What is your time worth? Think about this question honestly. For someone with specialized skills, your time is more valuable than you think. It is critical for your profitability to value your time, because when you don't you are wasting money.
There are many tasks that make a small business run smoothly. All those tasks are important, but not all are high value. Office management and logistics can be done by someone with less specialized skills. That is why small business owners higher employees! We can't do it all alone, and when we value our time honestly, it is more profitable to hire someone to do the small stuff.
Why You Should Treat Your Time Like Money
When you value your time, you will naturally start treating your time as currency. Think of the last "time sink" you had to deal with. Did you have to mediate some drama with your employees? Or, did you need to answer your own phone calls because your receptionist went on vacation? Doing those things made you a likeable boss, but they cost your business money.
There are a lot of "time sinks" out there. As a successful lawyer, you shouldn't spend more than a few minutes a day:
- Answering unscreened calls (calls from clients, screened by an assistant, are okay).
- Photocopying, collating, or stapling documents.
- Making logistical arrangements (court dates, transportation, even lunch reservations).
- Dealing with infrastructure issues, like the heat or electricity at your office.
- Preparing billing sheets and invoices, which are better handled by an assistant.
- Having unproductive conversations with underlings about minor administrative matters.
- Giving free consultations when you know that it's a case you're not interested in.
Doing those things may make other people happy, but at your businesses expense.
How Should a Lawyer Entrepreneur Spend Their Time?
You don't need to be practicing law every moment of every day to be valuing your time. Instead, focus on the things that only you can do. There are many productive activities that make good use of your time and improve your business. For example:
- Making new office systems that help you small firm run efficiently.
- Meeting with other attorneys and nurturing referral relationships.
- Creating and implementing new marketing ideas to bring in more clients.
- Learning new tactics and ideas that can improve your small law firm.
- Evaluating your current systems and making decisions from the results.