Hire the Expert, not the Jack of All Trades

Jack of All TradesA few years ago, I thought that I’d find more success and fulfillment by learning about everything I could wrap my mind around. I grew up around men in my family who fix everything from wooden things to mechanical things to electrical things.

As a kid I thought, “one day, I’ll know how to do ALL of those things if I put my mind to it.”

Now I’m well into adulthood with a house, wife, kids, and our microwave broke a couple of weeks ago. I went at it with my usual gusto:

  • Google for trouble-shooting steps
  • Google for parts pricing, which led to the later steps because of noted high prices
  • Google for microwave pricing
  • YouTube for how to test components
  • Ordering a new magnetron (aftermarket for 1/3 the price of GE parts – and it was identical)
  • Ordering a new diode at 32x bulk pricing
  • Very handily replacing both components

Unfortunately the result was that the glass of water I put in after all of that was still the same temperature as before I ran it for 2 minutes. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson after doing such repairs for years to know not to close it up and re-mount the unit on the wall before testing it.

It’s not worth it to know everything

I knew how to do all of those things, things a hefty portion of the population of DIY dudes would have stopped when they saw how much of a modern microwave is electronics. Yet I still could not fix our unit.

All told, I likely spent 6-8 hours on the list mentioned above, too upset to do client work for one morning of this process, and working on Saturday for the rest. I also dropped $45 on a magnetron and $28 on a tiny GE-branded diode you can buy for pennies in bulk.

Weigh your time/skill against that of a pro

You are worth more if you know something very well, however you water down your worth if you know 100 things well enough to take it apart and throw your hands up. Stuck. It is blatantly evident that I’m not an expert in home appliance repair.

I know WordPress. I know how to either do 99.99% of things asked of me or I know who to ask who has even further specialization in something within WordPress. For that thing, that person holds more worth to be able to do what’s requested. Can they do the rest?

Save money, hire a specialist

I can’t do my business taxes. I hire a professional who knows what questions to ask, what numbers to enter where, and what itemizations or credits we qualify for. He saves us well over 60 hours of work and charges less than $350. Our CPA is a specialist in business taxes.

Right after the holiday, I’m calling a microwave repairman to come fix our problem.

If you’re tinkering with WordPress, hire an expert.

If you’re not getting results from what you’ve done, it’s time to revisit the process that got you there. Was it a “this person was cheapest” thing? Maybe it was a friend or family member who did it for free or next to nothing. Lots of people mean well, but they can’t fix your microwave, do your taxes, or give you a top-notch website.

I’ve reconfirmed my own arguments to wary or jumpy clients by failing miserably at this particular home repair. I hope it’s a long time before I forget this lesson.

What things did you used to do before you started hiring experts?

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  1. Kristin says

    It is hard to know the balance of when it is cheaper to do things yourself verses hiring someone. Time is money, but also money is time!

    • says

      It’s especially hard for me since just working an hour or so on a mini-project usually pays for several hours of normal labor… is not earning money a real savings? Would I actually earn any money during that time?

      So many variables!