Should you hire a professional or do it yourself? The answer may not be as clear as you think.
I recently heard someone say that they would not pay $150 an hour or more for professional services. They claimed that all the information you need to do the work yourself is available online, so there is no reason to pay such “outrageous” fees.
We are not talking about do-it-yourself brain surgery here. The fact is that there are many professional fields where the average person could probably do the work themselves, rather than pay rates of $100, $200 or more per hour. So why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to someone else for work you could do yourself?
Believe it or not, paying the professional may save you money. Here’s why.
Professionals are faster. Let’s say that you charge $100 an hour and you are thinking about hiring someone who charges $200 an hour. On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer to say that it will cost half as much (assuming you are giving up paying work to do the task) for you to do it than you will have to pay the pro. However, what takes the pro two hours may take you all day. That means you gave up eight hours of paying work ($800) to save $400. Not a good trade.
But maybe you don’t have a lot of work right now, so you have extra time. You wouldn’t be passing on any paying jobs to do the project yourself. It still may cost you money to do it yourself.
Professionals know their stuff. Someone who is very good at what they do will do a better job than someone who is inexperienced. (That means you, bunky.) In some cases, the quality difference will not have a big impact. But in others, it makes all the difference in the world.
Let’s say that you need a sales letter. You write it yourself and sell $10,000 worth of product. Sounds good, but dig deeper. The sales you got represent a response rate of .5%. Perhaps if you had used a professional copywriter, you would have gotten a response rate of 1.5%, and sales of $30,000. Would that be worth paying $1000 or so to a copywriter?
Professionals can save you from making costly mistakes. I see this all the time with authors. They want to get their books published, and they are looking to do things as cheaply as possible so they do not hire the professionals who know how to do the job right. Many of them end up with poor-quality books that will not be accepted by any book store (or purchased by readers), or even losing the rights to their work to a so-called “self-publishing company.” Not asking the right questions, or even knowing what questions to ask, may have cost them thousands and killed any chance of their book’s success.
You may never get it done. If you are unsure of what to do and how to do it, you may default to doing nothing. How long have you been saying that you are going to start a blog, or run an ad campaign or whatever you have been putting off? Instead of doing something that could transform your business, you do nothing. Be realistic about how likely it is that you really will do it yourself.
Does this mean you should never do it yourself? No. There are times when that is the right choice. And by doing it yourself you can learn new skills and improve your abilities. You may even get good enough to become one of those highly-paid professionals yourself. But do not assume that the work you do yourself the first time out will be as good as that of someone who has been doing that work for years.
Before doing it yourself, learn about the work and the industry. Be willing to invest in a course or two to learn what you need to know. Chances are that at the beginning you will not even know enough to know what it is that you don’t know. With some research and study, you can start to ask the right questions and learn. You may even learn enough to know which things you shouldn’t try to do it yourself. Like brain surgery, there are some jobs that are always best left to the pros.
Before hiring someone make sure they really are as good as their fee schedule claims they are. Check references, ask for their results, search for their name and company name online. Find out what people are saying about them.
Hey, these guys are professionals. Don’t try this at home!