As a “solo-preneur” herself, designer Jill Anderson knows something about the tendency to take on too many things that are – or should be – peripheral. It’s a habit that can easily gnaw away at our real talents. Not that I would know anything about that…
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In her post (it’s a quick read, BTW), Jill offers a list of the benefits of asking for help, and this one stuck out for me:
Ever notice how time flies when you’re in the zone? By doing the things we love best, and learning the things we’re most interested in, we get to be in the zone where effort feels good.
Wouldn’t it be great to spend more time in that place? Where we’re more productive and less stressed? I don’t hesitate to bring in outside help for things that are beyond my comfort zone, but I could do better about those “oh-I’ll-just-take-care-of-that” things that too often turn into major time sucks because I’m a perfectionist and the task is really not in my immediate area of expertise.
It’s important to acknowledge that experts may have a vested interest in promoting services they provide – but that doesn’t mean they don’t make good points. Would-be clients, for their parts, often have a hard time seeing beyond an immediate decision to its longer-term impact.
If you want to make the best choices for your business, you’ll have to emotionally detach from both the expert’s ideal vision and any limited-perspective preconceptions you might have. You don’t always know what you don’t know, so if you can manage to balance open-mindedness with skepticism you’ll have a better basis for your decisions.
All but the smallest of business decisions should involve a cost-benefit analysis. Weigh the dollar as well as time costs, and probable positive and negative results. Consider that using unprofessional designs or materials can have more of a detrimental impact on your business than going without. It’s an impact that isn’t often clearly delineated by a drop in revenues as much as slow growth or difficulty garnering the pricing your expertise should command.
If you’re tempted to take a DIY approach and you’re not an expert, either invest adequate time and money in equipping yourself to do a professional job, or wait. It’s also better to put off a project than hire low-end help, unless you feel you can afford to take a chance with the fee you pay. Sometimes people do get lucky with low-budget help, but you should look at it as a gamble.
Don’t waste your talents
Even if you can do the job – and do it well – sometimes you shouldn’t. If it doesn’t require your special expertise, and would unreasonably impinge on either your billable time or time spent building your business, find someone whose expertise fits.
If you’re Superman or Wonder Woman and your superhero costume is damaged while battling an evil villain, do you hole up in your Fortress of Solitude or Invisible Jet, scrounging around for a needle and thread to fix your superduds? Of course not! You call an expert – then get out there with your superpowers and save the planet.