Being good at one thing, does not make you good at all things. Often however, people think that they SHOULD be good at all things and as a result of this faulty thinking, they stop making progress, thinking they don’t want to pay someone to do what they can’t do, but think they should be able to do.
I had dinner this past Saturday with my friends Jeff and Karen. They own their own business and Jeff is a very resourceful guy. He’s good with his hands, and can do tons of home repairs and heavy construction. He’s very much the typical American who thinks they can and should, pull themselves up by their boot straps and he doesn’t see why he should pay someone for work that he could do, if only he had the time to learn the skill.
That right there is the big problem – time. Like the song says, we only have 525,600 minutes in a year. Take away a third of that for sleep and we’re down to 350,200 minutes. Lose another 120,000 for working our “regular” job, and we’re left with 230,200 minutes. But the average American views 3 hours a day of television so there goes another 65,700, and gym time of 12,480 a year. Cooking, shopping, laundry and time with bae is another 109,500 so we’re down to 42,250 minutes or 708 hours a year, which is 13.6 hours a week to learn something new; this is assuming you don’t have anything else going on in your life, and only work a standard 8 hour day.
Most of the entrepreneurs I know would be happy to work only a 12 hour day 5 days a week. The reality is that getting a new business off the ground, then maintaining an up and running business takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication and there just isn’t an extra 2 hours a day learn, let alone master a new skill.
Jeff built their first and second website, out of necessity. Tight funds and a new business makes many people do things, just to get them done; however after a few years and a thriving business there simply isn’t time to redo the ‘good enough’ and ‘duct tape and chewing gum’ version of a website that helped them get off the ground and start growing.
Jeff and Karen need to update their website and Jeff kept it on his To Do list for many months, until he finally gave in and decided to hire someone who actually has spent the time to learn how to design and program a website properly. It was a hard decision for him to make, because his American trait of “Do It Yourself” is strong with him, but when he finally compared the time it was going to take him to learn a new programming language, design a website that looked like something from 2017 not 1917, and then actually create the website, plus troubleshoot it; versus how much money he can make in his regular business doing what he does – it was a no-brainer.
By hiring someone and turning over the responsibility for creating the new website, Jeff freed himself up to focus on what he really is good at, and that makes him a lot more money than the few dollars he would have “saved” he did it himself. The hours and hours he would have wasted, are like found money, and it all came about because he put an hourly wage to the time he spends doing work related projects. By valuing his time in this way he was able to determine that it didn’t make economic sense for him to redo his own website.
That same principle applies across the board. When you are deciding if you should spend time doing something on your business, as an entrepreneur the best thing you can do is assign yourself an hourly wage to know whether spending the time doing some “should be able to do it myself” project is worth it. In most cases, it’s not.
Successful, empowered people are able to make the best use of their time, and that is what separates them from the less successful. We all have the same 525,600 minutes in a year – it’s really just a question of how do you use them?
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