I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
It’s exterior season, and ever since I launched my Exterior Colour Solutions this year, my consulting looks a little different than it used to.
Clients who wanted to fix their exterior trim used to book a live consultation with me over the phone. These days, you can buy an easy email solution to your exact problem — whether it’s your exterior trim or something else. This route is less expensive, it takes less of your time, and it gets you exactly what you need. Sometimes the trim is just in need of an update; more often, it’s being changed to save the day.
For example, a few of my lovely readers are in the middle of renovating their exteriors. Something new gets installed, like windows, and suddenly they are dismayed by the colour they chose.
This also happens when you’re decorating the house. You buy a sofa, thinking it couldn’t be more neutral in the showroom, but then it arrives and looks completely different (and wrong) in your living room.
The nature of the colour industry is that you can, technically, do it yourself. It’s not like dentistry (you can’t DIY your own cavities), or like medicine (you can’t DIY your own tonsil removal).
But the advice business is different. Many of us don’t pay for advice until we decide it’s an emergency. Then and only then will we seek out a professional and pay for it. If you get into trouble, you hire a lawyer to help you. . . usually AFTER you get into trouble.
You should pay for colour advice when you start making interior and exterior colour decisions, but too many people don’t pay for it until AFTER a few very important colour choices have been made. At that point, we’ll be mostly, if not entirely, bossed around by those early choices.
As some of you know, I never made any real money until I started writing this blog. Therefore, I did most things myself. I rented so that I didn’t need to hire a repairman when my dishwasher broke down. My landlord fixed it instead.
Now we’re homeowners, and three years ago, when we renovated our kitchen, we installed a Bosch dishwasher. It was great at first, but for the last 6-8 months, our glassware has not been clean. We thought it was the brand, and I was cranky thinking we needed to replace our dishwasher. I fantasized about writing a post telling y’all not to buy anything Bosch.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was having lunch with my good friend Jan Romanuk, a kitchen designer. I was asking her which dishwasher she thought was best as I relayed the story about our ongoing problem with dirty glassware.
She said, “Why don’t you hire your local appliance repairman to come out and look at it?”
“Oh, what a revolutionary concept. Okay ; ) ; ).”
Guess what? Some lemon seeds were stuck somewhere in the dishwasher, and they were inhibiting the spraying of the water.
And now our dishwasher works like new!
Now that I can afford to hire a professional to do something that I know I can’t do myself, I realize what a money saver a professional can be. I usually don’t have to be told when to hire one, but I have another example of when it didn’t occur to me to pay for advice…
We bought a new video camera for $2500 last year because we were going to shoot video. When I hired my friend Ted to help me set up my studio with the lighting, he said, “By the way, your $350 DSLR camera is all you need to shoot the video you are talking about.”
Had I hired him BEFORE we bought the video camera, we would have saved $2500 minus his fee. Kind of a bargain, really.
Basically, if you are about to make a very expensive purchase, you should hire a professional to make sure you are making the correct decision.
Sometimes we don’t know that we need help until after the decision has been made (just like in this situation). That’s just called life lessons.
A friend of my mother’s built a sauna. He hired someone who didn’t know anything about building a sauna. The carpenters rate was half the price of someone more experienced. It took him more than twice as long, and now there are fundamental problems like drainage that need to be addressed.
“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Here’s the point of this post, and it’s not to sell my services:
If you are on a really tight budget and you’re reading this right now, I want you to be educated.
What does that look like? Educated looks like choosing to hire a decorator or colour consultant to help you pull the room (or exterior) together BEFORE you make a bunch of expensive decisions that will force you to call the professional in hopes that a paint can will magically save the day.
Sometimes paint can save the day. . . but sometimes, you’ll just be held hostage by your mistake.
And I’d just like to save you from that sinking feeling in advance, I live for that actually.
Don’t DIY advice when it’s not your area of expertise. DIY the project AFTER you get the right advice, and just do it all right the first time.
What advice did you knew you needed only after you’d done it wrong?
Don’t make these mistakes again! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.