Debbie asks …

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Debbie asks …

I’m self employed and my earnings seem to only be limited by the amount of time I have to work… I’m trading “hours for dollars” at this point.  I only have so many hours I can work, and I’m working during all of them 🙂  I’m in a lot of debt… and just about everything my husband and I earn is turned right back into our existing debt/bills.  How do we get a head when we seem to be stuck ?

As I said to Scott, so much depends upon what your Life’s Purpose is … hence your Number / Date:

1. If your Number / Date is small / later you may simply be able to think of ways to maximize your Return Per Hour (there are plenty of blogs and books aimed at freelancers) and put in place some debt-reduction strategies (any good personal finance book/blog will show you how to do this) … patience, persistence, and time will take care of the rest.

2 However, if your Number / Date is large / soon you have to make some fundamental changes and eliminate that “time for money” trade-off …

… it is NEVER a good trade anyway:

Why would anybody trade a finite resource (time) for an infinite one (money)?!


Let’s wind-up Debbie Inc. and consider this time to start creating D Enterprises Inc. and/or D Investments Inc. 😉

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Reader Comments

I have the same issues Debbie – I freelance, and the only way to increase my income is to either work MORE hours (I already work a LOT), or find a way to work more efficiently so my hourly rate increases (not my strong point when a project is especially boring).

Just commiserating with ya!

I’m with you guys as well, minus the freelancing. Good luck!

Deanna- there are ways to earn passive income from freelancing, which is something I think we should be working on. At the moment I have so much client work though that I don’t have the time to do what I know I need to do. Changes need to be made, and soon! 🙂

@ Debbie – would love to see some examples! Also, this is the “too busy working IN my business, to work ON my business” cycle that we all get sucked into … Michael Gerber addresses this beautifully in his book: The E-Myth Revisited … he even has a version dedicated to professional practices and another to ‘contractors’ (does this mean ‘freelancers’?):

Debbie – I think both Tim Ferris (author of “4 hour work week” – with accompanying website free to find)and a freelance writer (Yolanda Black, (Inkwell blog and associated websites – sorry I’m doing this from memory right now) addressed this same issue by learning to delegate and hiring help, be it even temporary (aka “outsourcing” but could also be the traditional “in-source” – tho I think both of these entrepreneurs outsourced, one globally and the other nationally.) The E-myth book will tell you that in order to successfuly work with hirees, you have to have a process in place that is something others can be taught or can duplicate.

All of these are well worth reading and may be found in your local library, but Amazon seems to have the best prices if you want to add either book to your personal library (Yolanda Black sells information on one of her websites, but I do not believe it is sold on Amazon.)

Good luck!

@ Di – Did I mention my “PA” Muhammad, who lives in Pakistan, has an MBA and charges me $4 an hour for research assistance and other such stuff?

I do outsource a tiny bit – the things that are easy to outsource, but what I do is so specialized, I’m really limited unless I wanted to spend a great deal of time training people and holding their hand (looking over their work, etc.) – I am the business – and people that have the same training, skills and experience as me, aren’t going to want to work for someone else when they can go it alone and make more money – I do have a few ideas though (AJ, I’m going to have to look at that E-Myth Contractor book!) but I think I am going to have to find additional avenues and move away somewhat from my freelance career if I am going to develop those streams of passive income. But like you, I have so much work, I can’t really think about anything else – its a trap I tell ya! 😉

@ Deanna – Sometimes we are ‘trapped’ by our own success …. it’s why consultants, contractors, professionals, and even highly-educated people are not usually the ones that get rich: too much to ‘lose’ holds them back from all there is to gain …

[…] for Money: a Bad Trade? Published September 26, 2008 Rich Recently, I answered a question for Debbie, a freelancer, who asked: I’m self employed and my earnings seem to only be […]