An Escape From Excessive Time Whoredom
Trading time for money is a bad deal. Steve Pavlina says so. Jonathan Edwards says so too. For different reasons, both of these “thought leaders” explain that the value of time is so great that any price tag put on it is far below its true value.
Like most people, though, my occupation is based on this broken value system.
As I have mentioned before, my wife and I are in the shit financially. So even though I realize that there are things that I could be doing to build assets to generate income long term — assets that continually make money without additional time investments — it’s also true that I need cash immediately to cover short term expenses.
I need money right now.
So when my managers say overtime is available, I’m one of the first to sign up. I’m in an awful place where it seems favorable to exchange the priceless resource of time at a rate far below its true value. For the past few weeks, this has meant working 13-hour days as often as possible.
Today, however, no overtime is available. I’m back to the regular eight hours.
In one sense, this sucks. Again, I need money immediately.
In another sense, this is an extremely good thing. I need to use my time to create assets that will generate money for the long haul.
For your benefit, and mine, let’s run through some examples.
If I work an hour of overtime, I will earn approximately $18 after taxes. That’s it. That’s all the money I’ll make from that hour of work. After that hour is passed, it’s gone forever, and all I’ll have is $18.
On the other hand, if I use that hour to write a blog post, I have the potential to earn from it for as long as I have my website up. If I “monetize” my blog with advertisements, I can consider that I’ll earn $1 from it per week. If that’s true, it would take 18 weeks for that to equal an hour of overtime. However, those 18 weeks are going to happen anyway, and it doesn’t cost me anymore time investment to keep the post up. And if that post continues to make $1 every week, after just a year, that post will have earned me $52 — almost three times what I would have made trading my time to my employer. In five years, at the same rate, that one hour investment will return $260 for the same hour of work.
Do you see what I’m saying? 1 hour of overtime = $18. 1 hour writing a blog post = potentially a lot more money.
Here’s another example. If I spend a lot of time writing an ebook, lets say 40 hours, depending on marketing strategies and various other things, I may not have an immediate return on that time investment, but I would have an asset that could generate a lot of money over the course of time. Spending those hours working overtime would earn me $720. If each ebook sale earns me even a low profit of $5, I would make my overtime rate by selling 144 copies. If I sell another 144 copies, I would double my profit, and it wouldn’t involve anymore time investment — digital tools handle the processing automatically. And it would potentially continue earning me income for a very long time, without me spending any more time on it. I’m just pulling numbers out of the air, but if I sell an average of 100 copies a week, that 40 hour investment would earn me $26,000 in a year. That’s over 36 times what I would have earned working for my boss.
These numbers sound really great, but in reality, I haven’t experienced this kind of success. Not yet anyway. I believe it is possible, but there are some pitfalls. I have to use my time to develop assets that people actually care about and care enough about that they will pay for it, which is a lot more difficult than one might imagine at first.
But there are a lot of folks out there who make lots of money like this.
The main point: building assets is a better investment than trading time for money.