My cousin wrote a book about how we in the rust belt of Northeast Ohio do things the hard way on purpose. We root for losing sports teams. Instead of going someplace warm for the winter, we stay in Ohio, enduring not one, but two polar vortexes in one year.
We have this working class mentality that everything has to be a slog. We refuse to make things easy on ourselves. And I’ve noticed entrepreneurs taking this road.
I’m sure we’ve all done it. Now, I’m a pretty good writer, but for months — months! — I agonized over my “good enough” writing instead of hiring someone to help me with it. I asked my husband to read my blog and he always said it was “good.” I knew it could be better! I also knew it wouldn’t be that expensive to hire some help in an area of my business that was causing me this much stress. I mean, I’m doing all the writing—I just needed someone to jazz up my posts a little.
When I finally hired someone, it was such a relief! I tell her exactly what I want and she does her thing (which she probably enjoys more than I do).
So, here’s one I see people do the hard way, over and over again: instead of hiring someone to design a website, instead of taking a course on how to use a website or email newsletter service, we struggle and scream about how technology is too hard. We pour all that (negative) energy and frustration into something that, for some people, is really easy and fun.
When you don’t know how to make a website and it’s not something you even want to learn more about, but you insist on making one anyway, is it any surprise that you find yourself stressed out, frustrated, crying, and ready to throw your computer out the window?
All that stress and frustration seeps into your website and your clients can pick up on it. You know, it usually shows up as a landing page not hooked up correctly or a buggy pop-up opt-in box or a contact form that is screwing up your site.
But, make no mistake, it’s all a manifestation of your frustration — and your potential clients experience it.
Why do we make business hard, on purpose?
Yeah, it’s scary to invest in a designer. Giving up control like that and asking someone to handle some of the creative pieces of our business puts us in a potentially vulnerable position.
But they’re experts. They know what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it professionally.
It’s so much more fun, joyful, and easy to hire someone.
And if you still want to do it yourself, you can certainly learn how! But again, you have to invest in that. You have to pay someone who has knowledge of your industry and experience teaching something as mysterious (to you) as “computer stuff”.
But if the process of learning it is not fun, joyful, or is not contributing to your desire to simply learn more and empower yourself…chances are, you’re better off hiring out.
When David, my cousin, wrote this book, he didn’t insist on designing the cover and doing all the marketing himself. His zone of genius is writing witty stories about his hometown. So that’s what he did. Could he learn it himself and self-publish? Sure. But David had no actual desire to learn those things. So he allowed other people into the journey to use their skills in editing, publishing, and marketing the book.
Now, of course, he was in conversation with his editor, publisher, and marketing firm. But he handed those tasks to them because they’re the experts. It wouldn’t have been fun for him to do the tasks of the editor. His job is to write and that’s where he wants to spend the most time. That’s what is fun for him and he’s good at it.
So I invite you to ask yourself: what are doing the hard way on purpose? How can you ease up and invite someone else — an expert — into your business to ease your load and get things done? What feels like a treat to do in your business…and what feels like a damn chore?
Start from there and you’ll be working smarter — not harder.