After months of annoyance and clueless
plumbers, I bit the bullet yesterday. I went down to the local
home improvement mega-store and bought a new toilet. And then I
came home and helped my wife install it. It took about 15
minutes (for this I would have paid $200 to a plumber?!), and the new
one works like a charm. I'll leave the details up to your
Why am I telling
you this? Because I'm extremely proud of myself, obviously. I
come from a long line of men who couldn't tell a Phillips head from a
Also, because this story raises an
issue critical to everyone's success: what to delegate and what to do
I assumed that plumbing was going to
be one of those things I was destined to delegate forever. I
mean, those big wrenches and the gunk in the pipes... Not to mention
the acetylene torches and the solder.
But when I looked at the economics
and when I discovered what the job of replacing a toilet actually
entailed, doing it myself (by this I mean watching my wife do it, of
course) started to make sense.
All entrepreneurs, managers, and
sales professionals have ample opportunity to do tasks they shouldn't
be doing. Often we do them because we're comfortable with them,
or because we're procrastinating the more different tasks.
There's nothing wrong with doing it
yourself, as long as you face facts and make a conscious decision.
I'm here not to judge, but to empower. Here are three criteria
for whether you should do the job yourself:
Is it worth your time to do it
yourself? Figure it out this way:
How much money do you want to make
this year? How many hours do you want to work? How much do
you need to earn per hour to reach your target?
How much would you pay someone else
to do the task you're considering doing? If it's less than your
target hourly wage, outsource. (Thanks to Jonathan Mizel for
explaining this gem to me.)
Do you like doing it? Does it
give you pleasure? Does it make you feel like a complete person,
rather than a one-dimensional character? I clean my own home office,
rather than hiring a cleaning service, not for any material
cost-benefit reason, but because I enjoy the way it feels to dust and
vacuum and find really big checks behind the file cabinet.
Some tasks are just your
responsibility. In business, two big ones that come to mind are
control of finances and marketing.
If you don't have oversight of the
spending in your control, someone someday is going to make you sorry.
It may be by mistake or on purpose, but it's going to happen.
You've got to be in charge of your
marketing. You can get help from professionals, but you can't let them
dictate your message and tone. Huge impersonal corporations hire
advertising firms who create irrelevant fiction (yeah, right, you care
about me!). You have to be real. It's your business (whether
owner or salesperson). It's your passion. It's your
responsibility to tell your story the way only you can.
I hope my toilet story inspires you
to take a look at your work habits. Make conscious decisions
about what to do and what to delegate, and you too may be flushed
Resources for Delegating and Outsourcing Decisions:
First, I'd look at a book called "Now,
Discover Your Strengths," by
Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton of the Gallup Group. They
explain that we are at our most effective if we identify and use our
strengths, rather than spending all our time trying to shore up our
weaknesses. It's a very common-sense and totally liberating
read. It comes with a free online assessment. Get it by clicking
Second, I'd get comfortable as a marketer. People delegate this aspect
of their business not because they think it's a good idea, but because
they literally don't know the first thing to do. Why not
download 2 free chapters of
Gold and learn the basics of direct response marketing for
Third, before you hire a marketing
consultant, download, print and read my "Shoppers Guide,"
The Nine Deadly Mistakes Small
Business Owners Make When Hiring Marketing Help. (Right-click on
the above link.)
Fourth, before you buy advertising
from a media rep, download, print and read my short manual,
How to Get Maximum Results from Minimum
Advertising Spend. (Again, right-click to download.)
Let it shine!