Lesson Learned: Don’t be pig-headed and do something yourself when someone else can do it better and faster.
I had a near-distaster on Saturday and spent the good part of 8 hours doing something I hated.
Let me explain:
Earlier this year, we re-painted the living room. This led to a whole discussion on decorating, which I abhore. I really, really hate decorating. I don’t like choosing colors (I always seem to get the wrong ones!), I hate matching fabrics, I hate hanging drapery. So the living room stayed half-done until this past Saturday, when I pledged to finally hang the window treatments, seeing as I had the rods, drapes, etc. sitting in my office for the past 3 months.
I’m the kind of person who likes to get things done. This is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I’ll plow through a project with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop. My father-in-law calls this “brute force and bloody ignorance.” Too true!
After struggling with measurements, a drill whose batteries wouldn’t recharge, two trips to the hardware store, and several “frustration breakdowns,” the drapes were up. How long did it take? EIGHT HOURS!
So stupid. So stupid. So stupid.
Here’s why: not only do I hate this kind of project, but I have a sister who LOVES this kind of project. We have a barter deal…I designed and maintain her website, she handles all my decorating needs.
But could I wait a month for her next visit? Nooooooo. I had to get the drapes up TODAY.
I’m reminded that this is a good lesson for all small business owners. Are there some business tasks that you really hate to do, or that you’re not good at (and don’t want to waste the time learning)? Stop killing yourself trying to do it all alone. The frustration and time wasted are not worth it.
Find someone who loves to do what you hate, and pay them to take the task off your plate. It will free up your time for other money-making and business-building projects you enjoy. Your business should bring you happiness as well as an income.
P.S. The drapes look great.
You are so right and it’s such a hard lesson to learn and remember every time something comes up. I’m someone who wants things done right now also. I feel your pain!
I’m thinking, Beth, that I should re-visit my business to-do list and delegate everything I can. That will free up my frustration factor enormously! Plus, my VA loves to do this stuff. (Right, Angee??)
Karyn – I have also learned this lesson the hard way and barter is definitely the way to go as long as the parameters are clearly defined and both parties are motivated. I’m psyched right now because I’m switching my blog to wordpress. Which I could probably do but would entail serious trauma, anxiety, extended periods of frustration and way more time than I could possibly imagine. However, I serendipitously met someone through a client that just happened to need organizing services. She also happened to be a WordPress designer. Voila! Perfect fit. The time to be bartered is just about right. She hates organizing, I hate futzing around with technical stuff that hates me. So there we go. We both get to do what we like and will have what we want in the end.
That sounds like a smart plan, Liz, as long as each person gets their needs met in a balanced way, and the barter work doesn’t get “second citizen” status among all the other tasks that need to get done. My experience and the experience of many of my clients is that because barter is “free,” people often postpone it in favor of “paid” work, and the barter tasks take longer to get completed. Having clear-cut tasks and deadlines goes a long way to keeping good barter communications between barter partners.