I started a paid-to-read-email site in 2006 and it grew rapidly. As its user base expanded, I started to get into different kinds of server issues.
Initially I contacted the script seller. For simple bug fixes, it was done swiftly. But there were other issues that the seller wasn’t able to resolve. He kept telling me there was no problem.
My gut feel at that time was, he couldn’t see the problem because his sample data wasn’t big enough, hence the problems did not surface.
I started to learn PHP and mySQL myself and tried to figure out what could go wrong.
I managed to learn some basic knowledge, but they were not enough to fix the problem.
One day, I came across a blog about PHP programming and the blogger seemed very competent. I contacted him and told him about the problems I faced. He said he could solved the problem. The fee was $200. I agreed.
I sent him the original script. About an hour later, he sent it back with a few lines of modification.
Problem solved. He made $200.
I continued to engaged his service whenever I ran into problems that I couldn’t solve. But in mind I told myself that relationship could not last.
Whenever he came back with a solution, I would analyze it myself and study the logic behind it. It didn’t take long before I learnt the tricks.
Eventually I was able to solve other problems myself. I had also learnt enough PHP and mySQL skills, which gave me the confidence that I could write a new online program from scratch.
Nowadays, many experts encourage marketers to outsource. I suggest otherwise.
I am not saying you have to do everything yourself, but you should take every opportunity to learn as much as possible and know how things work.
You can outsource to save time, not for skill-set that you do not know.
For essential skill set pertaining to your business, you should learn it first, before outsourcing it.
The more you know how things work, the more you know what can be done, and the more you can achieve.