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Website: DIY or Ask for Help?

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Doing things yourself can be fun. And if you’re like me you like to do things yourself.

When I bought my first house many years ago, I completely gutted it. In most rooms I took it down to the studs. Other rooms I knocked out walls or built new ones. In my master bedroom I turned a once tiny coat room into a huge walk-in closet. And in the kitchen I tore out the space under the stairs and turned it into a large pantry.

I’d done very little carpentry work before I bought my house. Yet, here I was tearing my house a part, redesigning it, and putting it back together; all along moving the plumbing, rerouting electrical, replacing subfloor and drywall, moving toilets, etc, etc.

And I taught myself how to do all this.

But there were two areas I didn’t feel I should take on myself.

First was upgrading the electrical box and the other was anything to do with the gas line. Watching both the electrician and the gas guy work I probably could have done these myself. But I also could have gotten myself in a world of trouble. Which was why I hired professionals to help.

As much as I love the DIY route, I also know my limitations. Wrongly wired electrical box could cause my house to burn down. And a gas leak…well, houses explode when there’s a gas leak.

There are times for DIY and there are times to get help

As much as I love to do things myself I know there are times when I need help. Sometimes that help comes in hiring someone’s expertise. On other occasions it’s about time and energy. What took the electrician half-a-day to install a new electrical box (correctly) may have taken me days to figure out. Days without electricity.

And this is one of the things to consider when hiring an expert. Sure, you can build your own website. And it may look fine when it’s done. But how many weeks would have been better spent on other parts of your business if you would have hired someone who does design and coding for a living?

Story of the DIY website gone awry.

Ron (no his real name) called me about a year ago. He wanted my help building his website but wasn’t quite ready to begin. We talked through the details, I quote him a price and helped him create will a plan.

A couple weeks later he called me and said he wanted to give the website a try on his own. As usual, I was supportive. I made suggestions on things to consider and shared with him some pitfalls of the service he was looking to use.

Over the next 9 months we were in touch a handful of times by email. Each time I’d ask him about his progress with the website. There was always something in the way. Either the template he was using wasn’t quite what he wanted or the feature he wanted to add to the website didn’t quite work the way he wanted.

Yep, more than 9 months went by and not only did he not have a website but he was overwhelmed and frustrated with ‘the whole damn thing.’ He was about ready to give up when I my article Why We Don’t Ask for Help – Even When We Need It showed up in his inbox.

In reading the article he immediately identified where he was stuck.

That afternoon I got a phone call.

Ron told me he was so stuck he didn’t know what to do. We talked for a bit and I walked him through how, together, I could greatly reduce the overwhelm and completely remove the frustration. And, he could get a beautiful website that supports his business.

We revisited our initial agreement, he signed up and we got started the next day. And now, we’re a couple of weeks from launching his site.

This isn’t an unusual story.

Many people I both talk to and work with have gone down this path. They spend gobs of time, and sometimes money, to either do it themselves or take shortcuts.

There’s a reason we all know the phrase – you get what you pay for.

But what I’ve seen is that the phrase doesn’t just apply to how much money you spend. It also applies to how much time we spend. And it certainly applies to how much we spend on feelings of frustration, overwhelm, ignorance and failure.

When we look at cost we want to consider all these things – not just the money part.

Sure, I could have probably figured out how to upgrade my own electrical box. But the time, frustration and potential danger wasn’t worth it. I hired an electrician not only for safety but because I knew that the time and emotional stress I saved trying to figure it out myself could be spent on other things I could do well.

Ron learned that the hard way. And, unfortunately I’ve seen many people do the same.

If you have a background in design and web coding, take a stab at designing your own website. But if you don’t hire someone. And then you can put the savings of time, energy and feeling stuck into your products or services. Or into getting referrals or executing your marketing plan. Or dozens of other things that will help your business rather than hinder it.

What sort of DIY projects have you tried that haven’t gone well? Or do you have a story with your website where DIY either went good or bad? I’d love to hear.

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