How to Get the Most Out of Your Contractor

So you hired a contractor, eh?

Whether it’s me you or some other lucky solopreneur, you’re probably wondering, “how the F can I get the most out of this person?”

  • How do I translate my vision into their brain?
  • How can I make sure this project runs smoothly and efficiently?
  • How can I get the most bang for my buck?

And I get it: there’s nothing worse than investing time and money into a project only to have the results be subpar, or worse, unusable.

To avoid that, I’d recommend following these very simple rules that anyone — regardless of background, industry, or business size — can implement when working with a contractor.

If you can stick to these rules throughout the entirety of your engagement, I guarantee that your project is more likely to turn out the way you envision and less likely to end up in the digital trash bin.

Let’s dive in!

Be open

Be open to the process, to thinking differently, or to someone else’s point of view.

Remember, you hired your contractor because they know how to do that thing you struggle with. They have experience and expertise. And in most cases, they have a proven process for doing it.

So have some faith and trust the process, even if it feels challenging or uncomfortable at first.

Be generous

We know you’re busy and it’s not always easy, but try to be generous with your time, knowledge, and perspective when working with a contractor.

Be willing to take the time to fill out a discovery questionnaire with care and consideration. Be available if your contractor has questions or wants to pick your brain about something. And don’t be stingy with the details when you’re asked for your insight or expertise.

Allowing your contractor to “get inside your head” is a key part of creating an effective solution, so don’t discount your role in the process.

Stay positive 

Even if something isn’t “exactly how you envisioned” in the first round doesn’t mean we won’t get there over time, so do your best to stay patient and remain positive throughout the process.

When asked for feedback, focus on the parts of the work that are resonating with you instead of rattling off a laundry list of everything you hate.

If there are parts that still need work, be clear and specific with what you’d like to see and offer references or examples whenever possible.

Bring good vibes 

Just like all human beings, contractors, too, thrive on positive energy and encouragement.

So if you come into a project with a ton of resistance or a “nothing-makes-me-happy” attitude, it will negatively influence the contractor, and as a result, the work will also suffer.

Here’s why:

When you have a “bad” client, you don’t feel motivated to spend the same level of time, energy, creativity, or whatever is required to produce great results. All you can think about is, “how can I wrap this up as quickly as possible so I don’t have to deal with this person anymore?”

I’m not saying you have to have a smile plastered to your face 24/7, but simply being kind, positive, respectful, and energetic about the work is all we ask.

Be clear and specific 

Vagueness or blanket statements are never helpful, so be clear and specific with what you want, with your questions, and with your feedback.

Remember, contractors are not mind readers and we’re not in your brain, so the more detailed and specific you are, the more likely we’ll be able to bring your vision to life.

Give us something to grab onto

There’s nothing worse than working on projects that are boring, stale, outdated, or purposeless.

It’s true — not every product is a “party waiting to happen,” but there should always be something interesting about what you’re doing, whether it’s a strong social mission, an innovative feature set, a new approach, a unique customer base, or even just an interesting founding story.

Just give us something to grab onto. Something motivating. Something we can care about or believe in. Something that feels different from the millions of brands out there.

Because here’s the thing: if we — the people you’re paying — can’t get excited about your product, your customers won’t either.

It won’t matter that you’ve spent $10k and 6 months on a new website or packaging. If your contractor isn’t interested in or inspired by the work, the result be just that: uninteresting and uninspiring.

Did I miss anything?

Whether you’re a client who wants to learn more or a contractor with your own tips, share your thoughts below — I’d love to hear from you!

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