Shir pulling hair out

I Know There’s a Better Way, I Just Don’t Know What it is!

This is by far the #1 phrase I hear from students

Perhaps you’ve even muttered it to yourself, or shared with a co-worker over a chop’t salad?

And I got news for you…

There IS a better way, and there are 2 primary methods to achieving it:

  1. Do it yourself.
  2. Ask an expert.

Let’s take a quick look at each….

Method 1: Do it Yourself

If you’re anything like me, this is by far the most tempting option. You get to remain in full control, and you get to learn a lot in the process. It’s win-win, right?

Well… it is costing you something. Arguably your most valuable and limited resource of all: TIME.

Pros:

  • Save money.
  • Stay in control.
  • Learn something new.
  • Deep understanding and appreciation of the solution (if you find it).

Cons:

  • You may not find the answer, since you may not know which questions to ask (You don’t know what you don’t know).
  • You are not an expert so your solution may be incomplete.
  • Potentially huge investment of time.
  • Opportunity cost – if you’re spending time on this, you are NOT spending time on other things.

Personal Example:

I was sick of weak signals and dropped calls because of the WiFi in my apartment. I wanted every single room to be equipped with consistent, reliable, and blazing fast internet. I researched Internet Service Providers (ISPs), equipment, cables, and other factors. Here’s what I came up with…

WiFi Setup

Is it the most advanced or elegant set up in the world?

Absolutely not, but here’s the point – it doesn’t need to be. I would rather know exactly what’s going on so I can troubleshoot it myself at 3 am when I’m working on a client project and the internet cuts out.

Method 2: Ask an Expert

The beauty of this method is you are leveraging the blood, sweat, and tears of others who came before you. You are standing on the shoulders of giants, and getting a gargantuan head start.

Caveat: Do your homework and make sure the expert is qualified and has actually succeeded in the areas that matter to you. Don’t just hire someone who CLAIMS to have succeeded. Instead, look for evidence that they have.

Pros:

  • Dramatically increase the chance of receiving a comprehensive, high quality solution that you may not have been able to find on your own.
  • Save time and opportunity cost.

Cons:

  • Requires an upfront investment of money.

Personal Example:

Years ago I had a highly specific tax question. I searched for an expert and stumbled upon Charles Hopkins. Not only did I find an exceptional accountant who now saves me thousands of dollars every year (no joke), but he’s also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

Charles Hopkins Headshot

Who wouldn’t want to work with this guy? 🙂

Method 3: Ask an Expert AND Do it Yourself

Although this is not ALWAYS the best option, asking an expert and doing it yourself is still my favorite choice because it touches on one of the overarching tenets of my business:

If I give you a formula you will calculate for a day, but if I teach you how and why it works, you will calculate for a lifetime.

(Click on the image to read the full blog post)

Instead of struggling on your own, or forking over all your money to have someone “do it for you,” why not find a healthy balance and partner with an expert?

Ask them to help you create a foundational level of understanding. It could shave YEARS of your life going down the wrong path, and will also promote independence, freedom, and self-sufficiency.

Now THAT’S what I call a win-win!

Shir Tip: Go Beyond the Initial Call

For best results, I recommend establishing some form of retainer model where you can call upon your expert to help you get unstuck (think of it like AAA for your business). If long-term, proactive, and sustainable solutions are your cup of tea, you may also want to consider scheduling regular check-ins to ensure you are still on the right path over time.

A fantastic resource is Clarity.fm, a marketplace of on-call experts in virtually every field.

And if you’re in a particularly hairy Excel predicament, here’s my personal clarity.fm profile.

What do you think?

What’s an example of a recent time when you’ve said “I know there’s a better way, I just don’t know what it is” and how did you resolve it? Which method did you use and why? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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