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Walling on Valuing Your Time

·4 mins

What’s your most precious resource, as a founder?

  • One of the biggest adjustments is accepting that time is your most precious commodity
  • If you’re able to harness the power of leveraging software instead of time, you can achieve more freedom than you’re ready for
  • It’s hard to re-train your mind out of the dollars-for-hours mentality. For me it took well over a year
  • Before I start any task I ask myself: “Could one of my contractors possibly do this?”
  • Putting a value on your time is a foundational step in becoming an entrepreneur, and it’s one many entrepreneurs never take
  • Outsourcing aspects of your business is the single most powerful approach I’ve seen to increasing your true hourly rate as an entrepreneur

Do Outsourcing

  • If you value your time at $100/hour it makes certain decisions, such as outsourcing work to a $6/hour virtual assistant, a no-brainer
  • Start small, gain comfort with a contractor, and gradually increase the amount you outsource
  • Start with non-critical tasks and be very specific in how they should be executed
  • Take a risk this month: outsource your first task and see where it takes you

Valuation of Your Time

  • Divide your current salary + benefits by 2,000 (the approximate number of hours worked in a year), rounded up to the nearest $5 increment
  • If you are making $25/hour as an entrepreneur you are doing something wrong. Improve your marketing, grow your sales, find a new niche, outsource and automate
  • While you won’t be earning anywhere near $50/hour when you begin building your product, once you launch you should aim to hit that number within 6 months
  • Once you’ve established you’re worth $50/hour, paying someone $ 6/hour to handle administrative tasks or $15/hour to write code seems like a trip to the dollar store

Using Time Well

  • If your time is worth, say $75/hour, standing in line at the bank is painful. Sitting in traffic is another money waster – every non-productive, non-leisure minute you spend is another $1.25 down the drain
  • Since it’s not practical to assume you will never wait in line again, the best counter-attack is to have a notebook and pen handy at all times. Use this time for high-level thinking, something you may have a hard time doing in front of a computer
  • You will make bad decisions, waste time, waste money, run ineffective ads, miss deadlines, and release buggy code. Each time this happens, you have to accept that you failed and move on
  • The faster you fail and learn from your mistakes, the faster you will improve. Pretty soon your ads won’t lose money, you’ll get better at estimating level of effort, and you’ll be sure to thoroughly test the complex parts of your code
  • Outsourcing to a virtual assistant will dramatically reduce the time you need to spend on administrative tasks, and increase the time you can commit to growing your business

Consider Human-Based “Automation” to prove value

  • Every hour spent writing code is wasted time if that code could be replaced by a human being doing the same task until your product proves itself
  • Being able to manually process some parts of a task can often reduce your development time by 50-80%
    • ….which allows you to get the feature out the door
    • If customers decide to use it, then you can automate it
  • Outsourcing provides you with a written process for the task…
    • ….that serves as a blueprint if the time comes later to automate it
  • Customers make it necessary to put processes in place for:
    • marketing, sales, support,
    • and back-end administrative tasks
  • Any ongoing work that can be described in a written process can be outsourced

While most entrepreneurs feel like they need to keep the reins on level 1 email support, level 1 sales questions, manning the live chat window on your website, directory submissions, minor HTML tweaks, keyword research, link building, following up on canceled subscriptions, and running month-end reports… getting these tasks into the hands of a competent contractor frees up vast amounts of time that can be spent growing your business

You can only tell so much from a resume; the best way to evaluate is to try them out, and this means if they don’t work out you should make the decision quickly to find someone new.