DIY is so not in my DNA.


Fix the deck. Paint the house. Build a baby-proof fence. My place isn’t short of jobs that need doing. But I’ll be buggered if I’m doing them. It just doesn’t make sense for me.

You see, DIY just isn’t in my DNA. And that’s okay. I’m good at lots of stuff. And I can hold my own in plenty more. But household DIY isn’t one of them.

It took me a while to accept that. Even just two years ago, I would pick up a hammer and give it a go. But it didn’t take long to discover my ineptitude. And that got me thinking. Who does like DIY – and why?


I can only think of two reasons – saving money and having fun. I chatted with Steph about this and she added ‘sense of achievement.’ But she’s good at practical stuff so she’s probably proud of the result. Personally, I find little sense of achievement in creating a wonky shelf, although I do get a buzz from a well-crafted headline, so I get it. But achievement is a form of fun, so there’s still just two reasons to hit the power tools.

There’s also no question that DIY can save you money. The cost of any renovation job comes down to materials and labour. Remove the labour cost and you get a cheaper fence. Simple. The thing is, you’re trading that money for time, so it ultimately comes down to which you value more. And for me, it’s time. Every time. Factor in the afore-mentioned lack of talent and that everything takes me ten times longer than an expert and nothing quite works like it should.

I think fun makes the difference. Some people love a bit of DIY. That’s cool. You get to do something you like and save money while doing it. It’s a total win-win. But I haven’t found many who would genuinely choose painting a room over playing sport, hanging with family or, dare I say it, relaxing on the weekend.


It’s all about knowing what you’re good at and doing it well. And, despite so many years in advertising, it wasn’t until I bought a house that I really understood the value of expert help. The same logic totally applies at work.

Recently we’ve seen more and more clients producing various ads themselves. And that’s cool too. If it’s something they love doing and they’re stoked with the result they should totally do it. But if it’s just about saving money or time, I’m not sure the math adds up.

And it’s not just money. It’s also the work. As Paul Catmur put it in his recent piece titled, ‘how not to choose an agency’, the success of your communications impacts the well-being of your brand, business, future employment and immediate family. To try and get that away in the cheapest way possible is a big call. I reckon, like Paul suggests, it’s better to call an expert.

Of course we’d say that. Making ads is how we put food on the table. So we’re just dinosaurs of a dying industry having a final roar. Or are we?


Honestly, this advertising game, it’s just like my backyard. After coming up with a loose plan to fix it up, my parents hired some landscaping friends to complete the work as a surprise for my birthday. I was gutted at the time, as I was looking forward to getting stuck in. But boy am I glad they did. I soon found out that the palm was placed there for that reason, those two plants can’t go together for another reason and those flowers won’t flourish there as the soil isn’t right. See, I wasn’t just paying for some guys to chuck plants in the ground. I was paying for the years they spent learning which plants go best with what. And now, without fail, the garden is the first thing people mention when they come over. It’s great.


DIY is not in my DNA. And I’m okay with that. I already have stacks of hobbies. Swinging hammers isn’t one of them. So instead of trying to concrete the driveway myself, I’m going to wait a few paydays (okay, maybe a year or so) and get someone brilliant to do it properly. They’ll make it easy. They’ll make it excellent. And I’ll have fun knowing it’s all sorted. The alternative would certainly be harder, probably just as expensive and about as far from excellent as you can possibly get. So I reckon that makes sense all round.

Matt Watts