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3 Valuable Lessons about Time, Money, and Business

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A couple of years ago, I gave an interview with Secret Entourage and ultimately developed a friendship with those involved as I found an entire community of like-minded people. In late 2012, I was given the opportunity to write an acknowledgement for their newest book Third Circle Theory and was honored to find my words on the back cover. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend you pick up a copy as it will help facilitate a necessary shift in perspective. Having started businesses in multiple industries, the last two of which were turning considerable profits almost immediately, I learned a great deal about the importance of time, money, and the reality of business. So, when I was later asked to come on board as a contributing writer, I felt honored by the opportunity to share my experiences with all of you.

While initially thinking I should perfect my skills of writing for an audience, I recall my friend Pedro de Abreu, who writes about entrepreneurship for Richard Branson’s Virgin.com, recently writing about doing things out of your comfort zone. Any talking myself out of the opportunity really just stemmed from that – what’s in my comfort zone. Pedro talked about the growth that you will experience when you rise to the occasion in such an environment. I reflected on those thoughts for a moment. I considered that whenever I’ve faced similar positions in the past and stepped up, I never once came to regret the doors that opened as a result. Hopefully in this case, it will be more about experiencing growth through the people I help along the way. So, here’s to letting my light shine and hoping to help others’ light shine brightly as well.

Time is the most valuable commodity, not money.

This past year, I won the internet. How, you might ask? I decided to use my Lamborghini to haul my 8’ Fraser Fir Christmas tree home from the lot.  The image of my Christmas tree adorning the Lamborghini’s roof apparently struck a nerve as much discussion broke out across the interwebs. After reading some of the hundreds of comments on Reddit and 9GAG, I realized something. The value I place on money and material possessions is less than those who responded while the value I place on experiences and time is greater.

Money can be made, lost, and made again; however, the same can’t be said for time. We’re all given the same number of hours in a day, and there is no do-over for moments frivolously spent. So, I focus on creating valuable experiences with my time, and the look on my daughter’s face when she saw the tree drive up on top of the Lamborghini was priceless—a moment I won’t soon forget. The holiday-themed social media content for my business in the exotic car industry didn’t hurt either, but I digress. By consistently working hard and working smart, you can change the number of resources at your disposal, but you can do nothing to considerably change the amount of time you have to spend them.

Don’t get stuck in a cycle of continually romanticizing the past, only realizing the great moments after they’ve passed. Right now is what’s real—the present. The past has already happened, and no amount of stress or regret will change that. The future is always just that—right around the corner. This is the real application of “YOLO”. I have a feeling that just before death I will have far less regret over how I used my possessions than others will have over how they used their time and opportunity. Value is in the irreplaceable time and not in the use of superfluous objects. Time, the moments you create with it and your use of it, has far more value than the green paper you earn day to day. So, use your time carefully to create valuable experiences, even if they come in the form of the biggest grin from your 4 yr old at the potential expense of some sap on your car.

Goals are important, the path to actually achieving them is important-er.

I know it’s not proper, but the title probably got your attention. While I like to remind people not to spend your today wondering about your tomorrows, there’s still a need to look to the future for goal-setting. Goals are very important in your greater journey, but those that go on to achieve something of note quickly realize that a focused brick-by-brick approach is what actually sees them through. You may be thinking, what is the real life execution of that? Well, write things down.

Set a lofty goal for where you would like to be in one year. Break that down into quarters so that you have four smaller goals—one every three months. We will call these checkpoints. Now look at that block leading up to the 1st checkpoint. That piece should be less overwhelming and easier to work toward. Write down all the things for that 12 week period that you need to do in order to reach that 1st checkpoint. Literally scratch them off as you get them done—one by one. This is the real world application of “brick by brick.”  With this manageable big-picture goal, failure or the likelihood of talking yourself out of the attempt is far less likely.

Execution is more important than the idea itself.

Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” Tons of people have great ideas; however, many will talk themselves out of acting on the idea – thus failing before ever starting. This is where having the smaller checkpoints en route to the larger goal comes in handy as you don’t find yourself so easily overwhelmed. By the way, having a good idea is the easy part. Coming up with a plan that will allow for success and then executing that plan, that’s the true gift. The ability to identify the path to success and then breathe life into it, that’s the hard part. So it’s easy to see, the real talent comes in the execution.

Sometimes all it takes is the ability to better implement a design or more effectively reach a demographic. The idea itself doesn’t have to be unique and revolutionary. Facebook wasn’t the first social network, Windows wasn’t the first operating system, and the list goes on. Exotic Clutch Technologies wasn’t the first in the clutch industry, even in the niche catering to the exotics market, but that didn’t stop me from entering. Our products contain solutions that address a void in the market and that better the automotive community as a whole. My initial goal with that business was to fill a service-related need in the exotic car industry. There’s a lot of value in that. When your business creates value, the success (and money) will follow. That’s how we made large strides as a fairly new player in an old industry.

In closing, don’t bide your time just trying to arrive safely at death. Our stay here is short, and thus the time should be treasured. As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Don’t be afraid to take a risk, and don’t talk yourself out of a good idea. When you set a goal, be methodical with your approach and consistent in your follow-through. Most important of all, be sure to create value with your business and valuable experiences with your time. This pairing will continually breed success.

Watch the full interview with Barry Doyle in the Secret Academy

Barry is a serial entrepreneur that departed the Georgia Tech mechanical engineering program in late 2005 to pursue new interests and found his place in entrepreneurship. Today, while heading some smaller ventures, he primarily spends his time on daily operations as founder and president of Exotic Clutch Technologies.