If you have plenty of money AND plenty of time on your hands, you can count yourself among a fortunate few, and stop reading this now.
Okay, so maybe NO ONE is that fortunate. You and I both know that, even if we were to win a mega-million-dollar lottery jackpot, we’d still be (or feel that we are) short on money or time or both. So, especially as small business owners, we need to stretch the dollars or hours we DO have! And trading them strategically, one for the other, is a great way to do that.
In the olden days, it was commonplace to use, say, a chicken as payment for a doctor visit, or to pay for a meal with an hour of labor…and such trades enabled people to live better quality lives!
Likewise, for the modern-day entrepreneur, strategic trading can help you grow your existing business, find resources to start a new venture, make more time (or money) for your family, and more. And I’m not just talking about trading with someone else; you can trade with yourself too! See what I mean in the examples below…
Be an Efficient Time/Money Trader
- Say you’re making good money in your business, but you’re busy as heck, and you can’t seem to squeeze another minute out of your day.
- IMAGINE you’re making about $75 per hour, and you find a virtual assistant who only charges $40 an hour. BONUS POINTS if the same tasks that normally take you an hour to complete every day will only take her maybe 30 to 45 minutes :D. It’s totally worth your while to hire her, and free up precious hours for you to grow your business!
- OR, WHAT IF your down-time is so filled with household duties that you don’t have nearly enough time to devote to your family. Why not pay an outside contractor, like a maid service or grocery delivery service, to take some of those chores off your hands? Simply weigh the pros and cons, like which tasks you are worst at/despise the most (and therefore would benefit most from outsourcing), and how much the service would cost. Considering that time spent with your loved ones is priceless, hiring a [$10/$20/$30-whatever per hour] service to free up a few hours of your time each week is a no-brainer.
- On the flip side, let’s say you have time, but you’re short on money, or you need to save extra money for something like a book launch, new office equipment, new product line, etc.
- MAYBE you’re the world’s worst at bookkeeping, but hiring a dedicated employee to take it off your hands is not yet in your budget. So hire an accounting student from your local college or university to be your intern! You give them a little bit of your time (showing them how to function as a real-world employee, for example), and in exchange, you only pay a small stipend (however much you’re able) for whole semester of specialized work. They get experience, help you grow your business, and it’s a win-win for everyone!
- WHAT?! You’ve been over-paying your accountant for years, forgetting to deduct your dedicated home office space from your taxes (as a percentage of your rent or mortgage bill), and who knows what else…(!) Now you’re planning a new product line, and you need money for production costs (uh-oh). By taking the time to research your options, and make changes, you can pocket several hundred a month in savings. For just those few hours of research, you can now put that money towards your new product line!
It’s all about the strategy: Knowing what you need, what you’re willing to trade, and weighing the pros and cons can help you make the most of the resources you have, to grow your business and improve your life! For a super-basic example, I always think of the choice between buying pre-chopped veggies to save time, or saving money by chopping them myself…just ask “What is the best decision here, based on my current resources?”. You’ll find the answer. 😉
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About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!