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Is the Way You're Spending Your Time Costing You Money?

moneyGeoffrey Moore, in his book Living on the Fault Line, discussed the “Core versus Context Model” for businesses. Core activities are things which set you apart from your competition and context is everything else. For many businesses, this may include administrative activities, marketing activities, and the like.

As we discussed his model, we realized that this works in our personal lives as well. You want to do more of the things you’re really good at and less of everything else. Usually, we really like to do what we’re good at so by focusing on just those tasks, we can advance in our careers.

Like for us, our strength is working on content for Bigg Success. At least we’d like to think so … or more importantly, we hope you think so!

For us, the contextual activities would be everything else. So for a couple of examples, we outsource our house cleaning and the yard work. Instead of spending time on these things, we can work on our business.

You’re getting a glimpse into how integrated our personal and professional lives are. Since we often work from home, all of these decisions are floating around together. We don’t think we’re alone on this – a lot of people are finding it pays to integrate their work life and their professional life.

By outsourcing your contextual activities, you save time and you open up the opportunity to make more money. It comes back to the time vs. money conundrum …

If you don’t have money, you have to invest more time.

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georgeFor example, if you start a business that is well-capitalized, you will be able to spend your time differently than if you start on a shoestring. With limited capital, you may have to take care of the janitorial work – a lot of business owners have done that. I’ve done that!

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At first, you may have to do it yourself because there’s no money. But you want to contract it out as soon as you can because it’s definitely a contextual activity, unless you happen to be the owner of a janitorial service.

Thinking about core vs. context helps you focus on where you want to spend your time and where you want to spend your money. You think twice about spending money because there’s something else that will let you spend more time on your core.

You may find that you spend your money on things that save you time, rather than cost you time.
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marylynnI want a bigg screen TV, but we would rather spend that money on a web person. Right now, I handle our web site. So when there are changes that need to be made, I get to work. But there are better uses of my time.

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Because we know that’s not in our core. Bigg Success is still in its early stages, so as soon as we can we’ll outsource this activity. Another example is publicity – right now, we do it ourselves. We want to contract with someone who is better at it than we are and can accomplish more than we can on our own.

So although we don’t have HDTV, we do have goals for that money!

It boils down to thinking about how much your time is worth. You may find that by contracting out certain activities, it costs you less than what you can make by spending your time working in your core.

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Help! I Need Somebody!

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we welcomed Denise Griffitts. Denise is the founder and CEO of Your Virtual Assistant, a company that provides highly trained administrative professionals for support, technical and creative services for small businesses, start-up businesses, individuals, and online entrepreneurs.


Virtual assistants are in bigg demand

Denise talked about the growing demand for virtual assistants, who work for you from their home. They work within your processes and system. If you don’t have processes set up, they’ll even help you do that.

A virtual assistant can help you with just about anything that doesn’t require them to be on site. Denise’s niche is serving online entrepreneurs. She lets you take care of the front end of the business by partnering with you and handling the back end.

“A virtual assistant takes away all the minutiae from your day.”
Denise Griffitts

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Think about what you really need help doing. What’s causing your time seepage? By thinking about the minutiae that’s sapping your creativity and letting a virtual assistant take care of it, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and be able to move forward more quickly.

How affordable is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a contract employee. You don’t have to pay their taxes and Social Security. You also don’t have to pay for their office space or equipment.

Denise has a Rate Calculator on her blog. It allows you to calculate the difference between hiring someone in your office and hiring a virtual assistant. Denise says the savings are considerable.

Could you benefit from a virtual assistant?
Denise talked about her biggest client, who had a project she needed done within three weeks. This client had a concept and an announced date for completion. That was it!

In three weeks, Denise and her team helped her client produce a product. They created a CD, did the art for the CD, created audio, print work and art work. It was in her customer’s hands by the deadline!

As Denise says, “Most everybody these days could use a virtual assistant.”

Would you like to be a virtual assistant?
Denise is looking for people all of the time. If you have online experience and would like to earn some extra money, send Denise your resume to resumes@virtualassistantindustry.com.

Denise will review your resume. If that looks good, she’ll interview you. After that, she’ll assign you a project. If you perform well on that project, then she brings you on as a full virtual assistant.

So if you want to hire a virtual assistant or be a virtual assistant, check out Your Virtual Assistant!

 

  

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Are Good Looks an Advantage or a Disadvantage at Work?

A lot of attractive people complain that people assume things about them without getting to know them. It’s assumed that they’re unintelligent, superficial, and even arrogant.

You’ve been given the gift of physical attractiveness, which has to mean you’re lacking in other areas. In the social world, you’re just the pretty boy or girl.

But does that perception carry over into the professional world? Is there a bias against people who are good-looking?

 

Green Without Envy
Economists Markus Mobius of Harvard University and Tanya Rosenblat of Wesleyan University did a study to see how looks affected the hiring process. They divided participants into five groups:

  • Two of the groups never saw a photo of the candidate or the candidates themselves
  • The other three either saw the candidate’s photograph or in-person.

The groups who saw the candidates were much more likely to hire the more attractive candidate, even though the less attractive candidate was just as qualified.

These employers predicted that the attractive candidates would be more productive, and would be rewarded for it with higher pay.

Even Greener Pastures
Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the economics of beauty. Dr. Hamermesh has focused on how beauty effects financial success in the workplace.

His research confirms the results of the study we just referenced – that beauty gains an advantage because the doors of opportunity open more frequently. So they make connections, learn skills, and grow professionally. Then they’re able to leverage that first opportunity into many more opportunities, which results in even higher pay.

He also offers little hope for the unattractive. His research has shown that spending money on things to enhance your looks is a waste. You’ll only get back about 15 cents in pay for ever dollar you spend.

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”

The more colors you have, the more colorful your world can be.


Questions for you

Socially, we often hear pretty people complain that they’re discriminated against. But research seems to show that it works to their favor in the workplace.

From your experiences, do you think good looks are an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a difference between men and women? Are good looks more important in the workplace for men or for women?

How about age? Is this something you think affects young people more than older workers or vice versa?

What do you think of Dr. Hamermesh’s finding that it doesn’t pay to try to package yourself better? Do you think it makes a difference?

Share your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

 

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If You Want to Increase Your Profit, Don’t Put Your Customers First

Some professors at Harvard developed a concept over ten years ago called  The Service Profit Chain. This concept is designed to increase your profits year after year.


The Service – Profit Chain

Employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers lead to revenue growth. Revenue growth leads to profit growth.

Reinvest a portion of those profits into things that will make your employees even more satisfied, and the chain never breaks.

So your profit keeps going up year after year!

Employee satisfaction
It starts with satisfying your employees. Many business owners focus on satisfying their customers first, but that’s putting the cart before the horse!

If you don’t have satisfied employees, you won’t be able to satisfy your customers. Work from the inside out, because your product or service is built around those who create or deliver it.

So if you want to increase your profits, find out what will make your employees happy!

Happy employees stick around
It’s expensive to find and train new people. New people cost you money until they get through the learning curve. They cost you money because your established employees have to help train them, so they aren’t as productive as they would be if they weren’t faced with that burden.

They know what they’re doing. They know your customers personally – their likes and dislikes. They have relationships with your customers, and most people do business with people they like.

Your employees are golden! So seek first to satisfy your employees.

3 things satisfied customers do
Satisfied customers buy more, they buy more often, and they tell others.

Look at those three again – isn’t that a great way to increase sales?

You don’t have to spend a boat-load of money chasing new customers. You focus on making your employees happy so they make your customers happy.

If you do that, your sales will grow. If you just keep your costs under control, your profits will grow. Reinvest a portion of those profits to find even more ways to satisfy your employees, and your profits will grow year-after-year.

Our bigg quote today is a paraphrase of a Walt Disney quote:

“If I treat my employees the way I want my employees to treat my customers,
I’ll never have to worry about how my employees treat my customers.”

Take care of your employees and watch your business turn into a magic kingdom!

Next time, we’ll discuss what to do if you made a commitment you no longer feel you can honor. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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*We are Amazon affiliates. If you purchase the book we linked to in this article, we’ll receive a small portion of the sale.

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Why It Pays to be Late for Work

A friend of ours said that he can he can usually control when he gets to work, but he can’t always control when he leaves. So that got us thinking …

It pays to be late for work!

Now obviously, some people don’t have the flexibility to get in later. But a lot of us do! And sometimes the best way to balance your life is to live your life before you go to work!

5 examples
 
#1 – Meditation
On the show, George said that, as a boy, his mom and dad started every day with family devotions. They felt like this was the best way to start the day, and it meant the family would be together at least that one time.

#2 – Exercise
Mary-Lynn has a friend who loves yoga. She started a new job, which often required her to work late. So she didn’t have time for yoga. She talked to her boss, who fully understood. Now she exercises before work and is much more productive and sane at work!

#3 – Hobby
George has a friend whose hobby is woodworking. He starts every morning at his workbench. He says it’s good medicine for him.

#4 – Course

Mary-Lynn has a friend who wants to start her own business, so she’s taking an online accounting course. It’s the first thing she works on after she gets her kids off to school.

#5 – Family breakfast

We have some friends who wanted the whole family together at dinner. However, with their two teenagers, it never seemed to work for all of them. So now, they eat breakfast together. It doesn’t fit all of their schedules every day, but they eat together much more often than they would if they were still trying to do it at dinner.

How to find the time

These little stories are great, but how do you get the flexibility to start your work day later? Let’s look at two scenarios:

Scenario 1: You have complete control of your schedule.
You may occasionally need to be to work early, but for the most part, you set the time you arrive each day.

You don’t necessarily have to jump in with both feet – start off with a day or two. Pick a day of the week and get to work late. See how it works for you. Are you happier? You very well may find that getting to work later helps you get more done while you’re there.

If it works for you, you can always add days.

Scenario 2: You need to negotiate to come in later.
Use any leverage you may have, like Mary-Lynn’s friend who wanted to exercise in the morning. If you’re a valued employee, there’s a good chance your boss will readily accept you coming in later. And again, it doesn’t have to be five days a week – maybe just a day or two to start.

If need be, use it as a bargaining tool. Would it be worth a little less money to get more flexibility with your time?

Our bigg quote today is by Robert Orben:

“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.”

So put the brakes on your morning rush to give yourself some extra drive.

Next time, with tax season coming to its end here in the United States, we’ll discuss how to go from refund to riches. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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