...

 4:56 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

First point. this is my first gig as an independent contractor.

came to this "Company A" about 8 months ago. The story i got was that they had been trying for like 12 mos. to get an operational website...considering their company name is a ".com" business name.

I came aboard and in 3 mos, got a very functional site, using PHP, mysql, HTML, Javascript, CSS, Flash, ....a few more. The company is real estate based. I now manage their Email Marketing campaings via a online email marketing site..

I also created a community of sites, which now brings me to a total of 6 sites. One of those is even for a client of theirs, not mine.

I also am managing their Adwords campaign, even if its at a 200 monthly budget, i still have to manage it.

Im doing all of their SEO, link building, ....etc.

Im basically an employee for them, with the independent contractor "so called title"...

im new at this independent contractor stuff, so dont slap me yet..

but ive already redesigned their main site and it seems like they are always giving me the "so what are you doing?.. like im sitting on my ass all freaking day...

im getting frustrated and dont know how much longer i can hold on...



 5:26 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

It'snot quite clear what's the source of your frustration.

But it certainly seems that you need a clear plan, so both sides know what they are getting for their money, now and in the months to come - if parts of the job are frustrating (boring?), then maybe you need to suggest that they do some of them in-house.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to being 'independent'; one disadvantage is they do not necessarily understand that the job is ongoing; it's up to you to explain these things. Otherwise they'll ALWAYS be asking 'but what have you done lately?'

Get in the habit of explaining the long term work that each new item involves.

There's always a temptation to 'keep it mysterious', in case you talk yourself out of a job - but you should be able to educate them them about the principles without giving away trade secrets.

As an outsider, you are always top of the list when cost-cutting comes along ... so it's in your interests to let them realize how valuable you are.


 5:28 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Then find something else.

Don't necessarily immediately accept the new role, if you like the current place in enough other respects, but point out to the people at your current place putting the pressure on that they need you at that moment more than you need them.

I've had to use that tactic a couple of times, but in one case it resulted in the firing of a very senior and idiotic exec that was causing me grief.

It can be a spectacular affirmation of your value, and you can always take the new job if things go badly.




 6:17 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Onsite or offsite? Hourly or per-job/task?

If you are working offsite and hourly, their constant inquiries are understandable.

Do you provide progress reports on a regular basis? A weekly or daily report should satisfy their "curiosity".


 3:48 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think the issue is because you are perceived as a contractor they want more for thier money.

If I employed a developer and they took 3 months to bulild a site at £XX p/h thats fine.

If I had a contractor on £#*$!+VAT per day +expenses, who regularly took calls from other clients as they seem to do Id want it done much faster.

I would act like the contractor, keep your rates high give them advice, like how to save money outsorcing the web dev, SEO/PPC strategy, ask to talk to the board etc


 7:55 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Im basically an employee for them, with the independent contractor "so called title"..."

All this does it keeps them from having to pay taxes on you or supply you with insurance.

Sounds to me it is full time and of cource they will push more for the money it is their nature you will only get paid X amount of dollars for a day by them if they can get more out of you they save more...

I would suggest to them the more duties you take on the more it cost if they balk slow down and look elsewere for another client then you can tell them you have taken on another client and will be cutting your hours with them.

Try to find 3-5 clients that you can work with and allow yourself to more exposure, don't put all the eggs in one basket they sometimes think you will kiss up to keep the job....and by not getting exposure you never will find that one client that has a myspace idea you can get in on the groud floor with.....

Fortune Hunter

 8:28 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Im basically an employee for them, with the independent contractor "so called title"...

No, it sounds like you are an actual employee, at least according to the definition the I.R.S. would use. That creates a few problems for you. One is that you are paying the full load on social security otherwise known as the self-employment tax to the rest of us. They are basically getting you to work for them for a lot less money because they are calling you an "independent contractor".

That is the technical problem. However it sounds like you are frustrated with working for them. My advice would be to quickly but quietly start soliciting for new clients. Start diversifying your clients and jobs NOW. Because of the way you have your current arrangement set up you can essentially be let go at any point and wouldn't even have unemployment to fall back on. Your income could come to a halt in one minute. That is not an independent contractor, but a employee that is picking up the full tab and taking all the risk.

I make it a point in my own business to never let any one client represent more than 10% of my business and I try and keep multiple streams of income coming in from several sources at any one time. That way if that client that is 10% tells me to take a hike I still have 90% of my income left. I can quickly recover with minimal damage. You on the other hand couldn't do that.



 10:07 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Fortune Hunter
Good Post I wasn't going to menthion that him being an employee part but you are correct he is an employee if he is using their computers working in their office he is and can get medical and all the benifits a ful time employee is offered.

How I know is I was doing the same thing he is and was forced to become an employee due to our company was sued by a former "Independent Contractor" and he won back money, medical etc. I was asked to join the company or work at home. Good company so I chose to join...

Fortune Hunter

 11:47 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good company so I chose to join...

It sounds like your situation had a happy ending, but it appears this guy is feeling a bit frustrated with the company. That could be because of his independent contractor status, but I suspect it is more of the personality of all the players involved. If it is the later and not the former joining the company as an "official employee" will only exacerbate the problem.

Now I should qualify this opinion that I had some bad experiences working for others in the past. My last bad experience was the last straw and drove me to start my own business. I have been at it for almost 4 years now and I am totally and completely unredeemable as an employee. Now that I have had the taste of freedom I could never go back in the box and work for others. It is just simply not in me any longer. That seriously colors my view of the world and hence the advice I give others.


 11:58 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Fortune Hunter
(pardon the off topic here)
You arn't by chance a programmer are you? Reason I ask.

I am as well working for myself I have a store front and a website had 2 but finally just couldn't keep up and 301'd to the my main site.

I am planning on attending the PubCon in December and may look there for a good coder.
(back on topic)
I really think the guy is feeling overworked and not enough pay is what I get from it.


 12:18 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

he is an employee if he is using their computers working in their office he is and can get medical and all the benifits a ful time employee is offered

In the UK at least there are still many legal ways to get around IR35 and remain a contractor. If you take one of the online IR35 assessments , the questions can help you determine what to do to remain a contractor.


 1:56 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I use a managed ltd company to service to avoid problems with IR35 the main thing to remember with IR35 is to - Pay unto Caesar that which is Caesars.

In other words pay some income tax and stamp but use leagl means to reduce your tax.

Anyway back to the subject, personally Id show your employer a work for the coming week/month etc etc and have them sign it off.

It could be they feel you arent concentrating on their area of concerns hence your not working.

Now I have found several slimy firms that wont admit to not needing you but will slate and complain about your work in an effort to have you leave.....

It could also be they have someone else in line for your job, a friend of your main critic.


 2:05 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

tonynoriega, to add to your concerns; the case in the UK is very clearly defined - in fact if your work is only for one client then you are an employee of that client and will need to be taxed and have contributions made on your behalf by your employer as such.

My advice is to contact your relevant tax authority before you do another day of work. Get that straightened out first and start any legal proceedings as may be required.

Next, if you are an independent contractor you may be working set hours, in which case you should be working on what you are directed to work on (i.e. no slacking) during those hours and walking out of the office the second those hours are over.

If you're working on a task and billing per month then you need to define that task a lot better. An independent contractor cannot be filling a 'position' within a company, i.e. an independent contractor cannot be the 'webmaster' or the 'SEO guy'; at that point you are no longer a contractor, just an employee who may have more than one employer.


 6:41 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

In the U.S. lots of big companies get away with having contractor's work on site with set hours along side the regular employees. Usually they have the contractors work for some kind of agency. In my last job we could no longer hire contractors who were self employed or had their own companies because they were more likley to meet the IRS definition of a defacto employee.

In regards to your questions, there are many jobs where the demands are simply unreasonable and this could easily be one of them. I worked at a small place where they laid off the entire programming staff except for me and expected me to support (and be on call!) for every system. Sometimes there just really are jobs from hell. Look at all of the lawsuits against Walmart for trying to squeze people to work as much as possible without getting extra pay.

You might be better off going to an hourly rate. Or you could go to them with your list of projects for the upcoming month, time estimates for each one and have them decide what your priorities are. They may not realize how much work you have on your plate if that are not organized and don't have in front of them on a consolidated schedule of what you are working on.

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 6:47 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2007]

Fortune Hunter

 12:42 am on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

You arn't by chance a programmer are you?

Nope, sorry, I have a programmer that works for me that does all of that. I stick to marketing, copywriting, and design.


 12:23 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

You're doing pretty good I guess. The way you described the story makes me think that you are dealing with some know nothing motherf@#kers. Please, excuse my language!

[edited by: John_Blake at 12:24 pm (utc) on Oct. 11, 2007]


 11:54 pm on Oct 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, from reading all of this i have come to a few conclusions and some ideas...

#1. Im basically an employee.
#2. Im going to start looking for another significant contract. Im thinking of splitting my time 60/40 or 50/50....

#3. What would be a good title to put on my resume to replace "Web Developer / E-Marketing Specialist / Graphic Designer"

i think i can combine those somehow...?!?!

Should i talk to my tax advisor and see if i might be in some IRS issue or if the broker may be in some "gray" area of an IRS issue?

and someone stated...about them just not wanting to pay taxes...

i totally agree...no doubt.


 2:09 pm on Oct 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

i think the most simple solution to this would be to give them timeline bases reports of the status of your work, and if the deeds that u are paid for are in those list then they cant give you any complains

Fortune Hunter

 2:07 am on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Im going to start looking for another significant contract. Im thinking of splitting my time 60/40 or 50/50....

It sounded like from your first post that you were hitting some friction with these guys. If that is true this is probably only the beginning. Now let me ask you this, if you knew your job was in peril would you want that job to represent 50% of your annual income or 10%? I know what my answer would be.

If you continue to let any one client represent 50% of your business in a year you are seriously vulnerable. I would shoot for 10% and if that isn't realistic today then take steps to make it so over the next year. I decided several years ago after a bad separation from an ex-employer that I would never again put my economic well being in hands of another. I never ever wanted someone to be able to literally shut off 50% or in your case 100% of your income with two simple words...you're fired.

What would be a good title to put on my resume to replace "Web Developer / E-Marketing Specialist / Graphic Designer"

Try eBusiness Consultant, it has worked wonders for me.

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