I’ve always, always been a DIY girl. I think I inherited that mindset from my dad. I can look at something and figure out a way to make my own version. And not only about art, also about business. I’m a wheeler and a dealer.
For this post, I’m not talking about DIY home repairs or taxes, I’m talking about DIY as it applies to the business aspect of your creative career.
When I launched this site almost ten years ago, I didn’t even consider the thought of hiring someone to run it for me. I knew it would put me at their mercy and cost money I didn’t have. I also thought it would be a great way to gain new technology skills. I did a dang decent job of it too. But there came a turning point in mid-2006 when I knew I had to take the site up a few notches in order for my brand to be considered serious. Around that time the marvelous team at Porchlight MCG approached me about taking on my site.
I’ve never been one to pretend to be something I’m not (except when I get the head’s up that family is coming over, I rush to scrub down the house), so I let them know my situation.
Crafty Chica was a late night hobby of mine with zero cash flow. It would be crazy for me to spend bucks on such an indulgent project. Yet at the same time, I knew I was on to “something”, and I knew Porchlight was a great team that “got” what I was about.
I realized that in order to grow that “something,” I had to focus on the bigger picture of my business. After getting a blessing from Patrick, I talked to the team at Porchlight and we struck a deal. I was scared at first, I had devoted hours to building and maintaining my site – and I had a sense of indie pride of saying I ran it myself.
But you know what? As soon as I let go and handed it over, it exploded with activity! Within the first six months, my traffic tripled because they knew the right kind of coding to build into the site. Some people thought I ran a huge HQ, when really it was just me.
Today I had that same kind of decision to make on a different topic. It was a BIG Crafty Chica project that at first looked like I could DIY it and save money as opposed to hiring experts. My first thought was – I can do this!
“This” is what gets me into trouble and costs me time and money. Been there many times. This time, instead of jumping on task and getting all excited, I sat down, gathered all the facts and wrote out a chart of the pros and cons of both sides. After all was said and done, hiring the experts far outweighed me doing the legwork alone.
It’s the difference of sitting down to write a novel and brainstorming product development or making a gazillion phone calls and messing with paperwork. I’m happy with my decision. In the end, it leaves me with more time to DIY the things I like to – crafting, making art, writing, and most of all spending quality time with my family!
So here is how I did it, so you can try it too. This is a very loose list.
1. Write down your big picture and how this task applies to it.
2. Write down all the duties that go with the DIY aspect of said task, if you were to not only take it on, but also make it work. Not halfway, I mean really doing it the RIGHT way – like the experts would.
3. Write down how much time it would take to do each task on Step 2, and where you will find that time.
4. Write down the things you would have to cut out of your schedule to do it.
5. Write down the expert’s (after you have found one or two you like) list of what they can do that you can’t do, and the price. Also write down they CAN’T do, that only you can do.
6. Compare the two lists, taking note of the time and money involved on both sides. Go back to Step 1 and consider the big picture. Which one will help you get there faster?
Of course, we would all love to hire experts to take us on a red carpet to our big picture, but that is not always possible. So how do you know when it’s time? I think it is when you hit a road block of some sort. Just like an inciting incident in a novel, something happens that forces you to choose the next plan of action. With my site, I bought my first Mac computer and the web design program I relied upon didn’t support Apple products. Boom. I was forced to choose the next plan of action.
So there you have it! Now – how about YOU sharing a story of a time when you had to choose between DIY vs. hiring someone. What did you learn from the experience? I think there is a lot to be learned here. I’d really love to see examples from other indie business owners and/or busy moms.
Peace, love, and glitter!