When Doing It Yourself Makes Rotten Business Sense

You already know that one of the many benefits of doing business online means that it is possible and, for many people, even preferable to bootstrap and do many things yourself…there’s all manner of free and useful tools, and for the first few years of my business my monthly costs amounted to well under $100.

But did you know that there’s a particular breed of business owner who is so hellbent on bootstrapping everything – opting for free services whenever they can – that they get caught in the trap of not recognising when that bootstrapping mentality becomes detrimental to their business? (Is this you?)

At a certain point, it usually becomes necessary to move from ‘free everything to investing in the right tools, resources and support to grow your business.

If, after several years in business, you’re still not generating enough income to invest back in to your business to grow it, you need a better strategy. And if you’re still telling yourself the following:

  • “I’m learning new skills so what does it matter? It’s a win-win.”
  • “I’ve got way more time than money so it’s really ok to spend my time doing this.”
  • “I can’t afford to get professional advice or support yet – besides, there’s so much available for free, I don’t really need to pay for it.”
  • “I don’t know how to get started, or who to work with.”

…it’s this mindset that will limit your business’s potential and stunt its growth, and keep you locked in a cycle you’ll find difficult to escape…the classic bootstrapping trap.

Here’s why you’re kidding yourself & cheating your business out of its potential for growth…

“I’m learning new skills so what does it matter? It’s a win-win.”

If those skills can be re-used time & time again, re-sold or transferable to other ventures, then perhaps it is worth spending the 5+ hours it might have taken you to research which online appointment scheduling service is the most suitable for you.

If not, that one-time investment of time, energy and attention is likely to have been better spent elsewhere.

Imagine how many new customers/clients you could have been identifying, prospecting, or signing up (or learning how to by brushing up on your sales & marketing skills – the ones that really matter) with those 5+ hours. Likely more than enough to have paid for a tech-savvy VA team to have pointed you in the right direction and shortcut your research on the right platform for your business.

“I’ve got way more time than money.”

No matter how you slice it, when you run your own business, time is money.

While you’re fiddling about for hours trying to do your own social media graphics, you could have been spending that time working on a social media strategy that actually results in getting more visitors on to your website.

Or you could have been planning how to optimise your site so that those visitors actually buy something when they’re there, outsourcing the creation of those graphics to someone who can do them in 1/10th of the time it takes you (and with far better results!).

You may tell yourself you’ll have time to do both but what you’ll often find is that you’ll default to spending time on the tasks you find fun and easy (yet yield the least rewards) versus the tasks you find more difficult and don’t know where to start with (yet would yield the most rewards)

…with the end result being that you never actually get round to doing the more difficult, more boring yet highest impact tasks, and ultimately your business suffers.

“I can’t afford to get professional advice or support yet.”

The “I can’t afford it” mindset is usually the most common and powerful excuse.

It’s easier and more comfortable to tell yourself you can’t afford it – and to spend hours and hours trying to figure things out for yourself than it is to invest in the kind of support you desperately need to set up the solid foundations for a profitable business online in the long term.

As soon as something becomes valuable enough – read: painful enough – it’s often too late to bring in the support you need…

Investing in the support you need, before you believe you can afford it, can often be the fastest route to generating what you need to more than afford it.

Knowing when to invest and bring in outside support for your business is an important skill to have – the following are questions to help you decide whether the time is ripe for you to invest:

  • Is what’s blocking my progress tactical or strategic? i.e. is it something which is relatively simple to change and not fundamental to my overall business success (tactical) or is it actually fundamental and foundational to my business success (strategic)?
  • Do I know and trust someone in my immediate network who can help me sort this out quickly and easily?
  • Can I afford NOT to get this right, this time round?

The last question is probably the most important:

Can you afford not to get this right, this time round? And what is it going to cost you if you don’t?

“I don’t know how to get started.”

Another common barrier to bringing on board support is the challenge of getting started and preparing your business for the change.

[Side note: One of the most common scenarios we experience at the Rescue Desk is a delay of several days (sometimes weeks) before members submit their first tasks to us. To help our members get over this, we now actively suggest the first task or few that we can help them with and, if necessary, even create the task ticket for them.]

To help prepare your business for outsourcing and bringing on board some support, get the following items organised:

  • A list of one-off and recurring tasks you need help with.
  • A list of the key tools, services and resources you use to run your business (plus their access details).
  • A description/summary of the key processes in your business (Note: We usually help our members design these processes on the fly, since it’s not often a forté!).

With a bit of time and energy, you can be ready pretty quickly to bring some support on board.

Ultimately, you’ll know in your gut whether you are holding your business back – and if that’s what your instincts are telling you, when would now be the right time to stop doing it all yourself and bring on board some support?

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