I met with a potential client recently who made the statement:
“I won’t hire someone to do that. I’ll do it myself, because it doesn’t cost me anything.”
Eeeeeeeeeegads! I almost choked on my coffee. (And I was buying the coffee, so although there was no free lunch, there was, in fact, free coffee for that prospect.)
Needless to say, this individual did not recognize the value of investing in themselves and their business to get a particular job done. Instead, they believed that, by doing it themselves, it wouldn’t cost them.
I walked them through the project’s scenario.
Me: “What expertise, market research and information do you need in order to complete your project?”
Them: “Oh, I already know everything I need to know.”
Me: (keeping my poker face in place) “That’s great. If the market research is done, and you have all the expertise required, how long do you think it will take you to complete the project?”
Them: “I figure it will take a week.”
Me: (thinking to myself…whatever you think it will take, at the bare minimum, double it) “OK, and how many hours will comprise that week?”
Them: “What do you mean? It will take a week.”
Me: “Yes, but let’s break that down to hours.”
Them: (big pause) “OK, let’s say 40 hours.”
Me: “Alright then. And what do you pay yourself? What’s your hourly rate?”
Them: “What difference does it make what I charge out? If I’m doing it myself, it doesn’t cost me anything.”
Have you heard this scenario before? I call it the head-in-the-sand-are-you-serious? scenario.
It doesn’t matter if it’s online or off. If you are doing something yourself because you think it “doesn’t cost me anything”, that is a grave mistake. EVERYTHING costs. Even “social media”.
I read an awesome comment by Sara Hawkins over at Margie Clayman’s site where she said:
“Few things in business are free….it’s not Social Freedia.”
I LOVE that phrase…”Social Freedia”. It’s NOT free. Everything takes TIME. And TIME is MONEY.
As a business and life coach, my job is to save someone their most important currency: time and energy. Because if I can help them be more effective and efficient, alleviate them of those things that are bogging them down, get them from point A to point B with less effort and more reward, then my assistance is an investment, NOT an expense line.
When someone says “I can’t afford you”, what they’re really saying is, “I’m not prepared to invest in myself and my business. I want to do it all myself because [sing along with me]…”It doesn’t cost me anything.”
I’m a big believer that, when you do a cost-benefit analysis, if you can do it better, cheaper, more efficiently and effectively by yourself, then GO FOR IT! But if that’s not the case, then aligning yourself with expertise, or hiring out will get you to where you’re going with less angst, and more reward.
Needless to say, this prospect did not become a client that day. We had our coffee, I provided as much benefit as I could in our time together, I shared resources and followed up, by email, with lots of additional resources that would be of benefit to them.
What do I know for sure?
There is no free lunch.
The “one week” project took far longer than anticipated.
The time spent by the business owner was an expense line, not an investment.
How do I know this? They called me to tell me so.