Article by: MaryEllen | Thursday, January 17, 2013

By Ali Brown

Time is the most important asset you have–and unlike money, once you’ve spent it, you can’t earn any more. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your 24 hours, especially as a business owner.

So, how can you become more productive and profitable, without working insane hours and sacrificing your personal life? Read on for a few steps on how to start managing your time like a successful entrepreneur…

STEP 1: Discover how much your time is worth

The first step to maximizing your time is to understand what yours is really worth. Here’s a simple formula to help you calculate how much each working hour is worth:

Income ÷ Hours worked = Hourly Rate

For example, let’s say your income last month was $16,000 and you worked eight hours a day for 20 days. That’s a total of 160 hours. So, your hourly rate would be calculated like this:

$16,000 ÷ 160 = $100 Per Hour

Based on this example, your hours are WORTH $100. Now, let’s find out if you’re spending every hour of every day on $100 activities :)…

STEP 2: Take an honest assessment of the TYPE of work you do

Now, think about the tasks you do for your business. Are they core business tasks, or business-related tasks? (Core business tasks are those directly related to growing the business and driving it forward, like networking for new clients, creating a new product line, etc. Business-related tasks are those that support your core activities, like invoicing, organizing, etc.)

You want to work ON your business by focusing on core business tasks–not IN it (by overwhelming yourself with business-related tasks).

Think about it: If your business doesn’t run unless you’re managing it all, all you’ve done is swapped a job with an employer by employing yourself as a file clerk, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, etc. And the truth is, it will be very hard to run a successful business this way. Quite a wake-up call isn’t it?

STEP 3: Delegate your tasks

You are the boss–so let someone else do the “$10/hour jobs” (those business-related tasks), so you can concentrate on developing the strategies that will make you more money and take your business in the direction you want to go. The more you learn to let go and delegate to other people, the more you can focus on your REAL job: those core business activities.

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities you can easily hand to someone else:

Accounting
Administration
Customer Support
Home/Office Cleaning
Technical Support
Logistics and Distribution
Public Relations
Search Engine Optimization
Writing
Website Development

Although you’ll have to spend a little money up front, outsourcing will help you get ahead in the long run. Let’s go back to that hourly worth example we calculated earlier…

If your hourly worth is $100 per hour and you pay someone $25 per hour, and use that hour instead to generate revenues for your business, you’ve just made a leap in your business–and much faster than if you had tried to handle everything by yourself.

So, what kind of skilled professionals can you hire to help? For starters, consider a Virtual Assistant (VA). They can handle a slew of jobs, from scheduling appointments, paying bills, and even managing your projects and supplier/vendor relationships.

There are also thousands of talented professionals looking for contract work on sites like www.elance.com andwww.guru.com. In many cases, you can browse the portfolios of providers and invite them to bid for the work you want done. You can also see feedback scores and testimonials from previous clients. If you’re weary of those online sites, ask business owners and friends you know if they can recommend someone to you.

About the Author:

Ali Brown has fast become regarded as the voice for women and business success. As founder and CEO of Ali International, she has created a dynamic multimillion-dollar enterprise that is devoted to empowering women entrepreneurs around the world.

Since launching her first venture in her tiny NYC studio apartment, she has built a following of over 50,000 members in her online and offline programs.

Ali has been featured as an expert in the many publications and  televsion programs and was named one of 2010’s Enterprising Women of the Year, one of Ernst & Young’s Winning Women for 2010, and a winner of the Step Up Women’s Network Commitment to Philanthropy award.