Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

When to outsource

I relentlessly study successful people. I’ve always wanted to learn the differences between those that rise to the top and those that languish. Many think that the financially successful are winning because they were at the top of their class, great looking, went to the best schools, grew up in a well to do family, just got lucky, or something else that is unattainable to the rest of us.

False.

In Tom Stanley’s book The Millionaire Mind, he puts forth research showing that the wealthy were not the smartest, nor did they inherit wealth. They’re passionate about the work they do, and disciplined enough to focus on that at the expense of other things that can also sap their time. They outsource.

They may hire a housekeeper or dog walker, taxi or car share instead of driving, or have part time child care even as a stay at home parent. All of these things are luxuries that free them to do what’s most fulfilling (and hopefully generates more income).

Until your millions come, can you afford to outsource? Below are a few ways to tell:

Measure your time. Think of something which must be done regularly that you either dislike, takes a lot of time, or doesn't make money. Then, note how long it takes you to accomplish this task. If you spend less than a few hours on it, keep doing it yourself. But if it takes you more than four hours per week, read on.
Measure your success. Can anyone else do this task besides, as well as, or better than you? Many successful people hire cleaning services and personal trainers, for example. They understand the importance of a clean home, but also know that they could be making more money than their housekeeper charges. Likewise, successful people understand that being fit is critical to reaching other life goals, so they hire experts to ensure that their time in the gym is maximized.
Measure opportunity and actual costs. Calculate the cost of a service you’d like to outsource. What are you willing to give up to pay for it? Reconfigure your budget to reflect this adjustment. It’s recommended that you spend no more than 20% of your discretionary spending on outsourcing.
Maximize your newfound freedom! Now that you’ve committed to outsourcing, re-focus your time on projects that only you can do, are fulfilling, make money, and/or maintains your sanity. Treat your newfound time as you would unexpected money - monitor and control it so it inevitably grants you more than you gave up.

And so it is.