I think I can speak for the majority when I say that starting a new business venture can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I can also assume the former emotion is greater than the latter or else you would never decide to take the final plunge.

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.”

1997, High school graduation. Pictured with my mother (right) and my grandparents. My grandfather passed away the following year.

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.

Having a street named after him was one of my grandfather's proudest moments.

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



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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. Joann Kandrac Says:

    Wonderful post Erika and so so true!!


  2. Tennielle Says:

    Great post! Your grandad had it right!


  3. Tiffini Says:

    Thanks Ericka for sharing, this was a great article to remind me to re-focus! Love our Grandparents leave us golden nuggets we will never forget!


  4. coreen Says:

    Thanks for sharing concerning this particular subject. Your grandfather seemed as though he was a wise man.. I know I needed to hear this message, there are many more that can and will benefit from it as well. Thanks again.


  5. Kenya Says:

    I love it!!! What amazing advice…Really making me think!!


  6. Anna Says:

    Excellent advice. Thank you so much for sharing. Mr. Hollinshead was like a “wow” of a man.


  7. Anna Says:

    I love this one most: “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
    ; and will keep it as an affirmation and repeat as a mantra. Thank you!


  8. nicole Says:

    Great one Erika. So, so true on many levels. Thanks for sharing.


  9. Natasha L. Says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Your grandfather was an awesome man and you were so lucky to have him. I can currently relate to “…the overall responses were about as encouraging as walk to the dentist chair for a root canal”. Glad to see you still pressed on. That gives me encouragement.


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