As I'm sitting here, writing this, my neighbor's lawn mower is whining away in the background.
Last spring, I probably would have been out there with him.
Not this year.
Early each Monday morning, usually as I'm working on my latest Sublime Text-related blog post, a pickup truck with a trailer rolls up in front of my house.
Upstairs, my boys (ages 3 1/2 and almost 2), rush to the front window.
“The mowers are here!”
I smile and keep working.
Three men climb out of the truck. One backs a riding mower off the trailer and starts zipping around my yard. Another starts cleaning up debris, while a third grabs a weedwhacker and starts edging the driveway.
I've timed them: It takes 12 minutes from the time they roll up to when they pull away. The actual work takes 9 minutes.
That 9 minutes costs me $52.
It's one of the best investments I've made in my business all year.
It wasn't easy to make the decision to hire someone to mow my lawn for me.
Growing up, we didn't have a lot of extra money. Certainly not enough to pay someone to do a chore that we were capable of handling on our own.
But now, I have some income from my business, and I wanted to leverage that to free up my Saturday afternoons. Since I have a regular day job, Saturday is the only day when I have a big block of free time to work on my books and marketing. In an average week, I have maybe 15 to 20 available hours to work on my own projects, and mowing takes away from that.
Still, when I first got the quote from the lawn care service, I was shocked.
$52 per week, and $1,550 for the summer? Ouch.
As I wavered, I wrote an email to my mastermind group to help me think through the pros and cons:
It takes me about 45 minutes every Saturday just to mow, plus buying gas, sweeping the driveway, showering afterwards… Probably at least 2 hours a week, and it interrupts my biggest block of time that I can devote to my business.
It makes a lot of sense for me to do this…
If I value my time at $150 an hour, that comes to $8,400 for the summer. The $1,550 is less than one month's business income, and with 28 mows, that comes to 56 hours, which is almost a month of business hours (15 x 4).
Yeah, I should do this…
Both Derick Bailey and John Sonmez replied, urging me to do it.
I swallowed hard and signed the contract.
As I look for ways to increase my income from my writing business, I've realized that the one thing I can't scale is my time.
I get 15 to 20 hours a week to work on my side projects, and that's it. (I tried sleeping less for a while, and put my health in jeopardy in the process. Not recommended.)
So where I can, I'm looking for ways to reinvest the income from my business to buy myself more time.
Mowing the lawn myself saves me a few bucks now, but if I invest that same two hours into working on my next book, or banging out an email to my Sublime Text list, or tweaking my latest Twitter ads campaign to bring in more email subscribers, I'm building an asset that will continue to bring benefits in the future.
If the idea of investing your time in high-value activities resonates with you, check out Perry Marshall's 80/20 Sales and Marketing (affiliate link).