by Ling Wong
I have seen many women entrepreneurs feeling stuck with the “technology” piece in their businesses – e.g. setting up and updating their websites, hooking up payment and shopping carts, using an autoresponder/email newsletter service etc.
When they do it themselves, they spend hours and hours “trying to figure it out.” Not only are they wasting precious time on tasks that don’t tap into their strength, but they also feel so defeated that their self-confidence takes a hit across the board.
When they outsource the projects, often times they come short on the basic knowledge to effectively select and communicate with their VA or developer – creating situations in which the projects seem to take “forever” (thus holding up other marketing activities) and at the end, they get hit with a jaw-dropping invoice.
Good news is, with the widespread use of WordPress platform, and the great improvement in user experience in most online applications, it is not difficult to gain “working knowledge” of the typical online marketing tools an entrepreneur needs.
(If you are refraining from “technology” because you have a sour taste in your mouth from the early 2000’s, please try again before whining.)
1. DIY? Success Is an Inside Job
First Thing you need to do to “conquer technology” is to stop saying “I am not tech-ie.”
If you go in thinking you can’t handle it, you will consider the bumps and hiccups as evidence that you are indeed incompetent.
You don’t have to be “tech-ie” to make things work on WordPress, or to format an email on MailChimp.
If you are thinking “tech-ie-ness” is what you need, you are barking up the wrong tree.
To make technology work for you, you need clarity on what you want to achieve so you can find the simplest and most elegant solution to help you translate your business goals into a marketing plan and optimal user experience.
A lot of times, learning the basics (even the intermediates) is about having a clear head and the openness to ask the right questions.
Don’t hide behind the “I am not tech-ie” defeating self-talk as an excuse.
If you don’t preconceive what you can or cannot do, you may be pleasantly surprised by what’s possible.
2. Outsourcing? Some Personal Responsibility Goes a Long Way
When it comes time to outsource, there are a few things YOU can do to make sure your project runs smoothly – regardless of your level of technical competence.
Pay attention to scope:
Make sure you clearly communicate and agree what is included, and what is not. Review the timeline with your developer and set the expectation of milestones and deadline.
If you are charged by the hour, you may want to set a cap on how much you want to spend in advance. Have the developer report periodically on the “burn rate” and ask that you be alerted if you are likely to go over budget so you can prioritize. If you are charged a flat fee, you want to review the scope carefully to make sure everything you need to achieve your marketing goal is covered.
Educate yourself on the basics:
You don’t have to know how to code, but understanding the basics, knowing what questions to ask and using the correct terminologies can help facilitate the process.
Miscommunication can lead to your developer building something totally different that what you *think* you are getting, wasting precious time and money. Plus, developers tend to show more respect and are less likely to give you BS if you take the initiative to know your part.
Know your responsibilities:
When do you need to provide content and images so the project can stay on track? When do you need to review the site on staging and provide feedback? When do you need to participate in testing? Mark these dates on your calendar and make sure you set aside time to do your part.
Ask your developer what else you need to set up in advance, e.g. hosting, purchasing licenses for themes or plug-in etc. Consolidate any information you need to provide into one document or one email so your developer can find them easily. Your cooperation makes your developer’s job easier and he will be more likely to get back to you in a timely manner (who wants to deal with client-from-hell?)
Ling Wong is an Intuitive Brainiac. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, she helps the highly creative, intuitive, multi-talented and multi-passionate maverick solo-entrepreneurs distill ALL their big ideas into ONE cohesive Message, nail the WORDS that sell and design a Plan to cut the busywork and do what matters, through her intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years of experience in the online marketing industry.