There are several times I run into business owners to look to cut costs by trying their hand at design, marketing, web programming and many other projects related to sales and marketing. These DIYers (Do It Yourselfers) are saving a bundle up front, but in the long run it is costing then more than they know or understand.
I recently ran across several people that fall into the DIY category. The first one is a company that is making roughly $36K a month. They were looking for web help because their previous college student web designer couldn't effectively set up a solid e-commerce site. So we started a conversation, but they decided to wait and wanted to set up a meeting to discuss things. So one week goes by. Luckily the owner is a DIYer and rebuilt the website removing the purchase ability. Then on the day of our meeting canceled an hour or so before hand. When I asked how much they were loosing by putting the meeting off they said the shopping cart would be up this weekend (developed in DIY style). The problem from a business standpoint is not only is the business potentially loosing $9-18K in business over the two weeks without an easy way for clients to purchase, but the owner is wasting time learning how to do web programming and technical stuff that will never be useful. Beyond the normal weekly money they could be loosing, they are also loosing more potential new business. A solid and professional shopping experience partnered with a great product creates happy customers who tell others about their experience. Plus a site set up to be fully optimized for search engines means even more potential business finding you and buying your product. 2 weeks could really make huge effort to start the doubling or tripling of this sort of business.
I also ran into a prospect who had tried to create their own website. Things looked ok until I lifted the hood to look at the code. Oh my god there were tables and hundreds of tags (non breaking space tags). This site was being built to be found on search engines. For those of you unfamiliar with these terms/items, good you are probably not the DIY programmer. Using these strategies are not top SEO techniques as a matter of fact there is a good chance these things will hinder your ranking. It is best to use css when possible, but this takes more work and is more advanced so it is best to hire a professional to help in this area. By doing it on their own it is costing them more because the time to fix things is going to take longer.
Lastly there is someone I talked to recently that didn't do a logo themselves, but crowdsourced it (meaning they created a contest between many designers to get a logo done for cheap). The finally logo was very low in cost, but it will also be very low in ROI as well. This will not be a solid logo to build a brand on. It is too busy, and has too much type. Think about this a logo like this may have cost $100 to $200 so they may have saved $2800 or more buy not hiring a brand expert, but the typical small business that does this usually redesigns their logo multiple times over the life of their company. I saw an old client the other day that did a new redesign. Since I have known this person (5-6 years) they have had at least 4 logos that I am aware of.
If you are a DIYer and think it is fun to build websites, logos or marketing collateral, do it for fun as a hobby. Don't try your hand at this stuff for your business, stick to what you know and what makes you money. Think about it how long is it going to take you to learn what I know by doing this stuff for the last 20 years every day? Think your website is going to make you rich? Doubtful if even many people will find it. It's costing me a ton of money doing my accounting and that is why I pass it on to the experts. I'm best selling and servicing customers and so are you.
Remember you are not only losing regular billable time by taking on DIY projects, you may also be lossing your credability and trust with your current customers. Is it even worth the risk? After all we are in business to make money right? More importanly in order to stay in business we need to make a profit being unfocused deminishes our profit margins in a big way.