We’re having a fire… sale!

ImageI’d like to know if the way I used to think about time and value matches your experience at all.Imagine waking up each day and a pallet of stuff has been delivered from Costco to your home. It’s sitting there on the lawn or in the apartment hallway, wrapped in shrink-wrap. It clearly has your name on it, so you assume it was really meant for you.You open it up and find that you only need about 20 or 30% of the stuff it contains.The first day this happens, you grab a bag of frozen tater tots, some frozen pizza, a case of soda pop, and stick that stuff in your kitchen. You can’t figure out to do with the rest, so you just leave it there.The next day you wake up and find that while you were sleeping the old pallet of stuff has been removed and replaced with fresh, new pallet of stuff from Costco. It’s basically the same stuff with some minor differences. It still has your name on it, and it still cost you nothing.This time, you grab a giant pack of toilet paper, some rechargeable batteries, and more frozen and canned food. And this time, you think to yourself: I could sell the stuff I don’t need!A few quick posts on Craigslist and by suppertime you’ve sold pretty much the entire rest of the pallet of stuff and pocketed some money. Woot!This continues to happen for weeks, months, and then years. A few years in, you’ve gotten very good at selling the surplus. You have a system for inventorying, pricing, and advertising the surplus, and some days you even hire a helper to deal with your customers so you can binge-watch more episodes of Stranger Things 2.Here’s the question: in this scenario, why would you not try to sell every thing on the daily pallet that you don’t need? After all, it costs you nothing!  The pallet just magically appears each day, full of stuff, some of which you need for yourself and much of which is surplus to your actual needs. Wouldn’t you be a dummy to not sell every bit of surplus you can? After all, the surplus has more value to other people than it does to you, which means you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t sell it all, right?I’m 43 now, but in my 20’s and early 30’s I thought of my time as “free”, exactly like the pallet of stuff from Costco in my example.No matter what I did, I woke up each day with about 15 hours of this stuff that I could do anything I wanted with. I woke up with about 15 hours of time I could use however I liked before I needed to sleep again.It didn’t matter how much of a dumb-dumb I was in terms of using that time, I still got the same amount of time each day. I could temporarily get more of it by sleeping less, but basically I got the same amount of time handed to me each day I woke up.That time seemed to cost me nothing. It seemed to be free. And I didn’t feel like I needed all 15 hours of it for myself, so I sold the “surplus”.It was a “fire sale” on Philip’s time every day of the week!I have this theory that you can’t run an expertise business without investing substantial amounts of your own time into the business.(Investing time means using that time in a way that offers no immediate monetary ROI but offers a potential future ROI.)There are times where investing money in the business is helpful and necessary, but my theory is that if you can’t invest your time into it, you’ll never really be able to build an expertise-based business. (Caveats: I’m talking about small services businesses where you function as principle. I think you certainly can build other types of good businesses if you have little of your own time to invest but plenty of money.)This implies that if you’re in the habit of selling most or all of your “surplus” time, then you’ll have to change that habit in order to really build an expertise-based business because you won’t have adequate amounts of time to invest into the business.But this is just a theory at this point.What do you think?-PEvery year in the last 2 weeks of December, I run a sale on my products. Use the coupon code TAXWRITEOFF to get 30% off my products:

Again, use the coupon code TAXWRITEOFF when you check out and you’ll get 30% off the price of any product. This offer expires at midnight Pacific time on December 31st, so don’t wait!