SH Episode 7

Episode # 7 - DIY is Not Free

How much money are you leaving on the table while you work for free because you think it’s cheaper to do it yourself? When we are trying to save money in our businesses, we often think if we do the work, it’s free.  It is not free.  You are not free.  This is not a hobby remember?

In this week’s episode of the Sink Handle Podcast, Kelly breaks down the mind-boggling idea that DIY is NOT free.  While it’s the first inclination for most of us to do it ourselves to save money, the hard truth is that it often costs us more.  There’s even mathematical evidence proving that DIY is in fact, not always free.  


Topics Covered:

  • How a constant DIY mentality can cost us time, money, and mindset
  • How getting help allows you to focus on what you love to do
  • The benefits of having someone do it better than you

Hello, and welcome to episode number seven. Today, we are going to talk a little bit about how DIY is not FREE.

I know it seems like it is because you don't have to pay anyone to do work for you or to redo your cabinets in your kitchen or fix your house or any of the other things you think of DIY for. And sometimes that works out to your benefit. Sometimes it's cheaper for you to do things, but I think a lot of times in our business, we think it should always be us doing it. And that it's way cheaper if we do it for free. It. Is. Not. Cheaper. If I work all day for free doing something that I'm not great at, it is not cheaper than hiring someone who's really, really good at it. That will take a quarter of the time to get it done. You're going to say, of course, of course it's cheaper. I mean I'm free and that person costs money, but you're not free.

We've talked about this and other episodes you need to pay yourself because business is not a hobby. Business means you make money. Let's just use real simple numbers. You're going to hire something out for $25 an hour. That seems like more than the zero dollars that you're paying yourself to do it, but you'll spend six hours doing it! They spend two. So now it's going to cost you $50 for them to do it. Instead you take your six hours and go do client work where you make a hundred dollars an hour. So now you've made $600 and paid someone else, $50. You have better quality work and you didn't have to do it. You didn't have to do the thing you're not that great at. I want you to take this example to heart. We have been raised on a DIY culture. I know I was. I watched a thousand home shows where they built their house themselves, or they ripped down wallpaper and save themselves some money. And maybe it's true that in life you want to work all day and then come home and paint. I get it. I have a whole basement full of tools. I get it. But this is different. This is business. You are giving up your salary by not working for your clients; by not doing your work in order to do this other thing. It's not for free.

And in those home shows, there's always some guy who says, I'm going to do this and it's going to take four months. And then three years later, his poor wife is still doesn't have a kitchen. She's been cooking over a barbecue stove (one of those camping stoves) for three years, waiting for him to finish it because it takes a lot longer than you think it does. You have to learn how to do it. You've got to figure it out. So it's not free. Hiring help can be a huge help. And I know it's scary. I know it's scary to trust someone to come in. I think that it's also really scary because you don't know how to get help, especially if you're an online business and this is kind of a new gig for you. If you owned a deli you'd need counterhelp and cooks or things like that.

Those are easy things that we understand. We've had experience with those things. We've seen them before. You understand how to get that kind of help. You need delivery driver, whatever that is, then sure; but in an online space when you're on your own, you don't always know what you need and how to get it. And you're terrified that you're going to hire someone and it's going to cost a fortune and you're like, forget it. It's just easier for me to do it myself. I get it because I was exactly the same way. This is my baby, right? I've been working so hard. I wasn't making a ton of money. I was working all the time and I was crazy. I realized I needed help. My first hire was a virtual system. She helped me get the work done. And my clients knew that I was building a team and they knew that I was getting work done and they were happy about it because I wasn't running myself ragged as well as there was someone else there to help.

I don't take much vacation because we're, in the apocalypse, but if I was going to be sick one day, they know that there's someone else that could help. They got better service and I wasn't killing myself. And once you start to get a little taste of getting a little help, oh, it's addictive. Then you say, "What else can I get hired out? What else can I get help with?" And then you're going to have to figure out what makes sense. I built my own website because when I started, I didn't know how to do any of it, but I also had no money. And there were certain things where I was like, I know a web designer is going to be so expensive and I'm not ready for that right now. I wasn't ready for the branding conversations and all of this kind of crazy stuff that came with it.

So building it made me have to figure out how to do it. I had to figure out what my look was, what every field was, what my kind of mission was, what I did, what my messaging was. So there are times when doing it yourself is good because you can work your way through that. And there are other times where you're like, this is ridiculous. I'm going to do a terrible job. A terrible, terrible job. Or worse, someone like me may have still not figured out how to get emails sent out automatically from convert kit (and is just scared to go hire someone). So instead I'm going to pretend to go learn how to do ConvertKit and then not get it done for another month. It's been on my board of "to-do's" for awhile.

So I get it. I'm with you. And that's why I'm trying to help everyone, because I know this is a big thing. We get there. We're scared to get help. It's going to cost a lot of money. We're not making a ton of money but it's really important and I'm telling you, it can be cheaper. The last episode, Gwen on my team did a fantastic job with a bunch of stuff. Most recently, the show notes, way better than mine, mine sucked. So that's the other shocking thing I'm going to tell you is that there are going to be people that do lots of things, way better than you. And that is okay. That's great. You probably suck at them anyway, like me with convert kit (or show notes apparently). Doing them as a drag, you don't want to do it. It sucks.

So instead you could get someone who's really good at it. They're going to do it better than you and faster than you. And then you're going to go do the thing you like to do, whatever that is, whatever that other thing is that you like to do better. So start by thinking of the things that: 1. You suck at. 2. You just don't like doing. Then start to think about what would be entailed in finding and hiring someone to do that for you. A lot of people think, "Oh God, no. Everything is in my head. I could never teach someone how to do it." That is so not true. And it's just our ego holding onto the businesses. If you paid someone else to do it, then you went and worked and did the thing you like to do. Everything would get done better. And then in our example, from earlier, you'd make $550 not doing the thing you suck at while having it be done really well.

Meanwhile you're doing what you wanted all day, right? Doesn't that sound awesome? It's so hard to get into that mindset. The other thing people worry about is: what if people say, "Oh, you don't do this yourself.?" Someone was telling me the other day that they, they are a web designer and they didn't do their own website. And they thought this was like a big deal because it's so hard sometimes to break things down with yourself, right. I can give someone else tough love, but it's harder to do for myself. Or it's so much easier for me to give strategy advice to someone else. Right? You can't see your way out of things. Sometimes when you're trying to do a web design, you're trying to figure out branding and marketing and messaging and all that. You need to be the person on the outside, figuring all that out.

And she was said, "But won't people think that it's weird that I didn't do my own website when I build other people's websites.?" Well, no, it's the restaurant principle. I love to cook. Pretty good at it. I grow lots of things in my own garden. I love to go to restaurants. Do you know why? Because they do a lot of things better than I do. They're faster. It's no work for me. There's no cleanup. I usually have a babysitter, which means it's quiet. It's this whole experience that I get to be a part of. That's totally different. Then cooking for myself and my family. It's not me running around trying to get things defrosted, get something in the oven, set the table with my son complained that he doesn't like anything. That's gonna be stressful.

So realizing that just because you can cook, even you might like to cook, but there are times when going to a place where someone is way better than you than cooking so that they can give you the full experience that you couldn't get. Otherwise, that is the restaurant principle. That is the difference. And I want you to take that forward into your business and say to yourself; there's this thing you need to get done, it's going to take you two days to figure out how to do it and then you'll have to actually do it, then fix it. And while you do it you don't get to do any client work or any of the other things in that time. So you're losing money. It's not free. So go and get help, they do the thing way better. You go to the thing you like to do, and that you're better at.

And then everyone makes more money. The person you hired makes money. You make more money, everyone's happier and everyone's doing the work they want to be doing, doing the work you don't want to do every day. Ugh. That is such a grind. And what kind of fun is that? Why build a business where you're miserable all the time? Why built a business where you're doing a whole bunch of things you don't like to do? So I get it in the beginning, especially in the beginning, when you are struggling and you are trying to figure out everything else. Like I said, I've done my own website. Uh, I did my own logo, which is very intricate as you can see. I figured all that stuff out. I've taught myself how to use a lot of different software for this podcast.

It's mostly me here. My husband's doing the editing. Gwen is doing the show notes and helping me with some other stuff. But other than that, I went and learned how to do it because for this, it made sense for me. I did that kind of calculation. Is it worth it to hire someone to do all this? Or am I going to take that money and put it towards something else? We decided we were going to do podcast DIY. And I was okay with taking that time away. It's 10 o'clock at night and I'm recording this podcast right now. Cause I'm trying to fit it in around my life without taking too much away. I'm going to take that money instead of spending it here and I'm going to spend it on something else that I think it will give me a better return.

You will see all of these things soon. We're working on them. DIY is not always free. Sometimes it's totally worth it to pay someone else to do it. And sometimes it is worth it to save that money and then take whatever you have and put it somewhere else. But you can't do everything by yourself all the time. And you shouldn't, you shouldn't because you're not good at all the things. There are people out there that are way better at things than we are. I'm not a tech genius. I'm a numbers girl, but I'm not a tech genius. I can figure some stuff out. Is it going to take me six months to figure out how to put an email campaign together? It probably is. Would it be easier if I just hire someone? Yes. Should I get on that tomorrow?

Well, now that I'm talking myself into this, yeah, probably. Otherwise, if you're on my email list, you may never get an email (which you should go sign up for, by the way at It's your sanity. And sometimes it's not about going and making more money on client work. There's no net-net on this. You know, you didn't make $550 because you made all this money on the client work. Sometimes it's just, you got to see your kid or you got to spend time with your husband or you just got to take an afternoon off. That's the kind of stuff you can't track in dollars, but it's so important. So think about it just a little bit. Maybe if I, if I say it enough, once in a while, I'll pop in here and say, "Hey, you need help. Get some help hire some people."

Even if it's just little stuff in the beginning, my first one was a virtual assistant. One of the best things you can do, just get some help on like data entry or just that stuff you're never going to get around to doing, but it's really important. Or a bookkeeper, a virtual bookkeeper is killer, not a ton of hours or a ton of money, but really, really important. So you can know your numbers and get all your stuff together. And then the accountant will be a lot less money when you don't have to see him for seven hours with a box of receipts. Once in a while, don't cook dinner for yourself. Let someone cook your dinner, enjoy the experience, know that you are having a better meal. I'll see you next week.


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