3 challenges every business owner faces: sleep, doubt and pricing

October 8, 2013


In this roundup of advice for small business—you’ll find out three reasons why entrepreneurs shouldn’t skimp on sleep, whether or not doubt is a good or bad thing, and one professional’s journey to charge what he’s really worth.

Read on to explore this edition of The Water Cooler:

3 ways lack of sleep can hurt you

Sleep and business ownership often make pretty crappy bedfellows—that’s been one of the hard lessons of my life. It’s led to a love-hate relationship with sleep… love sleeping, hate not getting it. For the few first businesses I got involved with I saw a lot of sunrises, but not the way you’re supposed to.

Being a zombie hurt, but I felt I had no choice, especially when a venture was a side-business. When else was I supposed to work? Plus, at night my mind would spin with ideas or worries, and the only way I could relax was to get up and work. But over the years, I would see the toll of sleep deprivation—distraction, mistakes, the inability to count to ten. So I eventually made a serious effort to get enough shut-eye. It’s still a struggle sometimes, which is why the following article caught my tired eye. If you’ve ever needed an incentive to get a good night’s sleep, check out:

How a Bad Night’s Sleep Can Screw You Up as featured in www.thefiscaltimes.com

Ever worry your business idea might not work?

If you’ve ever worried that your business idea might not work, you’ve got lots of company—including Steve Jobs, George Lucas and Seth Godin, who famously said, “If I’m not saying to myself, ‘This might not work’ … then I haven’t pushed myself hard enough.”

In the post linked below, Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and The War of Art, breaks down what he thinks Seth Godin meant by his statement. As someone who has worried countless times that the venture I’m throwing my soul into might not work, I found this particularly inspirational.

“This Might Not Work” as featured in www.stevenpressfield.com

Check out Seth Godin’s personal note in the comment section below the post.

One professional’s journey to charge what he’s really worth

If you’ve been following our blog over the past few months you’ve no doubt noticed we’ve hit on a certain theme—how to charge what you’re really worth. That’s every service professional’s challenge. So much of what you do for your clients draws on your ability to develop creative solutions. And if you’ve taken the traditional road to pricing—one based on billable hours—you’ve probably felt that it doesn’t capture your true value. That’s exactly how accountant Jason Blumer felt. The New York Times recently covered his determination to break away from time-based billing to charging his clients based on value. If you’re looking for a little inspiration to make a similar move, I recommend reading the post, especially if you face—as those in the accounting world do—price pressure from commoditized services.

By the way, if you want to know how the concept of hourly billing dug its teeth into professional services, you’ll enjoy the dip into history the post takes.

And while we’re on the topic of pricing history, let me throw in a fascinating value-pricing story I discovered on my recent vacation to Italy. As the story goes, after the famous 15th-century artist Donatello presented his commissioned statue to his client, a Genoese merchant, the merchant complained that it was too expensive and offered to pay a price based on the time it took the artist to complete the work—half a florin a day for a month. Donatello, who didn’t take too kindly to this time-based billing approach to his artwork, smashed the statue to pieces. That got the attention of the client, who begged Donatello to redo the work, offering to pay through the nose. Too bad for him—Donatello chose to look for better clients.

What’s an Idea Worth? as featured in www.nytimes.com

If you want to share your own experiences with sleep, doubt or pricing, please let us know in the comments section below, or shoot me an email at donald (@) freshbooks (dot) com.


about the author

Former Staff Contributor Donald Cowper is a best-selling author and head of content at ClearFit.