The most common complaint among entrepreneurs is a lack of time. There is simply never enough hours in the day to squeeze in work, exercise and still have some time left for yourself and your family. By one estimate, entrepreneurs work 63 percent longer than other workers.
I've found adding public transportation to my daily schedule actually gives me time to accomplish more.
Over a year ago I went all-in on public transportation as my primary mode of transportation. I had just quit my job, started my new company and moved out to the burbs. A second vehicle payment was the last thing I wanted to take on. Now, after about a couple hundred round trips, here’s why I believe that every entrepreneur should be riding the bus.
1. It’s cheap.
You need to save every penny you can when you’re starting a business. The slower the money is going out the door, the longer your runway, the higher your profitability and the lower your stress levels. A monthly bus pass costs you $100 a month. A car payment, insurance, fuel and parking will run you upwards of $1,000.
2. You can work instead of drive.
It doesn’t take much focus to be a passenger. While the bus driver takes you from Point A to Point B (with a few stops along the way), you can type, talk, eat. All at once if you want. I tend to use my commuting time to write blog posts, catch up on emails and schedule my day. If you’re spending an hour commute each way right now, you’ve just added over 500 hours of active work time each year to previously useless time stuck in gridlock.
3. You can soak in the city.
Most of us stare at a screen from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. An excess of screen time has been shown to cause everything from anxiety, to restlessness, even damaging the brain itself.
Riding the bus gives you ample opportunity to take in your surroundings, whether it’s the architecture of your city, the buzz of the people or the changing of the seasons.
4. It’s the perfect focus group.
A bus is effectively a cross section of society. A rolling focus group that picks up a few people from every geographical regional, income level and occupation along the way. It’s not uncommon to have an investment banker, college student and young family riding side by side.
With some carefully honed detective skills you’ll quickly learn how the business crowd is consuming media, what brands are popular among families and the lingo of the millennial crowd. If you have the nerve to ask a few questions, you will even get some interesting consumer insights that no online survey could ever provide.
5. It’s good for the environment.
Public transit is the original “sharing economy.” By supporting your local transit authority you are paving the way for more transit lines and lower congestion. Whether it means fewer roadways, fewer cars or less pollution, public transit is on earth’s side. In today’s triple bottom line economy (people, planet, profit), it’s never been more important to be green.
6. It's safer.
The chances of you dying on a bus over the next year are 1 in 6,696,307. You are 380 times more likely to die in your car, especially as you frantically add a smiley face to your email while balancing an egg McMuffin and changing lanes on the highway (that's right, I saw you). In fact, you are more likely to die from falling out of bed in the morning than you are on your daily bus ride.
So, tour the city, uncover customer insights and get add work hours to your day. Save some money, the environment and possibly your life. Not bad for simply changing the way you get to work.