What is your time worth?

Can you guess how much the average business owner would be willing to pay for 5 more hours of free time per week? What is the value of your time? It’s a simple question yet one that very few social media management firms or small business entrepreneurs have taken the time to truly analyze. It’s often a big mistake. Understanding the value of time not only allows business owners to perform a valid ROI in order to assess the viability of outsourcing social media marketing versus hiring in-house expertise but also allows the social management firm to target those areas entrepreneurs most need help with. Unfortunately, asking a simple question doesn’t always generate an easy answer; in fact, understanding the value of time is an increasingly complex question depending upon who is asked and in what situation. Today, we are going to get into the nitty-gritty detail…we think you will agree, today’s reading will be one of the best investments into the time of your life.

The concept of how time is valued depends a great deal on who is being asked. For example, ask Uncle Sam about the value of your time as a sole proprietor and chances are…it’s worth very little. Nothing in fact. That is because the I.R.S. doesn’t allow an individual to deduct the value of their personal time when conducting activities on their own behalf. On the other hand, the exact same activity performed for another person is often totally deductable making it imperative to outsource all activities which do not generate income. Uncle Sam aside, entrepreneurs understand the value of time…or at least the shortage of time. It is the single most commonly cited complaint among small business owners…lack of time. Research has found that business owners attempt to multi-task on a regular basis often taking on an average of three to five major roles within their own company. Not surprisingly, as a social media management firm, we can attest to the fact that social media marketing is increasingly making that list. But as we have already learned, much of that time does not generate direct income or revenue and the IRS doesn’t place a fair market value on the time. Instead of taking a generous write-off and deducting valid expenses, many small business owners attempt to reduce costs by going it alone. More often than not, it leads to burn-out, reduced response rates and utter frustration.

So, how bad is the problem? Very bad! According to a recent survey conducted by eVoice, over 70% of respondents reported having to work longer hours. 40% are taking less vacation time and the need for more time ranks #1 in identified needs…ahead of resources including mobile phones, laptops and other hardware or software requirements!

Given the perceived need for additional time, it should come as no surprise that nearly 25% of business owners believe a single hour per day is worth more than $500 or to put it another way, one out of every four business owners would be willing to pay $100 an hour…every single day…just to manage their daily business affairs! Now, obviously as a social media management firm, this is important to understand because we are often able to save our clients substantially more than just time. Automation alone often provides this much extra time in the work week. Add our complete line of outsourcing solutions combined with generous IRS deductions and it becomes clear why outsourced social media services are growing by leaps and bounds! It’s more than merely marketing, it’s more than just savvy tax strategy…it’s able to provide the absolutely most scarce asset every small business owner needs most – more time!

Wondering how much other small business owners would pay to save 1 hour per day of time? The results are nothing short of shocking!

  • 25% – Willing to pay $500 or more
  • 4% – Willing to pay $400
  • 11% – Willing to pay $300
  • 24% – Willing to pay $200
  • 30% – Willing to pay $100
  • 5% – Unwilling to pay

As we have already established, only 5% of small business owners are unwilling to pay for additional time; whether that is due to the perceived inability to afford any extra outlay or simply a factor of excessive DIY gusto, the reality is that the vast majority of business owners recognize the need for help. The average entrepreneur takes on 3 to 6 major roles on any given day but nearly 1 out of 10 report that number rises to nearly a dozen. Of the most common roles, the following arise as the ones business owners enjoy the LEAST….

  • 15% – Marketing…including social media marketing…and PR
  • 22% – Customer support…including social support
  • 23% – Sales…including social contact and follow-up online
  • 41% – Accounting and analysis

As you might suspect, with well over 50% directly related to social media management, small business owners are flocking to outsource these needs to the experts able to provide superior results at a fraction of the cost of keeping it in-house.

How does your small business measure up? Are you routinely outsourcing marketing, client services and other non-revenue generating tasks to a company? If not, why continue to forego tax advantages for the time invested while simultaneously missing out on profits? What about automation? Once established, it’s the asset that continues to generate a consistent return on a single investment. Last but not least, how is your collaborative environment? By taking advantage of experience, expertise and expanded network opportunities, your social media management firm is able to provide the same tools and resources used by “the big boys” for a fraction of the cost associated with hiring inside help.