I recently came across a tweet that read, “If you think hiring an expert is expensive, just try an amateur!”
I found myself laughing in that “I get it but it’s really not very funny” way because it’s so true. Just that day I had had two experiences with people that were trying to do it themselves and ended up calling me hoping to get some technical support. One was a junior high-school teacher who was asked by the class parents to create a video with all the special photos to commemorate the past year. One of the parents made a recommendation of some software and the teacher graciously took on this task which was really over her head.
By the time she called me, she was in tears on the phone as she explained that she had spent every spare moment of the past week working on this video and didn’t know how to get it ‘authored’ to a DVD. The software (which will remain unnamed) is an inexpensive program that bills itself as ‘easy to use’. There is also no technical support for the program unless you want to try to get Microsoft on the phone. Good luck with that.
Another call was from a woman that was using an online photo montage maker and was having problems. It too had no technical support. She admitted that she had spent every waking and breathing moment of the past week working on this program which was recommended by her sister and had she known it was going to take so much of her time, would have gladly contracted us from the beginning. At this point she had so much sweat equity invested that she was committed to finishing the project.
About 18 months ago I addressed this same subject in an article, “Thinking of Doing it Yourself” which is worth re-reading.
Believe me, I understand the lure of hiring a friends’ high-school age son to design your webpage or trying to fix something on your car yourself and I have been guilty of making some of these choices myself in the past. But the more I age, the more I realize the value of my time, particularly my spare time. And I understand that while it may seem like I am spending less money initially, I often shoot myself in the foot by spending ridiculous amounts of my time and sometimes a lot of money in additional things I end up needing to buy, in order to go the amateur route.