Business Management

How to View Your Time Like a Billionaire—And Start Living Your Ideal Life Now

Expertise: Business Management, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Finance, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Commercial Real Estate, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary
228 Articles Written

Every day we all go to work. Nine to five (if we’re lucky), and if it’s our own business, it’s usually something like 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.—and we still might be thinking of it even past dinner. At least I do. But I’ve come to notice that with all of this work, it can be easy to get bogged down or worse, allow it to eat away at the most valuable resource we have: time.

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I’d like to share some strategies I’ve learned recently from some friends and experts much smarter than me who manage both their business and their time effectively, so that hopefully you too can create the business you envision and the lifestyle you desire.

How Do Billionaires View Their Time?

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit in Chicago, and although there weren't any billionaires in attendance (as far as I know), there was someone who was the next best thing: J. Martin. J. is one of the few people I know who gives time the value it deserves. As a self-proclaimed “lifestyle investor,” J. has built an impressive real estate business that he continues to run while traveling and leading an adventure-filled life, mostly abroad.

At the Summit, J. started his presentation off with a great question, “What would you do if you were a billionaire?” The general consensus was about the same; the majority of the audience answered one of three ways:

  • “I would travel more.”
  • “I would focus on my passion.”
  • “I would give to charity.”

Well, throughout his presentation, J. explained how he actually does all three of those things today—and he’s not a billionaire. But how does he do it? To put it simply, he has learned that to live the life of someone with essentially infinite money, one has to value their time as much as their capital or income.

Related: How Much is Your Time Worth? Here’s How to Calculate it (& Up Your Value!)

Now, of course, that concept is nothing new. In fact, I’m sure we’ve heard that or something similar to it before. But J. puts it into perspective when he asks the audience concrete and actionable questions like: “What is your time budget?” and “Do you pay yourself time first?" When we think of most billionaires, we don't picture them running around town chasing errands all day. They invest in people and systems that free up their time so they can work on what matters to them most. And we all can do the same thing. I know because J. proved it! But how exactly do we begin to free up our time and grow our businesses at the same time?

Find Your Weak Spots, Ask Better Questions & Leverage Your Network

You won’t know what to fix in your business or life unless you discover yourself, what stage of your life you’re in, and what stage your business is in. My eyes were opened to this idea about six months ago when my business coach, Lewis Schiff, author of Business Brilliant, was working with me and my CEO colleagues at our last “birthing of giants” meeting, where he had me dissect my business to gain clarity and focus.

To do this is a bit like hunting, and what you’re hunting for are the areas in your business that will give you the most leverage. With the help of our coaches, we answered a series of questions about how our business operates and our struggles within the operation before making a "leverage statement." The idea being, once you know what holds you back, you can then use leverage and bring in the resources you need to have the most impact.

The point of this exercise is to find focus and leverage your network for help. For those of you reading this, chances are there is someone on this site right now that is facing the same problem as you and would benefit from mutual accountability.

Funnily enough, about a month ago, I attended a conference with a few successful speakers in the lineup (people like Gary Vaynerchuk, John Maxwell, and Tony Robbins) where I experienced something similar. All of the speakers of course had interesting insight, but it was Robbins who asked the audience three questions that reiterated this same philosophy as J. and my business coach:

    1. What’s an extraordinary life for you? Hopefully this is something that could happen in the next six to 12 months.
    2. What’s prevented this from happening already? What I believe he’s getting at here is that limiting beliefs are holding us back.
    3. What needs to change now? It all comes back to taking action.

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Almost all of the most successful people are doing this in some capacity. And all it really requires is focus and taking a step back to look at your business and your life and how they operate.


Now Visualize Your Ideal Life

The reason I love these types of questions is because they provide motivation. In my case, I knew I wanted my note business to run more independently but being able to see what my life looks like when I accomplish this fuels my fire to get it done.

Related: Investing NOW So You Can Have the Lifestyle You Want LATER? You’re Doing it Wrong.

In my ideal life, I’d travel more, or live out of state for a portion of the year (winters in Philadelphia can get cold!), and if I really look at what’s preventing this, it’s that I need to bring in a few more people to fill the right seats. This would also benefit the company as I could build in redundancy and at the same time bring in some more subject matter experts.

Do you want to invest but don’t want to deal with tenants, toilets, and termites? Do you want to make a long-lasting passive income stream—from paper? If you answered YES to any of these questions, this book is for you! Order today!
So, now the real question is what can you leverage to start living an extraordinary life? Is it leveraging people, like I am? Or is it something else, like capital, time, or technology? What resources do you need to accelerate the growth of your real estate investing or business?
Weigh in below!
Since 2007, Dave Van Horn has served as president and CEO of PPR Note Co., a $150MM+ company managing funds that buy, sell, and hold residential mortgages nat...
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    Nichole Ovens Rental Property Investor from Boulder, CO
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Awesome article. I want to learn more about how you are filling seats to create more redundancy.
    Dave Van Horn Fund Manager from Berwyn, PA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks Nichole! And for me and my organization, it started with creating an HR Design plan and hiring a full time HR person. You have to discover what you need first and then having someone with the right connections/know-how to find you those people right for the job.
    John Warren Real Estate Agent from Riverside, Illinois
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great article Dave! I also was at the Midwest Real Estate Summit, and I thoroughly enjoyed J. Martin’s presentation. Thanks for the great article.
    Dave Van Horn Fund Manager from Berwyn, PA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks John!
    Brie Schmidt Real Estate Broker from Chicago, IL
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Welcome to the dark side Dave
    Paul Moore Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Dave: Love this article! Thanks for sharing. I saw J speak at your summit and I was also compelled by his way of life.
    Steve Hiltabiddle Lender from Eastern Pennysylvania
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Dave, As always, thank you for all your articles and sharing forward looking thoughts like this with the community. With the departure from my W-2 only weeks away, thinking about what's next for me and more importantly how to create a lifestyle of my own choice is constantly on my mind. I know it's hard work to shift the mind from old habits and create new ones. I like the approach of becoming a 'lifestyle investor' and framing what I do with that concept. Are the choices I'm making moving me towards the lifestyle I want or away. Taking time to stew on those 3 questions from Tony Robbins seems a really good place to start. Thanks again
    Joshua Scott
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Great Article. Funding has been challenging. Once I get that nailed maybe I can start replacing the day job and focus more on business.