A lot of entrepreneurs focus on runway, capital, and money. But money is not as important as time. Not by a long shot.
Your time is limited. Remember that.
Each day you’re given 86,400 seconds from the ‘Time Bank’. Everyone is given the same. There are no exceptions. Once you make your withdrawal, you’re free to spend it as you want.
The ‘Time Bank’ won’t tell you how to spend it. Time poorly spent will not replaced with more time. Time doesn’t do refunds.
There’s so many reasons time is your most valuable resource. Sure, money pays the bills, but how you spend your time determines how much money, freedom, and personal power you have. Once you spend that time, it’s impossible to get back.
Consider this commencement speech by Jim Carrey at the 2014 MUM graduation. The best stuff starts at the 10:12 mark.
Carrey talks about his dad doing what so many choose to do — playing it safe. Trading stability and security for the things he actually wanted to do. But that safety was an illusion, as his father was let go from his job. Instead of putting time into pursuing his own dreams, Carrey’s father did what he thought was right, but and was still penalized.
I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
— Jim Carrey
My own father went through something very similar when I was fourteen, and I went through it in my previous career when I was thirty-six.
Why Employees Become Entrepreneurs
It’s difficult to find companies that support the self-actualization of individuals.
Most companies have a vested interest in keeping their employees from spreading their wings too far. While their talents and expertise are good enough to use, companies with a controlling culture want to monopolize an employee’s time, or prevent them from obtaining their own personal power. Like children looking for approval from authority, employees in a fear-based culture are always seeking approval from higher-ups. They must be vigilant to stay in the good graces of their bosses, or they will have to scramble for a new means of survival.
The best companies invest in developing their employees, and realize that people evolve, and anticipate people moving on to bigger and better things. Respectful companies do not monopolize time, but give their employees adequate time to build and refresh themselves.
And this is important because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. It sucks to find that you’ve given all of your time and energy to someone else and not left yourself anything to build your own dreams with.
Helping to build empires for someone else doesn’t make sense when you despise what that empire stands for, or you dread going to work each day.
Most jobs are not designed to ever consider the individual. When we spend our time working for others, we are trusting that they won’t use that power to determine our fate.
Time Is Important For Entrepreneurs
It’s popular right now to be an entrepreneur. More so than any other time I can remember in my lifetime. But very few people are prepared for how different it is from being an employee.
Being an employee allows you to stop at a certain time each day. It doesn’t truly require you to kill your own prey, so to speak. The system is the strength, not necessarily the individuals.
Starting any sort of business requires an insane amount of time to be successful, especially in the beginning.
Gary Vaynerchuk said in a recent video that he would choose time over money, all day long. (Sorry, I can’t find the exact link.) This is because The Work is only a small part of an entrepreneur’s day. Business development — meaning everything related to bringing people into the sales funnel and building a company takes more time than sitting down do whatever it is that people are paying you for.
Yes, money is nice. It can buy you more time to get things going, but without investing more time into growth, your business is going to be stuck on a plateau forever.
It’s a chicken and egg situation. In order to grow, you need to delegate more tasks to other people. In order to hire those people, you need a higher revenue flow. But if you don’t start planning for taking tasks off your plate at some point, you’l never have the time to develop and grow your business.
This treadmill of getting buried in tasks becomes a sort of Groundhog Day for some business owners.
Saying No And Introducing Structure To Get More Time
Human nature is funny. Most people want immediate answers. People outside of your particular industry are unfamiliar with your workflow. They will not think about what is already on your schedule — and how can they know?
This sounds harsh, but it’s not. I check my email at the beginning, middle and end of the day. There’s nothing in my inbox that cannot wait a few hours. I do this so that I can work uninterrupted for long stretches at a time. Most every person I know in every industry does their best work when they have long stretches of concentration like this. Your mileage may vary, but this works for me and everyone that I look up to.
Instantaneous answers are appropriate at times, but most of the time, they can wait until both parties are ready.
Scheduling For Efficiency
Phone calls or in-person meetings are something that are mandatory for scheduling. I learn a lot about a person by how seriously they take scheduled meetings. I lose respect quickly for people who break schedule. People who are habitual about being late or cancelling meetings are people I don’t wish to deal with, as they have very little respect for the time of others.
Time is precious, it’s not something to give to people who do not value it.
Philosophy of Time
Ask yourself: Are you using your time wisely? Are you happy? Are you working on what matters to you? If the answer to any of those questions is, “no,” it might be time to rethink your priorities.
— Christopher Murphy