As all entrepreneurs and business owners know, in the beginning you do everything. Literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G: buy the printer toner, make client calls, delivery investor pitches, work on product development, make the coffee, post the job ads, and on and on and on and on…
But at some point, we have to make a choice: we can continue to do everything ourselves OR we can grow our businesses. We can’t do both.
We have to start valuing our time…
Now, by valuing our time, I don’t just mean that in an abstract sense of “time is precious” (which it is). I mean that in the very literal sense. What pound-value or dollar-value does your time have? This is an important thing to figure out because it can guide so many decisions when you are debating what to do in your business. (Hint: You can use your current or most recent salary as a benchmark, or ask other founders whose businesses are at the same stage as yours what they pay themselves to get an idea.)
Let’s say that once you’ve done the calculations, you arrive at an hourly rate of £75/hour. This is how much your time is currently worth. (Your calculations will probably have given you a different number, but we’ll use this number for illustration purposes.)
What this number very clearly tells you is that you should only focus on activities that are “worth” £45/hour (or more) OR activities that add £45 of value (or more) to your business. Put differently, this tells you that anything you can pay someone else to do for less than £45/hour is worth giving to someone else. [Note: I am NOT talking about exploiting people here. You should always pay a fair wage to anyone who works for you!]
Your time is worth £45/hour, so you should do activities that merit that rate. If someone else can do a task you are currently doing for less than your hourly rate, then it is good leverage to use them instead of continuing to do the task yourself.
Now I know it isn’t always as straightforward as this and when you are bootstrapping your business, paying someone else is a very big consideration. But take some time to let this lesson sink in. And start thinking of ways you can stay focused on the £45/hour activities. It doesn’t always mean hiring someone. You can delegate tasks to a software, a process, a better way of doing something, or to your co-founder!
There are lots of ways to get things done in a way that doesn’t have to cost you much or any money, but setting these things up takes time and thought, so gift yourself the headspace to think about how you can do things differently, better, or more efficiently and value your time.
Your business won’t move very far if keep doing everything yourself.