Breaking the Time Barrier with Mike McDerment


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By Productivityist and Mike Vardy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
On this episode, I speak with Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks. FreshBooks is the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 24 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumoured he’s the first human to have developed an immunity to mosquitoes.
This episode is brought to you by the University of California Irvine Division of Continuing Education. Established in 1962, UCI offers education for adult learners in Orange County. But thanks to technology, their courses and certification programs in various fields are now available worldwide and online for just about anyone who's interested. Get 15% off of one (1) course by visiting then enter the promo code: timecrafting.
This episode is also brought to you by Blinkist. Fit reading into your life with key takeaways from the world's best nonfiction books in text and audio. Blinkist now connects 6 million readers worldwide. Visit and start your 7-day free trial today!
Mike McDerment is also the author of Breaking the Time Barrier - How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential, a book that lets most freelancers and small businesses discover their billing blind spots and determine if they are charging what they are really worth. Small business owners sometimes struggle to assert their worth in a competitive market place. Sometimes, they suffer from imposter syndrome. Other times, they just feel grateful to have clients who pay on time, so they undercharge. And, over time, some simply don’t increase their rates, afraid of having awkward money conversations. But, rest assured, they are not alone. If you run a small business, knowing and charging your worth can be a difficult thing so Mike McDerment and Donald Cowper wrote this book as a guide to value-based pricing and unlocking your true earning potential.
Specifics that we covered on the show include:
  • The history and background of FreshBooks (3:56)
  • What has FreshBooks become and where is it at right now? (5:46)
  • The equation between time and money and what a “time barrier” is (6:48)
  • Quantitative productivity versus qualitative productivity (13:11)
  • Billing by the hour versus billing by value (16:03)
  • Why did Mike start a secret company to compete with his existing one? (18:12)
  • The value of the secret company experiment and the time spent doing the experiment (23:23)
  • Spending time with exploration and experimentation (28:16)
  • Approaching life on a complementary lens (30:47)
  • How does Mike McDerment approach his work? (33:46)

“With the time barrier in the book, the premise is around something called value-based billing. So instead of charging how much time you spent on something instead charge the value you bring. The two don't always go together. I think that's the thing that people don't understand.” ~ Mike McDerment
Relevant Links:
The key takeaway from this episode is that the ability to work so little and produce so much income had a lot to do with how one priced and positioned his or her services, something most small business owners struggle with.
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