in personal development, products / boostrapping

Time does not scale

Everyone has just 24 hours a day. So why do some people earn a million $ per month, while some earn near to zero? Why do some people keep on growing, while others “get stuck”? Because the first group has understood one key thing in life. It’s probably one of the biggest differences between successful, ever growing and rich people, and the others. It’s a recipe that can help you in all aspects of your live. It’s plain common sense. But few people actually do it. Here it is:

Successful people spend nearly all of their time on scalable things.

Scalable things, what’s that? Scalable things can keep on growing without or with very little effort. Like money on your bank account that brings yearly interest. Like a blog where the number of readers can grow infinitely. Like an eBook that can sell 1 million times. Like a house that you rent out, and will bring you monthly recurring revenue for the rest of your life. Like an iPhone application with several thousands of downloads. Like the number of visitors on your eCommerce website. For scalable things, once it’s in place, whether you have 1 or 100 or 1 billion of users/customers/clients/fans/followers/…, the extra effort is small. Blogging for 10,000 readers does not require more effort then blogging for 1.

Successful people don’t work more then average people. They work smarter. The use the same number of hours per day, to do much more valuable things. Same input, more output.

Yes, sure. You can earn more money by working more hours. If you work 10 hours in stead of 8, you will earn 25% more. If you work 12 hours instead of 8, you will earn 50% more. But then? Where does it stop? Will you work 20 hours per day? Time does not scale. Instead of working more, work smarter. Spend your hours on things that scale.

Now, here is the other side if the coin. Scaling things takes time, effort, stamina, risk, sweat, and so on. And that scares people off. The more easy way is to go for the quick and direct return (the non scalable things). Growing a business for example, means a huge upfront time investment. It’s not easy. Or blogging. The first 6 months to 1 year, you are blogging for 2 people (probably your mom and your best friend). That’s not really motivating. Neither it brings in any money. That’s why there are so many blogs started without being continued after a few months. But there you can make the difference. That’s an opportunity! The few ones who keep on going and spend their time in something scalable, will eventually start scaling. If every 3 months your nr of followers would double, then you would have 16 followers after 1 year of blogging. Hmm, not so exciting. But 4096 readers after 3 years of blogging…and 65536 readers after 4 years of blogging. Sounds better, eh?! (OK, this example is just plain math, but you get the idea of scaling and the upfront time investment). And 65K people that are interested in what you have to say on your blog…well, that’s the wet dream of every marketeer! You just scaled to something you can monetize!

People want quick success stories, preferably without too much effort. Quick money or an instant list of tens of thousands of followers on Twitter. That won’t happen. (Anyone who claims to have the secret recipe to make quick money without much effort, is lying to you.) But you can start now by investing your time in things that might scale over time. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, it will ask lots of your effort and short term loss in income and status, but I believe anyone can scale something.

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  1. Thanks for the great, clear description! I’ve struggled a bit to explain this to people lately, and I really like the way you did it. I even linked to it in my latest post where I described the various ways I could earn income and why I’m going to take a risk by making something scalable. It just seems to be the most sensible approach – even though it’s also the scariest. I give you a lot of credit for jumping into it. I hope I can do the same soon.


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