I Can Do It All Myself! Really, I Can!

Is a DIY Mentality Preventing You From Growing Your Practice?

many hats

When I switched from working full time to owning my own marketing and coaching business I had the mistaken belief that I could do my marketing, my website, sales, advertising, enewsletter, blogging, social media, bookkeeping, billing, taxes and everything else myself. “It wouldn’t be so difficult,” I thought, and for a period of time I was doing pretty well…until I started getting busy with clients.

First, the bookkeeping suffered. It was “put off” for when I could “catch up.” Then, the accounting and billing got delayed. I quickly realized that if I was to have a viable business-I had to face the fact that I could not do everything myself.

This is a common challenge that many new (and even established) business owners face; what to do themselves and what to hire someone to do.

The reality is that there is sound business rationale why doing everything yourself is not a good idea. When I work with my coaching clients we do an exercise where we do some visioning about their ideal practice. We look at their desired hourly rate, the number of hours per week, the days of the week, and the times of the day they want to work. Most of the people with whom I work have a desired hourly rate that ranges from $100-200 an hour.

When evaluating with them the amount of time they spend on work they dislike, or find a “time waster” I find that they might spend 3-5 hours per week doing billing, accounting, website or Google Adword, pay-per-click Ad management.

After working with them to identify opportunities to generate more income-they discover that those hours spent on tasks they could outsource are hours they could be doing what they enjoy doing, and hours that they can generate more revenue. Once they do the math, they discover that paying someone to do these tasks allows them to generate revenue that more than pays for this outsourced work.

The challenge when hiring outsourced help is that you need to take good care to interview, determine their skill set, and check references before you hire them. Once hired, you need to give them clear directions and then supervise them to make sure they are doing the work agreed upon. I recommend that when looking for this help, that you ask other practitioners who they use for these tasks, as it is always good to have a proven, experienced worker (as long as they can handle the additional work).

In my journey to develop my business, I discovered that there were some things that either took me a long time to do, or that I would avoid. For me, dealing with the accounting, taxes and money management aspect of the business were areas I realized I needed help and once I had that taken care of, I was able to spend more time helping clients, as well as on marketing to grow my business.

Through speaking with other small business owners, as well as my clients, I realized that the “I can do it all” mantra was very common. This is due to many factors including:

  • Low/no startup capital for business expenses
  • Need to economize and keep expenses down
  • Lack of trust, or bad experiences with hiring/ subcontracting work out, or
  • Desire to learn tasks first so they can manage others better

Whatever the reason for doing it yourself, the real questions you should be asking are:

Is this way of doing business working for you now? And,

Is this going to work for you as you grow your business?

Anyone who has tried to grow a business will tell you that as a business owner you have to wear so many hats. You are responsible for the marketing, sales, customer service, finances, lead generation, quality and project management, as well as product or service delivery.

That said, unless you have the ability to clone yourself- you cannot be an expert in every area of your business. You can certainly set up systems in your business to be more efficient. However, you need a short and long-term business strategy if you want to grow your business and that takes time and specialized knowledge that one person rarely possesses. Doing everything yourself is not only a waste of time because of the steep learning curve, but it is an unwise business decision because it does not make good financial sense.

One recent example I encountered with a client is someone who was considering starting a Google Adwords campaign himself to get more clients. Together, we explored his reasoning for wanting to manage his own campaign, which included his desire to learn how to use it, and not wanting to pay someone to do it for him. I asked about his technical skills and he, admittedly, told me he was not “technologically savvy” and had no time to manage the campaign once he figured out how to get it up and running.

He told me he just put up a “business card” website, and although it was just a one page website-it was “good enough” for now. I explained to him that before you embark on launching a Google Adwords campaign you should know that Google determines your “cost-per-click,” essentially the cost of your online advertising, on your “Quality Score.” A better quality score can result in a lower cost per click helping to make your dollars go further. This score is influenced by things like the quality of your website landing pages, the relevance of your ad text, and your historical Adwords account performance. So, I explained it is important that you get your website ready for the campaign so you can save money right from the outset.

I have seen many people come to me after spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on Adword campaigns because they did not know what they were doing.

For these reasons, Google Adwords, and the do-it-yourself mentality, does not make sense for everyone. You can certainly do many aspects of running your business yourself, but for those tasks that have a steep learning curve, or for those that are “time wasters” you should consider finding an expert, if you want to see results.

Sometimes it is difficult to predict how loing things will take until you actually do them, but consider, as best you can, the amount of time it will take for each activity to determine if it is a more profitable business decision to do things yourself vs hiring someone.

Ultimately, the questions to ask yourself to decide on whether to do it all are:

  • Is the cost of hiring someone less than what income you could bring in for that time?
  • Are you missing out on opportunities to grow your business by working in the business and not on the business?
  • Are you experiencing undue stress doing what you do not like to do just to save money?
  • Is the do-it-yourself attitude a barrier you are experiencing to growing your business?

Once you have answered these questions then you will be able to decide ultimately if you can do it all.

The top diy sites are not important if you have neither the time nor the patience to make your own website.

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