What is Your Time Worth?
In a previous post I noted how there is really no connection between your time and money. And that is true in terms of how you perceive your success. Your goal should be to maximize your income while minimizing the time it takes to make it.
Nevertheless, when running the day-to-day operations of a business, there are certain numbers that are just a fact of life. Just ask any accountant. lol
As such, one of the things that can make a big difference when creating any business is determining what your time is worth. This can actually help you in non-monetary ways as well, as you can look at a task on your to-do list and decide if the time spent is worth doing.
I recommend that you set up a spreadsheet to make tracking things easier. Any software you are comfortable with will do.
Before we begin, it is extremely important that you understand one point perfectly clear: I recommend you use this process only AFTER you have begun to build your affiliate marketing business.
When starting a brand new niche site, it is quite common to go many months, even up to a year or more, before you start to receive income from it. You will likely be creating loads of content with very little, if any, return for a while.
Thus, it can actually have a negative result to your psyche if you were to do such calculations too early. After all, if you are counting on money coming in, and it doesn’t (which is likely), then you may get depressed and quit before you experience success.
Don’t fret. If you follow the WA system and do what Kyle teaches you to do, there will come a “tipping point” where things will begin to take off. But, you need to set your expectations early and know going in that you will basically be writing to a ghost town for some time.
With that out of the way, let’s get going…
The first step to determining what your time is worth is to decide how much you would like to make in a year. Note, this is what you hope to take home; later we will be incorporating future expenses into our formula so there are no surprises.
So, let’s say you hope to take home $50,000 this year. That works out to approximately $4166 per month, or $1041 per week. Now all you have to do is decide how many hours you intend on working each week.
If you are working your business full-time, divide by 40 hours. If you determine part-time is better, then divide by, say, 20 hours per week. A full-time income would be worth $26 per hour, and if you wanted to hit the same income but only work part-time, you would need $52 per hour.
Now you have your base hourly rate.
One thing many new entrepreneurs don’t take into account is business expenses. You may find out -- too late, I might add -- that that base rate doesn’t actually net you $50,000 at the end of the year. There are expenses that generally go along with running any business.
Here are a few hidden (and not-so-hidden) expenses you should thing about:
Does your new business require any training on your part to get up to speed?
Almost every business today needs a website. Doubly so if you are an affiliate marketer.
BTW: One of the wonderful things about Wealthy Affiliate is you get both — training AND hosting — for one low monthly expense. It’s more than worth it.
Does your new business require an office or work space of some kind? Perhaps not, but I speak from experience; while it’s a nice getaway every now and then, it is tough building a business from the corner table at Starbucks.
Do you have adequate technology? Doing research and keeping a site going can be quite a struggle if you’re using outdated equipment. You might need a new desktop computer, a new laptop, or a new smartphone or tablet.
Apple, MS Office, Photoshop, video editing, and so forth. Is there anything you need to run your business that you don’t currently have?
The WA email system is great if all you are doing is manually communicating with your readers. But if you want to build a professional site, build an audience, and communicate with them on a regularly scheduled basis, you need some form of email autoresponder. Aweber, Mailchimp, etc. are all great. Just pick one that meets your needs.
Do you expect to be working while on the move? What if you need to get something done immediately, but there is no WiFi to be found anywhere?
You may need to account for a bigger data plan with your mobile carrier.
Are you planning on using pay-per-click, banner advertising, and so on? You need to account for those costs.
Maybe you need an accountant. Or a lawyer. Or a janitor.
Have you accounted for any taxes you might have to pay? Have you built in retirement savings? Health care costs?
And so on. As you can see, expenses can really add up quickly, and we don’t want any of them to impact the yearly base income you set for yourself. We want that money to be yours to enjoy free and clear. So, build in every expense you can think of.
Depreciation (Sort of…)
Once you have created a list of expenses, break it down into yearly and monthly costs.
Determining monthly costs for recurring monthly expenses is fairly straightforward. If your bill is, say, $25 a month, then your expense is $25 a month. Easy peasy, right?
What many people don’t factor in are the more one-off expenses. For example, let’s say you need to purchase a new computer and it costs $3000. How would you plug that into your spreadsheet?
Naturally you have to spend the money up front. But in business there is a thing known as depreciation. Yes, for all you accountants out there, I know this isn’t a technically correct definition of depreciation, but not everyone wants to be an accountant, so we’re keeping it simple here.
To determine what your business cost of the computer is, you take the total price, make a reasonable guess as to what the lifespan of that item is, and break it down.
So, in our example, let’s say you think you can get three good years our of your new computer before you need to upgrade. You simply take the $3000 and divide it by 3, or $1000 per year. Then divide that by 12 months. Thus, your monthly “expense” is $83.33.
Now, you might be thinking, “Why should I bother? I’ve already paid for the computer up front.” Here’s why…
If you build the “expense” into your monthly budget now, in three years when you need a new one it will be much easier to make the purchase. You have essentially put the money away for it already, and waiting could really impact your business, so don't. Make sense?
Do this with all one-off expenses.
Add It All Up
Once you know your desired base income, add in your expenses and do the math. This new adjusted annual amount broken down into monthly, weekly, and hourly rates should keep you in good standing.
It's really not too difficult. It just requires a bit of basic math and, more importantly, some deep thought up front. Once you can see your target numbers, I promise your stress level will be much lower. Keeping your numbers at the forefront can help you anticipate any potential problems, as well as give you cause to celebrate when you beat them :-)
Thanks for reading, and keep writing :-)