10 Seemingly Risky Things You Can Totally Do Yourself

10 Seemingly Risky Things You Can Totally Do Yourself

Some things in life — such as fixing your own car or DIY home improvements — might appear dangerous or risky, especially if you’ve never done them before or you tend to err on the side of caution. They also might be more doable than they look. Here are ten daunting things you probably likely can handle on your own.

Illustration by Nick Criscuolo.

10. Cut Your Own Hair or Someone Else’s

The riskiest things are those where we can mess up the most. It’s pretty hard to hide a bad haircut, which is why most of us don’t cut our own hair or attempt to fiddle with other’s. Yet if you have a steady hand, you definitely can trim your own hair at least and prolong visits to the barber or hair salon, as the video above suggests.

There are plenty of YouTube videos that will show you how to cut hair as well, but stick to the simpler styles at first lest you end up shaving all the hair off and, as the New York Daily News advises, only attempt it when you’re sober. Here’s Buzzcut Guide’s tutorial on cutting your own hair with clippers, how to trim long hair from Refinery29, and how to cut your kid’s hair from Parents. Don’t worry, it grows back.

9. Deep Fry Foods

If you’ve deep fried foods before, this might not seem like a particularly brave act. However, some of us are reasonably nervous about working with a vat of extremely hot, bubbling oil (possibly at temperatures over 200°C). You can deep fry fearlessly if you follow just a few precautions.

8. DIY Home Repairs

Some home improvements should be left to the pros (for example, anything involving touching the main electric line or gas line), but a great many home improvement projects and repairs can be done on your own. If you DIY home improvement projects and repairs, you boost your return on investment.

You can fix stuck doors, patch drywall, and other indoor household repairs and you can repair a pothole in your driveway, replace outdoor light fixtures, and other outdoor repairs. Here are 10 repair projects you shouldn’t have to pay someone else to do.

7. Do Your Own Tax Return

Taxes can be complicated, especially when the rules and forms for filing change every year. Not everyone needs to head to a tax pro to file their taxes, though. By doing it yourself, you can get better control over your finances. That said, don’t mess with the ATO. If your tax situation is more complex, you should weigh doing your own taxes versus hiring a pro.

6. Invest in the Stock Market

It’s very easy to lose a lot of money in the stock market, just as it is also possible to make money from it. As with other things that involve risk, the key is to do your research and know at least the basics before diving in. If buying individual stocks is too intimidating (or time-consuming) for you, stick with index funds, which are less risky and simpler to understand.

5. Travel Alone

Solo travel can be exhilarating and provide you with more experiences than if you waited for friends and family. But there’s also a safety concern when you’re on your own, especially if you’re travelling to destinations known for not being the safest spot.

Don’t let that deter you, though. Here’s how to stay safe when travelling alone. You could join a tour group or get a guide for some activities while enjoying the flexibility of being an independent traveller for the other parts of your trip.

4. Build Your Own PC from Scratch

Fewer things provide greater geek pride than building your own computer from scratch. The first time you do it can be intimidating, with all the parts you’ll need and making sure you assemble them all correctly. Check out our complete guide to building a PC.

3. Fix Your Car

Another area most of us tend to leave to the pros: Car repairs. Learn the regular preventive maintenance you should know how to do to maintain your car. But besides replacing windshield wipers, you can also do a wide range of repairs yourself. As long as you have the tools and the information, you can replace a drive belt or battery, do your own oil change and more. You can’t or shouldn’t do every kind of car repair if you’re not an expert, though.

2. Sort Out Your Plumbing

There are times when you’ll need a licensed plumber or electrician on the job, but there are also several plumbing and electrical projects you can tackle on your own, no matter what your experience. You can unclog almost any drain (including the toilet), fix a leaky tap or running toilet and other home plumbing projects.

1. Start Your Own Business

Perhaps the scariest item on this list: Going it on your own and working for yourself. What if the business fails and you lose all your money? Making that initial plunge to start your own company is the hardest part. With research and a realistic plan — and a business idea, of course — you can totally do this. Plan for possible failure, but realise hundreds of thousands of us are working for ourselves successfully or have built our own businesses from scratch. If we can, you can too probably.


  • “Seemingly Risky”

    Starting a business – Remind me again what the failure rate is for business? 95% in the first year? 99% in the first 5?

    That isn’t “seemingly risky”, that is a really big deal that could cost you thousands of dollars, and hours.

  • 1) I will leave my hair cutting for a hairdresser to do.
    2) Deep fried foods is unhealthy, I try to avoid, as I much as i can.
    3) DIY Home repairs can be fun, especially, when there are tons of videos on the internet to guide you.
    4) I rather get an accountant to do my tax return.
    5) I’m already investing in the stock market.
    6) I rather go with someone, when traveling.
    7) I can already build my own PC
    8) I wouldn’t call myself a mechanic, but I know my way around a car’s engine.
    9) I have tried doing that.
    10) I’ve been thinking about opening my own business.

    • The repairs and maintenance ones – diy, plumbing, car, etc. honestly Youtube.

      I can’t even begin to discribe how much money Youtube has saved me over the last 7-8 years! Oh sure my dad taught me to service a car and do some basic DIY as a kid, but the world changed lol – long gone are the days you can open up most broken things and say ‘oh it’s obviously that’.

      Yeah, haircut’s probably the only one I really wouldn’t do. Unless you just have a number X all over, clearly there is not only a skills issue, but more so a physical limitation of cutting your own hair.

      The finance stuff.. totally depends on what you’re doing & how complex it is. If you get in over your head there that could be expensive!

      Travelling by yourself. Hmm. I did this A lot as a young man. Not big, expensive, debt-inducing travelling like they now tell young people to do; just when I was first working and single, I lived in London and would jump on a coach/boat/plane whenever there was a cheap deal for a couple of days. Being by yourself is great if there’s a bunch of stuff you want to do – sights, museums, shows, sporting events, as you don’t have to negotiate with other people. But eating alone sucks everywhere. I don’t know how much fun travelling by yourself would be for more than a few days? Anyhoo I’m long since married now, and if I want to keep it that way taking my wife with me on holiday is paramount.

      Oh and the PC thing, sure anyone can build a PC, just remember the most important part is actually the power supply and it’s not even remotely worth doing unless the PC you want to build will cost over roughly $500 USD (without monitor, keyboard, mouse, Windows). Economies of scale mean that budget PC’s will nearly always be cheaper than building a similarly spec’d machine. Basically the higher performance you go, usually the more you save building you own.

      • Oh PS, the things I would add to this are:

        If you shave your face, learn to shave with a double edged or cut-throat razor. It’s significantly easier than you think, will give less irritation than a multi blade, and is about 50 cents a blade.

        Don’t be afraid to cook ‘boring’ things. Cooking trends are always towards far off cultures, exotic ingredients and flavours. That’s fun and educational, but also often expensive and wasteful. Don’t be afraid to cook what your grandma did. Just the other day we had friends over and I cooked a lamb roast and spotted dick for dessert.

        Apply for that job you want. Don’t have the ‘minimum 5 years experience’? Who cares, go for it. If you get knocked back just try again, and work towards that goal. You don’t need to get all your ducks lined up before you try.

  • Re: haircutting – it is very easy to trim hair around your ears with scissors/clippers and it is amazing how much neater it makes you look (and I mean neatening the hair where sideburns would start and shortening hair so you can see your ears again). Extends time between trips to the barber though be careful you don’t go into mullet country!

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