By Mark Ippersiel
[ad#inpost]I was fumbling around with a steam cleaner at 6am on a sunday morning when I had a eureka, this-could-be-a-post moment! What does a steam cleaner have to do with drums, music or being in a band? Well absolutely nothing, but the reason I was messing with it was that it was broken and I had been trying to fix it myself.
I guess I have been getting more adventurous lately at fixing things. Perhaps I am gaining more confidence in myself as I get older, or maybe I'm getting too cheap to have things repaired! Either way I have been "hands on" on some varied household projects in the last few years: original xbox repair and clean (success), Laptop fan cleaning (success), 1st attempt at recording mixing and mastering a 6 song demo in Pro Tools for the first time (success for the most part)....but I think I will have to chalk this steam cleaner up as a loss.
The phrase is so empowering - "Do it yourself". Simple right? Most of the repairs/projects I mentioned above were accomplished through some common knowledge, some knowledge gained via internet (tonnes out there) and sometimes I even resorted to buying a book to learn a thing or two (so old school).
So the benefits of course are saving money and learning a thing or two...pretty obvious right? Maybe you can find an affinity for something and turn it into a second income (computer repair) so that you can pay to play at your next gig (take that with a ton of sarcasm). Oh and lets not forget to mention that warm fuzzy feeling, the glow, the pride you have standing there knowing you fixed something yourself (and bragging rights to all the doubters who told you you couldn't do it).
But if I may bring a heavy dose of reality into this for a moment, there is sadly another side to this whole DO IT YOURSELF thing. You cannot get anything for free my friend. Sorry if you haven't learned this yet in life, but you need to know it. The trade up for saving money is TIME. Money and time just seem to go hand in hand don't they? Even if you work at McDonalds and you get paid minimum wage, your time is worth something. If you are a family person, then your time is also worth something to your family (consider it double scale)! Yes, your time is important. Just because you are not Donald Trump don't sell yourself short.
We all only have a finite amout of time on this earth and it is always possible to get money back, or even have someone lend you money, and you can even win money, but you will never get time back, you will never have more time than you have right now. A sobering thought for sure.
The worst case scenario is losing time and money. Starting something you can't finish and either replacing the item, or sending it out for professional repair after spending a lot of personal time on it only leaves you with the "experience" and hopefully a lesson learned.
So before undertaking any project, a moment or two of thinking about how much time you are willing to invest is very wise. Consider the project itself, do you have the space? Do you have the tools? Have you done any repairs in a simillar vein before (car repairs might be your bag but fixing a computer - not so much). Also your prior commitments such as those 70 hours at McDonalds this week might make you think twice about how much "free time" you'd like to spend on a DIY project.
There is also the time frame for when you'd like the project completed. If you only have one vehicle and it breaks down, you probably wouldn't attempt to fix it yourself over a few weeks of trial and error. Other things around the house might be able to wait, but for how long?
Also, is it really in you to do it? Are you really a handy person or a hack? Are you the next Canadian Idol? Or a karaoke queen? There is no shame in letting someone with expertise do what you cannot. Do you want a mechanic to give you heart surgery? Do you want a computer geek to neuter your dog? Do you want a guitar player to lay down your drum tracks? NO I didn't think so.
I haven't mentioned much about being a band so far, because I figured you can fill in the blanks. Do you want to design your own web site or write songs? Do you want to book your own gigs or pay an agent (so you can write those songs). Do you want to put up the posters for your next gig yourself, or do you want to get drunk tonight? (thought I was going to say write songs didn't you?). The list goes on and on. Obviously it doesn't take a lot of expertise to put up posters, but it does take time. Managing time well and delegating small tasks can help you get a lot done and spend time on the area in which your expertise resides.
So remember, if it's not broken don't fix it. If it is broken, think long and hard about whether you can afford the cost (your time) of fixing it yourself. They say that if you represent yourself in court you have a fool for a lawyer, try not to have a fool for a (fill in the blank) as well.
If you want to read more from Mark, make sure to visit his site all about drums.