Double Your Productivity Without Breaking the Bank: The Buyback Principle for Founders by Dan Martell - Concrete Ventures
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Double Your Productivity Without Breaking the Bank: The Buyback Principle for Founders by Dan Martell

Patrick Hankinson

Published March 14, 2022
Double Your Productivity Without Breaking the Bank: The Buyback Principle for Founders by Dan Martell - Delegation

How would you, as an entrepreneur, feel if there were two of you? In as little as an afternoon, you can have a “mini-me” by training an employee in the Buyback Principle. Learn the steps to proper delegation and free up time to focus on the power tasks that will grow your business!

The basic concept of the Buyback Principle is money to buy back time. Instead of time for money, as in, you get a job, work a task, and you get paid. The Buyback Principle is the reverse. You pay others for repetitive tasks so that you can free up your time to work on tasks that will grow your business.

Task Delegation

A day only has so many hours in it. If everyday tasks overwhelm you, you will never get ahead. Instead, learn the art of delegation and delegate repetitive tasks to free up your more valuable time for business growth projects.

80% done by somebody else is 100% freaking awesome.

– Dan Martell

Value Creation Score; the Key to Proper Delegation

One of the biggest challenges business owners have is delegation. In other words, trusting someone else to do the same job quality you would do yourself and understanding your value. Understanding your value is key to delegating effectively. So try this exercise:

Effective hourly rate = Revenue generated / number of hours worked (for most people, this is 2000 hours per year).

The effective hourly rate is what your costs are for you to run your business yourself. The trick is to delegate the mundane and repetitive tasks to someone else at a quarter of the rate it costs you to do it yourself. In order to do that, you must take an inventory of the tasks you do each day and ask yourself, is it more expensive for you to do it or pay for delegation to a carefully picked employee?

Founders Scorecard - the key to proper delegation

Spend less of your precious time and energy on low-value tasks like errands, bookkeeping, and invoicing. For example, you can hire someone for $10 an hour for administrative tasks and spend more time on high-value tasks like content creation and publication ($100/hr), playbook (standard operating procedures) design ($500/hr), leadership development, innovative campaigns, and strategic sequence planning ($5,000/hr). The order in which you do things matters. If you don’t even have the time to think about planning, aka sequencing, your business will not grow as rapidly as it could.

Sequencing equals Success!

– Dan Martell

Simplified Delegation

When entrepreneurs add to their team, they often make the mistake of thinking they are only adding capacity rather than buying back their time. 

Delegate (leverage)
  •  What you can delegate: 
    • Repetitive/high-frequency tasks. Billing, emails, physical mail, and easily completed tasks done frequently.
    • Effective hourly rate. Any task that can be performed at a quarter of your “effective hourly salary.” As you go on, you will identify many tasks that fall into this category.
    • 80/20 tasks. Tasks you do not enjoy. An entrepreneur’s superpower is their passion. But that passion can wither and die if you force yourself to do tasks you don’t like.
  • Who do you assign these tasks to?
    • Team. Your team can be a powerful force for you if you give them responsibility for an outcome rather than a task. Make your team responsible for the bottom line. How they achieve that goal is up to them as long as they reach the sales numbers.
    • Assistant. They will take care of all those mundane tasks we mentioned before, like emails, calendars, and phone calls. An executive assistant is probably the first person you should hire to buy back your time.
    • Out-task. Hire a talented person in places like UpWork or Fiverr for task-based activities. As a start, you can outsource tasks such as social media posts and content creation. 
  • How?
    • Playbook. This is a top-to-bottom checklist of what needs to be done. You could include links to YouTube videos, articles, any downloads you have that would assist in their learning curve.
    • Record and explain what you’re doing aloud while doing your task. Some specific software you can use is to record your Zoom meetings/training or use Slack to record video and audio as you perform a distinct task online. Or you can use your phone camera to record the activity taking place.
    • Be thorough in your explanations. Define what “done” means to you so that they meet your expectations. You want X, Y, Z just like “example A” and completed by “date.” Be very specific, you will get much better results.

Inbox Flow Scheduler™

One thing your assistant can do is make your life simpler by managing your emails. Give them access to your email, and to make their life easier, you need to help the process along by planning your day first. Also, engage auto-filters to remove distractions you don’t need. You can always have a folder of newsletters to read later. You could set up your inbox with some basic folders to get started.

  • All mail
  • ! – Your Name
  • ! – Newsletters
  • ! – Responded
  • ! – To Respond
  • ! – Receipts
  • ! – Review

Making a recording of you processing your inbox for your new assistant is a critical tool. Show them how you’d like your mail sorted and handled; what kind of language you’d like your assistant to use when answering an email for you, such as:

“This is Lauren, Dan’s assistant. I got this email before he did and thought you’d appreciate the speediest reply…”

Power Moves

If you want to take back your time, these tips can make that possible.

  • Turn off ALL application notifications on your phone or laptop.
  • Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
  • When hiring someone using the buyback principle, you can hire someone to do multiple things.

1-3-1 Rule

The 1-3-1 Rule is all about teaching the employee to think through the issue and come up with a solution themselves. Have your employee identify,

  • one problem we are trying to solve
  • three different workable solutions
  • one recommendation

If they haven’t done this, ask them if they need time to prepare and then come back when they’re ready. The beauty of this is that you are teaching your employees to think for themselves and giving them the ability to problem-solve when you are not available. This is the Buyback Principle at its finest.


At the heart of the Buyback Principle is proper delegation. Teaching and empowering your employees to run your business frees you to do those power tasks that will grow your business. Dan Martell’s SaaS Academy Worksheet will help you focus on the steps to make that happen.

Watch the webinar below for more explanation and Q&A.