I recently ran out of business cards, but decided to redesign the card from the ground up, including the logo.
You know what I didn't do? I didn’t spend hours watching YouTube tutorials on how to use Adobe Illustrator to design a logo and business card. I’m a business attorney, and that is my zone of genius. Do you think I designed the image accompanying this article? Why would I spend hours researching a new skill set that takes me out of my zone, and turn myself into an amateur? Why would I sacrifice time away from the practice of law and business development, for a task that could easily be delegated? The opportunity cost is too obvious to belabor here.
Instead, I hired an experienced graphic designer to create card files (front and back), and she included a new logo, as well as this image. The files were uploaded to an online card creation service and arrived in the mail a few days later.
Do it Yourself?
Effective entrepreneurs know to stay in their zone of genius and delegate the rest. Unless you have a legal background or substantial experience in business, it is foolish to be your own lawyer. As a business owner, you have intimate knowledge and expertise in your trade or profession. There might be some tasks you could accomplish without counsel, and doing them yourself would eliminate legal fees. You might even feel pride. But what would you give up in exchange for that savings and pride?
You would have to research and figure it out on your own, whereas a lawyer could do it in a fraction of the time. During that time you could have stayed in your zone of genius, practicing your trade or profession and growing your business. Even worse, legal work done by non-lawyers is more likely to contain errors, and this can cost you more stress, time and expense over time. (Click here to read an article on the perils of DIY contract drafting.)
Let’s say you’re a business coach. Instead of taking the time to develop your programs and messaging, you’re researching the intricacies of entity formation or trademark law. Would you really counsel your clients to do the same? As a coach, would you honestly advise your clients to spend hours educating themselves on legal concepts so they can do it themselves, and save the cost of hiring counsel? Those clients are guaranteed to spend more in the long run, as an attorney will have to un-do everything the client did incorrectly.
Also consider what you would be modeling to your team. If your subordinates see you doing everything yourself, being a poor delegator, can you blame them for failing to delegate?
I run a law office, and this already requires me to wear many hats. Why, for example, would I spend hours teaching myself to use Adobe Illustrator so I could design my own logo? Think of the hourly rate I’d be giving up, or the potential clients not getting a follow up, while I’m learning complicated software and watching YouTube tutorials on content that has nothing to do with my core business. Great, I don’t have to pay a designer a couple hundred bucks. How about the opportunity cost? It’s also guaranteed that an experienced designer is going to do a better job than me anyhow.
As you may know, I have a side videography business called Eternal Roots, where I create custom documentaries about people to preserve their memories. The biggest mistake I made in that venture, besides not charging my worth, was doing everything myself. I could have completed so many projects sooner and with less stress if I had the wisdom to delegate editing to others.
In closing, stay in your Zone of Genius and delegate the rest.