James: Joanna when I was finishing college I was hired to build a website for a wedding planner. And let me tell you the end of the story first which was I walked away from the project and maybe I was fired, I'm not really sure. But it didn't go well. And the point of that is to say that sometimes when you hire someone or you get hired things are going to go wrong. Today we are going to talk about how to deal with that.
Joanna: All right James so with some you know sober judgment what happened in that project whose fault was it.
James: I would say it's both parties fault and that would be as much of an unbiased opinion as I can get. What happened on my end was I got hired to do this website. I probably didn't have the skills and knowledge the project planning to really pull it off. So what I did as I toiled away for weeks presented the client with their website which I was very proud of. And she hated everything and she hated the colors. She I mean she had given me what she wanted the colors to be but she'd just once what she saw it in actual form like oh never mind I don't like this I don't like this I don't like this. And it got really bad really fast because one she was expecting all these changes to be free. And two I was thinking that the project was done and here I am basically being told we need to start again. And so what ended up happening was I walked away. She asked for her money back. And even though I was a poor college student and I'd probably already spent the money I just wrote her a cheque back and I said I need to be done with it because this is going to be even worse and worse because I don't think I'm ever going to meet expectations and partially that's probably on me in that I probably shouldn't have been putting myself out there to be hired because I probably wasn't ready didn't have enough experience to be able to do what she was asking for. So that's on me and on her was one going for the cheapest option which was a poor college student. The reason why it was 10 percent of what everybody else was is because the person knew 5 percent what everyone else knew. So that so that's also on her. But these situations do happen right, and thankfully I haven't been in a situation like that since then and that was nine years ago but I have heard a lot of horror stories of things going all the way down the road to legal action. I think there's some things we can do to avoid things and to a place where it's that bad.
Joanna: I've been seeing on like social media groups and part of connected to creative people that a lot of people are creating memes around the Fyre Festival.
James: I just watched that based on your recommendation. I was sweating by the way when I was watching that.
Joanna: So it's this documentary about this music festival that fell apart in the Bahamas. It didn't even have a leg to stand on. Everyone is out there money the owner of it went to jail like it's bad.
James: It was a bit of a scam and it was just a disaster from the start. I mean there's so many red flags when you're watching it. And the first question I always have is why did they agree to have this film when he knows it's going to fall apart. He knows it's a bit of a scam. That's a great example of people's expectations and something not matching up and then what happens with the fallout afterwards.
Joanna: And you sell this big thing and then in the end you can't actually produce what you promised or the leadership just says Oh we'll figure it out along the way but we don't have the resources or tools to like everyone on your team. These these people you've hired to do the work they can't possibly produce this thing that you've dreamed of in your mind because you haven't given them the tools the time the resources and so often, as you said like when I say like whose fault was it when things went wrong, it usually is both sides. That's the honest truth. Most people are not evil people who are just taking your money and running away. That's very unusual. And in that point maybe he were you should have had better references. That's the part that's your fault. But but in general it's if if you're a client if you're a church and you feel like a project didn't go well. What you know is probably maybe because you didn't communicate well or you had an unrealistic timeline you had you hired someone who didn't have the skills to do the thing in your mind and you said Oh they'll figure it out along the way like the Fyre Festival we'll just figure this out as we go. Surely we can make this work. But no like they were never going to be able to succeed. And ultimately it's on you as the client to give them the right amount of time the right amount of money the right amount of resources and great clear expectations, In the end this will be successful if it looks like X.
James: So tip number one with that is you should probably get some sort of small contract written up right. I think often we're lazy with it because we're like it feels so serious sometimes but especially if you're going to do a project that is starting to move up there either in budget or time commitments. It's important for both parties to have a couple just lines written and it doesn't need to be a big fancy contract written at a lawyer's office and I'm not a lawyer so I'm not telling you and I'm not giving you any legal advice here but you should have something written just simple in plain language on a piece of paper that outlines either the project expectations, the timelines, and the money involved and that way that both parties can sign so that you have something that you both know is out there and committed to and you as a contractor don't need to commit to something if you don't think it's realistic. That's something you need to negotiate if the client says Joanna you're hiring me say hey James we want to make this great campaign video and be done next week. Well I'm not gonna sign on to that. Joe I can't sign on that now if you tell me I have a month and I sit down and I really think I can do it. I'm willing to put the time in the effort and I'm happy with whatever the payment arrangement is. Then we should sign something because that keeps you locked into a date so that now if you come back to me and say oh by the way you know we've decided we want it two weeks earlier I say well sorry Jo like in our contract it clearly says that it's this date.
Joanna: Even like how many revisions. Some clients would want 20 revisions on something and if in the contract he says they only get two. They're gonna think real hard and make a proper list and think carefully before they ask you to do changes so that you're not like Oh and another thing. Oh and another thing.
James: So let's assume moving forward that that has been done or not been done. But let's just share from kind of both of our perspectives, what happens when you've it's just gone off the rails and it's gonna have to end the relationship is gonna have to end. So I want to hear from your standpoint how you think you would deal with that situation then I'll share kind of how I think contractors should deal with it.
Joanna: Yeah I mean ultimately not a lot of us enjoy confrontation so we just gotta like you know put your adult pants on and deal with it. And like you're the person on the client side you are the one with the money and you had an expectation of something and it didn't work. So like having a meeting in person or by video chat or whatever it is I'm putting some things in writing about here is what happened. Here's why it's not working. If there's time maybe there's time to say like let's throw that stuff away that that direction wasn't working we were going to just throw it away and start over or it's trying to figure out here are like three options we can throw it away and walk our separate ways we can throw it away and try again together or you know with Option C is maybe here's a few ways we can improve it if we just if it's a video like if we may be change the music and the voiceover It would feel different than it does right now or whatever that is. I mean sometimes there's simple things that can be done to kind of course correct but ultimately at the end there are some projects where it's a loss and it didn't go well.
James: You don't want to necessarily blow it up like I would. I would definitely advocate for trying to repair and maintain the relationship just because one project goes bad shouldn't mean that you never are able to work together again. That would be I think that's the worst case scenario is that it gets so bad where you're like if things devolve to that point so much. Then go down that road but you would hate to just like all right well we're never gonna work together again. Sayonara. Like you don't want to get to that point and especially me coming from the contractors point of view as you should be doing everything you can to negotiate and figure out a compromise if the client isn't happy. But you're saying this is the best you can do and you think it's quality work. There has to be middle ground and that means giving back in some way whether it's time whether it's part of the budget you should be working as hard as you can to be making sure the client is happy now that being said sometimes you're going to come across clients that can't be made happy they have Hollywood expectations with you know penny sized budgets and that's never gonna work. And that's something that you should have probably figured out or seen some red flags about at the beginning of the project and that's why talking about a contract in expectations is so important is you can start to see the more experienced you are the more you will start to see red flags on maybe this isn't a good client to work with but my my point of view is that you should always try to finish as well as possible of that means you kind of just finish it half done. Or like to the point where they're somewhat happy with it and maybe it's not a home run but it will work. I think that's that can be a win for you as opposed to just walking away you know throwing the keys on the table on the project and saying goodbye.
Joanna: Ultimately as particularly in church context in Christian context we want to as far as far as it concerns us as far as it depends on us. Scripture says that we should live at peace with one another as far as we can control. So you know if a project doesn't go well that doesn't mean necessarily that everyone involved are terrible people. We want to try and have good community its the same in any conflict in any relationship. Try to have some good communication on our part of it and reflect on later in the debrief on how we would do it different next time with that person or perhaps with you know a different person.
James: And all relationships go through conflict. There are no relationships in this world that haven't had some sort of conflict or some sort of friction. And if you can work your way through that together even when things look bleak it only is going to make your relationship stronger and even back in that counts even in a working relationship because you've gone through some rough times. You're now going to trust each other that right even though things get rough we're going to pull through and we will find a solution and we will learn to work together to make a great end products.
Joanna: Yeah. And you know ultimately we we have a privilege of getting to work with amazing people all over the place and that's not usually the story of how it goes but we yeah we get to build long term relationships with some great contractors in our church and we've had a really overall like a really positive experience.
James: And we get and we get to build things that matter to you right. I get to see impact within our church and outside of our church walls as well with the work that we're doing whether it's Easter videos or testimony videos what you are doing work that can and potentially can help and change lives. And that is that is always needs to remain what the goal is when like we're not doing this to make money we're not doing this to sell products. You're doing this within the church to change people.
Joanna: Right. And so it can make emotions run high at times because we feel like the stakes are high because we're trying to help real people with you know eternal things. But in the end just keeping a good perspective and going home at the end of the day and trying to shake it off and build a hobby man. Get a hobby. So your work is near all life. But anyways, let's wrap up this episode we're gonna come back and continue the conversation in more episodes this week. But where can people find you James?
James: They can find me at visualmediachurch on Instagram. And Jo where can people find you?
Joanna: On Instagram at Joannalafleur.
James: And on the next episode we're going to talk about what happens when that contractor who is really awesome starts costing way too much money. So maybe you have to decide do we need to keep on hiring contractors and pay be paying out a lot? Or Is there a time where you should hire either a part time or a full time person to fulfill that role.