You Can’t Buy An Hour

Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 28th, 2018

Think back to the last time you were running late for something important.

Something like a big sales meeting, or your daughter’s graduation, or your flight home after a month away from your family. Maybe is was due to a traffic jam, or a flight delay, or a chatty client, or just plain old lack of planning. But for whatever reason, it was looking like you were going to miss something important.

Really think back. Try to relive the memory. Get back into your mental state. Can you feel the tension rising? The stress? Is your stomach knotting up? Is your heart racing?

Okay, now ask yourself...

In that moment, how much would have have paid for an extra hour?

Ten dollars? A hundred dollars? A thousand?

Just imagine if you could open up the Amazon app on your phone and buy an hour. Imagine that that hour was injected into your day at the moment of purchase. And imagine that the seller had that hour subtracted from their day.

You end up with 25 hours in your day, and the seller ends up with 23.

As amazing and convenient (and weird and scary) as it might be to literally be able buy an hour from another person, it’s impossible. At any price. You cannot buy an hour.

We all know this. It’s clearly absurd.

So... why do we talk about SELLING HOURS?

It’s no more possible to sell an hour than it is to buy one.

CLIENTS DO NOT PAY YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

How do I know this?

BECAUSE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO SELL YOUR TIME.

Yes, when you work on a client’s behalf for an hour, it’s true that you have given up that hour, BUT THE CLIENT DIDN’T GET YOUR HOUR. They (hopefully) got an outcome from you that was worth more to them than they paid you. THE FACT THAT IT TOOK YOU AN HOUR IS YOUR PROBLEM. If it took you a microsecond, they’d still be happy with the outcome.

Sorry for the ALLCAPS but this point is at the heart of what I teach, and our language (at least in English) sabotages us at every turn. So... I felt the emphasis was justified :)

(If this message has left you scratching your head, listen to this episode of Ditching Hourly for more info.)

Yours,

—J


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