A few weeks ago I was in a minor car accident. It was one of those accidents that are just dumb. I was driving about 15MPH and was looking to my left, instead of straight ahead.
As I looked up, I realized my car was just a bit too close to the bumper of the car in front of me. Too late to stop, I hit the car.
I got the radiator fixed. I even changed the light. But the hood was a bit twisted and would not close properly. It looked uncomfortably bad and I was concerned that maybe someone would pop my hood open and steal the battery.
A few days ago someone approached me in the street and explained that they could fix much of the damage to my car for $300. The professional auto body shop would have cost me $2,000 or more. I was a bit leery of letting these guys work on my car. But I went ahead.
After pulling into a quiet part of town, they pulled out some tools (sledge hammer and some kind of tension gizmo) anchored my car to a tree and about 30 minutes later, $300, grudgingly but deservedly passed from my hand to theirs.
Sure I could have gone to an auto body professional and paid several thousand dollars to have my car looking like new.
But guess what? For much cheaper and right at my home, these guys were able to fix my car to a “good enough” condition.
What is the lesson of this story?
Maybe you want a snazzy web site built and all the professionals are telling you that it will cost you $5,000 to build. If there’s a startup up web designer that can do it for much less, consider giving them a chance. Scope them out as best as you can – first.
The great thing about technology is that you can back up your information and often times have work done in “test” mode so that you can see how things will look before they go “live”.
Maybe you’re wondering if you should get an iPhone application customized for your business. The professionals tell you it will cost $10,000. But you can get a young developer who wants to test out their skills to do it for $500. Guess what? You MIGHT want to give the developer a try. Maybe he won’t be able to do the functionality of a professional firm. But if it’s “good enough”, especially for the price – consider going for it.
Everyone needs to have a few “hustlers” on their speed dial. These guys and gals are hungry for the work and are glad to get a chance to show off their skills…and you save money.
Was my car fixed perfectly? No. Was it fixed pretty good and saved me a LOT of money? Yes. Was it fixed as good as a professional? No (but I saved so much). Can I do more to the car later and make it even better? Yes.
Same applies to using a “hustler” to help you with technology in your business. Evaluate them and then you’ll be on the road to getting things done, but not paying a lot for it.
Professionals are great and there are times to use a professional, but if you’re just testing something or seeing how something works…consider a hustler.
Where can you find a hustler? Ask your friends. Check out ELance, oDesk or Craig’s List. These sites have professionals and also hustlers.