When to DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Not sure when to DIY vs. hiring a professional? In today’s episode we are looking at 5 critical pieces of tech that all businesses should have, as well as the pros and cons of DIY vs. outsourcing. Sound like what you need? Then, listen in!

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DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Alright – let’s jump into this topic. And, it’s one that I’m super excited about because it’s a question directly from one of my followers on Facebook who has found that she’s completely overwhelmed by the tech. So, when I posed the question about which tech piece was most overwhelming, she came up with a list as well as the question: can you tell me which of these are worth me doing myself, vs. which ones would be better to outsource. So, today, I’m answering that question with regard to, what I believe, are the 5 critical pieces of tech you should have in your business.

  1. Website
  2. Email Marketing Platform
  3. Social Media Platforms
  4. Payment Processor
  5. Accounting Software

Now, I want you to note that I’m not talking about things like content or graphic creation, designing a course, etc. I’ll do that in a future episode. In this case, I want to talk about the actual programs you will be using and whether it’s worth doing it yourself OR outsourcing to someone who is familiar with the actual use, design, construction of that platform.

Platform #1: Website

The first platform we need to talk about is your website. And…I’m front loading this one because if you only hear one thing in this episode today, I want it to be this: your business needs a website. It needs a website because a website helps you gain credibility with search engines, including YouTube, Google, Pinterest, and more. You need a website because it helps you gain credibility with your audience on social media platforms. You need a website because it is a platform you OWN and have complete control over. You need a website.

…and I’ll go into greater detail on this in a future episode, but I can’t stress enough that so many of my clients have come to me complaining that they’ve lost a ton of sales, because they have no website to direct their potential customers to. It’s a real thing, and if you want to be taken seriously as a business owner – online or brick and mortar – you need a website.

Alright, so now that we got that out there, the question is: should you DIY your website or hire a professional.

…and I’d like to say that, the issue typically comes down to cost. Why? Because when you are just starting out – money can be tight and there’s often not a lot of wiggle room for an expensive website build.

I’d like to counter this idea with the fact that every successful business requires an initial investment. And – the investment you put in will set you up for future success or struggle. Note that I didn’t say failure. Because you can start a business with no resources at all, DIY everything and still be successful, but it will come with a lot of struggle along the way.

Designing a website is more than just putting words on the screen and images on the page. It’s a huge undertaking and, while you can use free or paid tutorials and courses to help you do it, it might not be the best use of your time as you start off in business.

A professional website designer will be able to create a website that converts casual onlookers into paying clients and customers. He or she will be able to design it in a way where load time is quick, security precautions and accessibility measures are implemented, and the upkeep is minimal. A professional will also be able to optimize your website for search so that Google, YouTube and other search platforms view it as a viable resource.

And you might say, “But Sarah, you design websites, so of course you would say to have a professional do it.” It’s true, I do – but I’ve also taught courses on how to DIY a website. And, you know what I found – if you aren’t really tech savvy, it ends up being a frustrating experience and 9 times out of 10, you’ll still reach out to a professional for part or all of it.

So, when it comes to DIY vs. hiring a professional for your website, I highly recommend investing in a professional for the design aspect. Once that’s done, you can decide if you feel confident maintaining it, or if you need to have someone on standby if issues come up.

Platform #2: Email Marketing Software

The second platform to discuss is your email marketing software. And, like a website, your email list is something you OWN and have complete control over. So, you want to make sure it’s working for you.

As business owners get started, I believe setting up your email marketing software is fairly easy to DIY.

The great thing is that there are amazing platforms, like Flodesk and ConvertKit, that require little to no tech knowledge to get set up. So, it isn’t a huge learning curve. Plus, both of those platforms have great customer service that will help you if needed.

Of course, like anything you CAN outsource this set up, but if you are tight on funds – DIY is perfectly acceptable.

I do need to note that one of the things to consider is that you may need help integrating your email marketing software into your website content or sales platform. But this is something that I’d take as it comes, rather than outsourcing the entire process. (And…if you have an amazing website designer – they will likely be willing to help you with this! I definitely do this for my own clients.)

Platform #3: Social Media Platforms

In general, outsourcing social media is pretty common.

And I will say that if you run a large business with a huge following, you will likely need some support in running groups, pages, etc.

However, for personal brands just starting out – I believe that your social media platforms need to be centered around the personal touch. Like everything in business, your potential client or customer wants to know YOU and how YOU rise above the competition. Why should they trust you? Why should they give you their hard earned dollar? That knowledge comes from building a relationship and I, personally, don’t think you can build relationships if someone else is doing the actual posting and engaging.

And it’s tricky, right? Because if you’ve deemed a social media platform as critical when it comes to attracting clients and customers then you need to be consistent on it. This is where a lot of business owners get themselves into trouble and why you might need to implement some outside help in order to maintain that consistency. Because when business gets busy – you might not have the same amount of time to dedicate to that platform, but if you don’t remain consistent, you can lose the potential income from future leads.

So, I don’t really have a clear answer for you on this one. Ultimately, I believe that you should at least be involved in your social media platforms to some degree. What that looks like for your business – is totally up to you.

Platform #4: Payment Processor

If you are going to sell things online or elsewhere, you need to have a payment processor. And, depending on your level of needs, the type of product or service you are selling, and other factors, these payment processing platforms will differ from business to business. Most online businesses choose to use PayPal or Stripe, and those who have Brick and Mortar have a few other options, but for most small businesses, Square seems to be the thing as of the date of this recording.

For the most part, this is something that you will want to set up and manage yourself. The reason for that is because you will need to connect bank accounts so that you get paid as well as include tax information for that income. So, I highly recommend doing the set up on this yourself just to keep that information private. Honestly, the set up process is pretty step by step and shouldn’t feel overwhelming. If it does feel overwhelming, I’d like to recommend that you choose a different platform. Because receiving payments shouldn’t be complicated.

Now, as far as integrating it into your website so that you actually receive payments from your products or services, this is another way that your website designer can help you out.

At Brumley Marketing, we definitely include this as part of our E-Commerce website package and any website designer you choose should be able to do the same.

Platform #5: Accounting Software

Last and finally, let’s talk about accounting software.

Like your website, accounting can be a time consuming process with a huge learning curve AND if it’s not done right – it can leave you in struggle mode for a long time.

Personally, I’ve done my own accounting AND had an accountant, and just based on my own experience, I highly recommend getting an accountant or bookkeeper onboard as soon as you can reasonably afford it.

In the meantime, setting up your accounting software yourself CAN (in some cases) be an okay strategy. Quickbooks is a good option for businesses and I personally really like Waveapps as well for that purpose. I’ll link to both of those in the show notes. Either way, make sure that you set aside a little time each month to go over your reports and make sure that all of your transactions are categorized appropriately.

Trust me, you do not want to get to tax time and have to wade through an entire year of transactions. At that point, you’ll struggle to find someone who can take on your accounting AND you’ll put yourself at risk for tax penalties and audits.

When it doubt, I highly recommend leaving your accounting to the professionals.

Take Some Action: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

So, we’ve detailed what I deem to be the 5 most critical pieces of technology for your business:

  1. Website – while you can DIY this, it just makes so much business sense to invest in a professional. You and your business will thank yourself later.
  2. Email Marketing Platform – this is totally DIY-able. So, don’t hesitate to jump right in and get it set up.
  3. Social Media Platforms – like I said, I recommend doing this yourself and, if you do decide to outsource part of it, make sure you stay involved.
  4. Payment Processor – DIY the set up and then make sure to have your website designer implement it into your sales platform.
  5. Accounting Software – when in doubt, engage a professional. The last thing you want is a tax season nightmare.

…and now, let’s take some action. As you know by now – I’m a huge proponent of taking action, because action is where the dreams turn into the reality. And that’s why every Mama Business episode comes with action steps you can take immediately to up level your mama life and business. Ideally you’ll take action on all of the things we’ve discussed today, but if you only have time for one, it’s this:

ACTION STEP: I want you to take a few minutes to consider these five things and determine how they are currently implemented in your business or if you need to implement them. Are you outsourcing something you should be taking care of yourself? Are you DIYing something that you should be outsourcing?

And, of course, if you aren’t quite sure – I’m always happy to answer questions. Tag or DM me on Instagram and let me know, because I’m always here to cheer you on throughout this process of launching and growing your successful Mama Business.

Have an amazing day and I can’t wait to chat with you again next week.

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