It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all. The best advice is to concentrate on your trademark skill/business/practice and hire experts to do the rest (it can still be affordable and within your comfort zone).

A great visionary said it best.

There is a powerful quote from one of the all time pioneers of industry - Steve Jobs. He once said "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." So simple and impactful...and often hard to live by. Many small businesses try to do everything, from actually doing their craft (accounting? shop owner? chef?) to trying to build their own website, write press releases and manage social media. While some business owners are actually pretty good at these things, most really are not. Can you hire a specialist to help? And let them run with it?

You didn't start a business to focus on everything else.

You are great at your specialty - that is why you went into business in the first place. Then there is this impulse to juggle everything else. To save money? Probably. To have more control? Maybe. The theory here is, the more you spend time building your craft and focussing on what you do best (making floral arrangements? baking cakes? selling real estate?) - the better. You will save time and money in the long run if you have experts handle other important aspects of your business. Starting with your public outreach - such as your branding, logo, website, social media and all the related content - this is one area that often gets put on a back burner and when developed "in house" often falls short. However, when you do hire an expert (and now you will!), let them take the ball and run with it. Steve Jobs would agree. Don't worry, you'll be able to review, give feedback and approve everything. You're not going to lose control, though there can be spirited debate. In the end, you will gain ideas, input and expertise that sell your business in the best light.

Budget, earmark, allocate.
Now, the action plan. Think of ways to set aside dollars for branding and marketing, so your public outreach is creative, developed with excellence and tells the right story. It can be challenging - you've spent money on setting up your office/storefront/practice and all the many moving parts. It is so often heard "I need to do marketing and advertising, but I have a very small budget." OK, understood. First, try to set aside a healthy amount from the get-go. That is part of your total operating and an essential aspect of your business. Aim to dedicate a certain amount just for your branding and marketing plans. Think "low to mid thousands" not "hundreds." In smaller markets, there are many professional resources that are affordable, efficient and engaged in your success (ahem, Gig Marketing is one of them). Maybe even a business loan just for this is all you need. If funds are really tight, try searching for students or recent grads who are pros in training. There are some really great new talents emerging and looking for ways to build their portfolios. You might consider bartering if you can provide something to help "pay" for a professional's service.

Prove it!

True story - a client with a new consulting practice was trying to save money by designing her own logo (with a website to follow). The logo was...OK. Really, just OK. It was not professional feeling and it lacked the design elements to make it both stand out and feel like a legitimate, reliable practice. Admitting this was the case, she hired the right team to "fix" the logo and create a worthy website. The final logo is now beautifully designed and, the good news, it borrows heavily from her first idea. That's a great example of directing an outside team, giving them an idea for inspiration, and having them go for it (note, a good design/marketing team will do that). The final website is now well-branded, expertly designed and skillfully written - and garnering her new clients.

(published 2022)