why you cannot do it all yourself for free...

time or money.jpg

if you have been reading this blog regularly and follow the build a little biz facebook page, you know i genuinely want to help other biz builders. i answer emails, i reply to comments, and i try my best to find answers to people’s questions.

sometimes it is easy “I am looking for a great resource about xxxx, do you know of any?” or “i am trying to get this stupid xxxx to work on facebook. what am i doing wrong?” but sometimes the questions are a lot harder…

“hi karen, i love your page and appreciate your offer to help biz builders. i really need some help. can you help me create a kick ass brand? i also need help creating a website and i need all of my marketing materials created – i don’t have much to spend on this because i just started my biz, but i don’t know much about any of this! i also need some help figuring out how to get people interested in my business. i am not sure if my prices are right, or if i am just not attracting the right people. how do i do that? i have a facebook page, but it is pretty basic at the moment. how do i customize it to make it look really amazing and professional? what stuff should i be saying there? how do i get people to like my page? as you can see i am just getting started and need lots of help. haha! thank you!”

as we work on building our own little biz there are so many task that need to be done: product creation & manufacturing, websites & online shops, logo design & branding, marketing materials & marketing strategies, advertising & PR, accounting & administration, registration & legalities, market research, copywriting, product photography, printing, promoting and more!

here is the thing. when you are just getting started with your biz, and all through the life of your biz you need to make investments into the biz in order to get money out of the biz. while you may want to take the DIY route of doing it yourself for free, there is actually no free. it is going to cost you something. either time or money.

if you don’t have money to invest then you need to put in the time to figure out how to DIY. if you cannot figure out how to DIY you are going to have to put in some money to get someone who does know how to help you. there is no free!

how do you decide what is worth investing money vs investing time?

  • your skill

be honest with yourself do you actually have the skills required to do the task on your own? can you invest the time not only in doing the task itself but in whatever learning/training is required to get to the point in which you can do the task well? are there resources available to you in order to learn how to DIY the task? do you have the right equipment/materials?

  • effectiveness

ask yourself, if you DIY some aspect of your biz is it going to actually help you make money? look professional? work properly? be effective? or is it going to look or feel DIY, shoddy, cheap, or half-assed? is it going to cost you more money in the long run to fix if you screw it up?

  • value

if you take the time to learn an aspect of your biz so you can DIY, is it going to help you for the longevity of your biz? is it something you could later teach others or sell as a service? is it a skill that will be useful to you in other areas? or is it a one shot deal, a skill that you will never need again? sometimes it is worth the time to learn it once, sometimes it is not. what value do you get out of it?

  • your happiness

what are your interests or passions? what aspects of your biz get you inspired and excited? do you love learning about photography but hate accounting? spend your time learning how to photograph your own products, spend your money on an accountant. do you find you actually like fiddling around with a website, but hate designing the graphic elements? learn how to build your own website, hire a graphic designer to make the header, background, images for you.

  • weigh the costs

sometimes it seems like you will save money by doing something your self, but really weigh the costs. what is your time worth? if you charge $100 an hour for your service, and it is going to cost you $1000 for a website, weigh how much time it would take you to DIY. will it take you less than 10 hours to learn how and actually make your own site? if not, you are better off using those 10 hours to make $1000 to pay for someone else to do it!

what if you have neither time/skill nor money?

well don’t just ask someone to do it for you (unless maybe you are asking your husband!) it shows you do not value their time or expertise enough to pay them, and takes advantage of whatever personal or professional relationship you have.

  • trade services

find another little biz builder that you can trade services or products with. this seems to work best when you find someone in a similar ‘spot’ to you, perhaps just starting out with their biz, needing to boost an aspect of their biz, or needing some new clients/leads. sweeten the deal by offering to promote their biz (a free add, social media shout outs, a review on your site) along with providing your end of the trade.

  • purchase services that will buy you time

if the work you need to do on your biz is too pricey for you to outsource consider instead investing in services that will buy you some extra time. look at hiring a house cleaner, a gardener or a babysitter so that you have more time to DIY your business tasks – these types of services can often be more affordable than hiring business help.

  • find JSO biz builders

as new little biz builders we are all just trying to get our foot in the door, get our biz off the ground. find someone who is just starting out, looking to build their portfolio or their client base. they will often have portfolio building prices that might make it easier on your budget.

  • hold a special promotion

we should all be careful of heavily discounting our prices as a way to attract customers – it can devalue your work and your industry, as well as misrepresent your brand. but when done carefully, and genuinely, a special offer or promotion can be a way to generate some extra revenue.

create a special package, sell a limited edition product, get rid of some samples or excess stock – come up with a special offer that you can hold for a limited time and explain WHY you are holding that promotion. don’t give some sob story but tell people that you want to grow your biz and you are holding a promotion to help you do it. earmark all of the revenue from that promotion to pay for the services you require – having a goal and a purpose will help you feel motivated to get the sales.

the next time you think to yourself: “i can’t afford to hire someone to do that. i am going to do it myself, for free.” just remember. there is no free. if it doesn’t cost you money, it will cost you time. (and maybe stress! but that is a whole other blog post…)

what have you done to buy yourself time or pay for services that you need for your biz? how do you decide if you should DIY or outsorce? do you have extra tips to add?

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