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.