The DIY Debate Part 2: Competing Against The DIY Mindset

In part one, we covered empowerment by technology and what can be achieved using off the shelf tools and applications to Do It Yourself. Indeed, with the right device or software, we can now do almost anything and produce some pretty decent results too.

But with this technology and a new approach to entrepreneurship, comes fresh challenges.

If you’re the owner of a service-based business, this is particularly true because the DIY mindset is fast becoming a significant competitor.

So if you find yourself up against it, how then do you compete?

Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should…

Technology may give people the means to do a task themselves, but it consumes rather than preserves one of the most valuable resources they have: time. This is your silver bullet.

Yes, they may save a little money with a good DIY option, but you can free up their schedule so they can focus on the things that really matter like the tasks that require their expertise and increase their earning potential – the primary objective of any business!

But that’s not all you have to offer

An amateur with the latest iPhone can use filters and editing tools to create something beautiful. But does that make them a photographer?

Likewise, any novice with a computer can set up shop on a freelance platform like Fiverr or People Per Hour as ‘professional for-hire’. But, it’s highly unlikely that they could genuinely produce something as substantial and useful as you can. If they could, you’d be in trouble, but I don’t believe this is the case.

You see, for every true expert, artist, specialist… I know, their expertise and contribution extends far beyond the dumbed-down production of the asset itself.

For instance, good accountants can use cloud software to do the menial number crunching. But rather than hide behind statutory reporting, they leverage the accessibility of this technology and use it as a platform for more meaningful discussions about business performance and forecasting.

Similarly, the smart photographers I’ve come across want to understand the story behind the pictures; the purpose and meaning the imagery should convey. So whether it’s stock photos, headshots or styled brochure images, the client can be sure about expressing the right message, telling a story or communicating brand values.

And the same goes for the best web designers. They start every client engagement by getting to know and understand their client’s business and the role that their online presence plays in both the overall business model and their growth strategy. This is a far contrast from merely opening a laptop and asking which template the client likes the look of.

So if you’re feeling threatened by the prevalence of this new DIY mindset, don’t be.

Think of it like paint by numbers. The method may allow someone to produce their very own Mondrian replica, but it would never have the same brush strokes, layering, and texture as the original. It would never feel completely ‘right’. At most, it can only ever be a simple imitation of the real thing. And without someone like you – a trained, practised, expert – at the helm that’s all a client can expect from technology and tools alone.

Rather than competition then, the DIY mindset is a hidden opportunity. Use it as a reminder not to allow the mechanics of what you do become what you do. Instead, use the tool as a platform to highlight your expertise and express your creativity. 

And that’s what separates the professionals from the DIY have-a-goers.

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