Guard Your Time – The Currency of a Well-Lived Life

Phillip and Eileen Blume
Business Owners

What is your TIME worth?

If you don’t value your time, neither will anyone else…

It’s kind of like with relationships, how people say, “you have to love yourself first before someone else can.”

The same thing goes for business.

As an entrepreneur, If you don’t value your time, neither will your customers.

This is a topic I’m passionate speaking about because so many artists and creatives lack the confidence to charge what their time and efforts actually deserve. So I’m here to tell you to STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR TIME AND TALENTS.

Your TIME = your LIFE

11 years ago, my wife Eileen and I started our own wedding photography business. For the first couple of years, we struggled to stay afloat. We were stressed to the max and working endlessly, but still not making enough profit to cover our business expenses. We were so busy that we were neglecting our marriage and our friendships as well. We simply didn’t have an extra minute in the day to spare.

Then, Eileen got pregnant for the first time. It had always been our dream to be parents so we were over the moon with joy. Working from home was an advantage because it allowed us to go to all of Eileen’s OB appointments together and listen to our baby’s heartbeat. As the heartbeat grew louder with each visit, it became this familiar sound.

Then one day, we went into that room and waited to hear the heartbeat, but it never came.

We lost the baby.

In that moment, time stood still… There was no denying it – the stress and chaos from our business had affected our personal health and well-being.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

We knew we couldn’t continue to run our failing business the same way while expecting different results. It was time to make some major changes. But we also knew we needed to temporarily step away from it all before we could think clearly and dive back in. So that’s what we did.

Eileen and I both grew up in households that encouraged serving others before yourself. We had also both spent our summers in college volunteering for nonprofits. So when we heard about this amazing organization in Guatemala that helps kids living in the slums there, we felt pulled to take a trip and help. We knew it would be a great opportunity to focus on those less fortunate and would also help put our current situation into perspective.

It was exactly the experience we needed, and when we returned home, we were ready to get back in the saddle.

Master your time, master your life

Our first priority was to restructure our business – so when we heard about 17hats, we knew we had to integrate it immediately. Their software helped us get extremely organized. Also, Before 17hats, we would try to build personal relationships with all of our couples by going to dinner with them. While we loved it, it just wasn’t sustainable. 17hats gave us the ability to create meaningful interactions with our clients while also scaling back on the in-person meetings that ate up so much of our time. Furthermore, now our business processes are automated and systemized, allowing us to spend more TIME focusing on the other important things in life.

Soon, our business was thriving and we went on to have two biological children, our girls Jasmine, 8, and Juliette, 5. However, we knew our family wasn’t quite yet complete.

The greatest gift you can give is your time, because it’s a portion of your life you’ll never get back.

After the time we spent volunteering at the orphanage in Guatemala, Eileen and I knew we wanted to adopt. Through that experience, we realized that a lot of the objections people have about adoption just aren’t true. I think many people wonder, “could I love this child as much as I would a biological child? But we knew firsthand, you absolutely could love these kids with all your heart. So that’s what led us to adopting our son, Leo.

He was 2 years old when we went to China to meet him for the first time and bring him home.

I think many people also carry the notion that the reason we have relationships, children, and families is to serve our own interests. But I didn’t want life to be that way.

We didn’t adopt our son Leo because we needed children, we adopted Leo because he needed a family.

We hope that one major lesson all of our children grow up understanding is that you do things in life selflessly for others because it’s the right thing to do. And sometimes the reward in that isn’t immediately clear – but eventually, it will make sense. Leo has brought so much love and joy to our lives that we couldn’t imagine our world without him.

So it all goes back to my original message: value your time. In business, in love, and in your service for others… because the sum of all of that- of all those choices- that ends up equaling your life.

Phillip and Eileen Blume • Photographers • Business Owners • Athens, GA

* Take back your time and find more purpose in your work! Learn alongside the Blumes and download their free eBook here