you don’t have to do everything all the time

don't have to do everything

Query Update: Sent my query letter to my editor, who spiffed it up in like two seconds. Now I have rewritten it based on her feedback, and sent it for a second round of feedback. Planning to hear back next week and will hit the query-ing trail again!

If you’re like me, you have big dreams. You know where you want to go: you can see it clearly and have a strong drive to get there. You know the what, but it’s the how that’s fuzzy. How do you get from where you are to where you need to be?

For the longest time, I thought I had to do it all myself. Want to build an email list? Gotta learn how to do that. Want a landing page for people to sign up? Better figure out how to do that too.

We (especially those female-appearing of us) have learned to be self-sufficient in our lives, usually from trauma. We’ve often learned that we can’t trust others to treat us with care or to honor our experience. We learn that, if we want to get something done, we have to do it ourselves. That effin’ sucks. But it’ll work for a while. We are strong and powerful human beings, and driven, to boot.

But at some point, everyone will hit up against something that they can’t do. For me, it was a landing page.

I knew I wanted a landing page, to sign people up for a free e-course. But in order to get a landing page, I have to, you know, build it.

I know that there exists in the world instructions on how to build a landing page. Probably lots of them. And I know that there also exists in the world software for building landing pages. And I know that the landing page software can somehow integrate with some other software that actually sends out the e-courses to people’s email addresses, by magic maybe.

Reading that paragraph, you can see how my knowledge completely fizzles out beyond “landing page.” I have a couple of computer-y friends, and I could ask them about a “landing page.” But I suspect that their answers will be too confusing for me to understand, and won’t give me confidence in approaching my nonexistent landing page. I need someone to explain it to me like I’m 5.

GIF: Michael Scott (from “The Office”) says, “Why don’t you explain this to me like I’m five?”

I talked about my landing page woes with my counselor. His response changed the way I thought about it:

“Why don’t you hire someone to do it for you?”

You mean, ask someone who already has this knowledge and can do it in two seconds to do it for me, instead of spending a thousand hours trying to learn it myself? It’s just ridiculous enough to work.

I put up an incredibly confusing ad on Upwork (because I didn’t know any of the specific words, so I tried to explain using my regular words), and I somehow managed to find someone to help me. They were able to wade through all the jumbled-up thoughts I was spewing, and figure out what I needed. They prepared an order of operations and the cost of each step.

Holy crap. We’re really doing this!

They walked me through purchasing a CMR software and started setting up all of the things I needed, including my landing page. And it cost me way less than I would have thought. Had I not had this person’s help, I would have realistically spent 40 or more hours just researching software to use, then I would have stressed over the amount of money it costs, and would feel bad if I bought something and didn’t learn how to do it quickly enough, and might have even given up. It’s a catch-22: you have to buy the software in order to learn how to use it, but once you’ve spent money on it, you don’t want to waste time learning. And then you feel terrible for wasting time and money on learning.

In a lot of ways, it’s actually cheaper both in terms of time and money to hire someone to do the set-up work on a new software. Once you’re set up, you have infinite time to learn the management side of the software, and you’re way less stressed.

It has been a revelation for me that I don’t need to do every single frickin’ thing for myself all the time. Hard as it is for me to admit, I suck pretty bad at a lot of stuff, and there’s no advantage to me doing it. I think part of my writing journey has been realizing what I’m good at. Like, really decent at. That’s been hard to accept on its own.

But the flipside of this is that, if I’m gonna get any traction at doing what I’m good at, I need to buttress the areas I’m bad at. No one can be good at everything, at least not all at once. My timeline doesn’t allow for me to spend months and months improving at stuff I’m super-basic at, not while I’ve got all this other awesome shit to do.

We (especially woman-appearing folks) often internalize a narrative that we should be able to do everything ourselves. And that narrative gives us strength and courage. This is a baby-and-bathwater situation, I think. There is benefit to be gained from being a badass bitch. And there’s also benefit to be gained from being a badass bitch who hires and works with experts in order to improve their prospects.

It’s gonna be great.

Featured image was created by the author using elements from canva.com.

Published by amy

Coffee-drinker, money-saver. Laughs at "that's what she said."

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