I need a press release
I was told I need to be on Facebook
We need someone to create tweets for us
and so it goes…
One piece of a much larger puzzle, offered as the answer by a well meaning advisor, expert or friend, or taken out of context from a book, presentation or speech. Tactics offered up without an accompanying strategy served up like a gourmet meal that has only appetizers and no main course.
The problem with pieces is that you need all of them to get a full picture.
We have become spoiled. Information is widely accessible and often free. As a result we have been lulled into a false sense of confidence that specialized expertise no longer matters. We have the pieces of the puzzle, and we can put them together on our own. Who needs a PR professional when you can write or buy a press release? Hire a web designer- pshaw! We’ve got WordPress! Pay fair value for writers ? Of course not, we have article directories and PLR content.
But just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Having the pieces is only one part of the equation. A puzzle master will have a strategy for how they all fit together. He or she will assemble the right pieces, faster and better than you can do on your own. Specialized expertise is not a waste, it is actually a more cost efficient method of achieving your goals.
Being an expert in your own business will require you to strategically choose how you spend your time. If you are bootstrapping a new business you will need to get creative and do some things on your own. However, you cannot remain a bootstrapper for the lifecycle of your business. At some point, to grow and take your business to the next level you will need to hire skills that you do not possess.
In the short term, you may save money by figuring things out on your own but what will you have sacrificed in the process?
Specialists invest in their ongoing education. They hang out with other specialists to learn and grow. They have inside knowledge and competitive information. When you hire a specialist you are paying not only for skill but their contacts, database of knowledge, hard won lessons, shortcuts, tips and more.
I realize that we are living in leaner times. You cannot hire a specialist for every business process but you should consider it for mission critical tasks. Weigh your upfront investment against the return and you may also conclude that it’s cheaper to hire someone who can take the right pieces and make a whole picture that is just right for your business.
Do you hire specialized expertise or have you gone the do-it-yourself route? Why or why not?
Keith Davis says
Although my blog is really about my hobby, I am looking to make some money from it long term. Say in twelve months / two years time.
I want to get it well known and popular and then I will introduce a few money making items.
Wilst I’m building up my site, I am also reading articles on how other people make money on the net… I’m learning all the time.
Not decided what my money making items will be, but I’m not in a rush.
.-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Practice, practice, practice… =-.
Aaron Hoos says
Another great blog that is so “on-point”! Nicely done. Love this line: “Tactics offered up without an accompanying strategy served up like a gourmet meal that has only appetizers and no main course.”
.-= Aaron Hoos´s last blog ..Favorite video: Align training, HR, and strategy (part 6 of 9) =-.
Karen Swim says
Wendi, I agree there is wisdom in creating teams where each has a specialty, beautiful synergy there. You’re very right about start-ups too, in the beginning you do what you have to do & enjoy it!
Wendi Kelly~Life's Little Inspirations says
Excellent topic. I am all for pooling together a network of talented, creative people, each who specialize in their area and share and refer the work to each other. A team of specialists who trust each other to deliver their best product is going to please clients a lot more then a greedy Jack of all trades who ends up not being able to be an expert at anything because he/she is too wide spread trying to keep up with everything.
And yes, sometimes when starting out, it is what it is, but then…you aren’t as busy so you have time on your hands. But when you reach that point where you are sacrificing quality for quantity, its time to branch out.
.-= Wendi Kelly~Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog ..Living Inspired by Defying Gravity =-.
Karen Swim says
Lillie, you make such an important point. It is critical to consider where you are in your business cycle. I love doing things on my own too. I like learning and love challenging myself to learn new things but I’m also in growth mode and don’t have the time to devote to learning all that needs to be done. One day, though I hope to be where you are, doing what I enjoy and doing it myself. 🙂
Karen Swim says
Heather, I think the key to what you wrote is balance. You’re right we only have so many hours and most small biz owners can’t hire a specialist for every task but you also can’t do everything on your own.
Karen Swim says
Brad, excellent example and your point about DIY is right on target. If you’re going to to DIY , you should consider if you will keep your knowledge current to continue the effort. I have also been hired to undo DIY or “too cheap to pay for good the first time” work. Sometimes those that declared me “too high” had to come back when they got what they paid for – I don’t enjoy that, I want to see businesses get it right the first time whether they use me or not.
Karen Swim says
Dwann, oh golly I am so on board with you and could do a series on my feelings about outsourcing, payment, value, etc. So often the short term budget supersedes a solid long term strategy, and often you pay more in the end than if you had paid more in the beginning.
Karen Swim says
Meryl, I agree! Don’t hop on to the new and shiny train unless it’s making a stop at your station. I love the cliché my mom used to say it all the time. 🙂
Meryl K Evans says
I’ve said this for years about blogging — do it only if it’s right for your business, not for the sake of it. That applies to all work including social media time.
You’re right, Karen. Even if you outsource the work — you still need to make sure it adds value to your business — not because everyone does it. Tired cliche, but true: “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?”
.-= Meryl K Evans´s last blog ..Top 25 Books for Writers and Writing Topics =-.
This is a great post and is a subject that I’ve been really “baffled” with, if you will, as I review the RFPs and ads for those within my specialty.
In this day and time, it seems as though folks either “get it or don’t”
They either truly understand the value of investing in someone with a specialty or within their ad they say things like “I’m sure it won’t take long or more than an hour for a good writer” so they say they’re going to pay something like 5 bucks!!! yet, if it was that easy, my thought is why can’t you do it yourself?!
Fact is, you get what you pay for. As a “freelancer” who pays also pays other specialists to assist me with my media projects, it’s quite obvious, when I pay them what they are worth, they are more likely to enjoy the project and the process while at the same time, allowing me to concetrate on what I do best.
As you know, I could talk about this for hours …(smile) But I won’t.
Again, great post.
.-= Dwann´s last blog ..Take Time Out For You! =-.
Brad Shorr says
Hi Karen, Excellent topic. I can tell you as an SEO copywriter and blog consultant, I spend more time than most people could imagine undoing – fixing poorly optimized websites, overhauling blog setup configurations, reanalyzing keywords, etc. One problem I see is that people get exposure to SEO at some point in the past and keep applying those same rules. Doesn’t work that way. I’ve just been working with a client whose site is perfectly optimized for 2003. Unfortunately, most people are searching in 2010 and the site is barely visible. If you DIY, keep learning, stay current, and plan to spend several hours a month doing it.
.-= Brad Shorr´s last blog ..Design Flaws =-.
Heather Villa says
While I like to do many things myself and I love to learn and implement new business applications and strategies, I do hire specialist as needed.
One reason is because I just can’t do it all myself. There are only so many hours in a day and if I can hire someone to do something quicker and more efficiently, then it’s well worth the cost in the long run.
.-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..Weekend Reading: My fav’s from this week: 2/5/10 =-.
Lillie Ammann says
I’m pretty much a DIYer. When I took the StrengthsFinder assessment, Learner was one of my top themes. I like to figure things out on my own.
When I owned a company with several hundred clients and a dozen and a half employees, I hired experts because things had to be done right and on schedule.
Now that I’m a freelancer, however, I have more flexibility. I can take on only as much work as I can handle and still have time to spend learning and doing new things without worrying about making payroll.
Your advice to hire specialists in sound. At my age, though, I have decided to do what I enjoy doing — and that’s most often doing it myself. I don’t recommend the same for younger folks and those trying to build a business.
.-= Lillie Ammann´s last blog ..Looking for Vets with PTSD Who Have Improved =-.