What’s more valuable—time or money?
If you answered “Time is money”, you’d be right on many levels.
It’s funny – even though many business owners and entrepreneurs may be quick to come to the “time equals money” conclusion, too many of them spend their time unlike they spend their money. They’re willing to throw extra hours at projects they think they can do by themselves, or with the help of the almighty Google, YouTube, or online tutorial—all in the name of “saving money”. But are they actually socking money away by doing it themselves? Or have they flushed valuable hours dollars down the drain?
Your time is worth more than the “low cost” of D.I.Y.-ing
Unless you’re a trained expert in whatever it is that you’re D.I.Y.-ing, you’re pretty much throwing money down the drain when you attempt to do a project that isn’t in your wheelhouse. Because, as you answered above, time IS money. Your time is the most valuable asset you have; and it’s wise to “spend” it wisely.
You may intend to make the most of your time, yet it’s so easy to give it away. Maybe you get sucked into time-heavy tasks like researching an unrelated skill, or writing your own content or designing your own logo. Perhaps you find yourself dabbling in the parts of business operations that would be better left to the pros (accounting, anyone?) Maybe you try your hand at skills like marketing and creative…only to become frustrated with the end result and how much of your precious time has unintentionally disappeared before your eyes.
You probably realize that you’re good at what you do, which is why you’re in business – but so many entrepreneurs try to take on tasks that they aren’t good at— and end up costing them so much m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ time anyway. Why?
While we can’t answer that million-m̶i̶n̶u̶t̶e̶ dollar question for you, we can recommend a few ways to pocket those extra hours and spend them on bigger priorities, such as taking on more clients, launching new products, or otherwise growing your business.
Time-saver 1: Invest in professional branding
Ditch the DIY, cheap, or even free logo that your friend’s husband’s sister offered to design for you.
Your brand is your customers’ and potential clients’ first impression of you. It’s how and what clients think about you when you aren’t in front of them. Getting a free or cheap logo is bad for your business on so many levels. Besides, your brand is more than just your logo, and if you’ve been following along with our blog posts, you’ll already know that. If you’d like to set your business up for success, you’ll need a brand. The way to achieve a brand, and a good one, is to work with a professional who specializes in branding.
Because your brand is an extremely crucial business tool, it’s imperative that it’s developed thoughtfully. A good branding exercise includes discovery, definition, design, and expression, and should be built and executed by someone with an eye for detail and enough intuition for the proper foresight of future use cases.
Cultivating brand loyalty can only be done with a strong foundation, and the typical five-dollar freelancer won’t be able to deliver on that.
Time-saver 2. Don’t just build a website, give yourself an “online presence”
Ditch the Templated, “Same as everyone else” website.
There are multiple DIY website companies that sure do a good job of making web design and development look easy-peasy. “Just click and drag!” or “It’s super simple to have your website up and running in a matter of hours!” And we get it. It sure sounds exciting when you’re launching a business to think you really can have an entire website built in a day with a few clicks of your mouse.
But like anything that sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Here’s the catch with those online site-builders: you pay for what you get. You can have a website, but will you have a great website? Will it work flawlessly? Will it look professionally-designed? Or will your potential customers fall asleep the moment they hit your homepage because it looks like every other [insert industry type here] website out there?
Maybe you don’t care about looking like your competitors, but you should. How will you sell yourself as different and better if your website looks run-of-the-mill? Professional designers are experienced in the nuances that make for ease of usability, standout aesthetics, and most importantly, methods of using these aesthetics to turn visitors into leads into sales. Can you DIY all that?
Here’s how much your DIY website is REALLY costing you:
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical.
- You spend 4 hours one morning attempting to use the XYZ Company Site Builder.
- You charge your clients $150 per hour.
- You’ve gotten a few half-done webpages, and you’re $600 in the hole in time alone
- You realize you’ll probably need at least a few more days worth of work on the website to get it to launch-ready. (Approx. 16 more hours @ $150/hr = $2400) for a grand total of $3000 you’ve now spent on your DIY website that was supposed to be “saving” you money.
Step 3. Ongoing creative support
Don’t limit your creative projects to the size of your skillset
If you’ve done your homework, you’ve learned that it’s essential to do some form of marketing to stay in business. You’ll also know that most marketing needs creative support – the words tell the story but it’s the visuals that bring those messages to life. Most importantly, you’ll know that you can’t “do marketing” in a vacuum. Inconsistent marketing will provide inconsistent results, so it makes sense to plan and budget for marketing on a regular basis. The best marketers will tell you that indeed, marketing is not an expense, but an investment, if done properly. As is the creative that supports it.
“If you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you’ll have time to do it over?” -Seth Godin
The very best way to cover all your marketing bases? Hire a marketer. (have we said marketing enough yet?) But what if you’re not quite at the point of hiring a full-time employee? And in all honesty, to do it right, you’ll need to work with someone who can strategize, write content, and design for print and digital. Good luck finding that unicorn.
With a service like Limitless Creative, you’re able to access marketing-savvy [read: multi-skilled] creative professionals on an on-demand basis, for an affordable monthly rate. This allows for dedicated, ongoing support from a designer who knows your brand, your working style, your industry and your preferences, all at a predetermined cost that you’ll be happy to call a monthly investment. Not to mention, no employee overhead, no payroll, no interviews, no hand-holding with inexperienced designers, and no surprises.
Do it right the first time.
There is hope—and that’s where building a relationship with a marketing and design professional comes in. You’ll set yourself up for success with an ongoing engagement; the more you work together, the more you’ll increase synchronicities of style and preference, which ultimately means a more valuable deliverable for you.
A wise investment today frees up hours tomorrow.
When you’re able to focus on running your business by leaving your branding, marketing and creative projects in the hands of those specifically-skilled professionals, it becomes much simpler to focus on your strengths. Spend your time wisely, just like you would spend your hard-earned dollars with practical and affordable solutions that let you hone in on your endeavors.
A Workbook for Startups
A powerful and comprehensive conversation-starting tool for developing your brand’s core messages. You’ll need this before you start working on anything visual.