The other day I was scanning some social media posts and came across one talking about an expert/guru they hired to perform a few development and content tasks for them. After the project was completed and handed over, the buyer/investor unknowing promoted someone elses embedded affiliate links/programs. 50% of their project was done with the buyers/Investors links and the other 50% was meticulously injected with the expert/guru’s links.
The buyer/investor accidentally uncovered the unethical tactic and was able to switch out all the links to their own. This was not only a very unethical thing to do by the expert/guru secretly (without telling the buyer/investor), it cost them money due to potential product sales through someone elses affiliate links, and a lot of valuable time having to clean everything up.
Here’s the FaceBook post I’m referring to:
I hired a “expert” amazon affiliate website builder for LaptopReviews.com, only to find out after 60 days, 1/2 the links on the site did not have my affiliate code inserted. It had someone else’s.
I now have the site 100% in my control.
Reading the post on social media, it reminded me about a very short conversation I had with Mike Cyger (Owner of DomainSherpa) at NamesCon back in Jan. 2017 in Las Vegas, I recall him asking me what I would advise a new domain investor looking to develop their first online business. My answer was very short and lacked any real context (I advised them to research and do it themselves at first). Without context, the assumed answer could go various different ways. Mike and I agreed to speak more about my answer later, as we were both booked up for the next couple months.
Since we both seem to be busier than expected and unable to reconnect, I decided to go ahead and write a quick article to clarify my answer (motivated by the social media post).
Why I Suggest To Research And Do It Yourself At First
There are several reasons why, actually, which I will break down below and expand on a bit.
Understanding The Basics
It’s imperative that start-up businesses do their due diligence and research every aspect of their business from (but not limited to); Target demographics, marketing and sales strategies, brand identity, public relations, interactive features they need, services and products they will offer, a basic idea of what they want their web presence to look like, domain investment costs, hosting costs, development options, tax requirements, legal requirements, etc.
Besides, how on earth can a business be successful if the owner doesn’t at least understand the basics of how their own business works?
There is no doubt that learning how to run multiple departments on your own at first will save you money. Even if you are not interested in coding a web page, you might still be able to write your own content, launch your own PR campaigns, engage social networks, do your own payroll, basic SEO/SEM, etc.
I’m not saying that a start-up should do everything. One should never stretch themselves so thin that they can’t focus on the bottom-line anymore. However, I am saying, that a new start-up with very little capital to invest, can not only save money learning how to do a few tasks themselves, but that knowledge will also help them manage/communicate with their employees better later (When that time comes).
It’s Not As Easy As You Think
While there are a lot of bloggers and consultants that make it look easy the way they outline everything, it’s far from the truth. It takes a lot of time, skipped meals, time away from family, late nights, very little sleep, and eye strain to research all aspects of your new venture.
Don’t give up! Be prepared to dedicate at least 10 to 16 hours per day in your research and development. Remember; If you don’t take your brand seriously, why should anyone else?™
With the hands on experience you’ve acquired, you’ll understand why some of the more skilled service providers charge a little more than others. With your new-found knowledge, you can now move into the hiring phase more comfortably and with a whole new respect for the amount of work that people will be doing for you.
Know Who You Need To Hire
By doing it yourself and researching in the alpha stages of your business, it allows you to understand more about what you need in an employee/freelancer/independent contractor later. You’ll already understand the industry lingo and be able to communicate more fluidly with them. The sad reality is that for every highly skilled professional out there, you’re going to run into 1,000+ posers (These are the fake it till you make it crowd) that haven’t perfected their skills yet or use unethical tactics (Like the social media post I mentioned).
You can now ask the right questions during your hiring process to weed out the ones that won’t be able to provide the genuine solutions you need.
I’ve seen way too many start-ups investing in countless service providers that didn’t have the right skill sets to complete the project requirements. Thousands of dollars flushed down the toilet because the founder/owner of the start-up didn’t take the time to research and do it themselves first so that they at least had a basic understanding of what they need to be hiring for.
Supervising & Training
Obviously, if you have knowledge in the department you’re hiring for, you’ll be able to train and supervise your employees/freelancers/independent contractors better, understanding each other’s lingo. Even with basic knowledge, you’ll be able to lead a skilled asset in the direction you need them to go; outlining your goals, structure, procedures, etc..
Have you ever tried to train or manage someone to do something you had no clue about yourself? It can get very frustrating for everyone involved, not to mention, unproductive.
While I can agree with some consultants; that new business owners can easily spread themselves too thin, which negatively effects production, it’s critical that a business owner knows what each department is doing for their business (At least a basic concept). Again, I have to ask; How on earth can a business be successful if the owner doesn’t at least understand the basics of how their own business works? Blind faith?
It’s my hopes that the above helps provide more context than the generalized answer I gave Mike Cyger at NamesCon 2017 and assists start-ups in avoiding unfortunate experiences with the fake it till you make it crowd of experts and guru’s.
Happy business building everyone!
Since 1996, Eric has managed companies with 240+ employees, online communities with over 1 million members, attended numerous industry related events/conventions and has personally worked with start-ups, personalities, small mom and pop businesses, corporations, freelancers, news outlets, and a variety of domain investors one-on-one from all over the world. That equates to a lot of years behind the scenes with his fingers firmly on the pulse of multiple industries.
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