As someone who spent several years squarely in the Engaged DIY-er camp working hard on my side hustle, I should know them. But I’m starting to realize something that never really fully clicked for me then. I’ll try my best to articulate.
A Tricky Name. A Misleading Image.
The name “Engaged DIY” conjures up an image of an earnest SMB with her sleeves rolled up, passionately engaged with her business. I believe this is an image that a lot of the world holds. It’s an image that we (along with our competitors have often championed). But, at least in my experience and those of my friends, it’s an image that’s far from the truth.
The truth was that I was constantly under stress to make the most of my time. I wasn’t in the garage welding with a smile on my face – I had usually just put my kids to bed after returning from a long day at my 9-5. If you wanted a real-life photograph at me, it would probably be a man sitting at his computer at 9 pm trying to decide where to dedicate two hours of his time.
Takeaway: are these the images we should champion? Hell no. But I think it’s good to not be influenced by what we “think” an engaged DIY-er looks like and does.
The Desire to Learn vs the Time to Learn
Challenging the reality of what an engaged DIY-er really looks like has professional implications for me today, and I think it started to materialize on slides 37 and 38.
There exists a tension (and if my experience is any indication, this is 100% accurate), there is a tension between the desire to learn vs. the time to learn. I desperately wanted to increase my technological acumen. I wanted to learn how to run numbers better, discover new tools, etc. BUT I simply didn’t have the time. Every free minute was soaked up simply trying to keep my head above water.
The first thing we think of when addressing this is to become more of a partner. And I won’t argue against this. For me, however, it means making things simpler. From the words we choose to use, to how many we use, to the content we put out there – I should operate under the assumption that the Engaged DIY-er on the other side of the screen is giving me maybe, MAYBE five minutes of her time. Most importantly, I need to keep in mind how valuable those 5 minutes are. It’s not a lot of time – and it’s not a lot of space. So discovering how I can bring the desire to learn and the time to learn together could make a big impact on an SMB who’s tired, worn out, and short on time.