Hmm, which should you do? Spend money to win sales or spend time?

Written by  //  October 23, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Caveat: I’m completely and utterly not a Facebook expert. So this is absolutely not a how-to-get-the-best-out-of Facebook post. It’s just a post on “how to decide between spending time and spending money”


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A gorgeous friend, who’s real name I’ll keep under wraps but pretend is Dora, was in a complete tizzy about Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

Dora’s been running a Facebook Business Page to get sales. She’s spent many happy hours befriending new fans and some of those fans have become her customers.

Recently Facebook changed it’s algorithms and the short story is that, as Dora’s posts aren’t reaching as many of her fans now, so she’s not able to do as much ‘networking’ with them, and her sales are down.

Dora toyed with the idea of paying to advertise on Facebook via sponsored posts. But she decided she couldn’t afford it. Instead she started spending 3 hours a day working her Facebook page like a maniac.

All of which would be ok, except Dora also has to make the kids clothes that she sells. And look after 2 small children.

So Dora and I did an experiment to see if she could afford to advertise.

In the experiment Dora spent one week doing daily Facebook advertising and one week doing 3 hours a day of ‘effort’.

Week 1: Advertising

In week 1 Dora begrudgingly spent $10 a day on Facebook sponsored posts. In that week she made 14 sales. The profit on each sale is $20 so she made $280 in the week less the cost of advertising ($70) which brings her to a total of $210.

She spent about 1 hour a day on Facebook (talking to those fans) and 2 hours a day on the sewing. Her total hours were 3*7= 21 hours in the week.

Dora’s profit per hour was 210/21=$10.

Week 2: Effort

In week 2 Dora happily spent nothing on Facebook sponsored posts. Instead she spent 4 hours a day working her little self ragged on Facebook (3 hours on top of the 1 hour from week 1). In that week she also made 14 sales.

The profit on each sale is $20 so she made $280 in the week and because she spent nothing on advertising she gets to keep it all.

She spent another 2 hours a day on the sewing so her total daily hours were 2+4= 6 and her weekly hours were  6*7= 42.  

Dora’s profit per hour in week 2 was 280/42=$6.67

Spot the difference

This is how the two weeks finished up:


Week 1 Week 2
profit 210 280
hours worked 21 42
profit per hour 10 6.67

In theory if Dora wanted to work 42 hours a week, and advertise, she could make a profit of $420 with advertising compared to $280 without.

What did Dora decide to do?

Dora hates spending money. Hates the thought of advertising and deeply detests the thought of paying Facebook for something that she used to get for free (people seeing her posts).

But she values her time and has been, um, grumpy.  Working 42 hours a week around her pre-school kids was tough.

Now that Dora’s done the maths she’s realised that paying for advertising is not so much feeding the devil, as nourishing her time.

She still hates Facebook though.

What should you do?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this. But it’s definitely worth working out how much time you save by spending money. You can do the maths – working out how much you should pay per hour saved – but in my experience there comes a point when it just feels right to spend money rather than time. But that point is a matter of personal preference.

How do you feel about paying for advertising versus putting in the hours?

Remind me, how does this make my business more profitable? 

Your time is very valuable, you only have a certain amount of it.Sometimes it’s better for business to spend money and save time. You can then spend that time – if you wish – doing other more profitable work. Or you can just enjoy a bit of free time!



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