I dove head first when I started my design business in 2006. The economy, while on shaky ground, didn’t seem to matter much to me. I felt failure was not an option and I planned to fight tooth and nail to make this thing work. Yes, fight was the appropriate verb expressed because I knew the odds were against me and anyone else venturing out as a solopreneur. When I sought business advice from others, the overall responses were about as encouraging as walk to the dentist chair for a root canal. If I needed an excuse to bow out gracefully, I could give you fifty reasons in a moment’s notice. But the key piece of advice came to me from my late Grandfather, a licensed architect and real estate investor of thirty plus years. Before I experienced my first Economics lecture in Sanford Hall at The University of Georgia, he taught me his version of the time and money principle. In his lecture, time was always more important than money, “You can always recoup costs, but you will never regain time lost.” Part two of his lesson simply stated that you have either time or money, “Whichever you have more of will dictate your actions.”
His words have always stuck with me and drives my business decisions on a daily basis. In the beginning I had a disproportionate amount of time versus money and performed necessary tasks to get my business up and running. True enough, start-up cash would have made it a lot easier, but the time I spent at the foundation has been an invaluable asset for me. Now, there are specific tasks that I delegate so that I am efficient in my client work, but I can proudly say that a task will not go undone because I don’t know how to complete it myself. That even goes for updating my website if needed. I also know how to supervise, at a distance, the assigned tasks and know it is done correctly.
His lessons in time and money also dictated how I handled by business’ profitability when the phone calls became fewer. With more time on my hands, I learned how to resuscitate sales with writing opportunities much like this one where I could share my knowledge about design with other design enthusiasts, potential clients, and whoever else happened upon my article via internet searches. The decision to do so has been time well spent because the information I provide remains accessible on the web and works for me even while I’m asleep.
Now as a wife and mother, his time and money lessons are the measuring sticks I use to maintain work/life balance. Knowing the intrinsic value of both helps me to decide which design jobs I will accept or reject in order to effectively serve my family and business.
Whether you are a solopreneur or have a fully staffed office, reassessing your attitudes about time and money will help to correct existing imbalances that exist in your business and perhaps even in your personal life. A decision to value one over the other is strictly a personal decision; there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Careful examination of these two factors combined with necessary changes will lead to a more satisfying business experience and will simplify your decision making process.
Are you reaping optimal benefits in how you manage your time and money?
More wise words to ponder…
- “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
- “What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” – Julia Cameron
- “Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” – Jim Rohn
- “It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.” – Kin Hubbard
- “You don’t have to die in order to make a living.” – Lynn Johnston