While today’s hot currencies may include the US Dollar, Yen, Euro, or even a few crypto-currencies, in my experience, the most valuable currency on the market for entrepreneurs is TIME. However, consider the opportunity costs. In other words, “what do I lose, to get what I want?” Could you be applying one hour of your day developing customers rather than creating a spreadsheet to track office supplies?
“Fail fast” is a common phrase in the entrepreneurial community because SOME failure is inevitable. Every pass doesn’t convert to a touchdown and every shot taken doesn’t convert to a goal. But at the point of failure one should be able to count it as part of an iterative process of improvement to avoid FATAL failure (the death of a business, dream, or idea.) I for one would prefer not to fail at all, BUT if I must, I’m keen to push through it quickly, lick my wounds, and move on to the next opportunity.
Here’s my personal “time” story: During my life as an employee, a primary career goal of mine was climbing the corporate ladder quickly to achieve management levels by key age milestones (e.g. Sr. Program Manager by 30 years old, which I missed by nine (9) months!) But one day heard a former employee say “I fell asleep at the wheel of my career for the past 15 years.”
This provided a wake-up call for me, his manager and junior by over 10 years. You’re probably thinking “Wait, wait, waitI thought that I was reading this blog to learn about entrepreneurship, not corporate life.” CORRECT! Unless you are independently wealthy or someone else is providing financial support, you have no time to waste. You have to go for it NOW. You will be broke long before 15 years, and if planned poorly, hurting within 15 weeks.
OPTIMIZING VALUE OF YOUR PERSONAL CURRENCY
As we will discuss in accompanying installments of this series, you must learn to differentiate between key activities requiring your personal effort; those that can be “outsourced” to friends, family, partners, employees, and third party services; and tasks that can be discarded.
This last category poses the most difficult to identify and likely most important of all. Will the activity identify a new customer, produce a sale, or teach you a new skill? If not, consider outsourcing or eliminating the activity or task. In business, this is called using “time leverage.”
EXCHANGING TIME FOR CASH
For successful solopreneurs and consultants, we can enjoy a comfortable life with relative financial security. While absolutely fantastic, earning capability is still tied to your specific efforts and requires personal involvement.
Installing systems, repeatable processes, and effective teams allow conversion of your time for cash at a favorable currency exchange rate. At our respective companies, corporate executives’ compensation packages certainly benefited from our hard work. Why not take the time to follow their example!