The saying "You have to spend money to make money" is true, because "Time is money." To make money, you have to first spend time and/or money, whether you're making that money at a day job, a hobby, or via a website where everything's set up to deliver automatically.
But what a lot of would-be entrepreneurs miss, from what I've seen, is that you have to spend your time and money wisely.
I've been around the self-publishing arena these past few years, and one thing I've consistently seen are unrealistic expectations on how many sales a particular ad campaign should garner. "If only 10% buy my book, it'll be worth it."
Problem with that math is that much advertising gets click-through of 1% or less, and then buy-through might be that 10% of people who clicked the ad.
The prolific award-winning authors Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch have long been saying that the best promotion is a new release. Frankly, I've found that to be true, myself. This week in her series on discoverability, Kris mentioned the acronym WIBBOW?, which she credits to another award-winning author they know, Scott William Carter.
WIBBOW? = Would I Be Better Off Writing?
Non-writers with their own businesses should adjust the question for their own businesses, because you can't sell product you don't have or be paid for work that isn't done. (Okay, technically, you can have a job that pays regardless of whether the work is done, but if you don't get anything done, you'll lose your job.)
So perhaps "Would I Be Better Off Working?" would suit a general audience better.
That's something I consider when I'm opening Netflix or RuneScape or some other entertainment: Would I Be Better Off Working?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes it's something I can do as a break (or while) working. For example, I can listen to old Numb3rs episodes while reading over something, to help me focus. (I have to vary up my concentration aids; otherwise, I get immune to them.)
That's something I have to evaluate, because time spent playing an online game is time I'm not writing or working (usually). Anybody who has a business has to evaluate that.
But a business owner also has to consider leisure time, time with friends, time to relax. Yes, it can take working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week to build a business, but if that's the kind of business you're building… You're doing a number on your health. Some of us focus on businesses with more moderate build-up, like my self-publishing, which is still going slow, but I'm working at it.
Could I have a lot more stories out, if I worked myself to the point of not having any leisure time? Yes. But I'd rather be healthy (or as healthy as I can be). I'd rather be able to take a friend to the airport this morning, so she can spend Christmas with family.
Money isn't everything. You don't want to ignore money—because you have to eat—but you don't want to focus on money to the point that you forget to look at the big picture.
As I said, "Would I Be Better Off Working or Writing?" sometimes gets the answer, "No."
What do you think of the balance between leisure and work?