How Much Does DIY Cost?

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

There is definitely some truth to this statement. The subjectively quality of the word “right” lends itself to independent action. Without getting too philosophical, we all exist with the capacity to define for ourselves what is right and wrong in this world.

Before using any tactic to accomplish our goals, though, we can benefit greatly from thoroughly evaluating what exactly that method will entail. The immediate draw for doing everything yourself is generally the absence of spending on labor costs or the time it takes to train or build consensus with said labor. The overhead associated with these human resources is typically dismissed as cost prohibitive.

Now that we’ve looked at the costs you’re saving on by going solo, let’s take a closer look at what costs you’re actually incurring by going solo. “But I thought doing it all myself was free?” As you’ll soon be reminded, nothing in life is free.

Let’s talk time. 🕒

Here’s an itemized list of all the business activities that are now going to require your time…

  • Product/Service Development
  • Accounting
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Legal Responsibilities
  • Product/Service Delivery
  • Customer Support/Service

Now let’s look at each item on this list and try to imagine all of the different actions your business must take to make one effective. In order to have effective accounting, you must develop inventory systems, track expenses, and project income. To have effective marketing and sales, you’ve got to generate leads, create content, and close sales. Helpful customer support requires empathetic, thorough, and easily understood communication with dissatisfied patrons. Then let’s not forget actually executing on our product/service offerings. After all, I thought that was the whole reason we were in business to begin with!

So let’s say that this actually excites you, and you can’t wait to dive in and become a master of all these domains. There’s likely one more area you’re going to be investing time into…

Education. 👩‍🎓

Sure, we could pay for coaching or courses, but thankfully, the internet exists. It’s a magical, digital world where all of the world’s knowledge exists for free! There’s a caveat, though. First, you’ll have to find it. For avid Googlers, this may not seem so daunting, but I urge you to remember what it was like when you first started using a search engine frequently. Finding just the right wording to access just the right information is a skill in and of itself that has to be developed before you can crack the code to access gold. 

While the advent of on-demand printing services and dropshipping have lowered overhead to all-time lows, many of these businesses struggle to stand out offering products that already exist on other platforms or offering unique products on platforms that require homogeneous sales pages. These businesses are faced with unique challenges with regards to developing standout brand identities that offer customized solutions for searching buyers. If you’re considering this business model, you can expect to at least double the time you’ll be investing in marketing and sales.

Now let’s talk money. 💰

Maybe you feel you’ve got plenty of time and that money is the only barrier to entrepreneurial entry. While I’d be inclined to argue that everyone’s time has an undefined limit which we can’t rely upon, that’s not the angle I want to approach this from. Instilling the fear of death in people isn’t really “on brand” for me. 

Most business requires some sort of financial investments in physical supplies or virtual services. Drop shipping or print on demand businesses may be somewhat exempt from this, but we’ve already taken some time to address their unique challenges. So how do you assure your investments are going to yield returns?

If you’ve got no one to consult with, it’s all on you. Go back and factor in some more time for consumer research, which means sifting through countless reviews and mulling over specifications until you muster the confidence to add it to your cart. Then what if you were wrong? There’s no one to blame but yourself at that point. It’s a horrible feeling to attempt to use what you’ve purchased just to realize it’s not right, especially after you tried so hard to prevent it.

It’s possible you’re starting to realize just how valuable an expert in any of the aforementioned business duties can be. If you’re building a sincere brand, you’re likely an expert at what your primary offerings are. Your customers come to you because they are self-aware enough to admit that they aren’t an expert in your field. Maybe it’s time to learn from your patrons.

What are you doing yourself right now? What responsibilities have you started to outsource? What pros/cons are you experiencing in either situation?

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Author: Jacob Campbell

Jacob Campbell is the owner of Aetoric Design, an agency specializing in brand identity and strategy. With over 12 years of experience designing & leading entrepreneurial creative efforts, he has reached global audiences with his work for The Futur, Anime Expo, & many others.

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