Momentum Podcast: 93
You Can’t Give Away Your Time
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.
The most important asset in building your business is you're time. The challenge we all have as entrepreneurs is that the second we start building our business, everyone wants our time. There is an endless stream of requests that lower the time we have available to grow the business.
If you aren't careful, these requests can take over your schedule. It is subtle at first… You accept a meeting request from a sales rep that has been really persistent. You set up a call with someone from Facebook, in a similar situation to yours, who asked if they could pick your brain. You join in educational membership and almost immediately other members want to connect and get to know you.
Before you know it, these requests for your time have taken over your schedule and you are fighting for productivity.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire-builders, game-changers, trail-blazers, shot-takers, record-breakers, world-makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, and rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future.
Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
The most important asset you have as an entrepreneur to build your business and to build your life is your time. The challenge we all have as entrepreneurs is the second we start building businesses, everyone wants our time. This has happened to me over and over again. As I've grown my companies and grown my businesses, sometimes I don't even notice it's happening, but I'll start getting more requests and I'll start getting more people who wanna talk, people who wanna connect, they wanna pick your brain, they wanna get information, and here's what happens.
It's subtle at first. But the challenge is these requests for your time can very quickly take over your business and stop you from succeeding. It starts with accepting a meeting from a sales rep. They've been really nice, they've been persistent, they've called you a bunch of times, you feel like you're almost obligated to get on the phone with them. Or you set up a call with someone from Facebook or social media or a referral from someone that just thought you should connect because you're in similar situations and they wanna pick your brain or talk or understand what's going on for you.
Or you join a membership or you join a program, a mastermind, a membership somewhere where there's a bunch of other members and almost immediately, everyone in the group wants to connect with you or other members wanna know who you are and talk to you. It's not normally everyone in the group, but it's enough that it's persistent. Before you know it, your time has been taken over, your schedule is trashed, and you're fighting for productivity.
This has happened to me over and over again, and if you're growing a business right now, here's what I want you to know. Those requests for time, these "got a minutes," "I wanna pick your brain," "I wanna connect with you," "I wanna compare notes." They will only go up. As you create more success, as you create more notoriety, as you are seen more, heard more, you are going to have an endless stream of requests at one point. For me, I get several of these a day sometimes. The challenge is that when you start giving in to these requests, you're doing a disservice to yourself and to the other person.
You're doing a disservice to yourself because when you go into a meeting, an interaction during the day, and you don't know what the outcome is, you are taking yourself out of momentum. In order to be in momentum, we know what the outcome is. We're on the hunt. We're going towards what we want. When you just get on a random interaction, that is the definition of not really having a clear outcome. You're taking yourself out of momentum. You're doing a disservice to yourself because when you connect with someone else and you know know why, you're hoping you get lucky and you're using your time in a way that creates productivity for your business, but how often do you wanna hope you get lucky that the person on the other end is gonna have some solution for you you didn't know about?
You're doing a disservice to yourself because every one of these is a fishing expedition where the person on the other end of the line gets to feel dopamine and they get to connect with you and they know who you are 'cause you've grown your business and you're doing well. As you grow your business bigger, there's going to be even more of this, in fact. Here's the biggest reason you're doing a disservice. When you set up on one of these calls or a connection or your give your time away, while you're in that moment, it is going to be hard for you to pay attention to what you're doing because if you're in momentum and you're growing your business, and you've got a great day going, and you're getting things done, and the world is following in your wake, we all know what that feels like.
You're making things happen and your business is moving forward and you look up and you remember that at 11:30, you committed to give your time to somebody without an outcome but it was somebody who reached out, they were really nice, they were persistent, so you gave away your time. You're going to get on that call and be incredibly frustrated. You're doing a disservice to them. See, we think the right thing to do is to take the appointment. We think the right thing to do is to set up a time to talk. We think the right thing to do is to lean into the connection, but the challenge is that if we do that over and over again, not only are we hurting our business, but we're probably hurting those relationships.
If it gets bad enough, you're going to get on one of these calls and it's gonna be a challenging interaction. You're gonna have a hard time talking to the person. You're not gonna be really paying attention. They're not gonna get who you really are and that's the last thing you want out there. The question that always comes back, "How do I protect myself from these requests without feeling rude, without feeling mean, without feeling like I'm letting somebody down?"
I want you to know something up front. Eventually, you're going to feel rude, mean, and like you let somebody down, but you have to do it because it's a challenge that if you don't stop this early, you can end up with most of your time leaking out sideways and you don't know why you're not productive, or you do know why you're productive and either way it's not good for you. Here's what I do, whenever somebody reaches out for my time, 'cause it happens all the time. Now, some of the time it's people who we actually wanna talk to. It's people who should be in one of our programs. It's people who are connecting, that they want to know more about one of our high-end mastermind or how we help people grow teams or how we help people grow businesses. I wanna talk to every one of them.
You may feel like you might be giving up opportunity by doing this, but whenever someone reaches out, I just politely ask, "Can you let me know what this call is regarding? I'm in the middle of several large projects right now and all the time that I spend must be prioritized. I'd love to know what our call is going to be about so I know where to put it on my list." That way, if they come back to me and say, "Hey, I'm interested in your mastermind." I can set up a call right away.
But if they come back to me and say, "Hey, Alex, I've heard your podcast and I think we have a lot in common. I would love to pick your brain," I usually say back, "I would love to get on the phone with you, but given where my schedule is right now and the number of projects I have in front of me, I don't know when I would be able to prioritize a call for you to pick my brain. I apologize, it's just we have paying clients who I'm completing projects for and I wanna make sure we live in integrity and we do what we said we were going to do."
That works near 100% of the time. In fact, I'll share something with you. Typically, about seven out of 10 times when I send back that first request just asking for the purpose of the call so that I can prioritize it, I don't get anything back. That usually indicates to me it was somebody who was just looking for a phone call or looking to feel important or wanted to call me for some reason but there wasn't enough that they would even tell me what the call was about so that I could prioritize.
If you're growing your business, if you're growing a team, time is everything to you. The faster you put systems like this in place or a process like this in place to where you don't give away your time, the more you're going to have in order to build your business. Take it from someone who went down the wrong path. I've been on the other side of this coin. I've accepted the requests, I've wanted to connect with people in the membership, I've let people get on the phone and pick my brain, and I've gotten to the week where I had to cancel whole bunch of calls because by Tuesday, I was so overwhelmed with how much of this type of activity I had, I couldn't get anything done.
That was years ago and these days, we put up some high barriers for me to get on the phone with anyone because we literally grow our business through my time. It is no different for you. I want you to remember that every time you commit your time to someone else, you are investing that time in them, not in your business. Every time you defer or turn someone away, even though it may feel challenging in the moment, I want you to remember. You are investing your most valuable asset in your business, and as a business owner to another business owner, I would argue that is your obligation.
Thanks for being here with me today. I wanna help you not fall down some of the same pitfalls that I have and lose your momentum because the faster you make sure you don't give away your time, the more you know you're investing your most valuable asset in your business. If you're growing a team and growing your organization and you want help in growing faster and understanding how to communicate with your team and understanding how to put systems in place so that everyone on your team knows where you're going and can follow and help get you there, reach out and get in touch with us.
You'll go through the same process that I just shared with you and then we will make sure you get set up with a call because if you're growing a business and growing a team and you wanna do it much faster than those around you, reach out to us and let us show you how we help entrepreneurs grow teams, grow businesses, while they keep their lives and don't feel like they're letting anyone down. I look forward to talking to you again soon.