Why Troubleshooting is Worth My Time


A significant lump of my marketing pitch for how I can help people is focused on efficiently using the time they have— or lack of it. I’m usually working on projects where a client either doesn’t have the ability, desire, or schedule to crank out long written pieces with the quality they’re looking for… which is comfortable to me.

When I don’t have a bunch of projects lined up, then I have lots of time on my hands; which I can afford to devote to the things I would personally rather outsource. While this is in an uncomfortable place— being outside of a comfort zone meaning I’m not confident in proficiency yet, so it takes twice as long (or longer) to accomplish a task at the level of quality I’d like, means there are parallel tracks alongside the actual doing of whatever that task is.

I call this type of self learning, discovery, implementation, and practice troubleshooting. Aptly named IMO since there are a lot of similarities to my deconstructive process to learning a new skill.

Troubleshooting As a Learning Format

My first step to figuring out how to do something I’ve never done before is to collect some real world examples of cool versions of the finished thing. In part this is for some inspiration or direction to how I plan to proceed, a little is to gain a general gist of how these sorts of things are done, and mainly it’s because going right to the source and back-tracking is the only way I know how to do things.

It’s a logical process that I’ve found can be applied to almost anything. At first what I end up making, or producing, isn’t that great… but the time spent actually accomplishes a lot. I’ve learned what not to do. As I revise it further, start from scratch, I can eliminate a lot of steps— and now if I look into the process further by researching some 3rd party instructions most of what’s being written or said isn’t incomprehensible.

What to do with New Skills

Now that I’ve established a new skill, and practiced a bit I can make an informed decision on how to move forward. Is this something I enjoy doing? Is it becoming easier for me to do? Am I happy with my capabilities moving forward? Is it something that’s close enough to my initial concept where I can incorporate it within what I offer to clients?

Fundamentally, the understanding of the process is the most valuable asset to me; now I can decide if it’s something I’m going to continue doing myself, if it’s something to outsource to a real dedicated professional, or a mix. The benefit of tasting is that if I do end up outsourcing the task or skill in question, I’m now able to effectively judge the difficulty or what’s in the realm of possibility.

That last point is why I’d encourage everyone to take a stab at doing a bunch of things even when they’re planning on hiring someone else to do it. First hand experience, however minimal or amateur, will give you the power to ask the right questions or give better instructions. Whenever two types of people collaborate on a project, bridging the gap of understanding is what creates the most unnecessary delays.

Ryan CaldaroneComment