And why you must choose carefully the things you do.
A butcher takes a living thing and takes the life from it.
A baker takes a dead thing and breathes life into it by activating the yeast.
A butcher takes a whole thing and dissects it
A baker takes separate things and makes them into a whole thing
A butcher tries to keep his product cold or it will spoil
A baker uses warmth to activate the yeast and improve his product
As solopreneurs and small business owners we often get pressured into trying to be all the things our business needs.
We have to be the cook and the bottle washer. We also know this isn’t in the best interest of our business, our clients, our customers, our family, our health or our sanity.
So how do you make good decisions about what you’re going to do and what not to do?
The economic approach
This starts by understanding just what your time or your product is worth.
If you’re already charging out your time by the hour you may have a good idea about that. If you don’t then you may be in for a big surprise.
If you sell a product, how much profit is there in each item? What is your average sale worth, in terms of profit? What is a new customer worth, per sale or in their lifetime?
Once you know that, you know what you can afford to spend to get a customer.
Let’s say you charge for your time and one hour of your time is worth $100.
You could then say anything you can get done for less than $100 per hour you should get it done for you and focus on only doing those things that are earning you $100 per hour or more or, that ONLY you can do.
That’s the economic rationalists approach.
The emotional approach
I’ll do all the things I like doing and pay someone to do those things I don’t want to. I like the sound of that but I don’t know many people who get to live it.
The typical small business owners approach
I’ll do all the things I like to do, all things that are expensive to get done and maybe pay someone to do the things that are cheap to get done, or I might even do them as well.
The balanced approach
All the things that ONLY you can do is obvious! you have to do them, right! Consider carefully though, are those tasks something ONLY you can do. With some creativity and a willingness to consider alternatives, you may find you don’t have to do it at all.
Have you ever looked back over an old TO DO list and found things on it that didn’t ever get done and now don’t need doing at all? In truth they probably never did need doing. Cull these things and anything similar from your future schedule.
Be strict about what goes on your TO DO list in the first place.
Next – Things you can get done for less than you’re worth.
If your time is worth $100 per hour and you can get someone to mow the lawn for $50 an hour, pay them to cut the grass and spend the hour finding another client.
Why do we get drawn into doing these?
There are two possible reasons.
1. We actually want to do the task and would rather do that, than something that earns more.
2. We don’t have enough of the paying work and so feel we have “Spare” time in which to do the low paying or no paying tasks.
If you simply want to do the job and enjoy it even though it doesn’t earn you much or even nothing, then that’s your choice. That’s one reason why you work for yourself, right?
Here’s the biggie!!
The second reason is you don’t have enough of the paying work and feel you have SPARE time do the other work.
NO you don’t! That spare time is costing you money.
That time should be spent either doing the higher paying work your capable of or doing something to get you the higher paying work.
If you know your time is worth $100 and a $50 advert gets you an hour extra work, is it worth doing? No, because then you’re only earning $50 per hour. If you filled your days using that method, you’d halve your income.
That so called “Spare time” is costing you $100 an hour in lost revenue, so again, if you can get someone to do the work of getting you the higher paying work for less than $100 per hour you should do it. Let them find you the work for you and you focus on what pays the most and what you do best.
It is actually an investment not a cost.