I'm not much of a gambler. I lack the optimism and spare dough to enjoy it. Most of the risks I take are educated and relatively safe. Once in a while a risky technical task will tempt me -a little -if no money's involved.
I was on my first visit to a new client who hired me based on a strong referral from a friend. After I spent a few minutes meeting the staff and seeing how they used their computers, I made my way to the company's cramped data closet. I closed the door behind me to learn their network in private. I sat amidst a rat's nest of
cabling, humming servers, blinking lights and host of equipment with which I needed to become familiar.
Their IT guy had resigned, but not before purchasing a high-end router that sat boxed on the floor beside me. The company was transitioning to a new Internet service that required this particular router. This wasn't a simple home router you'd find at Best Buy. I suspected this task was out of my scope of ability. I unboxed the router, plugged it in and confirmed my fear. The prompts and sophistication of the configuration screen walloped me, triggering a wave of insecurity.
I nibbled my cheek and imagined the worst case scenario: screwing up a router configuration that brings down the entire company's Internet service on my first day on the job. I looked at the door and felt a sweaty-palm panic coming on. I was seriously tempted to run to my car and make it all go away.
It was then that I remembered a service that had rescued me from other such dilemmas: Guru.com
Guru.com touts itself as "the world's largest marketplace for freelance talent." The web-based service is free to employers and provides a safe way to hire specialists in many fields on a per project basis. Guru.com offers a payment escrow service, releasing payment to your hire only after satisfactory completion of a project. The price and the risk are perfect for me.
I logged on and within a matter of hours I found and awarded my router project to a specialist who had configured a zillion of them. He met me, sped through the task as though it was as easy as loading paper into a printer -all while educating me. More than worth his pay, he was the perfect solution to my problem.
The availability of specialists can make quick work of almost any project imaginable. At the risk of sounding like the end of a cheesy commercial, I've learned that I don't have to know it all - I can just look like I do.