Today I want to discuss those businesses and business people who try to save money by doing it themselves and finding it for free.
In my former life as Suzy Q. Homemaker I was famous for saying, “I can make that myself”. I was an avid crafter and oftentimes I’d see home decorations or jewelry that would catch my eye, but would resist purchasing them with the magic phrase “I can make that cheaper.” It got so bad that I recall my daughter, then in middle school, making me promise not to say it when we’d go shopping together.
There were two major things I wasn’t taking into consideration when invoking my favorite mantra back then.
- Would I actually take the time to make it?
- What was it really going to cost me to do so?
If I had, I would have realized that not only did I seldom follow through and make any of the items in question, but that the cost of materials and my time far exceeded the price tag to purchase it ready made.
What does this have to do with business? Everything.
How often have you needed something done and decided it didn’t look so hard, you could do it yourself? Or seen an information product and not purchased it because you believed you could find the information yourself on the Internet…for free?
While it may be true that you can do it or find it yourself, whether you realize it or not, it’s far from free.
First you have to take into consideration whether you will actually follow through and do it. Many of the businesses that contact me for assistance tell me the same thing, they always meant to do it themselves, but they just never found the time. And it’s not just the time to do it, but many times it also included time to learn how to do it properly. Some even contact me after they’ve tried to do it, but haven’t been able to get the results they desired. They are appalled when they add up the hours they have spent on a project that is less than what they hoped for.
Remember, your hourly rate x hours spent on project =cost of doing it yourself.
There’s something that business owners have a harder time paying for than something they think they can do themselves. That’s information. While they may realize that they need expert information about something, for instance, business blogging or social media, they are usually reluctant to pay for it. They’re argument against paying for information is that it ‘must’ be out there on the Internet somewhere for free. Right?
While they may be correct in assuming the information they need is out there for the taking, what they fail to think about is how long it may take them to find it. And once found, is it reliable information? Once again you have to use the formula above to determine what it’s going to cost you to find it. But even more than that, you need to consider just what it may cost you if you stumble upon incorrect information.
In both of these situations, free usually ends up costing you much, much more than hiring someone or purchasing that book or e-book would have. As a savvy business owner you should always stop and consider the cost of doing it yourself. In cases like these, free always ends up costing you more than you imagined.