Don't Do It Yourself

The Secret Workforce

secret workforceYou may be surprised to learn just how many of your friends, neighbors, and colleagues are working full-time jobs and moonlighting as entrepreneurs and bloggers.   They may not advertise their efforts, but when they put the kids to bed, they toil away until they can’t keep their eyes open anymore.  Some make enough money each month to go out to a nice dinner and some treat it as lottery ticket with the hopes of cashing in big someday.  And many more do it just to express themselves with a creative outlet.

These people are extremely passionate about their projects and will spend every spare minute in front of a computer screen writing content, brainstorming, or tinkering with their websites to make them perfect.  Most share a common drive that friends and family just don’t understand.   As a result, it’s often kept a secret, or at least not discussed with the same excitement and enthusiasm as they might express when sharing with a fellow blogger or entrepreneur.  Does any of this sound like you?

I have great respect for anyone that devotes their spare time to extra-curricular projects.  In fact, this website is the result of a similar passion project of mine, built between the hours of 9pm and midnight every night.  I didn’t do this because I had to, but because I like creating things and it was fun!  I also wanted a chance to share some of my own experiences and lessons learned.  And finally, like most of the secret workforce, I hope to make a few bucks in the process.

Work Smarter Not Harder

A common theme I’ve noticed within the “secret workforce” is that people feel the need to do everything themselves.  If you’re a writer, blogging probably comes naturally, but it may take you a painful amount of time to tweak your website, do keyword research, or promote your content on social media.  You can whip out a new blog post every 2 hours, but even the smallest changes to your website can take days or weeks to figure out.  These types of non-core activities are necessary evils that take up an inordinate amount of time.

Perhaps the “do everything yourself” mentality occurs because many side projects are not considered a “business”.  It’s hard to warrant spending money on just a hobby.  And maybe paying a service provider means that you’re finally getting serious.   Or perhaps you’re afraid you won’t get a return on your investment.  The bottom line is that many people find it daunting to take that first step of asking for an outsiders help. 

What you need to realize is that delegating allows you to work smarter during those 2 or 3 hours a day and really kick-up your productivity.   If you try to handle every detail yourself, projects can take forever to complete.  And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there are many things you just won’t be able to complete with the same proficiency as an expert.  Trying to do your own graphic design is a great example of this.

Contract workers are a lot cheaper than you’d expect

If you think you need to pay an arm and a leg for freelance work you’re wrong.  You can get a virtual assistant for $3-9/hour, a new logo for under a $100 and a qualified programmer anywhere between $5 and $25/hour.  It all comes down to how much you value your own time .

I suggest trying an experiment.  Set aside a hundred bucks or so for a small piece of work like designing a new logo and have someone else do it. I think you’ll be so pleased with the professional results and productivity gains that you’ll start using freelancers left and right.

As for how to find a freelancer, that’s where I can help.  If you’re like me, you can’t afford to pay a full time recruiter or just don’t want to.  You’ve probably heard of freelancing websites where you can pay people by the hour or by the job to do things for you.  That’s no mystery, but finding the right people on freelance sites is a challenge.  I’ve boiled down the specialties of the best freelance websites and shared plenty of tips to help you find the right web programmer, web designer, or virtual assistant for whatever project you can dream up.

What to expect from this blog

On this blog I’ll be sharing some of my personal experiences and tips for finding and managing resources.  I promise to be frank and share both my mistakes and successes.  I’m the first to admit that I’m still learning myself so please feel free to leave comments if you disagree or have your own tips.

You’ll also occasionally hear from guest entrepreneurs chiming in with their own advice and war stories.  And who knows, I may even find a great freelance writer to write a few articles for me as well.