From the July 2000 issue of Startups

No one wants to waste time or money, yet in your quest to save money, you may be wasting time, or vice versa. Before you rush to save money, evaluate what your time is worth.

  • If you have a choice between returning to your office after a few days out of town or staying over a Saturday night to get a cheaper air fare, decide if you would you be more productive spending that time in your office, rather than out of town. A Saturday night stay may save you money initially, yet those extra days may cost you money in the long run. Also, don't forget to add in hotel and meal costs.
  • Is it better to pay someone to do a task for you than for you to do it yourself? Whether you use a temporary help service, hire a part-time employee or use a subcontractor, determine how much time and money you'll save by hiring someone to handle routine tasks. Although you'll have to train someone initially, consider that a future time-saving investment that will yield more money for you in the long-run.
  • Determine what your time is worth. Calculate your hourly rate and the amount of time you think a project will take and then bid accordingly. If you think you'll spend more time, money and aggravation on the project than it's worth, pass the business on to someone else.
  • Is it worth spending more time and making less money on one project that will lead to a higher paying project in the future? If not, recommend a reliable colleague for the assignment. Keep in mind that whomever you recommend is a reflection on you. If you don't feel confident referring the business to someone else, let the prospect or your client know how you feel.
  • As they say, "Let your fingers do the walking." Instead of driving from place to place looking for what you need, call ahead and determine if the store has the item you need. You'll save time and gas. You can also schedule your appointments by area: Rather than driving all over town wasting gas and time, book clients by area and day.

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of HomeOfficeLife.com and the author of Organizing Your Home Office For Success (Blakely Press) and 101 Home Office Success Secrets (Career Press).