The Pursuit of Online Entrepreneurship
Podcast Episode 036 – 7 Ways to Stop Trading Your Time For Money
7 Ways to Stop Trading Your Time for Money
So you broke free from your 9 to 5 and started your self employment journey—woo!
Whether you’re freelancing or just getting started as an entrepreneur, there’s a pretty good chance you’re experiencing the same cycle many of us do when we first throw our hats in the entrepreneurial ring:
- You get hired by a client to work on a project that will take a certain number of hours.
- You “show up” (If you’re lucky, this means working from home . . . another reason to celebrate!) and complete the work.
- You send an invoice and get paid according to how many hours you worked.
In other words . . . Congratulations. You just traded your time for money.
Now don’t get me wrong—being self-employed does come with a certain degree of freedom, and initially, the phenomena of setting a good hourly rate, working your preferred number of hours, and cashing in on that time may sound great. But is that really what you want in the long-term?
Personally, the trading-time-for-dollars thing ran me ragged. I didn’t feel like I had the luxury of saying no when I should have said no, and I ended up overbooking myself, working long hours, tying up weekends and holidays . . . and for what? A little more money?
I’m on the other side of that now, and I’m here to tell you this:
Unless you want to spend ALL your free time building a business that feels eerily similar to your old 9 to 5, you MUST start taking back your time and STOP trading hours for dollars.
Which is exactly why we’re here! Today, I’m sharing 7 of my favorite strategies to STOP trading your time for money!
My 7 Strategies
1. Hire Help
You don’t have to do it all! Outsourcing work is a great way to free up some of your time and make a little money simultaneously. You put in the effort of signing clients—then, hire reliable, competent freelancers to take some of that work off your plate for a lower rate than what you’re making from the project. If you feel weird about doing this, remember: YOU’RE the one finding the clients, and YOU’RE the one assuming all the risk. It’s totally fair for you to make a profit.
2. Increase Your Rates
Taking on too many clients for too little money is a fast track to feeling overworked and underpaid. If you’re at max capacity, it’s time to give yourself a raise! Give legacy clients a 60-day heads up and be sure to lock in a minimum number of hours. When I did this in my own business, I implemented a 20% increase for legacy clients (with the 60-day notice) and a 35% increase in rates for all new clients going forward.
3. Develop a Resource Library
Your resource library should be full of resources, how-to videos, templates, workbooks, slide decks and the like. You can offer your resource library as an upsell to clients—they simply pay a one-time access fee to enjoy all the resources you’ve researched and put together. Pressed for time? Feel free to hire a freelancer to standardize, label, and organize your resource library.
4. Create a Knowledge Base for FAQs
Similar to a tech vault, a knowledge base is a resource that answers your most common questions. Having a knowledge base prepped saves you time that you might currently be spending typing answers to the same questions over and over again. It also helps ensure that your responses are consistent. For an extra dose of time saving, share this base with your assistant; that way, you can easily provide him or her with the knowledge needed to respond to questions on your behalf. This doesn’t need to be fancy—a Google Doc or Word Doc works just fine.
5. Offer a “Hotline”
What’s a hotline, you ask? One of my favorite things! In the hotline model, your subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive something of value from your business. Think Netflix or Hulu—you pay a monthly fee, and they provide continued access to TV shows and movies. This could look very different depending on what type of business you own, but a relatively simple option for most online entrepreneurs is creating a paid online community. You can build an online community in a Facebook group or forum where paid members can ask questions and receive direct support from you. This allows you to spend more time focusing on providing VALUE for existing customers and less time tracking down new customers.
6. Focus On 1 to Many Service Offers
Most service-based businesses are stuck in the 1 to 1 model . . . Which is exactly how we get ourselves into trouble. By creating a 1 to Many model, you give yourself the opportunity for virtually limitless growth. A 1 to Many model simply means you’re able to offer your service to more than one person at a time.
For example, instead of offering private training at $75 an hour, you could offer a four-hour group training at $100 per person; you’re guaranteed to only spend those four hours, you have the potential to make a limitless amount of money in a small amount of time, and your clients have the opportunity for a discount. It’s worth noting that this may not work for every type of business, but if you can make it work, this is definitely worthwhile for you and for your clients.
7. Create Digital Products for Passive Income
If you’ve been part of this community long, you KNOW I love digital products. They offer a golden opportunity to grow your passive income—in other words, to make continued revenue after an initial time investment up front. For more information about digital products and how to make them work in your business, check out EPISODE 32: WHAT IS A DIGITAL PRODUCT? and EPISODE 33: PASSIVE INCOME IS NOT PASSIVE.
I hope the advice in this episode empowers you to STOP trading hours for dollars and STOP burning yourself out. There are so many great ways to create more sustainable modes of serving in your business—I’ve only covered a few here, but it should be enough to spark your entrepreneurial creativity!
I’d love to hear what you think about these suggestions. Scroll on down to the comments and let me know: Which you will you implement first?
One last thing—if you loved this material and want to dive deeper, don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes! It helps me build this community AND you’ll get a notification for new content, which means you’ll never miss an episode!
Thank you so much for showing up for me, for yourself, and for your business. Talk to you next week!
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