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When To Call For Tech Assistance

When To Call For Tech AssistanceInternet marketing, blogging, online networking… these and other online ventures of solopreneurs often call into play our inner acrobat, juggler and trapeze artist.

It’s not always a simple matter to know what we can learn to do ourselves, and when we need to hire others to help us out.  

Nowhere is this truer than in the matter of technical assistance.

 

Do It Yourself?

Have you ever tried to create a PowerPoint presentation to promote a product or service that you affiliate?

That’s not a big deal for many people. 

But I’ve seen others put entire campaigns on hold for weeks in order to learn acquire the skill and knowledge necessary.  They go through the trial and error process, and finally get a fair idea of how to put the presentation together, only to realize that the “big launch” has passed them by.

Can you juggle content creation with WordPress plugin maintenance?

Can you back-flip through YouTube campaigns while learning how to create a widgetized Optin box for your blog?

How’s your balancing act on the high wire?

Are you moving steadily forward from Point A to Point B?

Or do you keep glancing downward to see if the safety net is in place, should you make a slip?

 

Get It “Done For You”

The next time you’re ready to fall off of your plan and derail your journey so you can learn yet another technical skill, you might want to think again.

Nobody likes to spend money for tech assistance, especially when they know they can learn to do it themselves. 

But consider the money you stand to lose by squashing your campaign in order to fix things yourself.  Usually, the money you spend for tech assistance is far less than the money you lose by failing to progress in your business.

 

The Balancing Act

Now, keep in mind, that there are some basic tasks that you’ll need to perform repeatedly.  You may as well take the time to learn these, because they are integral to your business operation.  You don’t want to have to turn to a web master each time you need to embed video code into a blog post.

But there are other tasks that occur rarely, like maybe designing your optin widget or header banner.  These things may be far better to outsource for a few dollars, rather than see your 2 or 3 month business plan, take 2 or 3 years to manifest.

This is where your juggling skills come into play.

Learn your business well enough that you can distinguish when to roll up your sleeves and learn the process, and when to outsource so you can continue along the creative and productive paths.

 

Show Time

When you do need tech assistance, there are some great online resources to turn to.

Fiverr (.com), Odesk (.com) and Elance (.com) are some of the more popular ones.  

Personally, I love Fiverr when I need a quick fix, like maybe putting together a Powerpoint slide show for me, or creating a banner or squeeze page.  All their “gigs” cost only $5, and you can find some real high quality folks there, and even establish some great working relationships with very talented and reasonably priced tech assistants.

Another avenue to explore though, is within your own circle of contacts.  Think about bloggers you know, people in Facebook groups or Forums that you rub shoulders with.  If you know they have certain skills you could use, don’t be afraid to private message them to see if they might be able to fill your need on terms that you are both happy with.  And who knows, they may even turn into a Joint Venture partner down the road.

 

Postscript

I’ve used all of these resources. 

Not all have worked out the way I’d like, but when I do find someone that’s really good, I clutch onto that resource for dear life. 

These are repeat performances that will have you taking one curtain call after another.

This is how you build the rolodex of your business. 

This is how you get in touch with your inner acrobat.

 

 

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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23 Responses to When To Call For Tech Assistance

  1. Chery Schmidt February 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Great advice David, I did try to set up my first blog by myself What a Nightmare! It did take me months to get it up and running and then I wasn’t at all happy with the out come! SO Yes I did ask for much needed help! I highly recommend if you have no idea on what to do, then don’t.. Get Help! Chery 🙂
    Chery Schmidt´s last blog post ..The 1st 4 Steps To Increase Your Cash Flow As An Online Entrepreneur

    • David Merrill 101 February 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      Your story is pretty typical, Chery.

      So many people get stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels with endless tech challenges, when they should be in high gear, driving their business over the finish line.

  2. Michael Belk February 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    David, I have had to learn a lot of things because of blogging. I know a little HTML, marketing, design, etc.

    Even though I know a little tech stuff, I know how to call for help. I love Fiverr.

    I would rather let the people with the experience with their field do what they do and I will handle what I can.

    Great article.
    Michael Belk´s last blog post ..Define Ethical Behavior

    • David Merrill 101 February 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Good observations, Michael.

      Fiverr is great… actually anything that frees you up to keep your creative and productive departments (even if those departments are “you”) rolling, is worth its weight in gold.

  3. Garen February 13, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    Hey David,

    I focus on what I am good at and what I am not good at I can find someone that is good for what I need. In the meantime I learn from them in order to make sure I have a solid skill set and improve myself on any and everything in my business. I like oDesk and outsource a lot of stuff I don’t just want to do or is boring. I have had lots of business connections that really taught me a lot (i really respect them for that). It never mattered to them I was doing the donkey work and a lot of people actually told me you learn so quickly and really have one of the best mindsets to be highly successful. The trick is to be really great at 3-4 things and moderately good at 10 or so things 🙂

    • David Merrill 101 February 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

      I’m really glad you brought up the point of improving your skill set, even while hiring others to do the grunt work for you.

      It’s really important to make sure you get your outsourcer to show you how they did what you just paid them to do. That way, you save a lot of time by not having to perform the tasks, but you get a real clear idea of what’s involved. That helps you to better understand the jobs you will shop out in the future, and also gives you an idea of what’s involved so you can pass that on to your students.

      I usually include, in a job proposal, that I receive a short video tutorial reviewing the basics of how to perform this task on my own in the future, if I choose to.

  4. Alan Jenkin February 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Good thoughts, David. Right now, I’m having problems with my main website. I spent a few hours trying to figure out what went wrong, and finally got advice from WordPress Forum that fixed the first problem. I still have another one to fix – just haven’t taken the time to do it yet due to other urgent work.

    I generally prefer to fix issues myself, but get a lot of free help from the trainers at my hosting service.

    Alan
    Alan Jenkin´s last blog post ..The State of the Union

    • David Merrill 101 February 23, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Hosting services are a good place to get help, Alan.

      Other services you may have could also be good starting points.

      Autoresponder services, for instance, are also a good resource.

      Any service that boasts great customer service will often surprise you with how much they really can help you, beyond the limits of their own specific service.

      Just gotta ask!

  5. Michael Shook February 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    This is a great post about the idea of getting help, David. There have been many times when I just had no idea what to do to fix a particular situation with my website. I tried forums and support groups and usually wound up either figuring it our myself or changing what I was going to do to match my skillset. 😉

    It’s nice to know that you have had some great experiences with the outsourcing sites, it seems that the more I do online, the more situations appear that I need some help with, so using a site to find some assistance just makes sense to me.
    Michael Shook´s last blog post ..Positive Thinking Made Simple

    • David Merrill 101 February 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      I think a lot of people do what you said, Michael. They settle for limiting themselves to whatever matches their own skillset.

      It’s important to go beyond that, though, in order for our business (and even our skillset) to expand and grow.

  6. Sarah Arrow February 23, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I’ve found over the years that people will waste hours and hours of their time rather than spend a small amount to have it done for them or show them how to do something.
    I like to do the math every now and then – 3 hours searching Google / You Tube and asking friends @ $30 an hour = $90 versus $10 on a Kindle guide how to do something or $30 for a coaching session.

    Some people won’t even spend a fiver on Fiverr!
    Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..And then they stripped my guest post of all the links…

    • David Merrill 101 February 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it Sarah.

      People will spend money at the drop of a hat to go out to dinner, or buy a third pair of sneakers.

      But when it comes to growing their business… which they claim is really, really important to them… it’s like pulling teeth to get them to invest even $5!

      You have to wonder, in cases like that, just how important their business really is to them.

  7. Yorinda February 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi David,
    love your analogy of comparing the online marketing with the circus act.

    Yes, doing all those things can be like juggling a few balls at once or being on a high wire (when upgrading to the latest version of wordpress)

    Thank you so much for sharing those resources where we can get help.

    Cheers,
    Yorinda
    Yorinda´s last blog post ..Loving Kindness Prayer

    • David Merrill 101 February 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

      Glad you can make use of the resources, Yorinda.

      Next time you find yourself “juggling”… check ’em out.

  8. Lynn Jones March 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi David, I am aware of Fiverr and am intrigued by it. There are so many things that people offer to do, that it blows my mind. And only for 5 bucks! I am not aware of what Odesk and Elance offer, but if they are anything like Fiverr, they are probably great. I am one to not want to tackle some of those techy problems, so I should check these places out, instead of putting difficult tasks off.
    Many thanks for the great advice.
    Lynn
    Lynn Jones´s last blog post ..Aromatherapy, Enhance Your Life Using Essential Oils

    • David Merrill 101 March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      I think that if you use Fiverr once or twice, Lynn, you’ll be hooked.

      Great way to outsource tasks that you’d have to take a video course to figure out yourself. I find it a lot easier and quicker to use than odesk and elance.

  9. nick catricala March 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    David,
    always learn from reading your post.. Thnaks for writing about this topic.. I am one of this people who spend days and weeks to learn certain tech skills that probably a guy like you can learn in a day.. but I tel you.. for me is worth it… why? Because most of the tech skills that I am talking about I need them to use every day and I was tired to keep asking friends and people I hire to do the tasks for me..

    I know what I can learn and what I just cannot learn… so I divided in two groups… The one group I can learn… I devote a lot of time to figure out what to do and usually I get it going very fast (now anyway) and once I get it going, along the way I keep improving (is working very well for me this way:-) The other part that I am not certain I can learn… I made a deviation option… I ask questions to people who know about it, but ask in bits and peaces, and if the answers resonate with me, I implement them right away or at list I will give a great shot… if for some reason to many of these answers to my questions just do not get me anywhere, that is when I connect with the tech people that have helped me before for a small fee.

    Doing this way allowed me to be more independent of what I need to do every day, and the cost went really done from say two years a go…

    Well, my friend, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge one again…. very useful.
    nickc
    nick catricala´s last blog post ..Spring is Here… What’s Your Plans?

    • David Merrill 101 March 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Independence is really important, Nick, and we certainly want to do all the stuff we can on our own, particularly those things you’ll have to do repeatedly, as you point out.

      On the other hand, you don’t want to slow your overall progress online significantly because you can’t figure out how to perform a technical task that a pro can do in minutes… especially if it’s a task that you’ll rarely need to perform.

      It’s a balancing act of sorts, and these are the decisions business people need to make on a daily basis. Sounds like you’re pretty good at making those decisions. That’s what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

  10. Dr. Erica Goodstone April 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    David,

    I agree that it is a balancing act and it can be difficult to determine which is the best approach. With some tech assistants, I have had to wait several weeks to get the desired result. They may promise to do it within a week and then I have to keep calling back until the task is completed – and – they even resent my contact because the job is too small. Their goal is often to get high paying clients and just supplement their income with smaller jobs.

    And then I have had some wonderful assistance, got the job done quickly and efficiently, but the income I received did not justify the expense.

    So it continues to be a juggling act. And some of those tasks that may have temporarily derailed my progress have now become easier for me to handle. For example, because of struggling to learn Optimize Press (still not mastered), when I recently created a new website using a regular theme it felt like a piece of cake – and was up and running in one day, slowly being tweaked and added to and fixed over time.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone´s last blog post ..Who’s Bullying You?

    • David Merrill 101 April 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

      I really understand your plight, Dr. Erica.

      You need help even though you really ought to learn how to do some of this yourself. Then when you do learn how to do it, you think “why was I spending money to have someone else do it”.

      It’s a very liberating feeling to do things yourself, and it makes your business independent of service sharks. That said, it’s a good idea to learn to do those things that you’ll really need to do frequently. But if it’s a one time thing, forget the struggle and hire someone else to get you to your next level.

      This is an ongoing issue, so you need to assess and reassess continually.

      Good luck with it all.

  11. Jessica van Zyl June 7, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    Hey David,

    Yes I agree great advice, Sometimes it is just easier getting somebody to finish things like this for you, Instead of spending hours of your time and effort, sometimes having to re do all of your hard work a couple of times.. It’s in the end up to you and what you would prefer i think..

    Regards, Jessica.
    Jessica van Zyl´s last blog post ..I’m Telling You This For Your Own Good?

    • David Merrill 101 June 11, 2013 at 12:27 am #

      Part of running your own business is to create work assignments and descriptions so you know who is responsible to do what.

      This is the basis, Jessica, for defining your own role in your business as well as the tasks you require of you virtual assistants and outsources.

  12. Cherrie Bautista June 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    I love Fiverr. I outsource things I need that I didn’t want to do, not because I don’t know how to do them, but because I want to free my time so I can do other things I enjoy doing. That way, I’m not all too stressed out trying to do everything myself.
    Cherrie Bautista´s last blog post ..Social Status for Facebook and Twitter Has Launched

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