For aspiring entrepreneurs, time and money are your two most important variables. Nearly everything you do points back at these two things.
Time is the one thing that you can never, ever get more of. Sure, you can outsource things that will result in you having more time, but you can never buy it as a static item directly.
Well, nothing really needs to be said. Without money, your business dies.
And right off the bat, it’s tempting to try to help everyone. You end up giving up a lot of your time, and therefore you…lose money.
I was skeptical about showing this email publicly, but I think I will to illustrate the point:
Me and one friend from Congo, Africa, both have read the book Think and Grow Rich and one of the most important steps it outlines in that book towards achieving your goals is to create a mastermind group that you can discuss and take advice from and that the guys in your mastermind group should have a similar goal. Both of our goals is to write and sell an eBook online, and since you have already achieved a lot of success in this regard, I am humbly requesting if you could be a part of our mastermind group.
(Removed part about what the books are about.)
Basically we would just exchange one or two emails a week, asking advice or some other general question related to our goal of publishing and selling a book online, so it wouldn’t take much of your time. I would be honored and we would both be very grateful if you would assist us in this regard. Thank you very much.
Now, the email on paper is perfectly nice and dandy. I’ve gotten far worse as far as demanding that I give up my time for no money. And hopefully the guy who sent it (he’s never commented or bought a product, so I really don’t know how consistent of a reader he is) isn’t too offended that I’m going to use this.
However, I’ve now learned in the first few years of entrepreneurship that I value my time too much to give it away just for “good feelings”.
WHY YOU’RE TRADING TIME AND MONEY
And I see a lot of guys fall down the same trap.
Especially in this part of the internet–a lot of us are former nice guys. We genuinely want to help people. Maybe you have a hard time saying no to people.
Someone asks for help, you want to help. Maybe it’s as simple as a girl you like needing her car looked at. Maybe it’s your parents wanting you to spend colossal amounts of time at family events you don’t care about.
Or maybe it’s complete strangers on the internet wanting free advice.
I won’t sit here and preach that you should always say no. You will screw up. You will take on things that end up costing you a ton of time and making you zero money.
The most important thing is to learn from these business mistakes and to fix them. Mistakes are a great thing, but only if you take those mistakes and build something better from what you learned by making them in the first place.
CASE IN POINT
Now, I do believe in good karma.
It’s very likely that if this email had just been one or two simple questions that I could have answered in five minutes, I would have written a response. And in fact, I did include a valuable piece of advice at the end of my response.
But to make a twice-a-week commitment that could very well carry on for a year?
What is there in it for me?
That’s the question I asked myself. I also asked if there was any potential way that this would make me money, or present an opportunity down the road.
I didn’t see it.
FINAL THOUGHTS: BRING VALUE TO THE TABLE
When it comes to business, nobody is going to want to do business with you unless you bring some value to the table.
Again, using this example there was nothing in it for me.
But, what if the original author of this email had offered something?
Perhaps, in exchange for me being in the mastermind group, he and his friends would write bi-weekly updates that I could post on This Is Trouble. It would have been an excellent series that could have walked other readers through the entire process of self-publishing a book.
See how easy that would have been?
And it took me all of thirty seconds to come up with that idea. My response to him might have been drastically different had he approached me with that idea.
Instead, he wanted to trade my time for no money.
And that’s something every aspiring business owner could learn from.
PS: If you’re sick and tired of not having the dating life you want, this could change your life.