Case Study: My 12 Yr Old Puts More Value on His Time Than Most Small Business Owners

value of time roi small business case study If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, leader in any size business or work at all to make money, your time is money.

Free lunch. Really?

Sorry, there is no such thing as a free lunch, even if someone else pays for it.

There is more to life than work. The hours you spend on anything are consuming your brain, your emotions, and of course time in your day. The goal is that you are spending your time on things that offer you value in a form that brings you more joy, money, fun, peace or happiness. The goal and chosen form is yours and not for me to decide.

Therefore, if you waste time on something that isn't bringing you a benefit of some sort, either personal or professional, there is an opportunity cost to what you could be doing if you were not doing something negative that wastes time.

It's not so much about the value of the free lunch, it's about the value of time it took you to get ready to go to lunch. Maybe you had to get a sitter, share knowledge with a co-worker or employee so they could cover for you? Or how about the gas money to get there? The list goes on and on so hopefully you get my point!

Case Study from the 12 Year Old Son of the Marketing Nut:

I have a perfect case study in very simple terms on the value of placing time on our services. I hope it will inspire you to think about how you spend your time and how you spend, maximize or waste the time of others.

You can watch the video below, read the short synopsis or both. Bottom line I think my 12 yr old knows more about this topic than some of our clients, prospects, partners and colleagues.


  • We are working on a few large brand projects for our clients.
  • The projects involve developing concepts.
  • I needed some quick photo searches done today to help with concept ideation.
  • Even though my son swears he is never going to work with tech, he is a genuis, creative mind and has helped us even name a client's company in about two seconds!
  • My son was sitting around in his pajamas doing, well nothing but watching annoying cartoons.
  • I figured it would be a good use of his time and mine if he could test his skills at photo searches.


The deal:

  • I asked him if he would be interested in helping me on a quick turn project to payout in 24 hours.
  • The intial deal was for me to pay $5 tomorrow for work he would do with photo searches today.
  • Initially we agreed to one hour of searching for photos.


The project:

  • My son ran to the computer, eager to start the project and make a few bucks.
  • Within 5-10 minutes he had approximately 20 photos. All were amazing and of the quality we could potentially use for creating concepts.
  • I gave him immediate feedback and told him to keep going and find more like those.


The second deal:

  • He immediately saw the value he was offering me and was ready to renegotiate the deal.
  • His new offer was that I would double my payment to him (making total payout now $10).
  • His new deal also put a limit on the number of photos he would search.
  • I agreed to the deal and told him to find as many photos as he could.


The end result:

  • He found 35 amazing photos.
  • He left a bill behind for $12, not $10.
  • He told me if I wanted his services again I would need to pay the $12 by tomorrow.


How much did mom pay out.

  • I will be paying out at minimum $12 on his payday tomorrow.


The value:

  • I love his work and service.
  • Chances are I will pay more than $12 on the next project.
  • Wish me luck!

The lesson:

  • Put a value on your products, services and time.
  • If you do, other people will do the same.


What you say?

Are you putting value on your services? Or are you giving away your intellectual property? Working for less than you should be? If you don't place value on the services and time you give your clients, partners and colleagues, they'll never place value on it either.



About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. Carla Turco August 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Smart kid. I need to learn from him.

  2. mgm August 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Your son is really smart, no doubt, and we all could use this as a little bit of a wake up call to listen to children more than we do. And I agree with you that we need to take into consideration all the time we put into anything we do and place value on it. Appreciate the reminder, Pam.

  3. octadyne August 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

    What a refreshing post. Perfect reminder of the value of time, and deciding how you want to spend it. I need to find myself an assistant like your son! 

  4. mssbee August 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Great story! Putting the right price on my work is the hardest thing I do. Thanks for the reminder that all of my time has value!

  5. DilawerPirzada August 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I really liked the video as well as post thanks for the tips.

  6. SusanHand August 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    What a great story. We can learn so much from our children. Clearly your guy has been paying attention to the conversations around the dinner problem. Your only real problem comes in a couple of years when he’ll either be charging standard hourly contractor rates or too into other things to even care. 
    Good luck, either way.
    Just started following you not too long ago and have been absolutely loving all of your advice! Thanks for sharing this great lesson learned with all of us.

  7. iMalaika August 11, 2012 at 2:46 am

    @Tanganyikan kipenzi makutano show ikianza plz naomba nijuze nisikize!

    • Tanganyikan August 11, 2012 at 2:58 am

      @iMalaika usiniambie dewji ni LOL-model wako mpenzi

      • iMalaika August 11, 2012 at 3:10 am

        @Tanganyikan hahaha!akhaa..alafu mpenzi usistuke na rangi zangu zile..mimi nataka tu kumsikia bana!

  8. FelixNater August 11, 2012 at 10:16 am

    @MeghanMBiro @pammktgnut Isn’t it true Meghan! I find that my 17 year old’s organizational skills can teach a lesson in time management.

  9. ianmcleary August 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Hi Pam, I’ve a 9 year old son and he’s good at negotiating too!  I often get calls from people about meetin for a cup of coffee.  Meeting for a cup of coffee is stopping what I’m doing at a particular time, traveling to the place where I’m having coffee, wait for the person to arrive (I’m a stickler for timekeeping so I’m always early), meeting the person, travelling back to the office and then getting back into work.  So a cup of coffee with someone is very expensive so I make sure that it’s worth my while.    If it takes 2 hours for a cup of coffee that’s 2 hours I could be working or even better 2 extra hours with my family.  What is the cost for either of those!!

  10. PamMktgNut August 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

    @MeghanMBiro thanks Meghan!

  11. jennyleather August 13, 2012 at 12:59 am

    @PamMktgNut You must be teaching him well, great job

  12. thegman August 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    @DaveRGallant dude wha’ts with the hat? the pic with glasses was much more profesional!

    • DaveRGallant August 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      @thegman Sometimes I like to be a bit more casual too 😛

      • thegman August 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        @DaveRGallant you have many talents!

        • DaveRGallant August 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

          @thegman Haha. I can play the spoons too :p. I might change the pic back anyways. I was sort of thinking the same thing

  13. PamMktgNut August 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    @mmangen Thanks Michelle!

  14. […] post from Pam Moore, aka The Marketing Nut titled Case Study: My 12 Yr Old Puts More Value on His Time Than Most Small Business Owners. It’s so true. And, I have high hopes for her son for turning his time into real […]

  15. In Touch Promotions August 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Oooo, this is the fun kind of info my fans love to read! Will share for sure. btw, you won’t have to worry about paying your son adult prevailing rates, since he will know the value of mom’s time too :). Thanks for the article.

  16. michelejmartin August 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I might need his help in the future. 😉

  17. Mugeta Cherinet August 23, 2012 at 4:39 am

    hey carla

  18. […] See original article published on our CEO’s blog at Pam Marketing Nut jQuery(document).ready(function($) { window.setTimeout('loadTwitter_3772()',1000);window.setTimeout('loadGoogle1_3772()',1000); }); function loadTwitter_3772(){ jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('.dd-twitter-3772').remove();$.getScript(''); }); } function loadGoogle1_3772(){ jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('.dd-google1-3772').remove();$.getScript(''); }); }jQuery(document).load(function(){ stLight.options({publisher:'de62497c-dfcf-409e-b410-a35dd9d63368'}); });emailprintvar dd_offset_from_content = 42; var dd_top_offset_from_content = 0; jQuery(document).ready(function($) { window.setTimeout('loadLinkedin_3772()',1000); }); function loadLinkedin_3772(){ jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('.dd-linkedin-3772').remove();$.getScript(''); }); } […]

Leave A Comment