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Do Your Best; Hire the Rest

One of the hidden perks of raising six children is the learning laboratory it provides for the parents. My wife and I have learned how important it is to teach our children to do things for themselves and become problem solvers. There isn't enough time to do it any other way with a house full of children. Learning how to tie your shoes, make a telephone call and solve for two unknowns in an algebraic equation are examples of goals society sets for children. Undeniably, do it yourself skills are important for all of us to acquire.

As we mature, we get comfortable with the fact that doing it ourselves will save time, create a feeling of accomplishment and definitely save money. We do it yourselfers develop a feeling that the control of doing it ourselves will also lead to a job well done. How many times have you heard, "If you want it done right the first time, do it yourself."

What parents intend to be a lifelong asset of independence for their children can later be a lifelong hindrance on their financial growth, however. I notice that D-I-Y is a curse at times.

We become so accustomed at doing everything, that we spend all of our time doing everything.

Unfortunately, this leaves little time for doing the few things we do best. I can prepare my own income taxes, but I gave up the preparation part many years ago. The money spent to hire a professional freed up time to do more productive things in my businesses. I know the basics of how a website is created and how to transfer html coded pages for uploading, but I hire out that service, too. I understand how the stock market works and how to analyze the performance of a stock, but I use a financial consultant to help me with my investments since I just don't have the time to do it all.

Many small business owners started their own businesses as "solopreneurs" and got comfortable with being a do it yourselfer. Operating as one-man bands, they are destined to be soloists the rest of their business careers unless they ask for help.

When they are ready, they may choose to seek help with bookkeeping, marketing or planning. They will just say help with hiring, payroll or product development. Focusing on what they do best will cause them to ask for help with sales, pricing or maintenance.

The paradox of being self sufficient and asking for help is hard to handle. When we do it yourselfers wrestle with the temptation to be jacks-of-all-trades and pin it to the mat, we will be able to grow in our business and personal lives.

Next time you have the urge to do everything yourself in your business, think about the Spandex Rule: Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Doug Emerson trains consults and coaches business owners on how to make more profit in less time using 8 key strategies. He writes a free electronic newsletter about the business of life called Getting to the Point. Free subscription available at the homepage. http://www.douglasemerson.com

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