We all get in over our heads sometimes and get totally freaked out. And then we run. And while we’re hiding in our studios hoping it will all go away, the problem sits there. And we stew in stress, worrying about how we’ll fix the tech problem because we know it’s not going away.
I have a client right now (she’s probably reading this – but never fear! I won’t reveal your secret identity!) who has had the worst time getting her site together. In fact, I have two of them.
One client slowed down and promised herself that piece by piece, she’d get her site figured out the DIY way. It might take a while, but she wasn’t going to let it get the best of her emotions. That’s great and all, but for some of us that concept is totally impossible. Tech just makes us crazy and we don’t want it holding us back (that’s me too, for the record).
And that’s the other client. The other client is so frustrated with how her developer has been (not great) and how long it’s taking (over a month now) and that she can’t do hardly anything else until it’s ready that it just overwhelmed her.
I think the majority of us artists get THAT way with tech. We can’t tell ourselves it will be ok because in the thick of it – it’s actually not ok. It’s very not ok.
But, I have some helpful tricks for you.
First off, you have to step back. Don’t do one of my tricks until you’ve taken a break. Like a real break where you leave your computer, leave your studio, probably even leave your house. Take a walk, take a shower, go to the zoo! Whatever it takes to let your mind wander around the issue and dampen then harshness of the whole thing.
Then you’ve got to pick how you’re going to handle it. You can’t hide from the problem. It’s not going away unless you decide not to have a website (bad plan) or not to use the internet at all (even worse plan). So how are you going to fix the problem?
Use that tech beast of the internet to your advantage. Google has many powers. And if you Google the right thing, you might find an answer to your problem that you can solve on your own. Perhaps it’s as easy as checking a box. Or maybe it’s more like tweaking the code, not needing to know code but just needing to match up the code in one place on your site to the code they’re giving you on whatever site you found in Google. You’ve played those Find the Differences games with the two side-by-side pictures, right? The pictures look the same at first glance but when you look closer, you can spot the 5 things that have been changed. This is the same thing and often the reason something’s gone awry.
Call in the armed forces. You don’t feel comfortable with the issue. It baffles you and you’re too overwhelmed to even try to fix it. No shame! Seriously, we all have strengths and weaknesses. And sometimes it’s nice to just pay someone else to borrow their strength for awhile. So hire someone to fix it for you. If you’re hiring the right person, they’ll fix it faster than you could (usually A LOT faster) and they’ll even like doing it. Crazy! Don’t drive yourself to the brink when someone else can just pop in and voila! Problem solved.
1. So, the key here is that you first step back. You can’t objectively decide whether Solution 1 or Solution 2 is best for you when you’re hunched at your desk in tears. (Again, no shame! I’ve been there!) So you have to get away for a bit and put some time between you and the project.
2. You could run into a little trouble if you take too much time away. The problem will fester. Depending on what it is, it could get worse or create little baby problems like a freaking rabbit! Ugh, no good. I recommend never more than 24 hours or you’re just hiding from the problem. The idea is to feel less emotional, not completely ignore the thing.
3. You could hire the wrong person. And this is where you have to put on your business owner’s hat. You need to recognize when the person you’re working with is stressing you out and you need to fire them. That sounds awful, but honestly it can be as easy as having them quietly finish whatever they’re working on and thank them for their hard work. And then let someone else in. Or you could outright have the conversation to fire them, which would be the right move if they are actively making things worse.
Have you kept a cool head when a tech problem arose? How did you do it? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.