November 17, 2011

I’ve noticed a theme in the self-employment blogosphere and ezineosphere lately.

Is ezineosphere even a word? It is now!

The common message from several business consultants, marketing experts, and coaches is…

Don’t do it yourself!

I’ve read a lot of posts and articles lately on the importance of getting help with some tasks so you’re free to shine you’re beautifully shiny shine in other tasks.

Makes sense. Except when it doesn’t.

I just spent a frustrating few hours – maybe three or four cumulative over the past twenty-four – wrangling with my autoresponder to send out my latest newsletter. It may be that there were updates to the system that I have to get used to. It may be that I haven’t sent out a newsletter since we were in the long hot siege of endless days over 100 degrees. But it was pretty d@*&!# hard to get everything right this time.

The last hurdle, or hassle, I had to overcome had me stumped so I had to call customer support. The guy reminded me I didn’t pay for a support package, but he helped me anyway (thanks, dude), because my problem was:

“I can’t send my newsletter!”

Turns out there’s something glitchy in the way the editor panel deals with HTML code when you paste it in. The hard line breaks disappear, and then the system warns you that your HTML lines are too long. It takes your breaks and then says YOU screwed up!

Did you just get confused by that last paragraph? Then I’m doing well making my point. You see, after these hassles, one suggestion would be for me to hire someone to take my words and format my e-mail and send it out. But if I did that, I wouldn’t understand why there was a problem or know how to prevent it in the future.

Other than my insatiable curiosity wondering how things work, I could probably be fine outsourcing my newsletter publication. Okay, probably not fine, but I think I could handle it. The thing is, I work with a lot of solo entrepreneurs and I have lots of colleagues who are solo entrepreneurs. I help people learn how to do basic marketing things so they can use the confidence that comes from new skills to stand up to their fear and uncertainty.

I coach and train around the theme of Trailblazing, for goodness sake! That’s about being adaptable and flexible, ready to take on new challenges so you can take charge in your own life. While it’s possible for people to get help (or hire it) for all the areas of their projects and businesses they don’t know how to do, it’s more empowering to learn some new things along the way.

So I like being in charge of formatting and publishing my newsletter. That means when I’m talking to someone who wants to start a newsletter, I can talk about what I do. It’s not that advanced and it doesn’t involving hiring someone, which most people at the start-up phase aren’t ready to do.

And if I keep things simple enough that I can manage them, then I’ll be teaching self-employed people skills that are simple enough that they can manage them, too.

I do wonder if it’s a justification. Am I being too controlling, or maybe too cheap?

Could be! But mainly I want to be able to tell someone, “I know you can do this. Let me show you how.”

What do you think about hiring help versus doing things yourself? Join the conversation by leaving your comments.


2 Responses to “Do-It-Myself”

  1. Barbara Winter on November 18th, 2011 5:59 pm

    Totally agree, Steve. I come from a long line of DIYers so my natural inclination is to do as much as I can. However, I realized that for me it came down to knowing what I want to know–and knowing what I don’t want to know. When I turn over the “don’t want to know” stuff to someone else, it frees up my time and energy to do the things that bring me the most joy.

  2. Steve Coxsey on November 18th, 2011 6:58 pm

    Barbara, I think when I have a higher volume of bookkeeping and marketing PLUS more money coming in, I’ll hire a VA. But even then I imagine in addition to keeping up with what the VA does so I don’t forget how, I’ll be looking for new technologies and techniques I can learn. I’ll want to stay on the cutting edge so I can keep up with what my clients need to know. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

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