I remember an argument I had with my dad when I was a teenager. He had been teaching me how to do things every guy needs to know how to do; change a car’s oil, ride a motorcycle, build a chair … manly stuff. After a couple of these lessons, I was getting frustrated and just couldn’t learn anymore. I was feeling like I couldn’t be an expert at any of these things. And it’s true; I couldn’t be an expert at any of these things. Not the first time. That was the problem. He was teaching me how to do something and I wouldn’t allow myself to fail. I didn’t stop to think that he had years of failures before he had succeeded. I think that’s something we try to avoid: Failure. But that’s really the only way to master something.
I was also frustrated that he wanted me to learn all these things that I didn’t feel I needed to know and didn’t really care about. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do and do it well. Don’t get me wrong. Being a jack-of-all-trades has value, but so does being the king of the castle. This applies in our personal lives and in our work lives. A month or so ago, I noticed a house down the street had a For Sale sign out front. (Side note: Not everyone is super awesome at spelling and grammar; the sign read, “For Sale Buy Owner”.) After a month of balloons and cheesy colored flags, trying to allure house buyers, the owner gave in. They gave in to the experts: A realtor. What a concept! Someone that knows what they’re doing. They’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again. And they’ll do a great job, because they have failed before and learned from their mistakes. That’s why they’re good.
I see this type of behavior in several industries, automotive for instance. You wouldn’t take your car in somewhere that advertises, “Hey, we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what we’re doing! But it’ll be cheaper!” Unless, of course, you don’t care about your car. Yet, people still try to either do it themselves or find the cheapest (or most inexperienced) person around. This is especially true within the design industry. Not saying, the highest bidder is going to have the best solutions and the lowest bidder is going to be absolutely terrible. In a day where people are trying to cut corners to yield the highest amount of savings, the question to ask yourself is this, “Do you value strategic design, knowledge and experience?” If so, put your trust in your designer or agency. Let them be the king of your marketing castle. You’ve got more important things to figure out. Like how to build that chair.