Once But Properly

One day, my Google Analytics broke. For some reason, it just showed zero traffic. I went on Upwork and messaged the guy I had recently hired to do some loading speed optimizations. He promised to fix it for a fee, and off we went. There was only one problem: While he was in expert in website speed, he had no clue about data and analytics.

We ended up going back and forth for days. He asked me many questions. He told me to change this or move that, and for the life of him, he could not get my analytics to work. My gut told me this whole thing couldn’t possibly be this complex, and so, after much wasted time, I said: “Stop. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

I posted a new proposal on the platform explaining my dilemma, and within minutes, I had someone else ready to tackle the challenge. I reviewed their credentials, they explained their approach, and I gave them the go-ahead. About five minutes later, I got a message: “Done. It works.”

After breathing a big sigh of relief, I started to laugh. How long had this problem been on my mind? Two weeks? How many hours had I wasted with the other guy? And all of that for this? A five-minute fix? It was comical — but also a great lesson in getting help, especially the paid kind: When you enlist someone to do a job, do it once but properly. Especially if it’s a job you can neither do nor explain yourself.

If you hire the wrong person, you’ll just have to hire the right one later, and you’ll end up paying three times: Twice in cash, and once in time.

If it’s a task you can do yourself, it’s only a question of whether outsourcing is the right thing to do. You show the work, you explain the procedure, and you’ll know exactly if what you’re getting is the real deal. But if it’s something you need help with because you don’t understand it, you’re better off slightly overpaying for an expert than underpaying for an acquaintance who’s keen to help but unable to.

In working as in hiring, do it once but properly — and when you’re about to sign on to a new venture, remember that an honest “No” can be a bigger favor than a merely hopeful “Yes.”