Today we are talking all about money, time and effort. If you’re interested in how you can be more productive, how you can scale your business, how you can work past mental blocks that are holding you back, then this podcast episode [and blog post] is for you.
Two questions to start us out:
Do you believe that you have to work hard to have money?
Do you believe that money comes from your effort?
Hmmmmm… consider those questions as you continue reading.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
I’ve got a story to share as we kick things off…
When I was in my corporate job, I worked from 8 to 5. Everyday. No exceptions — except maybe even longer on occasion. I was expected to be in that room all day, even if there wasn’t work to be done. Well, as a new employee, I hadn’t “earned” any time off yet, and so to get time off when you had none meant you had to put in more time. An hour for an hour. Well, I needed some time off. My friend was getting married and I was a bridesmaid in the wedding. The rehearsal was on a Friday afternoon, 2 hours away, which meant, I needed significant time off that day. So, every day for a week and a half, I worked 1 extra hour. I stayed til 6 instead of 5 or came in at 7 instead of 8, and I worked through my lunch breaks. I did this until I got the day off I needed for this wedding.
It was truly an hour for an hour. I was being paid to do the work obviously, but as an employee, I was also being paid to literally BE THERE — to exist in front of my computer, to answer the phone when a client called, and to be available for meetings. Although I was salaried, the hourly concept was still well established. I’m sure if you’ve ever worked a traditional job, you can relate. So, to get time off, I had to GIVE TIME. I had to make up for what I was missing with more hours.
Did you know that as the CEO of your business you won’t get paid more to sit at your desk longer? [Let that sink in, because although we know it we often don’t act like it.]
Do you know that when a task takes more time, it doesn’t mean more money? Those minutes spent doing pointless tasks, scrolling on the gram, and procrastination is not only NOT moving your business forward… but, they also are completely wasting your precious time. All because you think you need to sit at your desk longer.
We come to the table from the employee perspective, where being a good employee means working “harder”, but that’s not what being a good entrepreneur is.
I believed for a long time that I needed to trade my time for money, even as a business owner. And, I felt a deep sense of guilt if I didn’t work from 9 to 5 because that’s what I believed I was “suppose” to do. After all, that’s what traditional jobs were like, and that’s what my friends were doing. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of the money if the hours weren’t put in.
When vacations were coming up, I’d “make up for it” in my mind by putting in more hours. Not completed tasks, HOURS. I’d say something like “I can take off tomorrow, only if I get in 10 hours of work in today.” But, how does that make sense?
Where in your life are you believing this money block that you HAVE to put in a lot of time to earn a lot of money?
Do you believe that you have to work hard to have money?
Do you believe that money comes from your effort?
NEWS FLASH: Money doesn’t come from effort. It doesn’t come from time. And, it doesn’t require working “really hard”. You might read that and think “WHAT?! Elizabeth, of course, it does! You have to work hard to earn money!” Think about it more… it doesn’t.
I’ve got 3 reasons why:
- How many people do you know who are working their tails off, and have nothing to show for it? They put in so much time and energy, but are still totally broke? Working hard does not equal wealth.
- Do you know of someone who works LESS than you and makes MORE money? Even if you don’t know someone like this personally, you can probably think of SOMEONE who this is true of.
- How many times have you happened upon money with zero effort on your end? (Think about birthday gifts, inheritances, literally finding money on the street)
If there’s an exception to the fact (see above), then it’s not a fact, it’s a belief. The idea of “you have to work hard for money” is a belief. It’s the employee mindset: “The harder you work, the more you are rewarded.”
Let’s ditch the employee mindset. I’ve got 4 major ways for you to put this into action.
1. Work smarter not harder.
If you are working SOOOOO HARD in the wrong direction, it doesn’t count for anything. For example, let’s say you are in Nashville and you want to get to California. So, you put in a ton of energy walking, running, jogging towards the south to get there. You’re working really hard, you’re putting in the time, you’re putting in the effort. But, you’re going the wrong direction and you chose the longest, hardest way to do it when you could just book a non-stop flight and get there in a couple of hours. “Working hard” on the wrong thing counts for nothing.
When you start your workday, ask yourself “What tasks can I do today to move my business forward?” Put in the hours that really matter on the things that move your business forward. And I hate to break it to you, but mindlessly scrolling on Instagram is not moving your business forward. Doing the same tasks over and over again that you could easily automate doesn’t move your business forward. And, trading time for money doesn’t move your business forward. Just working hard for the sake of working hard doesn’t benefit you at all.
3. Push back against the culture of busy.
Being busy often seems like a badge of honor, especially in the business world where everything is about hustling. We can feel like success is equal to busyness.
First of all, I don’t want people to see me as “busy” because bo me busy is bad. Busy means I don’t have time for the people I love, that I’m stressed out, and that I don’t have my life under control. Also, have you ever noticed that EVERYONE is “so busy”? Regardless of their job, regardless of their life situation, America runs on busy. And, I think being busy isn’t really what it seems.
Busy is a mindset that you can choose to be in, or you can decide to ditch. I personally try to ditch the word busy from my vocabulary altogether.
Tim Ferriss says that staying “busy” is actually a form of laziness. Being perpetually busy is the same as being sloppy with your time, which is ultimately a form of laziness. Deciding to just “work really hard” means you’re not putting in the work of figuring out how you can actually run your business effectively.
Telling yourself “I’m going to work 10 hours every day until I get to where I want to be.” is a lot easier than putting in the work to figure out how you can run your business smart. Answering questions like “How can I not work myself to the bone?” and “How can I make my time work for me instead of being a slave to time?” is harder.
It’s easy to confuse activity for productivity. Let’s trade lots of activity for a smaller amount of intentional, thoughtful work. Push back against the culture of busy.
3. Stop acting like an employee of your own business.
You are the boss. Even when you feel like you are too young, too inexperienced, or “TOO WHATEVER”, you’re the one in charge. So, act like it. When you run your business strategically and manage your time well, you can create more time for the things you love. Quit trading an hour of work for an hour of free time. Actually manage your own schedule. Plan your day. Do the harder thing. Because yes, whether or not you realize it, just sitting down and working until 10 pm is EASIER than planning your day. Quit choosing the easy option, choose the strategic option that actually will get you the results you want.
So, ask yourself on this one — what ways do you act like an employee? Are you acting like there’s someone else out there with the plan and vision for your business, so you don’t have to do all of that?
4. Use tools to get you there.
Managing your time well doesn’t just happen on its own. You need tools and resources to get you there!
My favorite tools for managing my time right now are my High-Performance Planner, Powersheets, To Doist, and Toggl. They all rock and work together beautifully.
Here’s how I use each:
High-Performance Planner: I use this on especially full days to schedule out my day, hour by hour. There are also morning and evening mindset questions that will help you stay focused on the BIGGEST goals in your business, not the little pointless tasks. I also love that it’s un-dated so you can start using it whenever, and skip a day on the weekends or other times when you don’t need the intense structure.
Powersheets by Cultivate What Matters: I use Powersheets to set my big goals for the entire year, and then smaller goals for each month, week, and day. Like the High-Performance Planner, this tool keeps me focused on the bigger goals! [Read more about why I love Powersheets here.]
ToDoist: This is a free computer/phone app that lets you make tasks list. You can make lists for things you want to do that day, or keep rolling categories for other things you need to remember! ToDoist especially helps me lately when I get distracted about something off-task. For example, I’m working on a client project and I remember “Ah, I have got to buy light bulbs!” and then I just quickly add that to my “To Purchase” list and get back to what I’m doing.
Toggl: Have you ever really looked at how you spend your workday or exactly how many hours you’re putting in? It can be EYE OPENING. I track my work each and every day using the free tool, Toggl. In Toggl, you can set up clients and projects and add descriptions for each work session you do. I can differentiate between my time spent on a specific client project and my time spent writing blog content for my own business. I can see how much time each week I spend in meetings and how much time I spend building websites.
Another tip about using tools: Don’t chase “shiny new tools” constantly. You could listen to a thousand podcasts and everyone will suggest something different. Try something and stick to it for a while. Then, only if that isn’t working, try something else.
To sum it all up:
Yes, starting a business is challenging. But, that’s not the same as working harder.
Is walking difficult or is learning to walk difficult? I’d say walking is easy, but learning to walk is not. It’s the same with a business. When you’ve been trained as an employee, learning to run a business is challenging. But, just because it’s challenging, doesn’t mean it requires “hard work” for you to make money.
You guys, the first step is a mindset adjustment! Consider the facts, consider that you may be living with a false belief, and work on it. I believe that SO MANY of our business problems are not about our marketing or our websites even, they are about what’s going on in our heads.
Thanks for reading! I hope this message helps you ditch the 9 to 5 mentality for good!