Often times we underestimate the value of our time. There are many instances when we do things on our own to save a few dollars. But what we forget how much our time is worth.
For example; within the past week I have worked with two different clients who spend countless hours creating their product. One of which makes custom books. She orders all the material separately and then assembles them on her own. She told me that it takes her about 20 minutes for complete assembly of her books–she sells anywhere from 500-700 a month.
This isn’t a huge operation, but it still takes her more than 160 hours every month to complete all of her orders. When I spoke with her we talked about setting up an automated system that prints each order as they come in, complete with fulfillment, but she was ever so hesitant. Her biggest hang up was the fact that she was going to lose some of her margins by paying for an automated system and fulfillment.
Here’s the issue: her margins were only shrinking at a minimal amount. What she didn’t realize is that by automating her system she would then have 160 hours to spend with her family, but also to grow her business and find more customers. Think about how much faster her business would grow if she took all of that time to grow her business rather than actually assembling her product. I can’t forget to mention that she has only been in business for a few months and has only run online banners. She has barely put any work into advertising and grown very quickly.
I personally try to weigh the pros and cons of doing something myself. For example, I recently bought a new home and had the yard landscaped. When I was in high school I worked for a landscaping company so I know the basics. I just didn’t know if I wanted to spend countless hours after work in the yard putting in my sprinklers and landscaping. It wasn’t something I was really looking forward to. I decided that instead of doing the yard myself I only needed to land a few more sales in order to make up the difference. So I did. I spend a few more hours a day selling and paid for my yard–it was a lot less time than doing it on my own. Not to mention it allowed me to spend time growing my business, spending time with my family and doing things that I enjoy.
The moral of the story is this: when you are a salesman, entrepreneur, self-employed, etc. you have to take into account how much your time is actually worth. Sure you saved a few bucks by doing something on your own, but how much did you actually save compared to how many more sales you could have gotten in that amount of time.
Estimate your time properly and take into consideration what is most important.