Date: 04/03/2015 | By: Liz Painter

Select Member Philip Priest tells one of his favourite stories…

A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.

“Oh, a few hours,” the Mexican fisherman replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American businessman then asked.

The Mexican warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”

The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”

Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”

Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”

“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.

The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”


You might ask why I wrote this as a blog post? Ask yourself why you started to work for yourself?

Was it:

  • The money?
  • The time?
  • The lifestyle?
  • The fame?
  • The family?

After all you are the worst, hardest, most demanding boss in the world. Nothing is good enough and not everything is ever done, there are always things on your ‘to do’ list.

Now it doesn’t matter which of the above reason you chose. We can always get more money, we can get a better lifestyle, fame is fickle as we all know, but your time and spending it with your family and friends are two things you cannot get back.

So what is stopping you from stopping work?

If you found a way to receive £1000 per month through investments whether you worked or not, could you live the life you wanted with the people you wanted to?

Obviously  you couldn’t drive flash cars, you couldn’t live in a five-bedroomed detached house, you couldn’t go on five star cruises, but you could spend time with the kids and watch them grow up, or as the Mexican fisherman did, do what makes you happy.

I wrote a blog post recently about the public in the UK missing out on £4 billion of unclaimed money, of which 75% of the UK could benefit from.

My clients on average can save £40 per month. If you can survive on £1000 per month then it’s a little closer to being ‘retired’ on your terms. But what other items are you paying for that you don’t need to? Have you reviewed your printing costs? Your insurance costs? Have you had a look at who or what is sabotaging your business?

Lets say that you can save £3000 per year across all of your business outgoings. How much would you have to generate as income/sales for that to equal the savings?

So in short, are you working hard or working smart? Are you too busy trying to earn money and generate an income when some of your time could be best spent reviewing what you have in place already and how to streamline processes or review outgoings that are costing you and your business thousands of pounds or thousands of hours?

Philip Priest of The Utility Warehouse Discount Club offers his clients the chance to save money on utilities including gas, electricity, mobile phone and broadband.  View his profile or get in touch with him on 07773 027 880.