HOW MUCH IS YOUR TIME WORTH: Investing & Marketing
Do you know how much your time is worth? For a business owner with fluctuating income this can be a difficult ask. However, to maximize your time in all aspects of your life it’s important to have these figures down. If your business is fairly stable, you can easily calculate the average amount of money you make per month and divide it by how many hours you put in.
Let’s say you’re a full time blogger making $3,500 per month and you put in an average of 8 hours per day, 5 days per week (I know it’s more hours for bloggers and those blogging and working another job - be sure to factor all of this in. It’s so important!), so $3,500 divided by 160 average working hours per month is about $22 per hour.
If your business really ebbs and flows, you can either calculate the average or create two calculations, one based on your worst month and and one on your best month. If you have a salary or hourly wage job outside of blogging, I would create two separate figures and one combined figure for both. Find a number that makes the most sense to you.
For now, let’s stick with the $22 per hour figure.
This is what is costs for you to do business.
When it comes to choosing a collaboration that’s right for you, it shouldn’t always be black and white.
The ideal scenario…
If you’re being offered a payment, calculate the hours and expenses it will take to complete the collaboration. Remember to deduct any out of pocket costs for yourself, like photographer, lighting, transportation etc. and then figure out how many hours it will take you to complete. If you add everything together and your out-of-pocket expense is higher than your fee it would be wise to think twice. Please keep in mind, this scenario more often fits an influencer or blogger that is seasoned and has a following to backup their rate.
HOWEVER, no matter how many followers you have and how many years you’ve been at it, people will often approach you to do something for free or much less than you’re ideal rate. So let’s talk about the other side of things…
Investing & Marketing
These words may seem off base to you but they should be a big part of the way you manage your business at ANY STAGE. That’s right, even if you have a million followers, pay attention. No matter how well you’re doing, you should be investing and marketing your business constantly. Each month, you should allocate a realistic dollar amount to a marketing budget to further your business. Realistic meaning, in terms of your budget and in terms of results.
As a blogger and founder of this community I can confidently say that you should invest at least $500 per month in marketing your business. Whether that is on facebook / Instagram ads, giveaways, classes, content materials, new equipment etc. We live in a day and age where there is so much content on the internet and millions of small businesses everywhere. If you’re not taking extra steps you can easily be left behind. It’s the harsh reality of the internet.
So where does that leave you if you don’t have extra cash laying around for marketing? Now that you’ve determined what your time is worth, you can allocate hours of your time as your investment. Let’s say your investment goal is $500 per month, and your hourly rate is $22 per hour, that allows you to plan and utilize about 23 hours of additional unpaid work to your roster. Your time will serve as your marketing budget for the month.
(Please remember these are just example figures, but the same formula can be used to calculate and manage your time)
The simplest of ways you can invest your “marketing time” is to take on unpaid collaborations. Now, I don’t mean just any unpaid work. Determining whether an unpaid collaboration is a good fit for your brand can play out so many ways but there are two main questions you should ask yourself.
Is there longevity in this?
How is this going to benefit me?
1. This business is all about the long haul. Too often I find influencers focusing on the short term. WHO is the contact? If the contact is a PR agency that works with badass brands or brands that you hope to work with in the future, this is a great investment of your time. Relationship building is SO KEY in this industry, I can’t even explain. Just because you may never meet these people in real life, doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important.
Maybe it’s a really big brand but they just don’t have the budget to pay you now. It’s okay, adding a big name to your media kit is well worth the work and if they have a big following, having a chance to be on their social feed is always worth it.
If you’re just starting out, working with any brand or agency that aligns with your brand is a good investment of your time. You need to reel in that experience as quickly as you can.
2. If it isn’t going to be paid, nail down the benefit. It could be as simple as just getting your hands on a product that you like for free. However, if there is no payment involved make sure it’s worth your while. One of the best things you can do is ask the brand for additional items to give away to your audience. Not only does your audience totally appreciate it, but you’ll usually have an engagement boost. That is a great investment back into your audience. Remember, without them you don’t have a business!
The relationship could also be the benefit. Maybe your contact is someone that you you want to impress or keep in your back pocket for future projects. Doing someone a favor now can open the door when you need a favor later on, one that’s more valuable than your current ask. Be strategic!
If you are just starting your business, you will be going through this scenario over and over for years. Yes, years. However, no matter what stage you’re at, It is beyond important to calculate how many hours you’re putting in, exactly how much money that time is worth and allocating either money or time into your marketing budget. Additionally, it’s a good way to manage your life when you’re deciding how to spend your time. Time will be your biggest investment into this business. Spend it wisely!