Whenever you work for someone else - whether it's as an employee or a consultant - you're trading time for money. You spend your time, and in return, someone drops a fixed amount of money into your bank account every couple of weeks. You pass Go, you collect $200.
Sure, there are ways to trade time for more money. Maybe when you get that promotion next year, you'll finally be earning enough to build up your savings. You'll be smart about it, too, investing what you've saved in the stock market, or an investment property (I suggest collecting all the railroads).
But, like everyone else, you only have so much time in the day. You sit at your desk, staring out the window and wondering when you'll have the time to finish that side project you started, or write that book, or build that app. When I have more time, you'll tell yourself, I'll get started.
So you keep rolling the dice, passing Go and collecting your $200, but never really moving forward.
Time is the one non-renewable resource.
You can always make more money, or save money for spending down the track - but once your time is gone, it's never coming back (unless you've got a time machine - in which case, you probably know what I'm about to say already).
And the more time you trade to someone else for money, the less you'll have to spend on the things that will truly grow your business. Sure, it's great to see that money in your account every fortnight - but once the work is finished, it can't earn you any more money.
But what if the next time you passed Go, you collected $400? Or $800? What if every roll of the dice netted you more money for the times you've already gone around the board?
Taking an investment mindset with your work does just that - it lets you double down on the work you've already done, increasing the value of your time exponentially. Just like compound interest, putting in the work now lets you reap long-term, ever-growing rewards down the track.
And one of the best ways you can do that is to invest your time in products, automation, and other things that help you make more money over time, and increase the value of the time you've already spent.
As an example, let's say you're writing an ebook, to help others learn the ropes of what you do:
- You spend 100 hours developing the content
- You launch, but you only see $1000 in sales
That's only $10 an hour - a pretty terrible rate.
Let's see what happens with a little bit more effort, though:
- You spend another 10 hours writing an automated email course to grow your list automatically
- You spend 5 hours doing podcast interviews with others in your field
- Over the next few months, your sales continue building, and you make another $5000 from course sales
Now you're suddenly over $50 an hour for your time - and still growing.
And in another 6 months, 12 months, or more, your product will keep selling, your list of happy customers who will buy your next product will keep growing, and you'll have made double, triple, or even more on your initial time investment.
And that's the real power of taking an investment mindset with your time: the time you put in now can only get more valuable for you. You're building a system where everything you do increases the value of the time you've already spent.
It doesn't have to be just about building products, either. There are tons of things you could start doing today that will give you the biggest returns on your time:
Invest in asset creation and growth over immediate rewards
Spend as much time as you can creating valuable content and products, and get them in front of as many people as you can. Whether you're building multiple streams of income, like products or paid workshops, or building your audience by writing epic content for your mailing list or blog, creating helpful stuff you can reuse over and over again is by far the best way to invest your time.
If you're like me, you've probably got more spare time than you think you do. Instead of watching Netflix tonight, write your first blog post. Instead of taking on that new client project, start building something for yourself. Talk to your boss about working remotely one day a week, and use the time you'd normally spend commuting to create a video course teaching what you know.
Invest in things that return more value than they cost
There are a couple different options here. You can either spend money on things that will make you even more money, or spend time on things that will free up even more time in the future.
Professional design, copywriting, video editing, and even bookkeeping often pay for themselves many times over - and they save you from having to spend time learning how to do those things in the first place. Any time there's an opportunity to make money by spending money, jump on it like a hotel on Park Place.
It's also worthwhile investing your time automating repetitive tasks (like client onboarding) or finding ways to speed up your workflow. Focus on making the things you do most often as streamlined as possible, and your work now will continue paying dividends well into the future.
Invest in yourself
Always be learning - set aside time every week to read something new, practice what you've learned, and improve your skillset. Find out where your ideal customers or clients hang out and spend time talking to them about the things they're struggling with, and how you might be able to help. Take time for breaks - go for a walk and let your mind wander.
Developing an investment mindset is the single best way to free yourself from trading time for money.
It's not just about working on things now that won't pay off until later. It's about building a system where every hour you spend and every piece of work you create increases the value of the time you've already spent. It's about jumping off the treadmill of hourly work and reaching true financial independence.
And you don't even need to land on Free Parking.