September 27th, 2018
I am about to drop what feels like a *@#% ton of money on a Facebook ads expert, to help me get Copy That Connects in front of thousands of the right eyeballs.
It got me thinking about the decisions we entrepreneurs make around outsourcing – specifically when to hire and when to learn/DIY.
Since becoming an entrepreneur in 2012, I’ve mostly leaned towards figuring it out and making do on my own — until this year. I didn’t pick a theme word for this year, but if I had, in mid/hind-sight it should’ve been ‘invest’.
That’s because I’m in transition phase right now – from ‘a person who does a thing’ (writing for awesome entrepreneurs like you!) to the leader of a business that serves a broader audience in diverse ways – and it’s requiring me to invest in myself and my business like I never have before.
I hired a coach. Found a brilliant person to help me with tech/admin (game-changer!). I have a bookkeeper. And of course there are those Facebook ads. It’s a lot to be shelling out for – but it’s not everything. As much as I’d like to hire out #allthethings, it’s simply not realistic – and I’m willing to bet you feel the same way.
I developed the following criteria to help me decide when it does make sense to hire/invest and when it’s best to learn the DIY ropes. Here it is, in hopes it’s helpful for you too:
My outsourcing criteria
If you tick all – or most – of these boxes, DIYing is likely the answer:
- It’s a skill that you are interested in on some level
- You can see the time spent to learn this skill paying off over time
- You don’t hate doing it
(An example of this – for me – would be basic graphic design work. I make all my own Canva images because I have an interest in design, enjoy doing it (often while watching TV!) and it doesn’t take away from my billable/productive work.)
On the other hand, if the ‘thing’ you need to do or figure out ticks any of these boxes, outsourcing is likely a very good move:
- The task feels impossible
- It’s something you hate or have no interest in
- It would take forever to figure out, and/or take away from billable/more productive work
- Is critical to the growth/success of the business
The painting analogy
I often have these outsource/invest vs learn/DIY convos with potential clients who aren’t sure whether they need professional help or to learn the DIY ropes. I explain to these lovely souls that creating content (but this applies to any biz task, really) is a bit like painting a room: there’s more than one way to get the job done, each with its own pros and cons:
You could hire a painter to do it for you, which is an investment – but the job will get done fast, turn out great, and feel easy-peasy for you.
You could chat with the guy at the paint store, watch some YouTube videos, and arm yourself with the right tools and tackle the job yourself as an ‘informed DIY-er’. While this approach takes a little longer, it will save you money and has the potential to turn out really well. Bonus: you’ll now have this skill to use over and over again in other rooms of your house.
(Obviously there’s a third option, which is to do neither of the above and wing it – in which case you will almost certainly end up with sloppy edges, paint on the floor, and uneven spots. You’ll likely have to re-do the project using one of the approaches above, resulting in tons of wasted time and frustration. Don’t do this!)
For Facebook ads, hiring a painter makes sense for me – for you, it might make sense to head to the Home Depot and stock up on drop cloths. (Which is why it’s hard to take advice from another person on this stuff.) My final comment on the topic is to not to let fear get in the way. It can be scary to invest. But nothing great ever came from staying in your comfort zone. And thoughtful, strategic investment almost always pays off. #justsayin
If it’s copy you’re struggling with right now, I can help, no matter which approach feels right for you. Click here to read more about my done-for-you writing services, here for DIY solutions (or here if it’s strategy you think you need). I’d be delighted to support you on your journey, no matter which adventure you choose. If you want to talk it through, consults are always free!