We can all earn more money…
When my daughter was just five years old, she asked for some toy that I wasn't interested in buying her. The conversation was completely predictable.
“No way kiddo, that costs a lot of money.”
“Why not daddy?”
“I don't have the money.”
“Then let's go to the bank.”
“The money won't be there if I don't work to earn it.”
“Then why not work a bit more so you can have the money?”
I struggled to find my way out of the conversation. And it was the first time I knew my daughter would end up smarter than me (she takes after her mother).
But she was right. We all have the ability to earn more money. We can work. We can sell. And we can earn.
The scarce resource isn't money (even though that's what we hear all the time).
No, the scarce resource is time.
[Tweet “Most people are happy to waste your time.”]
Your scarce resource is scarce
Time (or energy) is your scarce resource. Once you know it, it's hard not to notice it. As you run your freelance or agency business you will certainly learn one main lesson.
No, it's not that once time passes it's gone. That's true. But it's not the lesson.
Ready for the lesson?
Most people are happy to waste your time.
That's the lesson. It's sad. It's unpleasant. I wish it were happier. But it's true.
Now, to be clear, I'm not saying they're wasting your time on purpose. It's just that they don't know better. And again, I'm not saying they're dumb. They just don't know what they're doing. They're innocent in the equation.
But that doesn't mean they're not wasting your time.
Three ways prospective clients waste your time
See if you've lived in any of these situations…. (and sorry if I end up triggering you).
“Let's get on a call” (to pick your brain)
You'll have anyone from another agency owner to an employee at another agency, to a prospect – they all want to connect to ask your opinion. The result of this kind of thing is rarely new business.
The person asking for your time may not value their own time. So they can't be faulted for not valuing your time. But you have no idea if their question is something you can answer easily or not. You have no idea if you need to look anything up (collect data), before you can answer. And you have no idea if it's something you're willing to answer.
“Let's get on a call” (to talk about a project)
This dynamic sounds a lot better than the last one, right? But beware, it can be just as hard to manage and make profitable as the last one.
Why do I say that? Because there's no clarity that your prospect has budget or that their budget is on target.
Some of you will say that you have project minimums on your intake form. I get that. But answer me this: has anyone clicked your lowest project minimum and then when you talked, you discovered they only had that budget but wanted a much larger amount of work?
I offer coaching. But I'm not inexpensive. So imagine if I got on a call every time someone had questions about the coaching. Only to find out the prospect wasn't yet ready and didn't have budget?
Those are meetings that will consume my scarce resource. And never give it back!
“Let's find a time to connect” (8 emails later)
I bet this never happens to you. Someone emails you to connect. They want to set up a meeting and send you a couple times. But those times don't work. So you send some other times. And this goes on for a while.
Maybe, in the worst cases, the thread dies down. But then a month later, it starts all over again.
This is such a common situation that SaaS companies have been built to use AI robots to help people make appointments by automating the sending and replying of human-like emails.
How to protect your scarce resource
Over the last couple months I've been using two different products that I find really help me protect my time. I'm guessing they will help you protect your time as well.
Let me tell you about ZipMessage.
It's all about asynchronous video and text messaging. It's an asynchronous messaging platform that is perfect for all those pre-sales questions. In my coaching, it's great to be able to introduce my rates and find out if a prospect is really a good fit.
And since it's asynchronous, I can record and send messages at any point in the day – normally later at night. I don't need to schedule a call. And if I had scheduled a call, we'd take 15 or 20 minutes (just so I don't look rude). Now it's 90 seconds of a recorded video message.
I use it to eliminate the time-wasters of the first two scenarios above.
The third? That's different.
Let me tell you about SavvyCal.
Actually, I've told you about SavvyCal before. But they keep getting better. And keep adding more features. And keep making my life even easier.
I don't need an AI robot to parse my emails so I can say, “Franklin, please grab a spot on my calendar for me and Melissa for dinner,” which is different than, “Franklin, see if you can put some time on my calendar for me and Bill to connect.”
I'm not joking – one AI bot reads the difference and makes sure I find a spot with Melissa in the next 7 days, while the other is booked in 4-6 weeks. All because of the way I phrase a sentence.
It's awesome. But it's complicated.
SavvyCal is anything but complicated. It's easy and gives me back my time because it supports multiple links. Each link can have different times available. Each link can have different lengths of meetings. And each link can even have their own text in the link – which I use to highlight casual vs. serious appointments.
Take back your time
Both of these tools have given me my time back. And that's why I highly recommend them to you. Try them out and let me know what you think.