Building one’s digital compass is greater and wider today than it was five years ago when I first started to tip my toe in these waters
Always being curious and wanting to be ahead of the trends, my desire to learn how to make not only my life more efficient but my clients lives as well, has kept me interested in what’s new around the digital landscape.
With that said, the latest and greatest new tool can be both startling and seductive. Chasing the shiny object becomes irresistible and that is where you might find yourself in trouble.
The global E-learning (digital course and online learning) is expected to grow at a rate of 14.6% (from now to 2026) and is anticipated to reach around 375 billion by 2026.
That’s a huge number.
Being on the cusp of worldwide global expansion is exciting and confirms that I am not only in the right place at the right time but so are those that I am currently teaching.
The demand for “Skilling, Re-skilling, and Upskilling” is hard to keep up with and due to the pandemic and everyone in your orbit wanting to launch and relaunch their ideas and programs most of us feel like a human pinball machine.
In discovering new ways to service my clients, friends and colleagues, I have reached out to
“Experts” to help me better understand and navigate all the platforms and bells and whistles that pop up at rapid speed.
It’s not as simple as putting an image and caption up on Instagram and hope those will like it and if we are lucky – engage with our words of wisdom.
Nope -it’s way more complicated than that and connecting the dots between this platform and the next is way over most of our heads.
Thus, I have reached out for help.
Being in this sphere since the beginning (I was a beta tester for Pinterest back in the day), I have learned a thing or two but by no means am an expert. In wanting to help others, I have found a way to take my 1 to 1 private consulting into both a group experience and digital products. But, connecting the dots for me can sometimes be challenging.
Participating in several masterminds and tech groups, many of those involved have their zone of genius and area of expertise. And it’s standard practice to post questions especially when it comes to the obstacles that one can face when building out those digital platforms.
With that said, I have been both robbed and conned. And not just on one or two occasions. If I added up all the money that I have spent to get nothing in return, you’d be both shocked and angry.
However, I had to take responsibility for my lack of judgement and my eagerness to get the job done. Thus, I didn’t ask the right questions and unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way – by witnessing the deficit in my bank account and it was after the last con that I said “enough is enough”
So, my errors are your gains!
I am here to give you a few tips on how to avoid the digital con:
Don’t rely on testimonials
Those could simply be written by friends and family. Because these people don’t have a yelp page, stalk them on social media. Try and find them in groups or other pages where others may be validating them. And if they are being validated, DM that person, and then craft 3-5 standard questions that will help you better understand how that person helped and what results they ultimately got.
Date before you get engaged! Do some sort of test project. Something small that is part of the ultimate end goals. For example, if you want to hire someone to help you with your copywriting, ask them to just repurpose your bio. If they want to charge you an hourly, ask them how long they think it will take and then negotiate a project price rather than an hourly. You’re the one with the checkbook…you set the boundaries.
Project vs. hourly
Whatever you do, don’t do hourly. I have learned the hard way and it ain’t pretty. Just last year I hired someone to do my website. Because that person did not know what they were doing, I paid for their education. And in the end, I got a website that was image based rather than text based and I am just now fixing that problem. It has been a very expensive lesson, but a valuable learning experience.
Your Contract vs. Their Contract
More than likely the independent contractor will give you a contract or service agreement. That’s great and professional. Read between the lines, make notes and then ask questions. Don’t just sign it (like I did). And then once you understand it, counter with your own contract. And in it, include the following:
- What you are expecting, what result you are looking for thus the outcome of the services they are providing for you
- The form of communication. Some people like to use platforms like Asana, Google Doc, Trello, etc. Come up with a system that works for both of you.
- Know exactly what they are willing to do and not willing to do before you start anything. For example if you are wanting to hire someone to help you set up your ESP(email service provider) and connect it to your website or lead magnet – ask questions. And if you don’t know the questions, there are tons of groups on Facebook and in LinkedIn that could help you with this outline.
- Let them know that if the requirements and the job is not completed by the agreed due date and deadline, there will be consequences. Recently I had to do this with a vendor and I told them that everyday there we were late, I would be deducting 10% for each day the project was delayed. I almost got my project on time, but I did follow through and because it was in writing, I was able to deduct that amount from the final invoice.
- Make sure there is no “expiration” date to their commitment. I now find it funny that a few of these vendors said I had an end date to complete the project, AFTER we were knee deep in the process. If that is how they work, then those boundaries need to be established before you hit the paypal or venmo button.
Follow your gut
Your inner wisdom is a powerful tool. Use it! If something doesn’t feel right and you are witnessing some red flags – pay attention. I allowed myself to prescribe to this on only a few occasions. I trusted my gut and because of that I avoided a huge cluster fuck. But…that has not always been the case. And because of that the deficit in both my bank account and my time was hard to recoup. There is no recourse so – trust and then surrender.
I will be following this post up with some tips about what questions to ask when hiring a VA or outside contractor. I can do this because I have learned the hard way. And my job is to help you avoid the inevitable!
If you have had a bad experience and have been digitally conned or taken advantage of, I want to hear about it. Leave a comment and let’s start the conversation so, together, we can help others before it happens to them!!