Time is a commodity - use it or lose it!

The one commodity money cannot buy

Time is the most valuable commodity available to entrepreneurs. Don’t believe us? Then try this little exercise:

  1. Search on Google for ‘Habits of most successful entrepreneurs’. Go on, do it now. 

  2. Then, open a few of the results, and search for the word ‘time’. 

  3. You’ll find that it is the most common term in all those pages.

Time is the golden thread that connects all successful entrepreneurs. They know how to create time for themselves, and how important it is to do so. In our Black Diamond Podcast ‘Defining the entrepreneur’, Kate Jamarillo tells us that entrepreneurs “crave freedom to work the hours they want; freedom to create; freedom to not have a cap on their salary; freedom to have time to travel or spend time with their loved ones, the people they love the most, or to do the things they love the most.

Treat time like the commodity it is

The problem for entrepreneurs is that all the energy they put into creating and growing their business often manifests itself in the form of time. The more hours they put in, the more successful they think they will become.

But, if you ask the most successful entrepreneurs about the levers of their success, they will all say that they use time effectively. Not only to build their businesses, but to build the kind of entrepreneurial life they crave. 

Is money the answer to your desired lifestyle? In a roundtable with Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett famously said that time was the most valuable of all commodities. “It’s the only thing you can’t buy, he said. “I mean, I can buy anything I want basically, but I can’t buy time.” Would you disagree?

The fisherman and the businessman

There’s a famous story about a fisherman and a businessman. The businessman was on holiday in Mexico and each day for a week he saw a fisherman go out in his tiny boat and catch a small haul of fish, which he sold in the local market. 

One day, the businessman spoke to the fisherman. He asked him why he didn’t work harder, buy a bigger boat, and catch more fish. 

The fisherman said, “I catch enough fish to earn enough to feed my family. The rest of the day I can spend relaxing, playing music, and time with my wife and children.”

“But with a bigger boat, you could catch more fish. You could earn more money,” said the businessman.

“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.

“Then you could buy a second boat, and have people working for you. You would earn more money and then you could buy a whole fleet of boats.”  

“What would I do with a whole fleet of boats?” asked the fisherman.

“You could manage them, and eventually build an unbelievably valuable business. Of course, you’d have to work a little harder, but eventually you could sell your fleet for a fortune.”

“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.

“So that you would never have to work again. You could have plenty of free time to spend with the family playing music, eating good food, spending time with your children or grandchildren, and relaxing.”

“And how long would this take?” asked the fisherman. 

“About 30 years,” replied the businessman.

What are your priorities?

Too many entrepreneurs have things the wrong way round. “I think they should stop worrying about how much money they’re making. It’s not about money,” says Ken. “It’s about doing what you love to do, what you are uniquely qualified to do, which will differentiate you from anyone else in the world and making sure that you are headed toward the things that you love to do. So, having the freedom of time, money, health, relationship, and purpose. The amount of money is not a part of any of those things. 

People who start with a preconceived notion of how much money they need to make are often wrong. Ultimately, this holds them back.

A 3 ½ day working week

A few years ago, Ken bought some land in the mountains. He had previously owned a cottage, but had only used it for a maximum of six weeks in total during the five years of his ownership. He was always so busy working and building a future, that he forgot about the present.

When he bought that slice of mountain real estate, he vowed never to make the same mistake again. He now works only 3 ½ days each week. The rest of the time he does things that ‘fill him up’.  

He spends time in the mountains with his wife, dog, friends, and neighbors. He travels. He makes sure he has down time to rejuvenate his mind to think at a higher level and make actual change in businesses that he operates, to create the mindset to support teams and be creative.

We have a lifestyle that includes other things than work,” Ken says. “But shouldn’t everyone? It’s the way it should be. What do you want?

Well? What’s your answer? What is it that you want? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us how you expect to achieve your goals – and why you don’t think today is the day to do so.

Catch up with Black Diamond podcasts here.


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