The MeetingBoy Debates: Corporate vs. Independent

Attention: What are your thoughts on corporate vs. independent business? MeetingBoy is about to talk to the best in business – but he needs to know what you want to know about. See below, comment & let’s get to debating.

Since I became MeetingBoy in June 2009, the top response I get is “do you work at my company?” Second to that is “you remind me why I’m glad I don’t work for a company any more and now work for myself”. And frankly, I don’t get that. How is that different? Don’t you still have clients, and aren’t clients really just bosses? Aren’t you still working with people, and aren’t people still lazy, stupid, and unreliable?

But of course I’m biased. So I have proposed a series of debates, Corporate versus Independent, which will happen on join.me free screen sharing later this month. And I’ve roped in some people to debate me, including Mike Figliuolo of Thought Leaders and Peter Shankman (see his blog).  But I need your help– I’ve got a preliminary list of questions, but I want to know what you want us to answer. The debates should be a mix of education, humor, bitterness, and resentment.

Proposed Questions

1. Trust: How do we know you’re working, and not on Twitter all day? How do we know you’re working on what we’re paying you for?

2. Managing: How can you possibly get things right without the boss’s notes and directions? How long does it take for you to find things have changed? How often do you have to check-in to make sure you’re on the right track?

Is it possible to succeed without my boss’s constant micromanaging? Because according to him, it’s not.

3. Support: How do you get paid? Isn’t it tedious to have to go collect everything, to write your own contracts? How do you get help when things are broken?

4. Boundaries: Are you ever on vacation? Not taking calls?

Haven’t you ruined your home by making it the office? And every coffee shop too? Because no one is ever going to believe you are really doing what they’ve asked you to do, don’t you have to work when you’re sick, work after hours, and work on weekends? There’s no way to ever completely prove yourself to the people paying you, is there?

5. Compensation: It always seems like consulting pays better, but doesn’t a million unemployed people who can all claim they are “consulting” drive down your ability to get a good rate? How do you argue for a raise? For more money/time when things are tougher than you expected, or the client throws you a curveball?

6. Time-wasting meetings: Sure, you don’t have the meetings we do in corporate, but don’t you just have the same number of conference calls?

7. Conference call or meeting: Which is worse, better, why?

8. Keeping current: Where do you find new buzzwords, make sure yours are current, if you’re not in the office to hear what the corporate peacocks and copycats are all saying?

9. Social interaction: Do you get lonely? Do you need privacy? What’s the right amount of each?

10. Conflict & Accountability: How do you make people do things? Hold up their end? Not change their mind and make it your problem? Don’t you need to get in their face? Make them worry about looking bad?

Like I said, there’s probably more to argue about, so please add your questions– or your tweaks to the above questions– in the comments below.

Who should debate me?

Aside from the people listed above, is there someone else who spins great tales of the independent consultant/work for yourself life that you think should debate me? If so, let me know. And if you think you should debate me, tell me why.

UPDATE:

The debate schedule for Wednesday, February 23, all times EST:

9AM Lauren Davidson (@OrganizerLauren) of ARoundTuit Organizing & Productivity

12PM Andy Traub (@AndyTraub) of andytraub.com

2PM Penelope Trunk (@PenelopeTrunk) of penelopetrunk.com

7PM Patrick Saleeby (@littleepistles) who also writes a weekly roundup of Tweets From The Trenches on his blog

All debates will take place on join.me at https://join.me/MeetingBoy. All you need is a browser to watch and comment.

This should be enough times for anyone around the world to catch one, and I hope you do. It’s quite a lively group.

@MeetingBoy

About maggie, product expert

Product Manager at LogMeIn. Questions or comments? Email me at maggie@join.me
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19 Responses to The MeetingBoy Debates: Corporate vs. Independent

    • MeetingBoy says:

      Interesting. Would you like to be one of my debate opponents?

      • Andy Traub says:

        What side am I on? I think employment is great and being solo is great. Just depends on how well you set up your employment and how well you set up your “solo” career.

        I’d be happy to be a part of the conversation.

  1. Dollinha says:

    I have been on both sides of the fence and know that there are pros and cons to each. I look forward to watching this debate to see what others have to contribute. This should be an interesting debate that I do not want to miss. Andy Traub makes a good point too. Funny, I was thinking he should be part of the debate.

    I’ll watch this one from the sidelines as I am still a bit bruised from a recent corporate beating, and going independent again is looking real good. However, I’m not going to make any rash decisions.

  2. Andy Traub says:

    FYI Join.me crowd – Going to be talking about “Why you shouldn’t work for someone else” on a show today – http://www.CoachRadio.tv/live at 2pm Central. – Hope you can make it.

  3. Sue says:

    Do you have a process to make sure you’re meeting your client’s expectations? Similar to a performance review process, where you set goals at the beginning of the year, meet to track them mid-year, and then regroup at the end of the year to review how well you did (or didn’t) do?

    How do you keep anything on track without spreadsheet on top of color-coded-spreadsheet, that’s passed around from one person to the next?

    If you don’t have a “boss,” who calls you fifteen times a day to make sure you’re reading your emails and returning phone calls? Or is it just assumed because you’re an adult human, you’re capable of doing that yourself. (sn – that must be what heaven is like)

    • Andy Traub says:

      Sue, AWESOME question. I think the greatest way to measure/meet expectations for my clients (I work for myself as a consultant) is to:
      1. Define them BEFORE the project begins
      2. Check in by asking “How are you feeling about our project?” (Speed, content etc)
      3. Ask “Are you happy with the process and the result?” at the end. You may not hear things you like to hear but if you listen you’ll hear things you NEED to hear.

  4. Carrie says:

    “Haven’t you ruined your home by making it the office? … don’t you have to work when you’re sick, work after hours, and work on weekends?”

    I don’t have any useful tweaks or insights into the questions you’ve already got, but this one got a hollow laugh from me. I have to work when I’m sick, after hours, and on weekends anyway. If I was self-employed, at least I’d be doing it from home.

    Can’t wait to see this debate, it sounds like it’ll be a really good one. The answer to #1, for me, is obviously RESULTS – no different in an office situation or self-employed. And it’s a really good way to spot a bad employer/company by looking at what they care more about: the results, or the process.

  5. bogey3802 says:

    If everyone is so productive why don’t more people work on commission ? I’d work for myself but I can’t pay well

    • Andy Traub says:

      “I’d work for myself but I don’t pay well.” There’s a lot more wisdom in that quote than at first glance. Most people aren’t built for working on commission because the balance between “more income if I produce more” and “I could make $12 this month if I don’t sell some more stuff”.

      The pressure of working on commission is countered by the freedom of limitless income. It’s not for everyone and frankly MOST people would rather know what they’re making, know what is expected of them and then just fill that role. That way they don’t have to do MORE than is expected because no matter what they do they get paid the same.

  6. bogey3802 says:

    The NFL talks. The team that wins the game gets paid

  7. bogey3802 says:

    I made up a report showing the time spent making reports

  8. Dollinha says:

    UGH!

    I missed this completely!

    My schedule is completely out of whack this week. Being home is bad enough, but also having my husband home all week has thrown my schedule to the dogs and I have missed more online things this week than I care to acknowledge.

    I need reorganize my thinking and ramp up my time management skills in order to get my life / work back to a manageable state.

    How did it go? Will there be a write up?

    • Andy Traub says:

      I’ll have a write up on my site in a few days (early next week most likely). It was a good discussion. All text so you won’t miss anything when you see the repost. THanks for caring and for posting your comment. Don’t be so hard on yourself. WE live in a digital age so you never really miss anything…it’s all archived 🙂

  9. Pingback: The Great Debate, Part 2: Corporate Vs. Self-Employed | The Sunshine Initiative

  10. Pingback: The Great Debate, Part 1: Corporate Vs. Self-Employed | The Sunshine Initiative

  11. Pingback: Sometimes, it’s all about a good mug shot: A recap of the @MeetingBoy debates | The Official join.me Blog

  12. Pingback: Conference Call or Meeting? by @MeetingBoy | The Official join.me Blog

  13. So sorry I missed this. I would have loved to participate in the debate. I’ve been s/e since 1992 and I have definite opinions about it. Some great questions and replies here.

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