Your Two Most Important Business Assets

time“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

Harvey MacKay

No matter what business you’re in, never forget that time and money are your two most important business assets.

It’s called a “paradigm shift“… a radical change in your view of the world.  It’s roots are in the scientific community – where radical discoveries lead to paradigm shifts.  An example of a paradigm shift…the world is flat – OH NO!-  now it’s round!  To quote Weird Al,  suddenly “everything you know is wrong.”

I had my own paradigm shift several years ago and it was the result of a message on an old style online bulletin board.  The words were amazingly simple – yet they rocked my world….

You can always get more money – you can never get more time.

Prior to reading that statement – I’d been running my business in reverse so to speak.  I’d been operating like I had all the time in the world.  I’d spend hours performing a task instead of buying software to automate said task.  There was virtually no limit to the amount of time I would invest to save a little bit of money.

I’ve since learned that this mode of thinking is also referred to as a “poverty mindset”.

When I began operating my business like my time was more precious than money – a surprising thing happened – I began making more money!

I had been fooled by the fact that time is free.

I had failed to realize that while time may be free, it’s also priceless.

Often, in the course of building a business – we’re faced with the dilemma of trading time for money and money for time.

  • Should I hire a lawyer or should I try to create my own articles of incorporation?
  • Should I hire a CPA or do I handle my own taxes?
  • Should I design my own logo or should I hire a graphic artist?

In the early days of your business – it’s a given that you’re going to have more time than money.  However, don’t make the critical mistake of not understanding the importance and value of your time.

Time may be free – but it’s also priceless.

Which brings up yet another “gem” saying I’ve come across in my internet travels …

“You’ve either got plenty of time or plenty of money.  If you’re lacking both – then you haven’t spent either wisely.

I’ve got to admit – I didn’t LOVE that saying when I first read it.  To be honest, reading those words for the first time almost made my eyes water- that’s how badly they stung!  However, over time I’ve grown to love those words and the accountability inherent in them.

How effectively are you using your two most imporant business assets?

If you don’t like your answer to the question above – check out Tom Volkar’s post on getting on “right track.”


  1. Hi Kathy – I love how Jonathan Fields, in Career Renegade, points out that if you’re in the business of trading time for money – as in a traditional 40 hour workweek employment scenario known as a J-O-B, you’ve just established a limit on your income because there are only 24 hours in a day. Work life balance has always meant robbing from one to pay the other, in my opinion. I’m better at integration. Great post!

    Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..OUR JUNE GARDEN IN CLOSE-UP

  2. So glad there was something inspiring in there, Very specific and quite realistic as well. It’s something that is indeed achievable.

  3. Betsy- I wish I’d had Jonathan’s information ten years ago – it’s DEFINITELY changed a lot about how I do business!!!

  4. Hi Kathy – this is so true. I have friends who can’t seem to get past the trading time for money mindset. After I bankrupt my third business, some of them even suggested I get a job to make some money back 🙂

    It’s hard to explain to folk like that why having hourly cash come in is far less valuable than my time, so sometimes I just try to humor them.

  5. globalenfant says:

    Its great how a simple saying and concept can change your whole life. It is a very motivating distinction.

  6. Yeah, I think this is probably one of the reasons I failed at working freelance. I had very little money to back me up, which meant I’d spend hours doing things when I should have either paid someone else to do it or invested in software to do it for me. Now I work for someone else, and my time is basically managed for me, which is great for my productivity!

  7. I’d like to see more Weird Al quotes; he sounds a lot like Stephen Wright.

    Now I’ll have to finish the Fields book. Darn.

    Good solid hit below the belt, thanks. This is where the hits need to go to get our attention. And thank you for the link to my post.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..Stop Playing Small

  8. Cathh – I’m grinning as I read this… “It’s hard to explain to folk like that why having hourly cash come in is far less valuable than my time, so sometimes I just try to humor them.” AMEN!!!

    Amelia – Freelancers must be the MOST protective of their time because they are trading their valuable time for money.

    Tom – I figured anyone who was “smarting” after reading this post really needed YOUR services. I figure if I’m going to make them feel pain – they need a way to relieve that pain – and you’re the man for that JOB!!! 😉

  9. Hey, but what about all this raised-consciouness talk I hear about time being an illusion, man-made? How to I reconcile that with the idea of making the most of my time?

    Signed….. Confused-but-very-open-to-learning in Texas.

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..i winned! i winned!!

  10. Jannie – Plato argued that time is constant – it’s life that’s the illusion. Meanwhile, Einstein claimed that our understanding of time is based on its relationship to our environment. (Einstein also theorized that the faster you move – the slower time passes.)

    One thing is for certain – we’re only moving ONE way through time so we’d better make the most of what we’ve got – no matter HOW fast or slow that happens to be!

  11. Time is all we have! It is so precious yet we waste so much of it. Love your saying cause it cuts to the chase and simplifies everything so perfectly. Definate words to live by! Thanks!

  12. The plenty of time/money quote you give at the end is killer. I have also in the last few years learned about how the “poverty mindset” can hurt us. I have gotten pretty good at recognizing when it creeps up–it can really be so damaging.

    Christines last blog post..5 Easy Ways to Let People Know About Your Facebook Fan Page

  13. Christine – 90% of the battle is recognizing the enemy – and a poverty mindset is DEFINITELY the enemy.