“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
– Bruce Lee
I’ve observed many incredibly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who make many more decisions based on time than on money, and I’ve seen the same trend in my career. In this episode, we’re going to discuss how to more effectively invest time, our most precious commodity.
Going Back to College After a Decade to Get My Degrees
After my junior year in college, I dropped out of school to focus on growing Adoption.com full-time. After running Adoption.com for more than a decade, I felt stagnated and paralyzed in my entrepreneurship. It felt like others were putting limits on me because I didn’t have a college degree, and that I was hitting glass ceilings. I wanted to be a better entrepreneur, and I didn’t want to be a limiting factor in the growth of my businesses.
As one solution to be a better entrepreneur, I wanted to go back to finish my degree. My wife and my business partner were both supportive, so I hired a good friend to manage the day-to-day operations of the business under my direction and immediately enrolled in school in another state.
Soon after restarting school, my wife suggested I try to simultaneously enroll in the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) program, which was about to start, while I was finishing my undergraduate degree. This MBA program was something she knew I really wanted to do, but I believed I had to finish my undergraduate degree first and then apply for the MBA program the following school year. I didn’t think there was any chance the MBA program would ever let me simultaneously enroll while I was still finishing my undergraduate degree, or that they would let me apply to start in just a few weeks. But, because of my wife’s encouragement, I asked and I was shocked when the university agreed to let me do both programs at once.
I gratefully did that MBA program and I loved it. I know some entrepreneurs feel college isn’t worth it, but I disagree, at least for my situation. I loved my professors, classmates, and classes in the BYU MBA program. Through that program, I was amazed at how much I learned that I didn’t know I didn’t know through my first decade of entrepreneurship. Doors opened to me, such as the Deseret Digital Media position, or university classes I’ve taught, that would not have been possible without that master’s degree.
Finding the Best Mentors
As a second solution to becoming a better entrepreneur, I went looking for mentors. Since I had started my first business as a college student and had always been the CEO since then, I had never had the experience of being mentored by highly successful entrepreneurs who I worked for. I wanted to be mentored by and learn from highly successful entrepreneurs.
So I started doing digital strategy, marketing, and execution work for other entrepreneurs. Over the next few years, I approached four incredibly successful entrepreneurs from whom I wanted to be mentored, and I was very blessed that all four of them allowed me to work for them. These four men weren’t just successful entrepreneurs, but they were also striving to nurture family and faith at the core of their lives, which I wanted in my life as well.
Those four entrepreneurial mentors for me were:
David Neeleman who founded 4 airlines such as JetBlue and Azul;
Carlos Martins, a billionaire entrepreneur from Brazil who created the world’s largest network of language learning schools;
Paul Allen, who started Ancestry.com (not the Microsoft Paul Allen); and
Clark Gilbert, who was a former Harvard Entrepreneurship professor and the CEO of Deseret Digital Media.
I was able to absorb strategies and insights from those amazing entrepreneurs by helping grow their ventures. My treasured time working for these four men felt like an apprenticeship stage of my entrepreneurial journey. It is very important for every entrepreneur to create mentoring opportunities where they can learn from entrepreneurs who have been-there-done-that and have already achieved the kinds of success we want to achieve, in the areas that matter most to us.
Time is Our Most Precious Commodity
One of the most important lessons I learned from these great men was that time seemed to be their most precious commodity. I saw them make many decisions based more upon time than upon money. For example, I vividly remember the first time I traveled to Brazil to meet with Carlos Martins and his team, and how he had a helicopter pick me up at the airport in Sao Paulo and fly me to his home to save me hours of driving in traffic to his home. Time was so precious to him.
Then, later that night I remember playing soccer (or football as we call it in Brazil) in Carlos’ backyard with him and his family. I played soccer as a child and in high school and I love it. I think Carolos was surprised that an American knew how to play soccer. For Brazilians, soccer is just a part of life. For many Brazilians, it is more prestigious to be on the Brazilian national soccer team than to be the President of Brazil. No joke.
Anyway, the helicopter ride had saved hours of driving, which allowed us time to make some fun memories together. I was blessed to help Carlos create several businesses, and that soccer game was a great way to start off the business relationship. He had traded the cost of the helicopter ride in part for the time to make that connection.
Each of my four mentors had to be incredibly diligent about managing their time so they could accomplish the amazing things they did, and still have plenty of time for the other things that mattered most, such as their faith and their families. They each had to consciously remove many less-important things from their lives so they had time for the things that were more important. It’s kind of like they were constantly working to maximize their ROT (Return on Time). I believe that because these men learned how to leverage time as their most precious commodity they were able to find much more success in all of those areas.
Reinvesting Time in Things That Matter Most
I have not had anywhere near the success of those four men, but time has also become my most precious commodity. I find myself wanting more time to do the things that matter most to me, such as spending time with the people I love, my faith, my health, and the causes I care about. I strive to outsource and delegate tasks I can so I can get time back.
More than two decades ago, when my wife and I were newlyweds, she had an OBGYN whose daughter was attending college. His daughter’s college was 1 hour 45 minutes away, but he had a scheduled lunch appointment with her every Friday. That meant he invested about 5 hours each Friday to have lunch with his daughter. He was a doctor, whose time was very valuable, yet he chose to invest his precious time with someone who was even more precious to him.
I was so impressed with his recurring father-daughter dates, that I am trying to follow his example and do a date with each of my daughters every week I’m in town.
Coaches and Consultants Can Help Us Get Time Back
The National Academy of Science survey respondents reported: “…greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase.” Coaches and consultants can help save us the time of having to learn and execute everything new on our own.
Almost every entrepreneur I consult for has lamented that they and their teams are maxed out and don’t have enough time to implement everything they want to do in their businesses. Some entrepreneurs identify top priority projects, and outsource those projects to qualified people they know will complete the projects well. Most of my consulting clients have contracted with me as a way to buy more time. They were capable of figuring out and doing their own digital monetization, but they were very busy and didn’t have the time to wait to learn and implement it on their own. They wanted someone they could trust to quickly do things well for them, so they could save that time.
If you are looking to get more of your time back for what matters most, and if you want some help developing and implementing a revolutionary monetization strategy that leverages tectonic shifts, please visit my consulting site at MonetizationPartners.com to schedule a free consultation.
Tectonic Shifts Can Give Us Time Back
Tectonic shifts can be another very effective way for busy entrepreneurs to make more powerful use of their most precious commodity of time. As I mentioned in a previous episode, tectonic shifts can be kind of like catching a wave surfing. If we ride the wave, the momentum of the wave can get us to shore in a fraction of the time. Similarly, as we effectively leverage tectonic shifts, the momentum of that tectonic shift may help get us to our desired business goals faster.
For example, passion-driven marketing can help us connect with our potential customers faster, diversifying revenue with information products can help us grow our revenue faster, credibility marketing can help us increase trust faster, and funnels can help us improve our conversions faster, etc.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from today’s episode to help us get a better ROT (Return on Time):
1. Continuously invest in our entrepreneurial education, as I did going back to school. Online courses, live conferences, podcasts, and blogs are other great ways to do this.
2. If we really want to do something, it often doesn’t hurt to ask, instead of assuming the other person will say “no.” They might surprise us and say “yes” as the MBA program did with my simultaneous enrollment request.
3. Create mentoring opportunities where we can learn from entrepreneurs who have achieved the success we want to achieve in the areas that matter most to us, and not just financial.
4. As we find ways to save time, we should be careful to re-invest that time in the things that matter most to us, as my wife’s doctor did with his daughter.
5. We should consciously remove the less-important things from our lives so we have more room for the things that matter most.
6. We may consider outsourcing some of our most important projects to someone we can trust will get them done well.
7. We might consider hiring coaches who can accelerate our learning curve, and save us the time having to learn everything on our own.
8. We should leverage tectonic shifts to accelerate the growth of our businesses.
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If we desire monetization we have never before achieved, we must leverage strategies we have never before implemented. I challenge each of us to pick one thing that resonated with us from today’s episode and schedule a time this week to implement it to help achieve our monetization goals.
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