Selling Yourself On The Value Of Your Time

There’s one inherent advantage to being a full time, salaried employee that the self-employed rarely talk about: Even when you’re unproductive, you’re still earning money.

Time Is MoneyIf you’re a full time employee, you probably just laughed to yourself. If you’re a freelancer or a self-employed entrepreneur, that knot in your stomach is the realization that you’re the one paying the price for less-than-productive days. When “actual results” directly drive your paycheck, you’re the one to lose when you’re unproductive, distracted, or working at less than the peak performance that keeps your rates high (and growing, right?).

And yet we all waste time. And we all pay for it. Until now. Here’s a freakishly simple way to sell yourself on the value of your time so you can focus on the things that are going to boost your bottom line:

First, Get Clear On The Value Of Your Time

Your time is worth exactly this much:

Cash Money / Hours Worked = Your Rockin’ $DPH (Dollars Per Hour)

Now, in the last 30 days, how much did you earn? Stop reading, and think about this seriously. Don’t read any further until you do. How much cash crossed your hands (or how many orders came in) in the last month? Stop and think about it.

Now that you have that number firmly in mind, it’s time to get brutally honest. How many hours did you spend in the last 30 days doing business tasks or business-ish tasks?

Business tasks = stuff that actually drove your business forward
Business-ish tasks = pointless stuff you did when you were supposed to be doing stuff to drive your business forward.

That’s right … those business-ish activities robbed you of the revenue generating goodness that you know and love. But you still gotta include them in the equation. And they bring that $DPH down, down, down.

Now for the math: Take the money you made in the last 30 days and divide it by the sum of both the slamming business hours and the profit-diluting “business-ish” hours.

And that’s what you’re worth this month, my friend. And that puts you in one of three spots:

Spot #1 – Your $DPH Is Oh-So-High

This may sound like rock music to your accountant’s ears, but it’s cause for alarm. If your time is worth $75 and hour and you realized that this week you spent 60 minutes scanning meaningless websites, you’ve got to come to grips with the fact that you just shelled out $75 for the privilege. Yay, you. You paid the same thing to watch those Daily Show clips on YouTube as well. Not a good place to be.

Your High $DPH Solution: Every time you feel the urge to get distracted, diverted, or derailed, tell yourself: “No way I’m trading $(your $DPH) for this!”

Spot #2 – Your $DPH is Flat And Average

If your $DPH has been hanging steady (and lower than you want) for a while now, it’s time to face the fact that it’s not going to get any bigger by itself. You’ve become complacent, yes, but there’s a way out of it – remind yourself that distraction = treading water, and get good and mad. Then do something about it. You can trigger that righteous anger like so:

Your Flat $DPH Solution: Every time you feel the urge to get distracted, diverted, or derailed, tell yourself: “This kind of garbage is exactly why my $DPH is flatlining. I’m going to focus on rustling up some new business instead.”

Spot #3 – Your $DPH is Keeping You Up At Night

Perhaps your business is new and tiny, or you’re just doing so much “business-ish” stuff that you’ve watered down your profits to an embarrassing low. You’re actually in the best place of all three of these spots. Why? Because you have the easiest path to rocking your $DPH straight up the charts.

Every hour you turn procrastination into action, you boost your $DPH. Every chunk of time you pour into building your skills sends your rates up. The best part about being in the pit is that there’s nowhere to go but up – and the trip can be as fast as you want it.

Your Low $DPH Solution: Every time you feel the urge to get distracted, diverted, or derailed, tell yourself: “I can instantly increase my $DPH by jumping back into the saddle or learning a rate-boosting skill. Huzzah.”

Did You Just Drive Your $DPH Up, Or Down??

Now you’ve got to make a choice – are you going to take what you just read seriously, and make the last 3 minutes time that will result in you driving your business forward faster, or are you going to make the time you spend on this blog a business-ish experience that drains that $DPH faster than me with a case of Guinness?

Choose Wisely, And Leave A Comment

Give me a shout out below and tell me the one thing you’re going to do differently today/tommorrow to rock your $DPH to the sky. The $DPH crew here will root you on.

Keep it rocking –



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


  1. says

    If I were to really follow your advice, Dave, I’d have to quite reading this blog! ;) In a bit of an ironic catch-22, I was slacking off earlier and had to get on myself to do things that led to earnings. Then after a bit I thought, “time to check my feeds” and I read your post when I should’ve been doing something else.

    I have a nickname for when you’re spending your time doing the work that brings in the dough: MMAs, or money-making activities. When I catch myself just doing business-ish work, I remind myself: MMAs… MMAs…

    Thanks for the great post and the great new blog!

    PS – your subscribe to comments plugin isn’t displaying any text next to the check box.

  2. says


    You said, “If I were to really follow your advice, Dave, I’d have to quite reading this blog!”

    Not necessarily true … unless you’re not using what you learn and channeling it into boosting your $DPH.

    Whenever you come to this blog, come to it with the expectation that you’re going to extract information that will help you move your $DPH ever higher … and don’t be surprised when it does.

    Keep the comments rocking –


    (PS reply … I’ll let the blog tech know about the plugin)

  3. says

    Task lists help keep you on track. I always keep a list of the things I need to do, but I try to keep of list of daily business “chores” as wel until they become a habit.

    But it might be an interesting idea to keep an anti-task list too … a list of stuff that you shouldn’t be doing, but tend to wander into when you’re not focused.

  4. says

    Great article Dave. Most people give little thought to the actual value of their time, possibly not even during conventional working hours. Entrepreneurs know better.

    Most self-employed people are acutely aware that their time investment must produce immediate income. Many entrepreneurs however, are in the position of remaining gainfully employed as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams part-time. This is often born of necessity, in the absence of venture capitol investors.

    All activity, however relevant to the business, does not directly produce income, yet remains important to the overall business operation. Such activities are best completed during non-primetime hours, where selling and revenue generation must remain the priority.

    Your $DPH analysis is quite thought-provoking, especially while one participates in such productive mind-expansion activities like watching the tube!

  5. says

    nice one. y’know we all need to improve our content skills. reading great posts like this is a reminder to take time off business to do businessish business.
    Acquiring knowledge from those that know.
    You cant make money every hour without getting originality into your work.
    But thanks for the wake up call. I live on koh samui thailand and sometimes its hard to get motivated thanks to all the distractions.
    the baldchemist

  6. says

    Are you writing with a set schedule? That really helps …

    The anti-task list is a good one … a tip: take an index card and write down hard-to-beat anti-tasks as well as what you will do to snap out of it. Keep ‘em in a pile when you’re at your desk. When you wander, go to the card, follow the directions to get back on track. Quick and easy way to install a habit.

    Thanks for your comments … you should check out David Seah’s site When Is Something Worth Doing? for more food for thought.

    Wake-up calls are my specialty :-) What’s your biggest distraction, and what’s your battle plan for fighting it?

  7. says

    We have a lot of clients who charge by the project and not by the hour – they work harder and more efficiently so they get the work done in half the time. Therefore the client is happy with the speed and the freelancer is twice as profitable!

  8. says

    I have a nickname for when you’re spending your time doing the work that brings in the dough: MMAs, or money-making activities. When I catch myself just doing business-ish work, I remind myself: MMAs… MMAs…
    Thanks for the great post and the great new blog!

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