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Adii Pienaar

Now working on PublicBeta. Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Doing It Yourself

In business, you'll often find references to risk & reward and how those two things are intertwined: the greater the risk, the greater the (potential) reward. And vice versa.

As a result, you'll also find that doing something yourself is always more profitable compared to involving others. This extends to things like hiring a team or entering into a JV / partnership (the margins go down) to taking on co-founders or shareholders (the profit sharing - relative percentage at least - goes down).

Yet many (most?) of us still involve others in our endeavours, because of the risks involved with doing it ourselves. Doing it yourself, involves quite a few potential "risks":

  • Success is dependent on yourself;
  • It's gonna be a lot of hard work; and
  • Your initial investment (and thus your exposure to the risk) is much higher.

All very reasonable considerations when thinking about the risks vs reward.


I recently had a conversation with Hiten Shah about a new strategy I've been toying with and he asked me a very simple question: What's the real risk involved with the pursuit of the strategy?

My immediate answer would've been "I don't want to lose the money if this doesn't work out". But then I remembered an article about risk that Reid Hoffman recently published. This line specifically stood out for me:

"So we are all risk takers. But we are not all equally intelligent about how we do it."


My point here is that every single time that WooThemes has done something ourselves (without relying on a 3rd party) it's been more profitable / rewarding / beneficial to us (as a founders, as a team and as a company).

In all of these situations the up-front risk (or perception thereof) delayed our decision to pull the trigger on something new and in some cases it put us into eternal limbo. When we stepped out of that state, put our necks out there and executed on a risky idea, it's been well worth it.

Just do it. Yourself.

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