Paying Twice On Time

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In my experience talking with individual clients and companies, there’s a common thread I’ve seen when they’re stuck in a problem: they value money more than they value time. Too many clients would prefer to spend time on a problem in order to save money, instead of the other way around. They’ll say, “Whoa, that’s a lot of money to fix that problem. I could solve it on my own eventually, so I’ll do that instead.”

Let’s talk about why this is the exact wrong thing to do.

It’s Logic

Before we get into the time & money discussion, let’s try a little logic puzzle. This is a syllogism which should sound plausible to you:

All X’s are Z’s.
All Y’s are Z’s.
Therefore, some X’s are Y’s.

This logic puzzle seems like it makes sense; both X’s and Y’s are Z’s, so of course some Y’s and X’s are the same! But try this one out:

All dogs are animals.
All cats are animals.
Therefore, some dogs are cats.

Now it doesn’t make sense, does it?

(Unless you’re this dog. Probably is a cat, too.)

What’s the Problem?

When we are dealing with topics we know a lot about, we can immediately understand if something makes sense or not. When the logic problem I used above talks about dogs & cats, you were able to see, right away, that it makes no sense.

When we switch to an abstracted unit of measurement, like X’s and Y’s, then it’s more difficult to make an accurate judgement.

This is what happens when we talk about time and money.

Time = Money

In the logic problem, Dogs = X. Cats = Y. And this is the stuff we learn in first year algebra, but it’s frustrating because it’s taking something we understand, and then turns it into an abstraction.

When we think about Time = Money, it’s the same problem; we lose track of its real value.

Most people trade their time for dollars in the form of a paycheck or salary. Then, we spend those dollars on goods, services, or experiences.

When it comes to your business, you’ve worked hard for the cash you earn. You’ve poured your whole life into developing the skills you need to do the best you can for your clients.

That’s why taking any longer than you have to to solve a problem isn’t in your best interests, nor the interests of your clients.

When you decide to spend time on a problem instead of money, you’re essentially paying twice to fix it. You’ve already spent time to earn the money, but then are choosing to spend more time on something other than what makes you money.

This is time you could be spending helping your clients. This is time you could be spending with your family. This is time your could be spending at a conference learning more about what you’re already great at.

You can always get more money, but you can never get your time back. This is the heart of the problem for folks who would rather save a couple dollars by doing it themselves. As long as the money you make is tied to the time you spend getting it, spending time on a problem instead of dollars is costing you the most precious thing you have: your time.

Even when you’re broke, you’ll still have to decide how to spend the 86,400 seconds you have every day. Spend them wisely.

Takeaway

The next time you think, “I’ll save some money and do it myself” ask yourself if this is the best way to spend your time; not money. Don’t be “penny smart, and a dollar foolish” as the saying goes.

If you’re still trading time for dollars, this is doubly true for you, too!

(Eventually you can uncouple your income from the time you’re spending, and that’s a conversation for another day. . .)

Get In Touch

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How I Made $9,000 an Hour #ClickBait

The internet is absolutely chock full of gurus, consultants, mavens, and thought leaders who are more than eager to tell you exactly how they made some ungodly amount of money. . .

For the low low price $99 (that’s $500 off the regular asking price!), of course.

This is not that kind of story.

The story I’m about to tell you is a peek behind their curtain, and all about how (if you do the math right) I made $9,000 an hour for a project.

Penn&Teller Fool Us

A couple years ago I had the absolute pleasure of working with the Penn&Teller crew for their show “Fool Us.” It’s a magic show where magicians try to fool P&T. If successful, the magician is awarded bragging rights in the magic community, and a big-ass trophy with an even bigger “FU” prominently featured on it, too.

Magicians & audience members see it as a contest of skill & a battle of wits between P&T and the contestant.

Really clever people realize P&T love magic with all their heart, and they figured out a dynamic for a show that will get people to watch. But, in reality, it’s a clever platform to share the work of some of the finest magicians in the world.

And they asked me to be on the show.

My segment was going to be 8 minutes. Even better? They were going to pay me $1,200+travel for the opportunity.

Like I said, P&T love magic and it shows. Most people would try to get you to show up for free. Not P&T.

The Math

If we take 60 minutes and divide by 8 you get 7.5. Multiply 7.5 by 1,200 and you get 9,000.

$9,000 for an hour’s worth of work.

But if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice I wasn’t working for an hour. I was working for 8 minutes.

Gold star for you.

The Truth

What’s funny, however, is I was working for 4 days to make that 8 minutes look as good as it could possibly look. I flew in a couple days early. I talked with the producers. I talked with my props guy in Vegas. I talked with the show director. I talked with my creative consultant. I talked with wardrobe. I went to rehearsals. I filmed B-Roll.

It was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.

More Truth

I wasn’t also getting paid to be in Vegas to film the show. I was getting paid to not be anywhere else in the world. Saying yes to the show meant having to say no to any other opportunity that happened at the same time.

I turned down a couple shows that pay better money for a single day’s work (instead of 4) that were in conflict with the show because I valued the opportunity to add a clip of me on a national TV show to my promo reel.

Final Reveal

Numbers don’t lie, but people do. Any time someone’s bragging about how much money they’re making, you don’t know how much they’re actually making.

You don’t know how much it cost them to bring in that much money.

Who cares if you’re making $1,000,000 if it takes $3,000,000 to do it?

You don’t know what it’s costing their personal relationships. You don’t know what it’s costing their mental & physical health. You flat out don’t know.

All you see are the numbers, so be wary of people who shout the promise of an immediate payday that’s too good to be true.

It probably is.

What Happened?

Turns out, even though I went through the whole filming process my segment never made it to air. I got a very nice letter from the producers informing me that my segment wouldn’t be included in this year’s season, so won’t you please apply for next year.

And that’s a lesson all itself; it’s not done until it airs.

But, hey. I got to meet Alyson Hannigan!

(and I still got paid.)

3 Things to Invest In

If I were interested in making a quick buck, I might be telling you 3 “hot stocks you absolutely must invest in.” I could tell you to buy a product that gives me a commission.

Instead, I’m going to tell you the three things I’ve invested my time, money, & effort into that’s responsible for all of my success.

They might not be what you think of first.

Knowledge

“First you do the best you can. Then when you know better, do better.” -David Hira

Knowledge really is power. Everything I’ve done boils down to having the right information on how to do it.

Or spend years with trial & error to figure it out for myself. Either way, your choices are only as good as the information you use to make them.

In a time where information is freely available online, it’s difficult to sift the golden nuggets from all the useless crap. When you find something valuable, however, there’s nobody who can take it from you.

Whatever treasures you hoard in your mind are yours, and yours forever.

Knowledge is the best return on the investment you can possibly hope for.

Assets

There are things / ideas / strategies / tools that will help you get where you want to go.

Then there’s everything else.

The secret to lasting success is owning what you build. I don’t care how many followers you have on Twitter. I don’t care how many likes you have on Facebook. Any platform you build on can change their rules tomorrow and everything you’ve worked so hard to build can disappear instantly.

Unless you own your platform.

Coaches

The quote about knowing better so you can do better was told to me by one of my favorite coaches & personal mentors. He’s an incredible person with an even more incredible story. His insights, suggestions, and advice come from a lifetime of experience, and every single nugget he shares is pure gold.

When I listen to what he tells me, it saves me years of learning it myself. That’s the power of coaches.

Great advice is worth exactly what you pay for it, too. Coaching ain’t cheap. It’s not easy to put their knowledge into action, either.

But it’s so worth it.

Coaching helps catapult you forward. It instantly establishes momentum. Momentum creates wealth.

Takeaways

  • Put in effort to gain things that can’t be taken away
  • Quality relationships with quality people are priceless & worth everything you can spend to maintain them
  • Knowledge is power (when put into action)

Cross My Palm With Silver

“Free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.” ~Gypsy Saying

Have you ever encountered an “askhole?” It’s someone who constantly asks you for advice, but then does the complete opposite of what you told them to do.

There are few things that are more frustrating, right?

Why is that?

Wisdom of the gypsies

Imagine I’m a tarot card reader, and you come to me for a reading.

It’s insightful, explains exactly what part of your life needs the most work, and then spell out exactly what you can do to get on the right track. It’s nothing short of the best advice you’ve ever gotten.

But you pay nothing for it.

You know what would happen? Probably nothing. You’d say thank you, walk out, and think “That was interesting,” then never worry about it again.

Imagine you paid me $20,000 for that exact same reading.

Now, how motivated do you think you’ll be afterwards?

$20,000 worth!

Before I started coaching, I used to share my thoughts freely with anyone who would listen. Over time, I’ve not only realized that free advice is essentially worthless, but a client’s motivation to put it into practice is directly linked to how much they had to pay for that information.

They paid nothing for the info? There’s zero incentive to apply it.

I’d give people great information & advice, but then they’d ignore it. They’d run into the problem I’d warned them about, and then have to work twice as hard to recover from it instead of avoiding it in the first place.

At the end, we’d both wasted our time. Mine for sharing with someone who didn’t value my input, and theirs for spending time listening to it, experiencing the problem, & then recovering from it just to be right back at square one (but a little wiser hopefully).

Nowadays, people pay me for my knowledge & experience. Since clients are willing to pay for their guidance, they tend to consider my thoughts much more carefully before making future decisions. My personal goal is to help my clients get 10x more value out of our time together than they pay me.

This makes coaching much more rewarding in every sense of the word. Feels good to help people avoid costly mistakes. It’s nice to get paid for what you’re good at. And it’s nice to have significantly fewer askholes in my life.

To some people I charge way more than they can afford. To some people it’s a drop in the bucket. Regardless of how much I stand behind, that’s always going to be the case, so there’s zero reason to race to the bottom of the barrel.

I’ve found that the people who are highly motivated and invest in results are the best clients to work with.

Gypsies figured this out generations ago.

The amount you’re willing to pay for the solution to a problem tells the person with the answer how much they should care about your problem. You don’t care enough to pay? Then why should the coach care more than you do?

Silver, Time, & Attention

Now, I’m not saying you should have a money-based relationship with everyone in your life.

Money isn’t the only currency that matters.

You can pay in time. You can pay in effort. You can pay attention and really listen to what you hear.

If I consult with someone who may not have the finances to spend on my insights, I have 3 guidelines I look to.

  1. My time (& yours) is valuable. Spend it wisely.
  2. You may never be able to pay me back directly, and that’s OK. If you’re ever in the position to pay it forward, do that.
  3. You don’t have to blindly follow my advice, but sure as hell think twice before ignoring it.

You can see how there’s still a price to be paid, even though it’s not in terms of money. It’s still win-win!

The nature of a successful coaching/mentoring dynamic (valued in either money, time, or effort) is achieving specific goals in a sensible time frame with metrics along the way to gauge results. With this dynamic, the client stays accountable, and the coach stays dedicated to the project.

The coach is getting value in seeing their client succeed, and the client gets value in achieving their goals.

Value for value is the only way the world works.

(Otherwise it’s stealing.)

3 Ways to Make Money

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of the first steps towards true independence is figuring out how you’re going to support habits like drinking coffee, having a safe place to sleep, and binge watching Netflix. The most sustainable way I’ve found to maintain those habits is making money.

(Sure, I could find a Sugar Mamma. That would be fun, but that means I would still have to depend on someone else for stability. It lacks long-term viability.)

With a quick search on Google you can find more articles on making money than you could possibly read in a lifetime, and 99.9% of them are scam bait. That’s why I wanted to share the 3 ways I’ve made money over the years. What’s cool is, no matter what you choose to do to make a living, chances are good it’ll be some variation on one of these things.

Each has its own benefits & drawbacks, so I wanted to share these with you so you can start thinking about how to implement one of these strategies in your own life.

1) Negotiate A Higher Salary

You don’t say!

I know it might sound too obvious , but it’s something not everyone thinks about doing. Most folks think raises are something that are automatically factored into their job (and that might be the case with you), but if you want a substantial bump in pay you’re going to have to ask for it.

Asking for a raise is part art, part science, and all gumption. Here are some things to think about.

Benefits

  • You know what you need to get a raise: demonstrate to the company how you’ve saved them money, and how you’ve made them money. That makes it easy to justify why you’ve earned (not “deserve”) your raise.
  • If you don’t know what you need to do to get a raise, you can ask the one person who holds the secret to that: your boss. They’re hoping you’re making their lives easier, so ask them what that would be & how much that would be worth to them.
  • Salaries tend to stick with you, and move up from there. If you can negotiate a good situation from the get-go, there’s more time for it to continue growing. The earlier you start, the bigger the payoff will be over time.

Drawbacks

  • All this sudden skill set development & self improvement might be seen as a red flag by your company that you’re preparing to move somewhere else.
  • You’re at the mercy of the profits of the company. If the budget is already tight, then where are they going to find your raise?
  • Your industry might suck. There are some jobs that, no matter how good you are at them, they’re never going to pay more. Look into your industry, and you’ll find what the low, median, and high salaries are for your area. Might be that you’ve picked a field that has limited opportunity for massive pay potential. Either move, change fields, or accept your fate.

2) Freelance

This is the main way I’ve made money over the years. It’s a fantastic way to pay the bills, and it essentially means you’ve learned how to find people who will pay you for your skills. Don’t have skills someone will pay you for? Get some!

No matter what you wind up doing, there are really only 3 pay structures that freelancers use:

  1. By the hour
  2. By the project
  3. Retainer

Each dynamic has its unique challenges and benefits, and if you’re interested in exploring that in more detail, I might write more about that. But, for now, let’s look at the general points of freelancing.

Benefits

  • Suuuuuuuper easy to get started. In most cases you won’t need to get certified; just start telling people what you do, and they pay you to do it!
  • Pricing is pretty easy as each market has found its level. Let’s look at the college entertainer market, for example. Comedians typically get paid $X, magicians get paid $Y, and speakers get paid $Z. There’s variation within each category, but it’s easy to find where you fit.
  • Can be something you do on the side in addition to your normal job as a test drive instead of keeping your freelancing idea as only a daydream.

Drawbacks

  • Finding clients can be challenging. There’s nothing worse than making the leap to start freelancing, and then waiting for orders to come rolling in. The feast or famine dynamic of freelance work can destroy your sanity.
  • While your market makes it easy to figure out how much to charge, it also makes it difficult to charge more than that. If you want to make significantly more money, you’re going to have to do something drastically different.
  • You’ll find there’s a lot more to freelancing than simply doing the skill you’re getting paid to do. You’re really running a complete business by yourself, and taking on all the responsibilities that that entails. You need to make sure clients pay you, that you pay your own bills on time, schedule client meetings, etc. You might find yourself wishing to go back to your 9-5 job much more quickly than you ever thought possible.

3) Create A Product or Service

The first two ways of making money are what I call “trading time for money.” Due to the laws of physics you’ll never get more time, so there’s an upper limit to how much you can get paid. Not so with selling a product or service.

This is one of the only ways you can uncouple your money making potential from how you spend your time. People who create lasting financial & personal freedom usually do it this way. They create something of value that can be found, bought, and delivered without them having to personally deliver it.

The internet has been around a long time, but its true potential to deliver value in this way is just starting to be understood in a major way. But, as with all things, there are good & bad parts to it.

Benefits

  • You can make money while you sleep. You can make money while you go parasailing. You can make money while you pet sloths in the Amazon rain forest. The internet is always awake & always ready to take customers’ money for your product.
  • You can sell 10,000 of whatever in the same time as you can sell 1. That’s what we like to call epic scaleability.
  • You can constantly tweak your system to maximize returns with analytics that have virtually no barrier to entry. Capabilities that would have cost corporations millions of dollars 40 years ago can be yours with a couple clicks and pasting a snippet of code into your website.

Drawbacks

  • A lot of customers have been burned by garbage products. Let’s face it, most stuff online is a get-rich-quick scheme with a new coat of paint. That means you’re going to have to work extra hard to show why you’re one of the good guys.
  • There are a lot of moving parts, and it’s easy to get paralyzed with an avalanche of options. Plus, you’re going to need to figure out if this piece fits with that piece, and plays wells with that other piece.
  • You could work on a product for 6 months, a year, or more only to launch with zero interest. I’ve done that, and it made me feel like a loser. After doing it the wrong way enough times, I’ve figured out how not to do it. I show my clients how to avoid this trap, but if you don’t know how a successful proces works, you could waste a lot of time, energy, money, & effort.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Sure, you could find the next big thing, and bring something to market that the world has never seen before, but I’m a big believer in getting the most out of the least effort. That means sometimes the tried and true methods can be your best bet when trying to find the easiest way to make extra money.

There are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of examples of businesses that fit one of these models. To me, that says they’re a surefire win. You could sink all your hopes and dreams on a completely original approach (like trying to invent the next Google), but that’s such a rare thing the odds are not in your favor.

For example, that’s why startups that you can describe as “The Uber for X” rarely last long. Better stick to what works, and let someone else take the risk of innovation.

For you, think about what you’ve been wanting to try, and figure out which of the 3 approaches to money making it fits into best. This will dictated by a combination of things like your skills, obligations, goals, current financial situation, etc.

This is a great way to take an infinite number of possibilities and sift them down to workable solutions. Use this framework to filter your schemes, and you’ll find success than forging ahead without thinking![/vc_column_text][us_cta title=”Set Up A Consult Call” controls=”bottom” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.likeamindreader.com%2Fcontact%2F|||” btn_label=”Send Me A Message” btn_color=”secondary” btn_size=”25px” btn_icon=”fa-envelope-o”]Interested in figuring out how you can start building stability & alternate streams of income? Let’s talk![/us_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How Do You Motivate Employees (& Yourself)?

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Rewards

Extrinsic rewards are physical objects or tangible benefits bestowed by an outside agency (like winning a trophy or a gold medal). Intrinsic rewards are the feelings & emotions accompanying an activity for its own merit (like the feeling of accomplishment at the top of Mt. Everest).

There are thousands of ways employers have tried to boost morale & worker satisfaction in an effort to maximize bottom line earnings. But, what actually works?

Extra vacation days? Annual bonuses? Fun work environments? Team building exercises?

There’s an interesting study from 1973 that demonstrated that extrinsic rewards often backfire. They tend to undermine the intrinsic motivation to perform at a high level which results in poorer job performance overall.

The Study

In a nursery class of 3-5 year old children who liked to draw, researchers divided them into 3 groups:

  1. Those who were told they would get a certificate for drawing (Expected Group)
  2. Those who were not told they would get a certificate for drawing, but would receive one afterward (Unexpected Group)
  3. Those who were neither told about a certificate, nor received one afterward (Control Group)

After the initial session, researchers waited a couple weeks and then implemented the second phase of the experiment.

All the children were in a room with paper & crayons, but no mention was made of a reward for drawing. Children in Groups 2 & 3 spent the most time drawing whereas children in Group 1 spent the least time drawing.

What Does This Mean?

If you use a quid pro quo system of motivation for employees (like a cash bonus), you’ll actually decrease motivation to do a good job at that task unless you continue the rewards. At first, the money triggers a release in dopamine in exactly the same way as someone anticipates the effects of tobacco, cocaine, or any other kind of addictive drug.

The weird thing is, however, people tend to overestimate how much they’re going to enjoy the payoff when it actually gets there, and they acclimate to the dopamine hit. That’s why entrepreneurs & performers who choose to turn a hobby into a full time career tend to go through a period of feeling very low motivation to do something they previously loved to do for the sheer joy of it.

“If I’m not getting paid for it, why would I do it?”

professional-comic

So How Do You Get The Best Results?

There’s the easy way, and the hard way.

The hard way is to find people who love to do the thing you need done, and then set them loose. Let their intrinsic motivation of satisfaction drive their efforts for you.

Finding this perfect overlap of interest & job can be time consuming and difficult. That’s why it’s the hard way.

The easy way is to make rewards unexpected and random. Understand, however, when something happens once people will expect it again. The trick is to do it at random intervals as opposed to a “random” annual bonus at Christmas. (Same goes for verbal praise, and any other form of positive feedback. Random distribution is more effective.)

Takeaways

  • Money & extrinsic motivators are much less effective than aligning someone’s intrinsic motivator to complete a task
  • If you’re going to use an extrinsic motivator, it’s much more powerful if it is given unexpectedly