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What's your time worth?

March 11, 2009

One of the biggest mistakes most small business owners make is spending too much time working in their business instead of on their business. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth, correctly stated “Most entrepreneurs are merely technicians with an entrepreneurial seizure”. They get stuck doing daily activities or what I call “low priority tasks”.

Low priority tasks don’t really contribute directly to increasing the bottom line, but they are things that usually need to get done like sending out emails or postcards to customers, ordering supplies, working on your website, or sometimes even making courtesy phone calls. These can be important tasks, but are not always priorities. Priorities for you as a business owner should be focused always on growing your business — increasing customers and the frequency of their purchases. This means that most of your time outside of doing quality work should be focused on marketing.

Outsourcing uour “low priority work”

The biggest response that I’ll get back from making a statement like this is — “That sounds great, but I can’t afford to hire an office assistant to do all of these smaller tasks.” When you think about it, it’s really a “catch 22”. The cycle keeps going.

A small business owner believes they can’t afford to hire someone, even though if they did, the business would increase because they would have more time to spend growing the business. The reality is, you really don’t have to go out and hire a full time assistant. These days you can find “virtual assistants” or VA’s who will only charge for blocks of time.

For example, I’ve hired a VA in the past to do 12 hours a week for me. This included tasks like inputting new leads into an online database, designing and sending our postcards to prospects and clients, and adding content the website.

I also hired a VA to make follow up phone calls for me after I had mailed out a big promotion. You can usually find virtual assistants through sites like elance.com. You might even want to search Craigslist.com in your area. Even if I find them online, I usually contact them by phone to interview them and make sure they have the qualifications I’m looking for.

A good VA will charge about $18-$20 per hour, but many times if you buy blocks of time each week and sign a 3 month contract, you can get a better price.

If you can invest just 10 hours a week for a VA to take care of those smaller responsibilities, it will free you up to focus on the most important aspect of your business — growing your customer base.

Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach Taylor at www.JonathanTaylorBlog.com.