Your Money or Your Time!

Everything in business has a cost. If you’re not paying in good ‘ol fashioned cash, it’ll cost you time, or more likely, a bit of both. If you want a website quickly it’ll cost you a lot of cash but virtually none of your time, or you could take a few days out of your diary and make your own for virtually no cost.

If you don’t know how to do something well, you might also have to take extra time to learn and refine the skills needed to create an acceptable end product.

Whether you decide to spend the cash, or you prefer to do things yourself depends on three things. What do you want to achieve, how much cash do you want to spend, and how much spare time you have?

Take a look through these examples, do you prefer a time intensive business or a high cash investment?

Low Cash Investment

On a small scale, running a business from a Facebook page might be a good way to get started. It is quite labour intensive though. Replying to enquiries, checking payments have cleared, waiting for people to collect their items, updating your social media, listing items, and general marketing, all take time, which adds up pretty quickly. Plus, you might be expected to work at all hours, you risk losing sales because of payment options or a delay in answering messages and some people feel safer buying from an ecommerce website.

The financial cost is very low here, but you are limited to how much time you have to spend on your business – there are only so many hours in the day after all. Your time might feel “free” but it has a value, so don’t forget to keep an eye on your hourly rate.

Balancing Time and Money

Having a website means you can automate a lot of your tasks. This could free you up for other stuff, or just give you some time off! Setting up online means you can be open 24 hours a day, plus you now have one place for all your product information, FAQs, and terms, allowing people can do their own research, and checkout in their own time.

As a bonus, setting up a website means you could have access to a whole new set of customers thanks to Google, you’ll be able to accept more payment options, you’ll look more professional, and you will have more time to find brand new customers.

Cost can vary so expect to pay anything between £120-2400 in the first year. As you would expect, the amount you spend will depend entirely on how much work you can put into creating and running it. A £120 website will need you to design, build and maintain it all yourself from scratch, whereas a £2400 website should be almost fully supported by someone else, with only a small amount of input from you which might just be managing products and updating your blog. It might sound like a lot of money, but if it saved you even 5 hours a week, it would be worth it.

This option free’s up more of your time, allowing you to spend more time on your business. But it does come at a cost which needs to be factored in to your costs.

Go all in!

Investing a little more money can help you achieve results even faster and in much less time.

Using a platform like Etsy, Amazon, or JustEat have plenty of benefits. Lets take Amazon for example. Amazon offers a very inclusive service which includes access to a massive client base that knows and trusts the brand, full customer service, advertising, a reliable website, a 24 hour shopping experience, seamless service, payment options, and fast delivery fulfilment.

If you were to sell on your own website you’d have to find all your own customers, and provide all those services yourself. You’ll have to handle the legalities, deal with returns, and so it goes on. Amazon might take a big cut of your money, but you have the potential to sell an unlimited amount of stuff as you don’t even need to store your products in your garage, they will do that to!

The cost is that Amazon typically take around 45% of your sales amounts. Other platforms also charge “high” commissions. But as long as you factor in all the costs of selling, you have the potential to reach a lot more customers and take many more orders than you would normally.

Your time has value

I’ve spoken about spending time or cash, but your time isn’t entirely free. You time has value too, and every minute you are spending on your business, is a minute you are not doing something else, such as working a day job, enjoying a hobby, or spending time with your partner. Let’s make sure it’s worth it!

Have you ever calculated the amount of hours you spend on your business each week? It might surprise you. Include every minute you spend waiting on a customer, checking your bank, creating content, talking in groups, chasing payment, driving to the post office, buying sellotape, filling the car with petrol, phoning suppliers, networking, basically anything that you are doing that you wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t for your business. Once you know this, you can even figure out your hourly rate. Simply divide your weekly profit by hours worked and you’ll have your hourly rate.

Once you know what you are making, it’s just a case of knowing if it’s worth it to you. If this is your only job, then it might be, but that’s for you to decide.

Time really is money!

Maybe you are happy to do some stuff yourself, but not all of it. If that’s the case, then consider what the most profitable element of your business is, what if you could free up time, so you could do more of that?

Would it be a good investment for you to hire someone to do some of your admin for you. They could manage part of your website, speak to customers, handle your social media, send marketing emails, or manage your ads. You wouldn’t necessarily need someone full time, a freelancer could do as much or as little as you need.

Or, how about outsourcing your deliveries? How great would it be to spend less time spent worrying about van servicing, finding addresses, no replies, and everything else that comes with maintaining a slick delivery service.

What about getting someone in to do the books, or even better, complete your accounts? They’ll save you time throughout the year, but also, a decent account will usually save you money. In fact, many people say their accountant saves them more than they cost in the end – I know mine does!

And finally, how about paying for ads? How long would it take you to introduce hundreds of new customer to your business? A decent ad could take less than 30 minutes to set up, and could achieve this for a few quid while you get on with something else.

Looking to grow your business

Whatever choices you make for your business, there is a cost. But as a general rule, the more cash you spend the faster the results! So, if you are looking to grow a business at a fair pace then consider factoring in the costs of outsourcing and automating tasks as much as possible. If that means raising some cash to get you started then don’t be afraid of that, start-up debt is quite normal! But, if you have all the time in the world, and enjoy learning new skills, then why not save yourself some cash!

If automation scares you a little then don’t forget, we once thought it was bonkers to pay for a machine to wash our clothes for us! Imagine how much of out time we would have to give up, if we went back to handwashing?


Not sure how to balance your time/money spend?

Book a FREE Discovery Call now with Caroline, and find out how we help sole traders and business owners, like you, make the most out of their business, whatever that means to them.