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I admit it. I’m stubborn. I like to think of it as “tenacity”—which not only sounds better, it’s been a trait that’s served me well over the years in both my personal and professional life.
I can think of any number of situations where my tenacious spirit has worked in my favor. And I’ll be happy to share some stories about that at another time. But the point I want to make now is that there is a fine line between being stubborn and being stupid. Here’s what I mean.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about time management. About virtual assistants. And about letting others, more competent than I, do things that they’re best suited to do, so I can concentrate on what makes best use of my skills and my time.
All the more important for me now, as I am about to embark on being a full-time freelance B2B writer and marketing consultant. Therefore it will be vital that I spend my efforts where they’ll make the most impact, because there is simply never enough time in the day for everything, no matter who you are or what you do.
Of course, as a biz startup, there are very limited funds to hire help. But, today, with the advent of virtual assistants, of bookkeepers willing to work part time, and an amazing number of truly talented graphic artists and web designers on sites like Fiverr.com*, it hardly makes sense to struggle through doing everything myself.
It’s a concept that makes sense on the face of it, but sometimes my tendency to keep trying, to keep persevering until I get it right, gets the better of me. (Has that ever happened to you?)
Let me give you an example
I’ve just written my first eBook, titled “10 Secrets to Powerful Public Speaking … Even if You’re Deathly Afraid of Being the Center of Attention.” It’s a topic I’m passionate about—and believe me, I was so afraid of being the center of attention that rather than a traditional wedding, where all eyes would be on me as I walked down the aisle and took to the floor for our first dance as a married couple, we eloped. Forget about having to actually say something in front of a group. Many years later, thanks to a friend and colleague, I learned the secret to never having to fear public speaking again. But, I digress.
The reason I mention the book is that, yesterday, for 12-and-a-half hours, I futzed around trying to convert my perfectly formatted Word file into a MOBI or ePUB file for upload to Amazon Kindle.
Mind you, another author, Patricia Weber, had already told me that she’d published several eBooks and had located a wonderful woman on Fiverr.com who would do the file conversion work for $5. But noooo!
I insisted on duking it out with the software programs, reading article after article about how to do it; downloading conversion software like KindleGen, playing around with 2ePub.com, Terminal and KindlePreviewer; and uploading file after errant file, until I finally wised up.
The problem was letting my tenacity take over. Said another way, “stupidity.” It wasn’t the $5, (which in truth turned out to be $25, after I opted for a second file-type conversion. And even at $25, it’s a bargain basement price.)
The real problem was that I wanted to figure it out myself. Over the years I’ve learned numerous software programs: WordPress, Quark, InDesign, Photoshop, Excel, Constant Contact, to name a mere few. So, there was no reason, in my mind, why I shouldn’t be successful converting the file myself if only I just tried hard enough. But sometimes that’s just plain stupid.
And here’s the lesson. When someone else, more competent than you, can do the job faster and probably better, let them!
It’s a lesson not just for new business owners and entrepreneurs—though certainly they should take heed. It’s a lesson for any manager, especially those who tend to micromanage. The “I Can Do It Better Myself” Syndrome. Or put another way, “By The Time I Explain It to Someone Else, I May as Well Just Do It Myself” Syndrome. (And yes, I’m well familiar with it, as it’s another trait I constantly battle.)
We all have our quirks. But the point is that, sooner or later, we all have to wise up. Realize our resources are limited. And that the only way to keep up in today’s go-go-go world is to give up certain things that are better left to others. “Core competencies” is the business term.
The important question is this: Will the lessons of my mistakes help guide you to live your life better, smarter, wiser? I certainly hope so. And hope to hear your point of view, your own tips for time management, and how you learned to curb that inner beast who fights your better sensibilities.
In theory, I have issues with this service, as at $5/”gig” (i.e., project), there’s no way an experienced, talented U.S. citizen can compete. Nor does it seem that the artists who are listed on Fiverr can possibly make a decent living earning that kind of minimum wage. (And they only receive $4 of every $5. Fiverr takes the other $1 for playing intermediary and running the site.) But, having said all that, I do find the service that I’ve ordered valuable. If the woman I’ve hired turns out to be as good as I’ve heard, I’ll happily share her name with you. Perhaps as her reputation builds, she’ll be able to charge more. Meantime, any thoughts, comments or experience with or about this service from you …?
Photo credit: Monica Blatton, Time, from Flickr.
About Me: I’m a freelance marketing and communications consultant and writer, specializing in B2B, with published articles on aptamers to elevators, bad translations to great marketing ploys, extreme job hunting to out of focus images, and everything in between. The fun part is the diversity—web content, thought leadership papers, ads and PR, literature and technical articles, newsletters, slogans, direct mail, speeches, on-hold messages—you name it—and finding ways to re-purpose those materials to get maximum mileage from them.
First Suzy, congratulations on your eBook and getting it on Kindle!
Then, I just wanted to say about Fiverr: many of the people who do this work for just $5, in particular savvy USA business people, are merely using it in the traditional kind of marketing funnel. I mean, they get you into their tribe and then somewhere down the road with them you invest more.
Thank goodness the rubber band with tenacity and stupidity on either end snapped you out of the trance! LOL.
And thank you for the mention.
Thanks Patricia! Hmmm. Great idea … hadn’t thought about using Fiverr to attract new business, and then convert. Like it!
Oh boy, can I relate to this. I will be in tears trying to figure something out rather than pay to get help. In fact, I tried to convert my document into a Kindle eBook once and just gave up (I think the secret is to just start in the right format instead of trying to convert). I do believe there is something to be said with just paying someone … but now I have convince myself to actually do that!
Hi Kathy, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! And here’s another one of my brilliant insights: the older I get, the more I realize that sometimes all you need to do is ask, because most people like to be able to help out. (I think that’s even something you’ve written about…?) With all your contacts, surely someone knows how to help convert a file into a Kindle book or whatever else you’re struggling to figure out. BTW, should you write another eBook, let me know, as by then I think I’ll be able to give you a great resource who can do it quickly and inexpensively. Hat tip for that to Patricia Weber (“I know introverts”), an author and speaker who helps introverts live life full throttle. Best regards, suzyk