7:30pm, Saturday, Light Street – see you there
When I was in my late teens it was always the same time, same place, same crowd, but it was always hit and miss as to whether Andy would join us.
You see, his appearance depended on how well he did in the arcade.
Often he’d swagger in with a smile on his face and declare ‘I’ve won the jackpot on the fruity’, My recollection is the jackpot was £80 – we’re talking 1996/97 here.
Andy would then insist on getting the drinks in until the £80 ran out. And Andy was a lightweight so after he bought a few rounds he was off asleep somewhere.
Andy was allowed to be tired, he’d usually spent since noon feeding that fruit machine with 50p’s.
What Andy never really seemed to notice was that £80 was never really a win, there was never any profit.
If he’d spent all of Saturday giving the fruit machine money, plus the odd evening after work, there’s little chance that £80 is breaking even for him.
On the weekends Andy hadn’t been ‘lucky’ in the arcade we would usually not see him. But sometimes he’d join us, with nothing in his pocket and ask if anyone could buy him a drink.
People would rarely reciprocate his generosity, because they only had enough money to pay for their own night out.
It’s similar in business; if you keep giving for free it’s what people see you for.
Those free hour long calls, that brain picking, that free work you keep giving to people. How much are you giving? Is it coming back?
Let’s do a bit of maths, some maths I wish I’d done with Andy.
If your hourly rate is £100 and you give somebody two hours free that’s £200 and two hours you never get back. However, they then work with you for three hours! Result, right?
Wrong, you’re only up £100, but you’ll always be two hours down.
You will never get those initial free two hours back.
Those free 1-hour calls you give people so that they can get to know you. I don’t give more than 20 minutes, people can get to know me from my online presence, my website.
Because, like yours, my time is money and I am here to make a profit.
I know that this will trigger a few people who like to give back and that’s wonderful – I give back too – but as they say on the aeroplanes; you have to make sure your own oxygen is covered first.
Small business owners don’t have the benefit of an employer topped up pension, sick pay, etc so profit is something you need.
As soon as you start considering that your time is money your bank balance will start to change
If you’re not sure where to start I recommend reducing your free calls to 20 minutes and charging for an hour of your time with a Power Hour. Here’s my eBook… How to Create Power Hours For Your Business.
Andy now? He’s 43, has two estranged children, lives with his parents, doesn’t work and has a few habits that facilitate that addictive gene.