“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Being in business means you’ll inevitably make some mistakes. But certain mistakes are harder to swallow than others, like the ones Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse warns about in her recent Smart Social Mastery Tips livestream. She wishes someone had advised her what to look out for years ago when she was starting out.
Do-It-Yourself to the Extreme Is a Mistake
Being willing to roll up your sleeves is a necessary trait for consultants and entrepreneurs, but that shouldn’t involve trying to do everything on your own. Kami says that one of the biggest mistakes she made was “the do-it-yourself mentality that I had early on. I just sweated it out. If there was something I didn't understand, I'd go learn it. I'd go find experts that I could watch on YouTube. I would spend hours and hours and hours and hours and hours listening to different kinds of thoughts about that, reading blog posts.”
Immersing herself in this way “was really satisfying because you felt like you yourself were coming up with the ideas and it made me feel really powerful,” she explains. However, the problem is that “you're costing yourself probably thousands and thousands of dollars.”
Don’t Start From Zero
Immersing yourself in learning the ins-and-outs of marketing and social media is important, but assuming the best way to do that is by starting from zero is unnecessary and counterproductive to your actual goals.
“If you're doing that, you're searching YouTube for answers, you're asking random people questions… or you’re in a community and you're avoiding asking questions because you don't want to look stupid,” she says. Or you’re “using free tools that don't quite do the job – they almost do the job but they don't get the job done, so you’re just taping together the free things.”
Even Experts Benefit From Getting Help
If you’re a seasoned professional, you may think that this doesn’t apply to you. After all, you create and manage successful programs for your clients and know how marketing, PR, and other forms of communication work. But Kami considers this flawed thinking.
“I'm a public relations and marketing expert and I’ve been doing this for a very long time… and it feels weird to ask for help whenever you are an expert in the thing that you need some help with. But here's the funny thing, we don't as individuals know all of the things that we need to know.”
Drawbacks to a Hardcore Do-It-Yourself Approach
If you have even just the smallest budget available, investing it in your own professional development will save you many hours of frustration trying to figure things out on your own and making your business profitable.
Kami admits that at the beginning she was “afraid of spending money on my own professional development. I was afraid to do all of that, and I'm here to tell you that that is a huge marketing mistake.” As she points out, “the biggest problem with doing it yourself and never looking for any kind of help from anybody is that it's extremely, extremely slow.
Learning and Teaching Go Hand-in-Hand
Because she tried to go it alone, Kami spent “years and years perfecting my craft before I even rolled it out.” Instead, what she wishes she had done was start packaging her knowledge for others as she learned more herself.
“One of the things that I've come to understand is that you can learn and teach at the same time, so as I learn something I will teach it, or as I learn something I will apply it to one of my campaigns for a client. So learning and teaching go hand in hand, or learning and delivering products go hand in hand,” she explains.
You don’t have to have a university degree in your subject to teach it, she argues. However, you do have to have an “understanding [of it] and the fastest way to do that is, honestly, through something I call finding a foothold for that.”
Time Is Money, Big Money
“You're throwing money literally in the trash whenever you do it yourself and you don't take the shortcuts that are afforded to you,” she reminds everyone.
She illustrates this with the following example. “Let's just say you charge a hundred dollars an hour for what you do…. [And] let's just say that you took 20 hours for self-study, going out, reading stuff, getting yourself together….[$2,000] is the opportunity cost of the time that you're spending.” She recommends finding a quicker way. “If you can shortcut that in any way and get to your final desired outcome sooner, then you want to do that.”
Using the Wrong Tools is Throwing Money Away Too
Selecting the wrong tools can also put us behind financially. “We often use the wrong tools or tools that aren't quite up to the task, and I'm talking about software tools usually for us Consultants,” she says. “If you're using tools that are causing you to spend so much more time just to get around the deficiency of the tool, you need to think about is it really worth that or do you need to pay for a subscription for something that actually works.”
How to Fix This and Move Forward with Maximum Impact
Kami suggests consultants and business owners make the most effective use of their time and money by doing the following four things.
1. Choose a SKILL to master
2. Pick a MENTOR to lead you
3. INVEST in professional development
4. JOIN a community
Kami shares more details about these recommendations in her actual livestream, which you can watch in its entirety in replay.