When should you do it yourself?


I’ve got some Kindle books I need to convert to paperback. I could hire someone to do it for me but I decided to learn how to do it myself. I did the same thing learning how to format the manuscripts for Kindle.

Short term, it makes sense to hire someone to do these things for me. Long term, having these skills means I won’t have to hire anyone or wait for them to do it. So, by investing a few hours reading books and blog posts and watching YouTube videos, I can now do these things myself.

I will always have the option to hire people to do these things for me. But now, I will be better able to diagnose problems and make sure my outsourcers do what I want.

On the other hand, there are some skills I know I’ll never tackle.

I outsource book covers and graphics, for example, because I don’t have artistic talent and because apps like Photoshop have a very steep learning curve. It might be fun taking classes and getting to the point where I could do a decent job of creating graphics in house, and “fun” isn’t irrelevant, but for me, the return on investment isn’t worth it.

Ultimately, ROI must be the primary factor in deciding which skills we learn and which skills we outsource. Few of us have the luxury of learning how to do everything ourselves, let alone the time to actually do it.

But we have to be flexible. We have to evolve.

In my practice, before computers, it made sense for me to dictate letters and documents to a secretary, along with instructions on what I wanted done. After computers, it was often quicker to type things myself.

You know that I’m a big proponent of delegating as much as possible. You’ve heard me say that my objective is “to do only those things that only I could do” and delegate everything else. But in a complex and ever-changing world, this isn’t an absolute.

If it were, I would still be dictating everything and I wouldn’t have fun learning new things.

How to get good at delegating