But, I’m Not A Tech Person

It happens. Sometimes I get an email from a reader which sparks a bit of a rant. And that’s what happened this morning.

This person (who shall rename nameless, of course) was apparently on the verge of giving up on the entire notion of an online business. They said…

It happens. Sometimes I get an email from a reader which sparks a bit of a rant. And that’s what happened this morning.

This person (who shall rename nameless, of course) was apparently on the verge of giving up on the entire notion of an online business. They said…

I am not a tech person, and I think that makes all the difference.

To me, it seems that this statement is almost equivalent to saying that a college degree is required in order to have any hope of making a living. Tell that to Dave Thomas, CEO of Wendy’s, who dropped out of school at 15. To James Cameron, one of the top directors of our time, who dropped out of college.  To Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, who never finished high school.

Today, of all days, it is NOT a requirement that one be a “tech person” to build a business online.

I’ve been in this business for 14 years. I know FULL WELL what it means to have to be a “tech person” to do this. When I started in this business, I was hand-coding everything in HTML. It was a step up when I figured out how to use server side includes to give my site common headers. It was a step up when I could manage my site using FrontPage, but even then it was still a pretty manual process. I’m a guy who actually programmed my own entire content management system – by hand – to power my own site before Wordpress was around.

THAT’S what a “tech person” does. And that’s why I know how to do a lot of “tech person” things today… because I had to.


Wordpress is pretty much the best CMS around. It costs nothing and can be installed on most web hosts with a single click of a button. Almost any capability you want to give your site can be added to it using a free or cheap plug-in. Nowdays, you can create powerful, feature-rich websites using almost all free software… and have the thing online in an hour or less.

Dicking around with themes? Opt-in forms? Is this what it takes a “tech person” to pull off?

My buddy, Frank, posted a guest post yesterday on how to position an opt-in form anywhere you want with no coding.

As for nice looking designs, there are a shit-ton of gorgeous Wordpress themes out there. Take your pick. As an example, my friends at Elegant Themes offer access to their whole arsenal of killer themes for less than $40. Considering that designs of that caliber used to routinely cost thousands of dollars… I mean, jeez, keep shit in perspective.

Need a little bit of custom work done? OK, there are a TON of people HURTING for work right now. And we live in an online world. Try Odesk. Or, hell, hire somebody to do things for five bucks at Fiverr. Do you realize what a shockwave Fiverr was to those of us who used to struggle with or have to find somebody to do these things? And, there it is for you. Five measely bucks. A freakin’ value meal at McDonald’s cost more than that.

Am I just getting old? 🙂 I feel like Louis C.K in “Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy”. One of my favorite videos – ever.

No, you don’t need to be a geeky “tech person” to have an online business.

Some of the most successful people in this space are tech IDIOTS. Trust me, I know many of them.

Is the difference that they have money to hire people? Is it really that simple?

No, that’s a freakin’ cop out. That’s an excuse. Knock it off.

Using “I’m not a tech person” as an excuse these days is almost like you’re LOOKING for a reason to quit and give up. Because, today, of all days, the technology we use in this business has NEVER been easier or more accessible.

Instead of doing that, try a different tact. The reason why you’d want to throw up your hands and give up is simple: You don’t really understand the terminology. So, you feel like you’re in over your head. So, back up and starting making a point to study and look up the words you don’t get. Bring it down to basics and learn how this stuff works. It isn’t difficult in the slightest.

And do me a favor… next time you see somebody using the “I’m not a tech person” excuse, point them to this post so they can get a little perspective. 🙂



  1. Whoa, guess I won’t say I’m not a tech person! Nah, my problem is constantly delving into things I should simply outsource. Which is the point. Not only are there so many tools out there that make it easy but there are also a lot of really inexpensive ways to hire people (who need the cash) to do what you can’t do.

    1.  And I think that saying is from the E-myth…those of that are a little bit technical actually miss alot thinking because we know the know-how we are actually entrepreneur…I would rather not have any technical skill myself

  2. Thanks for the mention in the post, David.  By the way, I lost it when you wrote, “Dicking around with themes.”  HAHA!  Sounds like the name for a suggestive website :p  Speaking of coding, which I know you do too, I’ve been learning some interesting things with D3 and Scalable Vector Graphics.  Have you checked that out?  It’s awesome and helps those like me who can’t draw in Photoshop.

  3. As a tech person with nearly 20 years in the industry I’m the opposite and find the marketing side of things the hard part. Given a choice I’d rather be an entrepreneur with no technical skills than a tech person with no entrepreneurial skills. An entrepreneur can always find someone to help or do the tech stuff to succeed but the tech person might not always have the ideas and business motivation to do the same!

    1. Seems to me the lesson is to be truly successful, a business has to have marketing skills, technical skills, and content creation skills.  I myself am best at content creation. I see tons of people struggle with content creation and find it next to impossible.  I find it a snap.  Very few of us at good at all 3, so whatever talents we are lacking we need to outsource.  I think David is a rare bird, being good at all 3.  My main point is that thinking you can master all 3 yourself is probably a waste of time and not cost-effective. Especially when you are truly bad at something.  

  4. Touche!  Nice post, David.

    I’m not a super-duper-tech-savvy person either.  But..with the help of Google and by simply ASKING others for help, I’ve done just fine.

    I’ve used Fiverr and had good luck there too.  And yes, YouTube is FULL of helpful videos.  Holy cow!

    Thanks for the rant.  Keep doing what you’re doing! 

  5. Absolutely – I’m pretty well versed in tech, but don’t know much about PHP or CSS.  I have a regular guy on fiverr that does little tweaks for me all the time.

    It’s really a win-win – I get stuff taken care of quickly and inexpensively, and he gets paid for doing little tasks that are super easy for him.  Plus that $5 goes a much longer way where he lives.

  6. Hi David 

    Very funny video clip LOL … Where did you find that? I also remember the rotary phones … my baby sister (who is now 41) used to climb down the stairs after she’s been put to bed when Mum was watching TV and phone random people. She had just discovered how the dial worked but could not suss numbers yet as she was too young 🙂 Mum used to come out to find her chatting on the phone :o) 

    Back to the original subject, I feel that all the necessary technical stuf can be learned from blogs or You Tube. I’ve learned that way… or places like the Warrior Form where there are tons of people that will help out.

    Very useful post thanks


  7. I have been doing internet marketing for about 5 years.  Although I am not the world’s greatest tech person, I am actually way better than  most of my friends.  (I’m mid 50’s and some of my friends are still afraid of computers).  When I began this whole journey, I had confidence I could learn.  I should  have out sourced from the beginning but it took me a while to realize that as I had total confidence I could figure it all out.  Now I realize what a time-wasting mistake that was. 

    I have indeed learned a ton over the years tech wise and today, can actually build a WP blog myself, install the theme, etc.   I can do the basics.  But then what do you do when something way more complex than that comes up?  For example, I was hacked and malware was put on every post/page.  At first I had no clue what to do  but I managed to figure that out and spent days deleting the crap.  Then other things happened,  weird spammy things that made no sense.  For example, the blog stopped accepting comments even though it was set to accept comments in all places.  Remote hackers started making posts.  All kinds of weird crap.  I looked and looked for answers but could not find them.  Then google de-indexed me and I had not clue why but strongly suspected it was due to this spammy hacking stuff.   This was all over my head.  Now, if you have money it probably does not take much to hire someone to fix this but if you’re broke you have no choice but to try and do it yourself. 

    There is a time when it just gets to be too much. 

    For people starting out, I strongly suggest that you find some reliable people from whom you can learn the things you do not know, or simply hire them and do not worry about trying to learn it yourself.  Yes, some of the basics are easy today but I promise problems come up that are not so basic. 

    If I were to do it over with the knowledge I have today, I would immediately set up a SYSTEM in order to get the work done.  I would divide out the work into categories, figure out what I am good at, and then outsource the rest.  Things would go much more quickly and much more smoothly.    I agree that you do not have to be a techie to be successful online but at the same time, one also has to realize that being the Lone Ranger is NOT a good idea.  Even if you can learn everything yourself it is impractical to say the least.  I think the idea of the Lone Ranger internet marketer making decent money is a myth.  No one is good at everything.  Figure out what you are good at, create a system where you are at the top of the chain, and get r done.

    Just my 2 cents.     

    1. Thanks, Lorraine. 🙂

      Who are/were you hosted with, out of curiosity? I mean, if Wordpress is up to date and the host is maintaining itself properly, those kinds of things really shouldn’t be happening.

      1. Currently I am with Go Daddy.  I even paid extra for the Go Daddy security scan.   I have spent hours on the phone with them and they  have helped all they can.  WP and all my plug in are indeed up to date.  I’ve had friends look at it who are more knowledgeable than me and they could not figure it out either. 

  8. Hi Dave,

    Need to put on the other hat. I am a Tech, have the Degree and Certs.

    But I am not a programer nor can I code worth a dang. I know the why but it is the “how” that gets me in to trouble.

    Even with a mirror blog on my business server (that was fun -not) to figure out the  fine things like making the logo fit in the required space, and making the drop down menu under the logo work. I have more hours in trying to customize that logo and menu than I do writing articles for the blog and there are over 400  of ’em there…

    So if I wasn’t closing it down at the end of July I would hire someone that knows PHP to set the darn thing straight and make it work but I’ll save the money and use the time to remove all the links I put in (it was supposed to be a sub domain of my main site) then maybe Google will give me back some of the traffice the bird took away a couple of months ago… (5000+ links by the way)

    I’ll just move the content over and concentrate on the web site.


    1. Yeah, I think perhaps that you actually being a tech yourself, you were perhaps too insistent on the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to your site. Sometimes doing it yourself doesn’t make a lot of sense. 🙂

  9. Haha man, this was SPOT ON and the video couldn’t be any better for this occasion.

    About the marketers that say they are tech-challenged I don’t buy that for one second. Sure, there will be some not so easy to do tasks but as you already said, you can hire people for just five bucks on Fiverr that would literally do anything for you.

    1. Well, it is true that some marketers tend to play up the “I’m a tech idiot” angle when the truth is they’re more adept than they let on. But, that being said, I know a fair amount of people who run online businesses, and many of them truly aren’t that technical. They can write, they can maybe install a plug-in, but they have to get help on almost anything else on their site. It isn’t uncommon at all.

  10. I’ve struggled with my lack of technical knowledge over the years, as you well know, and what you say is so true. I began blogging in 2002 when it really was a problem if you didn’t have the skills. But today it is truly so much easier. I was amazed last year when I finally got past the tech barrier and moved my blog from Typepad to Wordpress. I actually did it all by myself. (I looked into it a few years earlier and it was way more complicated.) 

    I picked one theme, Headway, and that’s pretty much what I stick with so I’m not always learning. At one point, because I was having some real issues getting past a certain point, I finally just paid someone to get me over that hump. Worked great. I do a lot behind the scenes on my blog, way more than I ever have. There IS a learning curve. For some of us, it is a BIG learning curve. But every one thing you learn helps you overcome the next one. It is so easy now, it’s scary. Count your blessings and give it a try. I’m never going to be a whiz at tech stuff, that’s not my thing. But I’m pretty good at work-arounds. So, as a confirmed “I’m-not-a-tech person,” let me tell you, you can find a way to get it done. 

    1. Awesome, Vikk.

      Two things out of that:
      (1) You moved to Wordpress. Good move! 🙂
      (2) You didn’t run screaming away from the notion of hiring somebody to do what you needed. So many people dig their heels in and waste SO much effort just to try to avoid a small outlay of cash… and it does them no favors. The time being wasted trying to figure out what you could pay somebody to do in no time flat… that time is valuable. Often moreso than the little bit of money you’ll have to pay somebody to do it for you. Especially in a world of Odesk and Fiverr.

      1. Thank, and yes, in the long run Wordpress is the only way to go.

        Well, I DID waste a lot of time trying to get over that hump, way more than I should have. I should have bit the bullet and paid to get it done a lot sooner. What finally made me see the light was the day I asked myself to name my priorities and what I wanted to be doing in my life…. It was NOT wasting hours trying to move past that hurdle. Once I realized that it was easy to get the energy to jump over the stupid thing and move on. Money well spent. Never regretted it. Now, when I hit the wall I give my self so much time to be tortured. If I figure it out, great. If I continue having trouble wrapping my head around it, I look for that workaround. Most problems occur when I’m feeling stressed from time constraints, self-imposed or external, or other types of stressors. They impact my ability to learn and figure things out. When the pressure is relieved, I often figure the thing out later so I can do it the next time on my own. Anyway, it works for me. 

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