The Curse of the Engineer

Before becoming a personal trainer, I was an engineer. Now and then I rediscover the slight inaccuracy in that statement. While I now work as a personal trainer, I am still very much an engineer. Sometimes that truth is a positive, while other times, like the past couple of days, it is less so.

I decided to spend Thursday finally launching my new ebook, Training Around Injuries: Home Exercises for Femoro Acetabular Impingement. I was so keen that I had Jim cover my clients at Custom Strength so that I could dig in and keep at it until I was done.

It started very well. I made a few minor edits and the ebook itself was finished (yay!), then I finished my launch plan and wrote some of the sales copy I would need. There’s no question that part would need more work as I proceeded, but I had sat on this for too long. It was time for a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach, knowing I can make changes later as I have so much to learn about the launch process that it would be impossible for it to be perfect before I start. If that was the standard I would never start!

Next step – I went to put the product on clickbank, which is an on-line service that many people use to provide the back-end support for a sale. One of the first steps was to provide the link for the Thank You page. Of course – how rude to not thank someone after a purchase. Creating the website was on my list, so this just meant I was moving it up the list.

Here’s where the curse of the engineer reared it’s ugly head. There are three truths about engineers:

  1. If it’s a technical challenge we know how to do it, more or less.
  2. Because we know how to do it (more or less) we will do it instead of hiring someone who actually knows how to do it.
  3. User guide? Instructional videos? Those are for people who don’t know what they’re doing, and as noted above, engineers always know what they’re doing with technical stuff (more or less).

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The second truth is particularly hard to overcome when doing something like installing a wordpress site where they claim that it can be done in something like five minutes.

It turns out it is possible to set up a wordpress site in a matter of minutes. The problem is that it will look like crap. No problem. I’ll just go grab a simple but sexy template and start writing the copy. Ha! As I discovered over the coming hours, none of the templates were what I wanted. This was the time I started to think about hiring someone to do the website for me. But of course I didn’t. Because as noted above, I am an engineer. As I write this post on Saturday around noon, the website still isn’t finished. But I’m this close. I don’t think I’ll calculate the economics of me spending all of this time on a website versus how much it would have cost me to hire it done. As an engineer I do like math, so ordinarily that would be a fun equation. But as an engineer I don’t like proving that I’m wrong, which inevitably that equation would do.

Those of you who are engineers or who are close to engineers: Does this sound familiar?

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