I was in a group call the other day with a few online business owners and we got to talking about how much we all hate the tech aspect of business.
We didn't start blogging because we wanted to be fiddling with WordPress or ConvertKit all day. No siree Bob. In fact, you probably started your blog not realizing exactly how much tech stuff was involved.
But it's a necessary part of owning a business these days! If you are going to flourish online you have to get comfortable with tech. Being patient, knowing when to hire out, and being able to get help will go a long way to figuring this stuff out.
Why We Hate Tech
The reason we hate it is because it makes us feel stupid. We don't understand how it works. It seems like it should be easy and even a good YouTube tutorial only takes us so far.
Half the time you start trying to learn something only to find out you actually need to learn 20 steps before you can even get to the part you want to know.
Like, why does this have to be so frustrating!
First off, realize that you are NOT stupid. You are learning a new skill and that takes time and practice. Every little itty bitty piece of the puzzle you learn is a step forward to being a tech wizard.
And look how far you've come! Remember when you didn't even know what WordPress was? Or how to install a plug in. Or how to upload an image.
But each step is important and makes your life easier forever after.
Resist the Temptation to Hire it Out
Secondly, resist the temptation to hire it out. Some stuff can be hired out — we'll get to that in a second — but it's important to understand how your tech works.
If you have an online business it's important to understand how your business works.
You Need to Know What You Have and Why
When you hire it out, someone else chooses, installs, sets up, and often maintains the technology — whatever it is. Whether it's your web design, your email list, your landing pages, pop-ups.
When someone else makes all these decisions they may not be what's best for your business. You know your business better than anyone else. Who better to decide what kind of setup you need?
If you hire someone to get your newsletter sign-up form to pop up and they install a plug-in that doesn't mesh well with your email service provider then you're going to have problems. When those problems appear you'll have no idea why or how to fix them.
Or your web designer changes the size of your featured image and that messes up your social media scheduler because now the images aren't properly formatted.
Only know know all the little pieces of your business. You should be the one who chooses which software to use.
You Need to Be Able to Make Changes
Let's pretend hired someone to set up the perfect website with all the pieces working perfectly. But then what? The internet moves fast. You are going to want to change something at some point soon. How will you do that when you don't know how anything works?
If you have to pay every time you want a change that's going to get expensive real quick.
Plus, if you don't know what you have, why you have it, or how it works you don't even know what your options are. Something cool could be one click away and you'd never know it.
Related: The 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins
You are Building Skills
Having a blog means dealing with some tech. But tech skills are AWESOME to have. To a lot of people being “good with computers” is a super power.
Every time you learn a new piece of the tech puzzle you gain confidence, make your life easier, and blog better. These are skills worth taking the time to learn.
What You Can Hire Out
This doesn't mean you have to do everything tech related by yourself. There are some things you can hire out.
Hire Out Stuff that's One and Done
Some stuff just needs to be set up one time and then you never have to worry about it again.
Such as buying your domain, setting up your host, and installing WordPress. Or moving your blog from Weebly to a self hosted WordPress site. Once your site is moved you'll never have to do it again. So if the tech of this is too much it's ok to hire it out.
So I see no harm in getting someone to do that for you so you can start learning the skills you actually need. You don't have to be a pro at setting up WordPress for the first time. But you do need to be able to format your posts the way you want.
Hire Out Big Projects that Will Delay Your Growth if not Done
Sometimes a task is so overwhelming to learn that you just have to hire out in order to move forward.
Web design is one of those things. You could spend years learning how to design your website. Or you could hire a web designer to do it in a weekend and be on your way.
There's no shame in that. I'd rather see you do that than to spend months fiddling with fonts and never actually launch your site.
However, realize that it doesn't let you off the hook. You still have to learn the basics of how to use your site and make changes. Hiring it out at first means you get to learn it slowly over time. Which is probably more appealing.
Hire Out Stuff You Already Know How to Do
If you have a firm grasp on something but you have a big project that you need help with. It's ok it hire that stuff out.
For example, once a site I was working for was going through a redesign and all the images on the whole site needed to be resized to different dimensions. I know how to resize the image and replace it in the post, but I really didn't want to do that for 600 articles.
So I hired some help. That's fine.
Ok, so if you know you need to learn this stuff, how do you go about it without throwing your laptop through the window?
For me, I get the most frustrated when I'm trying to do something I think should take five minutes and an hour later I'm still working on it.
So it's important to realize that tech stuff is time consuming to learn. It's never straightforward and it will always take longer than you think.
Usually, to do the thing you want means learning ten things you need to do before you can do the thing you want.
Oh, you want to change your header image? First you have to figure out the size of the image, then find a good image, then compress the image, then try it and find out the one you like doesn't work. All to start over again.
And an hour later you're like “GAH! I just wanted something with a lighter background so my text would pop a little more!”
When you feel yourself starting to get frustrated, take breaks.
The other day I was trying to get a Google Forms to email me the responses when someone fills out the questionnaire.
Seems simple enough!
Two hours later I was sweating and cursing and ready to just forget the whole thing. So I decided to quit for the day and try again tomorrow.
The next day I sat down and it worked on the first try.
I have no idea what I was doing wrong on the first day, but a little space and a calmer head helped get it done.
How to Get Help
You are definitely not alone when it comes to tech stuff. There is a metric ton of information out there to help you.
If it's a small issue YouTube likely has a video that will help.
However, it can be hard to find a video that goes over exactly what you need. Services constantly update how stuff is done, or even just the layout of the buttons. So when the video says “click the settings button in the top left corner” and you don't have a settings button in the top left corner it's frustrating.
Sometimes you can still follow along. So the button is on the right instead of the left. That might not be a deal breaker. Keep trying to see if you can figure it out.
If you can't, that's ok. Just look for another video.
If it's a larger issue, like how to use Elementor or how to run Facebook ads, you might want to consider a course. Courses go over things from the very beginning, so even if you are brand new you should be able to follow along.
They are also updated regularly so they should have the most recent design and step by step instructions. Plus, you usually get support from the course creator to answer any questions that might come up.
Start with a free course and see how far you get. If that doesn't get you what you need then ask your blogger friends what they recommend for paid courses.
Don't be afraid to invest in quality courses. Seriously. It is totally worth a few hundred dollars to save days or weeks of working trying to figure something out. And they are definitely worth it if it keeps you from quitting in frustration
Friends or Customer Service
What you don't want to do is email your tech-savvy friend at 2 am with a long-winded frustrated email explaining what's going on and asking for help.
If you have a friend who might be able to help you, the best thing to do is wait until you are calm and then make a screencast of your problem using a service like Loom.
A screencast is a video of your screen and voice. You can talk while you are walking through your problem on the computer.
Tell them what the final result you are looking for is and then show them the steps you've taken and where you are having problems. When they can see exactly what's happening it's much easier for them to help.
Chances are your problem isn't what you think it is and they will be able to see that on the video you make.
This also works wonders when getting help from customer service. If you are struggling with a piece of software you can probably email their customer support team for help.
I often send a video of any tech problems I'm having if I have to email a service provider. The customer service agent always thanks me for it and I usually get my problem solved right away — instead of 10 back and forth emails.
The bottom line is that if you are going to own an online business, you have to get comfortable with tech. You don't have to know everything but you can't be afraid of it.
This stuff is part of business and if you take the time to learn it as you go, your business will thank you for it.