When I was growing up, my dad said, “Brian, if you want to be successful in business, you’ve got to find $100 an hour jobs. Do those jobs yourself, and pay someone else to do the $5 an hour jobs.”
Whenever I tell that story, I always ask people, “Who do you think was doing Dad’s $5/hour jobs?” Yup. My brother Darren and me. The reason why I’m bringing this up today is because 2020 has been an economic struggle for most, but this is the story that has always helped us get through tough times, so let me explain it a little more.
Here’s how my dad described it. He said, “Think about all those farmers out there who spend their time painting their barn, fixing their fence or mowing their lawn. They could hire anyone to do those jobs for $5 an hour, but instead, they hire someone to come in and do their spraying, their planting or their harvesting. All those jobs easily pay $100 an hour.” For example, a custom sprayer comes in and charges $8 an acre. He can spray 50 acres per hour. Multiplying that out, that’s $400 an hour. Sure, some expenses go along with that, but net, the farmer should be able to make $100 to $150 an hour doing his own spraying.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that everyone has opportunities for $100 an hour jobs. It basically all comes back to time management. Also, don’t think this is all about money. It’s also about regular, ordinary, everyday life. For example, you have a choice to watch TV, take care of something your spouse needs you to do, or read a magazine. Which is the $100 an hour job? As a husband for over 20 years that answer is pretty obvious.
Back to the financial talk, what are you spending your work time at? Whether your business is farming or anything else, whether you are an owner or an employee, it doesn’t matter. Always look at which tasks earn the business more money and which ones don’t. Think about every single minute of every day. How can you make your time more productive? While you might not average $100/hour for your ultimate wage or your business earnings, the more productive you are each minute of each day and the more valuable the jobs you are doing, you and your business will eventually earn more.
My dad passed away last year, but he had so many good stories on work and business that I actually wrote a book a few years ago called $100 an Hour Jobs: Lessons from Dad. While I didn’t appreciate many of those lessons as a kid, they have all been pertinent at some point in my life. That said, the $100 an hour job discussion is the one that stuck with me the most, and it’s one I still use every single day. Sure, with inflation after all these years, we should probably call it $200/hour or something like that, but you get the point.
If this is the first time you’ve heard Dad’s strategy of doing the $100/hour jobs yourself and paying someone else to do the $5/hour jobs, do yourself a favor, write down the words “$100/hour” on a sheet of paper. Stick that paper in your pocket and pull it out a few times a day for the next month. Let that simple note guide your work and your actions. If you find yourself wasting time on jobs that aren’t paying $100 an hour to you or your business, get back on task. Remember, the world wants to drag you down to its level. You’re better than that. You’re worth $100 an hour, so get to work!