To start, I’m going to ask you one of the most valuable questions for those of us in business development. Specifically, this question is important if you’re in commission-based selling, or if you have your own business and earn what you sell. Many people don’t think about this question much, but when you do take this question seriously, have an answer to it, and live out the answer on a daily basis, you’re going to excel much more in selling, as it relates to valuing your time.
The question is this: how much is your time worth per hour? If you’re going to give your hourly worth a monetary value, how much would it be? Is it $20, $50, $200, or $500 an hour? You really have to think hard about it and have a number in mind. That way, as I share with you a couple of exercises to value your time even more, it can give you a clearer mental picture.
The exercise routine I’m talking about is called Start, Stop, and Keep. Do this weekly or monthly, or maybe even daily in the beginning. And as we go through this model, let’s assume for the sake our example that you value your time at $75 an hour. Let’s get on with it:
Start: Ask yourself, “What is one thing I should start doing on a daily basis in my business that’s worth $75/hour?” It might be as simple as following up with past customers on the phone, or running ads in a new platform. I’m not sure what that thing to start is for you, but make sure you pick an activity that is worth $75/hour.
Stop: What is one thing you should stop doing that is NOT worth $75/hour? Perhaps it’s the endless chit-chat that happens in the mornings. Perhaps it’s the huge, unproductive gaps in your schedule. It could be a variety of things. Maybe it’s spending an excessive amount of time with unqualified leads. So what is one thing you should eliminate from your schedule that is not worthwhile? An activity that is worth only $5 or $10 an hour, for example, should not be bothered with.
Keep: What is one thing you’re doing right now that you’re excelling at, that is within your hourly worth? How can you keep doing this thing, and be consistent with it? How can you increase the time spent doing it? The reason this is important is because oftentimes when we get busy and life becomes hectic, the things we’re doing right tend to fall off the wayside.
So, that’s start, stop, keep. It’s a very simple tool that you could apply to your business on a daily basis. If you want to learn about another tool as it relates to your time, you can simply look to an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. Many years ago, he realized that in the Italian economy, 80% of the wealth in the country was held by only 20% the people. He was also a pea farmer, and he discovered that 80% of the peas were produced by 20% of the pea pods.
The leadership concept called the 80/20 rule that you may have heard of was originally taken from Vilfredo Pareto. A lot of times, 80% of our income is developed by the top 20% of clients. They are the repeat buyers and big spenders. Or, if you’re looking at freeing up time, generally 80% of our daily activities are low value. They’re worth less than say, the $75/hour we set earlier. So what can we do to deal with those low value activities? If only 20% of what we do is high value, how can we eliminate, delegate, or outsource all those low value items so we can stay focused on the top 20%?
These are things every business owner should think about, but it’s especially important for those of you who make their money based on commission-based selling, or business owners who earn what they sell. So I challenge you to work out how much is your time is worth, and apply these exercises to make your time more valuable starting today.