In the opinion of Joseph Ashford, one of the most valuable resources any entrepreneur has access to can ultimately be summed up in a single word:
Whenever you perform a service for someone else — regardless of whether you’re acting as an employee or operating in a consulting capacity — you’re ultimately trading your time for money. It’s natural to assume, therefore, that the more time you put into an enterprise, the more money you’ll make.
But there are only so many hours in a day — which means you need to be smart about how you spend yours. Once those 24 hours are gone, they’re gone for good.
It’s a lesson that Joseph Ashford has learnt all too well in his decades-long career. Over the years he’s successfully identified and nurtured a wide range of different businesses but has particularly emphasised the service sector in the United Kingdom. To this day, he continues to invest across many asset types, including both businesses and properties. He’s been successful because he understands a simple truth. If you want to make the most out of every day, you need to see your time for what it is: an investment in every sense of the term.
Taking an Investment Mindset to Your Professional Life
For the sake of example, let’s say you decide to write an online course dedicated to helping others with professional development — a topic you feel very passionate about. You pour over 200 hours of your blood, sweat and tears into creating the best course you can and when the time finally comes to launch, you only see about £2,000 in total sales.
That means that for all that time, you only made approximately £10 per hour. That’s probably not anywhere near the return on investment you were hoping for, especially since those 200 hours of your time are never coming back.
At that point, it would be easy for a lot of people to get discouraged. Many would give up, abandon the course and look for other opportunities to pursue. But as Joseph Ashford can tell you, it’s rare for an investment to pay major dividends in the short run. Instead, you need to look towards the long game.
After the launch of your course, let’s say you spend another five hours writing emails you can send out to prospects to grow your marketing lists. Then, you spend another 10 hours teaming with thought influencers in your industry to promote the course by way of written interviews, podcasts and other types of long-form discussions. You invest another 15 hours of your time, bringing your total to 215 … and because you continued to nurture that course, you see another £10,000 in sales.
Suddenly, you’ve made £15,000 from your 215 hours of work — taking your hourly rate to about £70. Plus, word of mouth about the course itself means that it will continue to sell over time — with no additional effort required on your behalf. You get to start on the next course — or that book, or white paper — and the work you’ve already done continues to pay for itself. Your hourly rate continues to grow.
All because you refused to give up, and you invested in long-term potential over short-term gains.
That mindset is exactly what has helped Joseph Ashford come as far as he has in his career. For decades, he’s learnt first-hand that rather than spreading yourself out in a million different directions to find that “sure bet” right now, you need to focus as much as possible on efforts that increase the value of the time you’ve already invested.
It’s something that has been illustrated time and again with K4 Media, a company he founded. Joseph Ashford has developed a reputation for disruptive strategic planning and custom business solutions. He’s known across the industry for being able to identify unique investment opportunities that drive continued growth, improve margin and reduce risk across the board.
But the secret to his success isn’t a secret at all. He takes the same approach to the work he does with his clients to that which he does on his own behalf.
If you spend as much time and energy as you can on creating valuable products, services and content to put out in the world, you’re investing in asset creation and growth. That will bring you something far more important than immediate rewards ever could.
It will give you the biggest return on your time, which is the most important benefit of all.