10 Things Contractors Can Learn From the US Election Candidates

By Alice Murray

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In an election that has divided us all in more ways than one, we have learnt some valuable life lessons regarding how to compose ourselves in business.

It goes without saying that the US Presidential Election 2016 hasn’t exactly acted as a beacon of hope for all those voting.

Some might say that choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a walk in the park; whereas others might insist that they’re having to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Wherever your loyalties lie, there has been a lot to absorb throughout the election events.

With the unveiling of America’s new President fast-approaching, we are taking a few moments to relish in the journey up to now. To do this, we’ve put together a list of candidate rules that all contractors should remember to upkeep in their own lives.

Be honest

If there is one thing we can all take from the US election, it’s the importance of true honesty. We all know that the words ‘politicians’ and ‘lies’ go hand-in-hand for the most part, but it doesn’t have to be this way. To say that Trump and Clinton have told a few harmless porkies would be the understatement of the century, but they have a job to do; and winning a big election doesn’t come easy without a bit of an exaggeration here and there. When it comes to contracting, it’s wise to steer clear of the little white lies at all times. Be open, truthful and reliable – this way, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that you won’t be rumbled for charging a client an absurd rate!

Not everyone will like you

It’s no different to any other walk of life; but in the world of contracting, you’re always going to be disliked by someone. Whether it’s a client, a shareholder, a recruiter or an agent, you can’t always be on everybody’s good side all the time. However, the good thing about being a contractor, is that you have the luxury to always look out for number one. So, you should count your lucky stars that you don’t have 50 different country states to try and get on board.

Your competition might be fierce

Can you imagine going up against the intolerable Donald Trump in a debate regarding something you’re passionate about? Well, it probably wasn’t a piece of cake for Hillary either! You should always be aware that there are others out there with the same skills as you, and the same hunger as you. Don’t always assume that the job is guaranteed. Stay humble, be modest and carry on putting the work first.

Social media will make you or break you

We all make a lot of claims about our abilities when we’re gunning after a specific job; but don’t fall into the trap of broadcasting it for the world to see. No one wants to face the shame of being proved wrong after you’ve insisted that you haven’t said something. If you aren’t careful, social media can come back to bite you on the backside. Just ask Trump. Or Clinton. Or, any politician really.

Know your market inside out

You can’t preach the same waffle to every single client you talk to; because not everyone will have the same requirements and preferences. It would be like asking the entirety of America to agree, which we all know will never happen in a million years. Research your market until you know it like the back of your hand. Tailoring yourself to each individual client will give you much better results.

Don’t get personal in disputes

Regardless of what is said about you, it’s better to just turn the other cheek. In any dispute – whether it be political or in business – you should only ever dish out arguments that you can back up with evidence; or you’ll end up with egg on your face.

For more on this, read our article about how to deal with awkward business disputes here .

Know when to take a step back

Sometimes, unnecessarily injecting yourself into a conversation or a debate, is less effective than merely letting it play out. If you can’t take the high road and rise above the noise, at least learn to sit back and enjoy the show quietly.

Pick your business partners wisely

In business, in politics and in life, the people we surround ourselves with will forever impact the perception others have of us. When picking shareholders, an accountant and even clients; you need to consider what they can offer you as well as what you’re offering them. Business is a hand-in-hand tactic; and if you’re feeding others with yours, you don’t want to be bitten.

Be prepared for backlash

You aren’t going to get through life without disappointing somebody; because often, people’s expectations are far too high. However, what you can do, is prepare yourself for potential backlash when something does inevitably go wrong on a bad day at the office. Those who are trying to reach the top have to suffer through the criticism in order to get through the other side.

Be prepared for success

As a highly skilled contractor, being prepared to succeed is just as important as being prepared for backlash. When you do, take it in your stride, get the job done in a professional manner, and leave your client with everything done as promised. Hopefully, whoever the winner of the Presidential election is, will become a roaring success; but looking at the candidates, we are remaining sceptical for now.

All politicians have a right-hand man; an assistant to guide them through all the tough calls. In contracting, you have that same opportunity. Your personal KnowNetwork concierge can advise you on anything regarding your contractor lifestyle - so don't hesitate to contact them whenever you need to.


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