Are you working for yourself or working for profit

Business is about profit, not philanthropy.

When your bank balance hardly grows and your energy for more work goes diminishes, its time to rethink how you do business. Reward for more work is not realized. Obviously it is different for everyone and we can all share it on Twitter, but the point is that all small business people reach this point some time in their life. I have.

Before realizing this crucial point in business, I would not be able to convince you that it is not about greed. It would be greed if you were a banking magnate, but you are a small company with, let’s say less than 5 people.

I’ll tell you when it hit me. Really hard.

I was doing a job for a client, it was quotes for products for his new house.  We started first by having a meeting to discuss what his wife liked (he had to, needed to keep her happy for all the bj’s). After that it was proposal time, and there were many proposals. Amendment after amendment. All these proposals included images, diagrams explanations of why, where, when and how each product would work. Finally the project was approved and it was time for payment. It is then that the client requested a discount because I should be so grateful for his generosity and trust to buy all the items from me. This guy was good, he did not email me with the request, no he phoned in and reasoned with me. I was young, inexperienced and under pressure. I caved in with a 10% discount. What a fool I was. What a fool, I was!

This project took about 30% of my time per day for only 5% of my required bottom line. In effect I made no money at all from this project, I just barely held my head above water.

That day taught me one of the most important lessons in business. Be prepared to walk away from time wasting big projects. Never discount your worth.

If I would have said no to the discount, he would be in a predicament. He has spent all the time with me, he had no other proposals and PowerPoint slides to help him understand what he is getting. As a matter of fact, I could have told him due to the amount of work I put into the project, the reduced risk he had for failure of the project, it would be fair to charge for the presentations an extra 10%! Don’t you think?

In a certain sense, I was one of his employees. Working my but off for his enjoyment.

Never put yourself in that position. Value the input you make to other peoples lives and charge for it.  And if they don’t like it, walk away. It is not worth you time and effort.

Your time is valuable, charge for it.

Work for profit, not for yourself!

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