There is a huge difference between the two. With one you are wasting precious time. With the other you are putting time into something that will directly generate income for your business.
Time is your most precious commodity. Once it’s gone…it’s gone. You can’t get it back. I have never liked the cliché – time is money. Time is NOT money. Time is time. Money is money. You can make more money, but you cannot make more time.
Spending Your Time
Think about how you spend your time. It could be talking to your friends, randomly searching the internet, or maybe you think you could be more productive if you cleaned out your files and organized your office (for the ninth time this week).
Maybe a friend recommended a “life changing” book that you have to read in the next few days. I am all for lifelong learning and reading. In my case, I have to keep up with current technologies and trends in business so I read a lot. But I limit my reading time to 30 – 60 minutes per day. And I do it very early in the morning before my day starts so I can really focus without any distractions.
One skill I have developed that has helped save time when reading and learning is speed reading. Using speed reading strategies allows me to read through a book fairly quickly. In today’s world, most of us have to consume a lot of information on a daily basis, so this is a great skill to develop that will save you a lot of time. Go to YouTube and do a search on speed reading and you will find an abundance of information on the topic.
Here are a few more ways people “spend” their time. They are constantly checking their email on their phone, checking social media, and answering every call that comes in. Unlike back in the day when you had to find a pay phone, you now have your phone with you 24/7.
Here is a big time saving tip…turn of your phone! The world will keep turning and everything will be okay. Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a family emergency situation, you probably do not need to be checking your phone every few minutes.
My phone is always off when I am working on a client project or one of my own projects that requires one hundred percent focus with total concentration and no distractions for a few hours. And when my phone is on, I generally let everything go to voice mail. I don’t answer my phone.
But there is one exception. If I see a client who is paying me money, then I always answer my phone regardless of the time of day, including weekends. I figure if someone is paying money for my services, they deserve to be responded to immediately, or as soon as possible. The only time I let a client’s call go to voice mail when my phone is on is if I am in a meeting with a client.
Investing Your Time
Figuring out how to invest your time wisely is the key to every successful entrepreneurs journey. They become more and more protective of their time. They don’t spend their time talking on the phone, they don’t have unscheduled meetings, and they map out every minute of every day to make sure there is no wasted time. They make sure they are “investing” their time wisely and not “spending” their time. At this point I hope you are starting to see the difference.
The number one way to invest your time is in marketing. Marketing is the most important way you can invest your time. MARKETING HAS TO BE PRIORITY NUMBER ONE! Too many business owners spend the bulk of their time working in their business, getting overwhelmed and letting their marketing fall through the cracks.
Business owners fall into the trap of telling themselves they don’t have to invest their time in marketing because business is great. People love them or maybe they are the only business in town delivering this product or service. BIG MISTAKE! Ramp up your marketing when things are going well because you have the money to do it and this will help you keep your pipeline full for the lean times. Don’t wait until you are struggling and out of money to do your marketing.
What I have found to be the case most of the time when a business owner is overwhelmed in their business, and they don’t have time for marketing is they are not charging enough. They have a lot of clients paying them a pittance. So they are not making enough money even though they are working harder to keep up. So the solution is to charge more. Yes, some clients will leave, but you will make more money with less effort.
But I’m not saying charge more just to be charging more. You have to make sure you are delivering value and there is a return on their investment in your product or service.
Also, in some cases, the business owner is just too focused on the wrong things. So they are spending their time spinning their wheels and not making any financial headway in their business.
The next priority after marketing has to be working on your client’s projects. But Mike, my clients come first. (I can actually hear you saying that right now.) I agree. I treat my clients like gold. I respond within 24 hours or less to their phone calls. I work with them in every way possible to make sure they are getting value for the money they pay me for my services.
But I also know a client can leave at any time. And I know my business is not their priority. I have been fortunate to have clients that have stuck with me for seven to eight years and longer. But I know the reality is they could leave at any time because I don’t tie my clients into 12-month contracts. It’s always month-to-month. I have to earn their business every month.
So that is the reason I say marketing has to be your first priority. Nobody cares about your business more than you do. So treat it that way. Invest time in your marketing.
And that doesn’t mean invest time in your marketing when things get rough in your business. You should be investing time and money into marketing your business when things are going great so you can keep your pipeline filled with qualified prospects. Don’t wait until things turn south in your business, and you are out of money to market your business. At that point desperation sets in and you have no money to invest in marketing.
Other ways to “invest” your time versus “spend” your time is to work on improving your services, and creating better offers.
One final thing I will mention is using automation in your business and putting systems in place that will save you time and money. I am always looking for ways to automate processes in my business that can make money without me being involved in the process. For example, I could create a sales funnel, a membership site, an evergreen webinar, write a book, or create a sales page to sell a product or service 24/7 without my involvement.
I spend time reading about and learning tools that can automate certain parts of my business and processes. This is a situation where I spend time learning a tool or process, put it in place, and then it’s done. I don’t have to touch it again (or I don’t have to touch it very often.) This is where reading and learning can actually be an investment of your time. Because you are investing a short period of time to learn something you can put in place once and make money ongoing. Basically putting a system in place for your business that generates income without your involvement.
I hope this blog post has given you more insight into how you should be investing (and not spending) your time.
All the best,