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  1. #1
    Design and Promotion Crimson77's Avatar
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    Exclamation Can One Person Do It All???!!!

    Just sharing my thoughts

    The question is:

    Can one person do it all?


    I enjoy multitasking. I enjoy learning new things. At this moment in time I'm like a sponge. Can I keep it up? Should I keep it up?

    Let me put my type of daily tasks into broad categories

    Print
    Graphic Design – Could be anything from packaging to corporate ID
    Print ready artwork
    Illustration
    Photography

    Web
    Web Design
    CSS
    HTML of course
    PHP coding – learning and loving it.
    Java
    Flash – not the greatest actionscipter, but I learn what I need to.

    Multimedia
    Camera work
    Lighting
    Video Editing
    DVD authoring
    Audio Mastering
    Designing Sound tracks
    More Flash for interactive CDs

    Admin
    Web marketing
    Traditional Marketing
    Accounting – Not my favourite part
    Sales calls – plenty of phone calls
    Following up leads that my marketing has generated
    Emails, heaps of emails
    working on new ideas and projects (new websites etc)

    I could and have done any and all of these things in a single day. Is it too much. I really enjoy it all. I don't know everything about these subjects of course, but the majority of work that I've done is of good quality. Only problem is…I want to learn and do more and there don't seem to be enough hours in the day. I listen to podcasts to stay up to date on what is happening around me. Audio podcasts while I drive around in the car saves me heaps of time.

    I'd like to learn
    ASP
    More about DOM scripting and AJAX
    and more about any of the things over that I might be doing during the day.
    What else do you think I should sink my teeth into? Any ideas?

    Can I do it all? I'd like to. Or, am I simple going to have to accept that at some point I'm going to have to pay someone else do do it.

    Is anyone else doing this sort of thing during their day? Or, are they doing more and coping quite well?

    What could you call this occupation? Or, is this the new style of multi tasking employee.



    Lots of questions here, but I wanted to get them off my mind questions at the end of a busy day (which I really enjoyed). Maybe I should get myself a diary, or a blog.

    Hope I haven't bored you all with my thoughts. I'd be interested to hear what people think and how their positions compare to my own.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    The simple answer is no.

    I was in the same position about a year ago but quickly realized that it was doomed to fail; both because there's simply too much to learn and also because I don't want to get burnt out. The benefit of removing this pressure from my shoulders have been that I now can focus on what I do and like best - designing. And since I dropped the other parts about a year ago, I have grown incredibly much as a designer and I KNOW that this wouldn't have been possible if I still were to keep up on programming and other web technical subjects.

    My advice is that the sooner you realize you can't do it all and focus your time and will on a more specific area, the sooner you'll discover the benefits this approach will bring with it. I hate to sound so negative, but you will have to face the truth sooner or later - it's just a matter of what you want to do in the meantime.
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
    Not rebootin' on November 1st! (but shortly after)
    flickr



  3. #3
    Put your best practices away. The New Guy's Avatar
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    You can learn all of that no problem. Doing all of that as a career I don't think is possible. Your going to have to focus on something mainly because you just wont have the time.

    That being said, don't stop learning new things even if you focus your career on one thing. Taking in knowledge from other fields improves other fields.
    "A nerd who gets contacts
    and a trendy hair cut is still a nerd"

    - Stephen Colbert on Apple Users

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    The question you should be asking yourself is "Should one person do it all?" To which I'd hope you'd answer no, no one person is exceptional at all of those things, much better to bring in people to do the job they are good at, so you can do the one you're good at - Although I do appreciate that this isn't an option if you're just starting out, something worth bearing in mind though.
    Karl Austin :: Profile :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
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    Call 0800 542 9764 today and ask how we can help your business grow.

  5. #5
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
    spikeZ's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree with Johan, it is far better to have people who are good at their respective areas than have one poor bugger trying to do everything.

    It's not impossible to do everything - I do it now and believe me, there are times when I'd kill to have someone else do the design work and I do the programming.
    Mike Swiffin - Community Team Advisor
    Only a woman can read between the lines of a one word answer.....

  6. #6
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
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    Burnout from having so full a plate is always the biggest worry - you end up either walking away totally pissed, or get fired.

    At the same time though - I tend to end up with that same full plate even WHEN there are other people that are supposed to be handling that stuff... Mostly because most everyone else I deal with on a regular basis are total screw-ups I wouldn't trust to find their way out of a piss soaked paper bag with a hole in the bottom... After the ninth or tenth time you end up having to re-do someone elses work to the point of starting over from scratch, you generally end up either firing them if they are under you, or ignoring them outright if you're stuck with them.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy linkin99's Avatar
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    I agree with everything said thus far. Your abilities can allow you to do it all - even to do it well, hypothetically. BUT, to do it well all the time, you will eventually burn out. It's not healthy for you, and not good business since some aspect of it will suffer if you try to do it all, all of the time. Focus on what you're good at, and do that portion well. Sure, some thing need to be done, but be smart and find help in those areas to allow you to focus on what's the most important for you to do.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    Imo

    In my opinion, there is no need to learn everything about everything. I also think it is better to know a little about a lot rather than a lot about a little.

    The most successful people I know, know a little about a lot and can manage a lot of other people who 'know a lot about a little' or, in other words, are pros in thier respective fields.

    The trick is to learn how to hire people who are smarter than you and manage them successfully. But, make sure you know enough so that the people you hire can't take advantage of you...

  9. #9
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    I used to be a bit like that. Keep doing it while you love it.

    If you're anything like me, you'll probably find that you drift naturally into a few particular areas and specialise in them as time goes by.
    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by telos
    In my opinion, there is no need to learn everything about everything. I also think it is better to know a little about a lot rather than a lot about a little.

    The most successful people I know, know a little about a lot and can manage a lot of other people who 'know a lot about a little' or, in other words, are pros in thier respective fields.

    The trick is to learn how to hire people who are smarter than you and manage them successfully. But, make sure you know enough so that the people you hire can't take advantage of you...
    I couldn't agree with telos any more. Its true that one person cannot handle everything and at one point of time one has to delegate work and manage. I particularly liked "The most successful people I know, know a little about a lot and can manage a lot of other people who 'know a lot about a little' or, in other words, are pros in thier respective fields."

    But when it comes to people like me who has several ideas and is very much interested in doing and particularly learning things, and at the same time has very little time as I am already working in a totally different field from this software or programming (however you want to call) as a full time professional, how do you think I should approach at this challenge.

    I have started this as a hobby two years ago and learnt considerably well from zero, but at the end of 2 years I realized that there is too much to do than I can handle in my leasure time, I don't think I am in a position to hire people and I don't think I will be able to manage the whole pie. But the big Q is what would be the solution other than totally giving up.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    You are essentially turning yourself into a - swiss army knife.

    This all sounds great in theory, but it will eventually lead to relapse because you will be good in some areas and marginal (or bad) in others. Staying sharp with everything will be nearly impossible. I would say figure out your own specialty and focus on that. You don't have to give up everything else, but only keep an eye on it.

    Customers and clients start to get learly when they recognize too much a of swiss army knife. This is ultimately because they want to have the freedom to switch out something with another (brand, tool, consultant, etc.) if they aren't satisfied.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard mPeror's Avatar
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    What about my case for example? i do simple (yet elegant) graphic design, HTML/CSS web design, Javascript/DOM programming, PHP programming and databases. What's wrong with doing all these things? They seem pretty close to each other to me.

    Thanks for starting this discussion Crimson.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Evangelist Scott.Botkins's Avatar
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    I believe you can do it because I'm doing it now. It's just all about time management. I do everything related to web/graphic design from 9-3. Then I do my own content websites in the evening, just be sure to get a few good people to help you on small things like I do but still remain the main guy.

    If this is a dream or passion for you, don't let these people bring it down. I've learned that this year, people will tell you no you can't do it because they can't do it.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict
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    I interviewed for a job that wanted the following

    Project Manager
    Content Manager
    Web Designer
    Web Developer
    With strong experience in HR

    Then they said they wanted to pay this person between 50k and 60k. I pretty much laughed in their face. Well not actually laughed in their face but started asking questions to them along the lines of out of those things which were most important to them because that's probably the kind of person they should hire. I really don't see how anyone can do all of that work at the same time especially for the pay they are offering.

    I've been in several situations where I was tapped to do a lot of things. Web design, web development, server administration, database administration, project management and on and on. It's way too much for one person to do everything and you never really get a deep understanding of one topic and that can hurt you in the long run.

    I would suggest, like others have, to figure out what it is you really would like to do and learn and drop everything else and focus on those few things. I think in the long run if you become an expert at one thing you'll have more success than having shallow knowledge across a lot of areas than a deep knowledge in one or two areas... Unless of course you are trying to pursue project management that deals with a lot of different teams using different disciplines. Then you need people skills, negotiating skills, and a wide area of knowledge about everything but it doesn't have to be too deep.

    Hope this helps!

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    You can but you will not excel at everything.

    You don't have to focus on just ONE though. Finding the few skills that you really love that have the best and most significant synergies between them I think is the best route.


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shockbotkins
    I believe you can do it because I'm doing it now. It's just all about time management. I do everything related to web/graphic design from 9-3. Then I do my own content websites in the evening, just be sure to get a few good people to help you on small things like I do but still remain the main guy.

    If this is a dream or passion for you, don't let these people bring it down. I've learned that this year, people will tell you no you can't do it because they can't do it.
    Ah you can do it because you have a "few good people to help you on small things."

    It makes all the difference in the world when you have 1 or 2 people helping you out with those small tasks. Just think about how much time you would be spending on those small tasks if you didn't have those few people.

  17. #17
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    In the end what counts most is that you love what you do. That in itself will give you the satisfaction a creative mind seeks. After learning all these skills there will be a natural selection happening just by itself, you will notice where your strength lies and where you find the most fun. Then you can hire other people or just farm the other stuff out.

    I love to never stop learning, it keeps your mind nimble and you have a much better grasp of what the other guy is all about and the problems he might encounter. All around it gives more living to life as a whole - Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  18. #18
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsjv
    It makes all the difference in the world when you have 1 or 2 people helping you out with those small tasks. Just think about how much time you would be spending on those small tasks if you didn't have those few people.
    Which is where being multi-skilled can come in really handy - in setting up ways to offload the 'small tasks'.

    It's why I'm a big advocate of using/creating a CMS to back any website... and why I ended up writing my own as the existing ones didn't meet my needs (and weren't dumbed down enough for my co-workers)... Suddenly instead of my having to handhold them through each and every news update, or having to just 'do it myself' it's been about two months since I had to 'intervene' on their entering data - and that was the classic "What do you mean I can't paste from Word?"... Instead of taking out 30-40 minutes of every day handling the updates and 8-9 hours a week on the 'big' updates, suddenly I'm sitting back able to actually WORK on the back-end and keeping things running - What I was originally hired to do.

    If you are in charge of a project, first and foremost CREATE A SPECIFICATION of how things are supposed to be done, and enforce it - Management 101... but it extends further than that. So many places have their work and projects just thrown together with each person working in their own way. Consistant directory structure, consistant naming conventions, consistant filenames, consistant code structure... These not only streamline the process as you go, but doesn't leave a mess for the next poor slob who ends up coming in to clean up after you. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you rarely see it done unless a business major is running said department.

    I rarely advocate schooling, as I learned nothing of use there - and when I was in charge of hiring at a pc sales and repair place I came to the conclusion most people with degrees have no clue what they are doing. Even with my distaste for the educational system there are CERTAIN classes that certain groups: Nube Coders, open source hippies, and freelancers - they could ALL benefit from. Those being business classes; Management, Marketing, Finance and Advertising.

    Without those fundementals, you are most likely to end up floating from job to job as an overworked employee, instead of getting a good job as a boss.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Great post I am totally in the same posiition at the moment, I am currently working in

    the Medical Device industry as my own company, I developed my website had to learn

    CSS,HTML,PHP,CSS,MYSQL,Fireworks,Dreamweaver,Illustrator,Content Management,

    Google Advertising,Project Management plus keep up to date with the FDA regarding

    software validation. I work 8-6 everyday, go to the gym for a few hours have

    something to eat when I get back open the laptop and try to improve on what I know.

    Am I reaching burnout, absoloutley. I get frustrated that my web skills are not where I

    want them to be I know lots about each different discipline but i am not advancing fast

    enough and that frustrates me. I can do procedural code but can't get OOP, I know

    database design and normalisation but I don't know the clever ways to design them,

    and so on and so on. I was gald to see this post as I am begining to realise that it's

    impossible to become good and everything, there isn't enough time in the day. I love

    all this stuff + plus trying to develop my business model but I would also love to have

    a partner with the same passion and drive as me. But's thats the problem hard to find

    these types of people.

    Glad I got that off my chest !

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
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    To a point, it is possible to do almost everything, depending on your time management, Obviously you cant be in more then one place at a time.

    However

    If you stick at the same job for too long, your mind will go blank and then you get nothing done! You need to give yourself time to get away from the hassle of work. Get a good hobby, or just find something to do that doesnt involve sitting infront of your computer.

    One member said earlier how he does work in the day, and then his content sites in the evening, Again, this is fair enough, But trust me, you need to give yourself ample time away from the computer.

    Good Look

    Dan

  21. #21
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    One person can do it all as long as your website is relatively small.
    However if your website grows and you get 10s of thousands of visitors a day, then doing it alone might be an impossible task.

  22. #22
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gokeeffe
    enough and that frustrates me. I can do procedural code but can't get OOP
    This is where 'learning' languages come into play - to LEARN OOP, and good programming habits in general I like to point people at pascal, or in the case of OOP Object pascal.

    Pascal (a subset of the 'Modula' Language) was CREATED as a language to train people how to program and instill good programming habits - and at the same time has enough safeties in place to stop you from making bad code in the first place.

    With the clear formatting, language and terms Object Pascal uses you can actually LEARN how Objects work free of the crypticness of C and it's kin... Generally letting you get past the 'conceptual' hurdle. (which is usually related to pointers, or as most other languages call them handles)

  23. #23
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I would say that the answer most certianly is NO. There are always going to be young people who are 'doing it all' and will encourage you to do the same, i.e. shockbotkins. But, if you look closely at the responses you might notice a trend - the people who have been in business the longest will always say 'no', while the people who are just getting off the ground will generally say yes.

    If your goal is just to make a living and you are willing to work very, very hard to do it you can carry on doing everything yourself. You probably won't make more than you would in a good full-time job, and you'll work much much harder. In the event that your business is successful and you want to expand into bigger clients and make REAL money (i.e. lots more than you'd make with a job) you'll quickly hit the celing. Doing the books, marketing, legal stuff, administration, and everything else it takes to run a business can quickly become a full time job and you wont have time to do anything else. So, you can be successful as single-person business but unless you can generate $200+/hr you'll eventually hit the celing.

    The vast majority of 1-person business die off after a few years, due to burnout or the 'it's just not worth it' factor. To survive and prosper, you'll need to specialize and outsource the parts that you aren't your strength.

    If you are asking around for advice on this, be sure to look for advisors who have been successful in business for more than a few years, are making more money than they would if they had a job, aren't working more than 40-45 hours a week, and are happy with what they do. There are lots of people doing well on their own, but they are usually specialized and have a well-established business model that they evolved after 'doing it all' for a while.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. — Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Enthusiast Munky's Avatar
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    I'm currently doing it all on my own but then again I don't have a whole lot on my plate right now. I'm going through CSS and PHP and that's it. I don't do a whole lot unlike many others because I don't know a whole lot yet. But I will continue to do it all on my own until something needs to be done that I don't know how to do and have no desire to learn or until it just gets too much for me by myself.
    "Humor is reason gone mad." - Groucho Marx
    kyleajohnson.com :: @kylejohnson1985

  25. #25
    Web Design Ireland cianuro's Avatar
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    Many of us here started out doing all that on our own. As your business grows, you will realise that it is impossible to keep it up. This is a positive thing because you can now see your business is getting to where you want (Or may not want) it to be.

    Pick the one you are best at and YOU do that job. Hire others for the rest. If you are like me, you will have found all the other staff you require as you made your journey to the position you are in now.


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