When to call in ‘Expert Help’? Ask yourself these five questions

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When to call in "Expert Help'? Ask yourself these five questions

When to call in ‘Expert Help’? Ask yourself these five questions

As a Freelance Microsoft Office VBA Developer, I needed to have, as a friend says, “wicked mad computer skills” if I was to succeed.  Yes, I’ve been a developer a long time though I’ll be the first to admit no one knows everything, and no one is Omni-talented (good at all things).  Knowing your limitations is just as important as knowing your skills.  That knowledge was reinforced on a client’s project recently.

The project involved using VBA to update a series of literally hundreds of Word documents. They have to be perfectly consistent – header, footer, data placement, etc. The client’s platform was out of date and it was a battle from day one. Lots of variables including pushing single page content to its limits. I was struggling as I am not a gifted page layout person.
All this and then another client called, who I cared not to disappoint (coincidentally a consultant himself), with some urgent business. Spending hours formatting won’t help when you are juggling multiple tasks.  Overnight when my best ideas surface, I thought this isn’t what I am good at but I know someone who is. The next morning, I made a call and I brought in a person with the skills I lacked. Bam! A couple iterations later my code was singing and the format was picture perfect. Best of all, I was freed up to complete the other client’s work. I also was lucky enough to learn some more “tricks of the trade” with Microsoft Word formatting challenges.
So the big question is When to call in ‘Expert Help’? Ask yourself these five questions.

1) Are you swamped and need to be freed up to tackle other tasks?  A timely response to client needs are a critical part of a successful practice.

2) Will bring in outside help permit accepting larger more diverse projects requiring a range of skills some of which you don’t have? The greater the types of work you can successfully complete and the more work you will have.

3) Are there time sensitive delivery requirements (exactly what happened in the example)?  I hate tight deadlines. Bringing in help on my Word project relieved a great deal of stress.

4) Will you benefit from having a network of on demand help? Let’s face it, throw some work to a colleague and you’ve built or reinforced a relationship that you can call upon in the future.

5) Will your business benefit from getting more done at a lower cost with a global pool of talent? The reality: If I can get some of the work done for a lower price, I can pass those costs along to the client.  Guess what, sometimes that work happens overnight. 24-hour productivity is a powerful tool.

It is a natural instinct to want to be in control by doing everything, but doing so can have stressful consequences. So, When that next project rolls in and before you head off with a head full steam, you need to ask yourself the aforementioned questions and decide whether soliciting help will make me more successful on this project?

Raymond Mills MBA, MS

Raymond Mills, M.B.A., M.S.  has spent over 20 years of his career as Accountant, Investment Bank and Credit Card Technical Auditor/ Data Analyst.  His specialty was using Excel to get Big Databases including Teradata, Oracle,  Squel Server and Sybase to give up their secrets.

Ray has said “I love nothing better than using VBA to unleash the power of Microsoft Office.” 
If you have a challenge with Excel, Access or Word and would like to speak with Ray,  You can get his contact details by clicking here: Contact Me

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