3 Big Reasons Not to DIY Your Business

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on November 6, 2010 in Planning & Advisors

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Today, I’m taking a deep breath, because it may be my last one for a long time. Starting Monday, I’m beginning the process of totally redesigning my website. Anticipated launch is early-to-mid-January (stay tuned!). Before reaching this point, I needed to come up with a logo, consider the “architecture” for the site and tweak more than 90 articles for better SEO. Oh yes, and then there’s the actual design of the site. Leaving aside the prodigious number of hours involved in the preliminary tasks alone, here’s the $64,000 questionDo you really think that I, a trained and practicing lawyer, have the time and talent to handle all of these items?

If you guessed “no,” you’d be right on the money.

That’s where many entrepreneurs — especially solopreneurs — go awry. They are so busy trying to “do it yourself” that they lose sight of the forest for the trees. It reminds me of several of the points that I raised in my article, ““Three Big Reasons Not to Do Your Own Legal Work”.”  They are:

  1. It’s not a productive use of your time. I have a lot on my plate. As I’m sure you do, too. In entrepreneurial ventures, the best use of your time involves playing to your strengths, rather than re-educating yourself to overcome weaknesses. I may have a passing understanding of how SEO works, but it’s not my strength or the main focus of my work. Likewise, does it really make sense for you to take precious time away from your core business to earn a DIY law degree?
  2. You may not have the training to do it right. I’m not trained in JavaScript or graphic design, and my brand requires that I end up with a reasonably professional-looking website. If I had to do it myself, well, it would be like trying to pass off a 5-year-old’s stick figures as appropriate for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fuggeddaboutit. Your business also needs to stand on a solid foundation, and having the right legal protections in place is part of it. If you’ve not been trained to spot the legal issues, how do you know if you’re making the right legal decisions?
  3. You risk developing a puny business mind-set. You know the expressions, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ ” and “It takes a village.” Well, building a business that is sustainable and can withstand your absences takes more than just you to run and grow it effectively. I spent many years with a team of only one (a former business partner). As long as we kept looking to each other for our “brain trust,” our ideas were limited, our knowledgebase was limited, and, frankly, our income-earning capacity was limited. Only when I started to expand my circle did my creativity, possibility and revenue expand, as well.

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