Time, Money and Why Free, Isn’t Free!

The subject of this post is one that Lynette and I have discussed with many of our members on a personal level.

So, let’s talk about Time and Money and Free. We treat time and money delicately when in reality, they should be two of the clearest aspects of our business.
 
In fact, when it comes to charging for or placing value on time, we do our research, we nitpick…and especially when it comes to putting a dollar amount on it, we are well…frugal (to use a nice word :). 
 

And then there’s FREE. Have you ever really thought about the value of FREE? I could go on about this topic, but will let you continue reading this post which, in the end…makes my point.We’ve discussed the importance of investing (not spending) in ourselves as we are the greatest asset in our businesses.

 

Free Isn’t Free

What is you ROTI (Return On Time Invested? I’m not talking about the time your clients pay you for.  I’m talking about the time you spend doing administrative tasks, creating a DIY website, or customizing a free service for your needs.

Your time is yours, correct? Yes and no.

Yes, you own your time and no, you don’t need to pay someone else for it. But your time is an asset and it has value, so how you spend it determines if your return is more or less than its value. Make sense?

In fact, time is your most precious and irreplaceable asset.

How you spend your time will directly impact your bottom line.  Unlike other assets, you can’t save it up for a rainy day.  You can’t buy more time.  You get 24 hours in a day like every other business owner out there and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

“I just want to make a living. I’m not interested in dissecting the meaning of life,” you may say.

What DIY Really Costs You

You decide that you are going to build your own website from scratch.
You will have complete control over the structure, the layout, behind the scenes SEO, and more. There’s no waiting for an outside firm to update your site. There’s no risk of looking like 50 other sites because you used a template.
Sounds great, right?
Not so fast.
  • What FTP will you use?  Do you even know what an FTP is?
  • Do you know any HTML? Do you even need to know?
  • Have you ever created your own CSS file?
You’re smart. I’m sure you are able to learn all of these things. The real question is how long will it take? Let’s assume it would take you 120 hours, or one month, to learn these things and build your own site.
When you perform work for clients, you are earning $50 net profit for every hour billed.  If you were to pay yourself a fair market value, the cost would be $6,000 ($50 X 120 hours).
Before embarking on this DIY adventure, you request proposals from a couple of reputable web developers.  You learn that it would cost roughly $3,000 for someone else to create the website of your dreams.
The reality is, you don’t actually have to pay yourself.  So, why spend the cash on someone else?
Great question.
First, and most importantly, if you do it yourself, you will miss out on the chance to earn $6,000 if you had been performing work for a paying client. 
After paying someone else $3,000, you would still be ahead by $3,000 ($6,000-$3,000 = $3,000)
Not convinced yet?
More reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
  1. Total project time: An expert is going to be able to complete a project faster than a beginner.  If you need to hit a deadline or simply need it done fast, outsourcing helps.
  2. Expertise: While your result may be “good enough”, an expert will bring all of their tools, tricks and insights to the table.
  3. Better than cloning: You can’t be doing two things at once.  By outsourcing, you can ensure that two things are getting done at the same time in a professional manner.  This can accelerate how quickly you will hit revenue and profit goals.
This my friends is the reality of doing business.
There are certain circumstances in which you may still wish to build it yourself.  You may just be starting out and simply don’t have the capital available.  You may not be established enough to use that time serving profitable customers.  Each business is unique.
All of this is ok, just recognize that you are in essence paying yourself less than market value, and your path to profitability will be longer.
Remember, your time has value. 
Take a minute to calculate how much your free resources and services are costing you. If your time was an asset you could record in your financial statements, would you be ok with showing others how it is being spent? 
Do you still think free is free?

Our Choices Determine Our Direction

Tough Decisions Ahead Road Sign

I was talking to a good friend about life and choices yesterday. Sometimes you need that kind of a conversation to get clarity on your situation and sometimes adjust your sails and correct the direction your life is headed. There is no mistake that our lives are a product of choices we have made over time. The challenge is that because these choices we make on a daily basis don’t affect our lives immediately, we don’t give it much thought.

The reality is it is those little choices we make every single day along the way that impact our lives the most. I admit I have certainly made poor choices in my lifetime. I still do. When I started to really think about it, I thought about why I made those choices? When we make choices are they for us or are we making them based on what we think we should do? Did we make them because we were afraid of what people would think? Or did we make those choices because at the time we though we had to?

Before you can start to make better choices you have to realize that our choices are entirely our own. We all live with the consequences of our choices. To be happy and move on we can’t regret those choices and we can’t go back to change them. What we can do is learn from those choices and make better ones moving forward. The good news is, it is not where you came from that is important, it is where you are going!

We can all make the choice to change our lives any time we want to. It doesn’t matter if we are younger or older believe it or not.  It was hard for me to swallow that too.

If you are having a difficult time making a difficult choice consult with a friend who understands and might have experienced something similar. Start trusting your instincts a little more often. If it feels bad, like you shouldn’t do it, then don’t! I personally struggle with that daily.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Accept your situation, but change your outlook.
  2. Accept what happened, but change your path.
  3. Accept the choices you’ve made, make better choices moving forward.
  4. Accept people that have hurt you,  but change the people you hang around with.
  5. Accept and love yourself, but never stop learning or changing.

Some circumstances and choices we could never change, but always remember you can always change what you can simply no longer accept. Sometimes all it takes is a little help from your friends!

Contact Lynette Barbieri with any questions or comments or just to say hi!

 

 

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Learn to Collaborate for Better Business Results

Whatever your product or service is your business is driven by referrals. So often I watch people network and try to get an appointment with another business owner to share information about their business and all I hear is “I”, “Me”, “I need”. There is no I in TEAM guys.

People want to hear about what’s in it for them. What they’re thinking when you are talking to them is that it all sounds great but, “what’s in it for me?”

I am approached countless times a week to come to a meeting, a party or have coffee to hear about what the other person wants me to know about their business. I can count on one hand how many times I am asked to meet to see how we can help one another’s business. I am a firm believer that giving should always come first. However, there comes a point where you have to take a stand and say if you want my help and my time I’d like you to hear about what I do to see if there is some way we may be able to work together.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that networking is a two way street. It is never all about you. You must always be on the lookout for opportunities that may help your connections. Always! Basically, by giving business to other individuals in business, you will ultimately get business back. Does that make sense? This may sound trivial but this is a huge reason people give up. They run out of appointments and people to talk to because they always ask and rarely give. What someone else has to offer is as important to them to share with you as your business is to share with them.

Collaborating with other like minded business owners is crucial in order for your business to prosper. Collaboration is the sharing of a mission, vision, resources, and goals. It is voluntary, based upon one or more common goals, values, needs, or interests. It is two or more people working on a common goal and purpose that will  benefit one another. Working together can lead to competition channeled in the right situation can help individuals to stretch themselves and excel.

Please contact me with any questions or leave me a comment below!

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How do I choose the best networking group for me?

As everyone knows, I have been in my own business for over 16 years. So, I consider myself pretty well versed in networking having gone to many different types of networking groups over the years.

I don’t go to many outside my own, unless I think in some way it will benefit our group, ETTM.

So, the other night I went to a women’s networking dinner (which was fun) and here is what I shared with this group of ladies:

1) Big doesnt always mean better. Just because a group has many people that show up, that does not necissarily mean it is better. I’ve found smaller intimate groups can produce more referrals, which in turn produce business because of the ability to connect more closely with people.

2) Price is only an issue in the absence of value. The least or the most expensive group doesn’t make the group better or worst. I do believe, however, that you do not have to spend a lot on a group to ensure it is a successful one. I also don’t believe free groups can produce a good return because there is no funding to grow and give back to the organization either.

The best groups have intimate circles and offer education as well as networking which is why we implement that in our ETTM.

3) Get to know one another. Lock arms with someone you view as a strategic partner and always listen more than you talk. Give first and give more and it will always come back.

Joining multiple groups is also a successful networking no no. I know you’re probably asking, why? Would I do better if I was a part of multiple organizations? Well, the simple answer would actually be a question, how many referrals are you able to give?

You see, if you promise more than you deliver it will come back to haunt you.

Focus your efforts into 1 or 2 groups you feel the best about; this would be the one/s with the most people you not only can relate to, but that you can honestly send referrals to.

Give of yourself to the group, if you want to get the best return, be around the most, volunteer more, tell everyone about the group and invite people to help it thrive.

Remember in any group or relationship… together, everyone achieves more!

Do you have Squirrel syndrome?

Just like our dogs are, we an be easily distracted by squirrels. We refer to those properly as distractions.

Most successful business women have A type personalities. That is great news because we are go getters, always on the move and we can take on a lot of tasks.

The bad news is we are easily distracted by things that happen around us in our business, at home, and with our families.

Did you ever find yourself sitting with a colleague and the most pressing topic you were on when you began your conversation, was 4 topics ago?… and the discussion you started, was still not resolved? Then yes… you are afflicted with squirrel syndrome!

Now that we identified your affliction what do you do?

When you sit down and list your goals at the beginning of the month, and then the end of the month rolls around… are you often not accomplishing them? Do you miss them by a landslide or nose? I bet if you thought about it, it would be in direct proportion with the things you let distract you.

So now that we have a diagnosis, and we know what it is causing, what is the antidote?

Simple: it’s change.

Sounds easy enough right? Actually, no…change is not easy and it does not come easily to many of us. But,  if you become aware that your distractions are in direct proportion to the goals you miss, wouldn’t you want to change?

All it takes to change is to refuel the passion you have for what you do. Become aware of wanting to accomplish your goals; your commitment and practice will help this change be a natural part of your daily routine. And then your success will be in direct proportion to the amount of energy you put into your comittment to change!

Our deepest desire is to succeed isnt it? Then change will be worth it!

Do you suffer from Squirrel syndrome? What do you do to treat it? Please let me know in the comment section below!

Facing Your Fears

Today, I thought it was important for me to share some thoughts with you on facing your fears and crossing over into “The Uncomfortable Zone”.

I thought timimg was appropriate because I can personally testify to the fact that if you are willing to go there, you will not only live through it, you will actually succeed because of it!

Most of us don’t venture out to the uncomfortable zone, why? Because we are afraid. Also because we are too comfortable were we are! But be careful, comfortable is also synonymous to adequate, content, complacent,easy!!!

Right there, when you are trying to grow your business and become successful comfort should be a red flag!

If it was easy and comfortable to become successful wouldnt everyone then be successful?

So, through reading books, going to hundreds of seminars and workshops on self improvement and growth I have learned you must get uncomfortable in order to become comfortable. Make sense?

Example: Did you know people are more afraid of public speaking then dying?

When I first heard that over a dozen years ago…I related to it because… I was!  I would get accelerated palpitations, would turn beet red, talk 100 miles a minute and… if I was REALLY freaked out, I’d hyperventilate! With time, those reactions still haven’t gone away, but with practice and forcing myself to speak in public, it has gotten a lot easier. If I didnt work on that fear, I wouldn’t be where I am in my business now since more than 50% of my business comes from educational workshops on finance!

There are endless benefits to facing what you are afraid of and just going for it! Not only does it help you grow as a person, but you will expand your business and broaden your vision.

Pick one thing that is keeping you from getting to the next level, practice and slowly do it over and over until you are ready to move onto the next thin. Before you know it, you’re at the next level!

If not now, when? Do not let your fears get in the way of your own success!!

Lynette Barbieri

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