3 “Aren’t-I-Smart” Lies That Kill Your Profits

Lies ProfitsWhen it comes to lying, there’s nobody more willing to believe us than… well, us. When we’re not doing the best things to move our business forward, we tell ourselves it’s okay, we’re doing great, it’s not that bad… but at the end of the day all that rationalization isn’t building revenue and bagging new customers.

Here’s how to recognize where we’re sweet-talking our way past out problems… and how to fix them for good.

Lie #1: I got a lot of stuff done today!

Sure, you’ve been running around doing a lot of things today… but were they high-value things that move your company (and your revenue) higher? There’s a big difference between activity and accomplishment. One keeps you busy doing stuff… the other keeps you busy watching the cash roll in.

The Solution: Ask yourself if your current actions are going to grow your company or not. If not, pick something that will and do it now … then catch up with that little task later. (Then read David Seah’s rocking article on giving your tasks point values.)

Lie #2: I can improve on (x) later – I need to work now!

If you know you’re doing something inefficiently and you tell yourself you’ll get to improving it later, guess what – you won’t, 9 times out of 10. If you’re too busy to learn how to do something effective now, when are you going to have time to do it later? If you know that 20 hours spent improving your follow-up skills could boost your profits 20%… and you’ve known this for a year now… quit saying you’ll get to it.

The Solution: Schedule those hours in over the next 30 days. Consider it overtime. Consider it smart too – you didn’t get into business to work longer hours – you built it to thrive. And just “working through it” for the time being isn’t being productive, it’s being an enabler. Don’t do this to yourself.

Lie #3: I should be doing (x) myself, because I’ll save money!

Sure, when you’re bootstrapping it you want to do it all yourself, because it’s a powerful way to keep expenses down. But eventually you hit a wall where your time doing business-related activities is actually the bottleneck to higher profits. Think of what you do that brings in the big bucks… and then think of all the little jobs that suck time away (things like accounting, web tech work, whatever isn’t your high-dollar skill). Every hour you spend doing the low-value activities is an hour you can’t bill high. And that sucks.

The Solution: Find a way, any way, to outsource those tasks. If you don’t have money, barter. Do favors. Get creative. Tell yourself there’s a way and you’ll find one. And if all else fails, schedule some overtime to improve your client base so you can afford to do the outsourcing. And if you don’t want to work much overtime, cut out more of that ‘activity’ and hit more cash-generating accomplishment. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Bonus Lie #4: I should click somewhere else instead of leaving a comment!

Don’t fall for this one – stop right where you are. Ask yourself – are you going to take the 90 seconds you spent reading/skimming this article and make it “activity”… or revenue-generating accomplishment? If you click away now, it’s time wasted.

The Solution: If you take just one minute to join the conversation below, and declare one thing you’re going to apply as a result of reading this article, you might just kick your cashflow up a notch. Do it now!

Keep it rocking,



Dave Navarro is all about helping you get more done faster. Pick up your free “More Time” kit at your30hourday.com.



  1. says

    This is a great article, Dave.

    You say: “There’s a big difference between activity and accomplishment. One keeps you busy doing stuff… the other keeps you busy watching the cash roll in.”

    That’s something I need to remind myself to check on. Is what I am doing right now the best thing for servicing my clients or building my business, or do I have my priorities wrong?

    It’s good to get a kick up the pants occassionally, cheers.

  2. says

    Good article and nice way to hook a comment (#4).

    I’m guilty as charged of all of these. I think I’ll start by tackling number one because if I actually did things I might well get moving forward.

  3. says

    Lie #4 is one that a lot of people fall for. They click away before actually doing something on a blog. If I find the content compelling and the article useful, I will leave comments. Great article, Dave. I’m going to pick up the feed today. Hopefully one day, I’ll be freelancing!

  4. says

    Hi Dave ! I seem to be coming accross your articles everywhere these days ! But that’s great news as I love them, always so useful and full of sense :)

    Today is the day where I choose the person who’ll do the sewing for me in my art/craft business… it should give me time to take care of more important things, even though it took a while to find the right person. So I guess the lesson is : keep on looking for qualified people to help you, it’s worth it !

    Have a great day everyone :)

  5. says

    Mandy –
    Thanks for the kind words. Glad to be an inspiration

    A Blog About Nothing –
    I try :-) Conversation’s very important to me. Glad it worked!

    Shane –
    I hope the topic of the week’s jump-starting change …

    Roberta –
    Thanks for subscribing. Do a little something each day and eventually you’ll be there.

    Joolliah –
    Thanks for the kind words and congrats on outsourcing – it’ll be worth it.

  6. says

    Nice one. I’m going to spend more time in the office and send my boys out to do on site stuff with clients. I also need a tea boy. That should save me at least 3 hours a day!

    Good list!

  7. says

    I’m in! I need to quit surfing espn.com and get to writing! Thanks for the post. I’ve found just starting out where about half of my time is billable that a good first step is to try to fill all eight hours in a day with something business-related, whether that’s organizing files on your laptop, writing and sending direct mail looking for work, networking with contacts, etc. I try to have a pile of stuff I can do waiting so I can knock a few things off in between billable hours.

  8. says

    Dave, you sneaky comment getter, you. I like the overtime idea. Do you know how long I’ve been putting off reading Getting Things Done? The irony of it is killing me. Oh I read BLOGS about GTD all the time. But the book? The one that I own? The one that’s SITTING ON MY DESK? Nuh-uh.

    Thanks. I’m going to go eat some toast and read.

  9. says

    Peter –
    *kick!* (you’re welcome.)

    Matt –
    Make sure you use those 3 hours well :-)

    Pressdog –
    Replace surfing with billable hours and soon enough you’ll watch sports from a SkyBox!

    Hart –
    As long as you’re moving your business forward every week …

    Naomi –
    Glad you’re tackling it. Schedule in regular time to make sure you’re Getting … That … Done. Hmm …

  10. says

    Lie #5: If I just tweak my website a little more, that will magically bring business to my door.

    I’m a software developer, and sales/marketing are not my favorite things. So I find that sometimes I will waste time tweaking small things on my site, telling myself that because it is my website, these are marketing activities. Ha! Okay, no more of that for a while!

    Thanks for a great post!

  11. says

    …since I am still relatively new to this business it is always nice to have new things to work on to improve my output.

    #2 and #4 are now my latest work-improvement tips.

    …I am practicing #4 now :)

    Thanks for the great tips!

  12. Jon says

    Hey Dave, that’s a great post, I thought I’d apply what I learned from #4 :)

    I’m with Avonelle on #5, I always tell myself those things are “important” when in fact they’re not ‘that’ important, and I could better use this time for something else… ok gotta go tweak something now :)

  13. says

    I’m definitely guilty of #4. I read so many blogs, gleam information from them but never take a moment to engage in the conversation or just stop to say “thanks!”

    I’m going to try and change that starting today!

  14. says

    Great article, Dave. I managed to avoid most of these, but I’ve had these thoughts and had to talk myself out of them daily since I started freelancing full time. :)

  15. says

    great article, thanks for the dofollow (lol jk)

    I like the idea about outsourcing…

    I want to outsosurce my job.

    how would you recommend i go about replacing myself with someone better, more efficient and less expensive, smarter, younger, more energetic, more business and financial resources?

  16. says

    I particlularly like the idea of bartering – anyone out there want an original painting in exchange for making my website profitable? Boy, would I be grateful for this!!

  17. says

    “There’s a big difference between activity and accomplishment.”

    Good to be reminded of this every now and then. I’m one of those who tends to confuse the two, especially lately.

    Great post!

  18. says

    When I was intenring at a recording studio, I asked my mentor why he didn’t just clean the mixing board himself instead of bringing in someone esle to do it. He told me that cleaning the board would be an all-day project and hiring someone to do it would only cost him a few hundred dollars. During that time, he could be sending out reels, marketing, or scheduling gigs and make 3 times that amount.

  19. says

    Thank you for your post.

    Quite frequently I am running around, trying to fill an order, thinking “I’m so busy”, but when in actuality, I’m spinning my wheels.

    Thanks for the kick in the *ss.

    Have a nice day.

  20. says

    I use David’s Printable CEO and find it amazing for keeping my tasks organised on focused. I have been guilty of No.1 in the past, running around thinking your getting things done when in fact your really putting off the most important areas you need to focus on! Your basically conning yourself to make you feel better, if your running your own business you need to be very honest about your actions.

    I found David Allens “Getting Things Done” to be fantastic, well worth checking out!

  21. says

    I agree with the post above, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to reading all these great articles and then not leaving even just a “great” comment.

    I love your articles, and the Saturday links!

  22. says

    The last comment left on this article was several years ago, so I thought about just clicking away but I have to follow point #4 and leave a comment.

    Love the point about making yourself do overtime to improve your business! Many of my clients seem to think that they can build a business in just a few hours a day. I guess you can, but not one that will support you — especially if your goal is 6 figures! Sometimes, to get where you want to go, you just have to suck it up and do the work that needs to get done.

  23. DM Cook says

    Similaroy to Lesa above, I thought to myself “this is an old post! Why bother commenting?”… but the truth is, taking action is far more important than thinking about things all day, so here I am! Great points, Dave.


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