happy little biz

Don't Get DIY-itis

This week I wanted to talk a bit about the question of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) vs hiring other professionals to do things for your business.

For example, should you do your own taxes or hire an accountant? Should you build your own website or hire a designer? If you’re creating a contract for sub-contractors (or in my case, for working with clients) do you need a lawyer? Even things like painting your office, cleaning of any kind, and administrative work like returning calls and emails requires some thought. Should you be doing all of that yourself, or is it better to hire someone to help?

Obviously, if you’re very early in your business and cannot afford to hire others to do anything, then yes, you’ll have to do everything yourself. That’s a given and expected.

But what if you could potentially hire someone. Should you?

This is the question a lot of small biz owners get stuck on. We feel that we need to run our businesses as cheaply as possible to maximize what we’re making.

Now, you probably realize there are some things where it’s really better to hire someone. Taxes, anything involving legal stuff, and your bookkeeping if you’re just not organized at all in that way. Good accountants, lawyers and bookkeepers are absolutely worth it to your business.

Understand the importance but can’t afford that? Ok, that’s fair. But it’s really better not to just wing it and go 100% DIY. If you aren’t able to hire an accountant, you should at least be looking at software solutions to do your taxes so you can maximize your savings and (hopefully) file everything properly until you can afford to hire someone. The same goes for bookkeeping: please don’t just toss everything into a box and hope it all works out when it’s time to do your accounting and taxes! There are plenty of good software solutions out there for that too. And while no internet advice can replace a lawyer, there are resources out there to help with contracts and other smaller legal items, so please do make use of them.

But what about the other stuff, like marketing, administration, cleaning and so on?

Obviously you’re going to do some things yourself if you’re a small business owner. That’s just a given. For example, if you’re a massage therapist and work for yourself, it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to have someone to do everything that isn’t directly working with clients - someone to do your marketing, clean your linens, change your table between clients, clean your office, book your appointments, answer your calls, and so on. That’s just not reasonable for most RMTs and we both know that.

But there are a couple of issues with that ‘keep things cheap’ mentality we tend to fall into.

The first issue with this is that if you do everything as cheaply as possible all the time, that’s going to come across to your clients. People notice the quality of things, and do you really want to be sending the message that you’re cheap? Hiring professionals to help with some aspects of your business, at whatever capacity you can afford, can really help boost the perceived professionalism. You’ve no doubt heard that phrase ‘you gotta spend money to make money!’ and that’s certainly true.

But the other big problem with the whole ‘do things cheaply to maximize earnings’ thinking is that it’s not usually correct! You’re likely missing out on growing your business by insisting you DIY everything.

Ask yourself this: what are you best at? Why did you start your business in the first place? Where is your time really best spent? How much time are you spending on things that are not that?

We have a tendency to get into this thought pattern that we know our business best and therefore no one else can possibly do as good a job as we could with our marketing, administration, website, cleaning, and so on.

The truth is that all of these things are done by professionals who have their own set of skills and expertise. Is it really reasonable to expect you could do these tasks just as well as someone who does them for a living?

If you’re worried about finding someone to do a good job and properly represent your business, that’s a valid concern and I do understand you. But if you hire a great professional to do any of these things, they will work in collaboration with you to make sure whatever they are doing reflects the needs of your business. Your knowledge of your business combined with their specialized knowledge and expertise can be a huge game changer. If you find someone who is a great fit, they’ll add to your business, not take away from it. This is delegation, not abdication. In other words, you are hiring people to work for you on a specific aspect of your business, not to take over your entire business.

So don’t get DIY-itis*, folks. Hiring good professionals to help you with some aspects of your business will free up your time to do more of what you do best. That’s a win for you and a win for your clients, and worth every dollar if done well.


*all you medical people, forgive the use of -itis. Maybe your DIY really is inflamed! ;-)

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