You may well have started your business through borrowing, barter and begging, and it’s likely been a steep learning curve. The temptation to learn how to do everything you need to do online is tempting. But time is money.

So what skills should you develop yourself and what should you outsource?

Essential tech skills

My (almost) definitive list of tech skills that you need:

  • The ability to update your own website using a content management system.
  • The ability to resize, crop, lighten/darken and add text to an image (I love PicMonkey).
  • The ability to use your own email marketing tool to quickly and easily put together an email newsletter (that you’ve prepared beforehand in Microsoft Word, of course).
  • The ability to share information and add your own updates to social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Skills that you could (and should) outsource


Just because you can add funky fonts to an image doesn’t make you a designer. It’s tempting to do your own logo, branding and other design. But there’s a reason why there’s such a hoo-haa about brand and branding. Not only you’re your brand star in ALL your marketing materials for many years to come but, in an instant, it communicates the essence of your business. Do you really want to convey DIY?

Benefits and value

We are often too close to our business to appraise it objectively. Our deeper benefits and the core value that your business provides is often not what you think. (Clue: what do your clients rave to others about you?) Having a business coach can help you peel the layers to uncover your deeper benefits and value. Your ability to skilfully and compelling communicate your deeper benefits and value will help bring in clients.

Web design

Any skill that requires more than four hours to learn that you will rarely use is a bad investment of your time. HTML, CSS, PHP, Cold Fusion, etc, are web languages. You wouldn’t try to learn Greek for a four-hour flight layover, so why would you try to learn these languages to code your own website?

The simple equation

To easily determine whether you should invest time, effort and possibly funds, into learning a new skill for your business, ask yourself whether the skill can be re-used time and time again, re-sold or transferred to another venture. If the answer is no, then hire a professional.

The real cost of DIY

How many new clients could have been enticing into your business? How many existing clients could you have surveyed, asked for a testimonial, sold a higher-value product and asked referrals and rewarded for giving referrals?

When you run a business, time is money. If you’ve got more time than money, you need to be on the phone, pounding the pavement, cooking up joint ventures with local businesses and exciting existing clients. Fiddling around with websites and graphics won’t translate into more sales if you’re sitting around with lots of time on your hands.

Not using professional support will slow down your business progress, it’s that simple.

Your business needs solid foundations to thrive in the long-term. Investing in support up-front makes far more economic sense than bringing in emergency support when it’s often too late. Can you afford not to get it right, the first time?