Building your studio on good ethics

My thoughts about equal pay, and treating people fairly.

Before I get into it - check out Wethos if you’re building a creative business solo or with a team. I tested out the platform and liked the smart scoping feature. A friend of mine is doing a talk on how their agency used the platform to scale. Might want to look into it!

Back to todays topic,

I hope you’re all having a great Tuesday so far or whenever you’re reading this. This week I’m preparing a new Webflow Tutorial for you all that will be ready for you all next week, in the meantime I figured I’d talk about something that’s been weighing on me heavily lately. That’s equal pay, and treating people fairly. I didn’t leave a toxic workplace to create one - so I want to share some reminders to be a more thoughtful person and protecting yourself as a business owner as the agency space continues to grow.

Listen, there’s fine line between a contractor & employee

Studio founders naturally want to maintain good profit margins and that’s understandable, but I urge you to take a step back and think if you’re following the labor laws in your city. I don’t want you to get in trouble over breaking codes and needing to wear a suit somewhere because it happens more often than we think.

Some quick tips - when you hire a contractor whoever you hire you can’t do the following:

  • Force a certain rate on them

  • Control their hours

  • Or even tell them how to approach a project

These are things to look out for (at least out here in California, according to my lawyer). There’s a fine line between employee and contractor, so I urge you to tread lightly and always speak with a lawyer and get the correct paperwork done.

When you have a whole team of contractors you can consult them and even point them in the right direction - but when it comes to making demands, that’s a whole other ball game. Give your team the opportunity to say yes and no, or “how about this”. Even though they’re on your team you don’t own or have any control over them so remember this. Partnering with others with a business already going until you’re ready to employ part / full time is a good way to manage this.

Say no to outsourcing just because it’s cheap

With that being said, there’s one thing that I refuse to do and I encourage you to join the movement along with me: say no to outsourcing because it’s cheap and just pay everyone the same rate (in my case I go off of Los Angeles’ cost of living).

Trust me, you’re forcing yourself to level up in all facets by doing so. It’ll test your current rates, your systems, and your offer. It’s easy to drop off some work to someone in a different country while you kick it all day and I’m not mad at all, have some freedom & I say that with love, after all you’re the opportunity creator.

I just challenge you to test yourself as an expert in the field - how much are you learning about your client or business while you’re on vacation and you just started your business? Not much, so stick around for a couple years - get your hands dirty and the results will reflect in your growth.

Whichever expertise or unique skill you learn by doing this will be your studios’ most marketable quality as you grow. The more I'm in the work, the more I learn pain points, wants and needs, and other ways to improve.

Wrap-up

Just remember to follow good business practices, learn new things, and challenge yourself often. I shared some ways I challenge myself as a business owner, what are some of the ways you’re challenging yourself? I wanna know, leave a comment below!

Talk soon,

-Dexter