Very often, many of us come across someone in a workplace who is dissatisfied and unmotivated.
Rarely, these people are potential entrepreneurs who are currently just trying to pay the bills. I say rarely because I don’t want you to assume every admin staffer watching endless YouTube videos at work is a budding entrepreneur.
The difference being, of course, is that entrepreneurs in day jobs are most likely unmotivated because they are building someone else's vision. These are usually the same people who go home at night and work on their real goals, not the people who go home and binge-watch Netflix (although, who doesn’t need a night like that every now and then).
Essentially, it is those who at their very core feel compelled to build, and it doesn’t really matter what the clock says or whether or not it fits in with the working hours deemed acceptable by society.
Hopefully, the dedication outside of their work hours allows them the platform to move into their company on a basis that sustains them financially, but this is seldom a quick process and it is common for entrepreneurs to spend years in a day job while building their own business.
The ability to work full time on your own company provides a flexibility that 9–5’ers rarely enjoy, but for most of us it realistically means more hours on the job than generic 8-hour days, structured in a way that suits us. When you look into the daily schedules of those who truly made their mark in our history, whether that is in a commercial, political or artistic capacity, you notice a pattern of behaviour.
Take Voltaire for example, who slept four hours a night and drank up to 40 cups of coffee a day. Similarly, so did Margaret Thatcher, Tom Ford and Martha Stewart. And then we look at influencers such as Elon Musk who famously worked 100 hours a week for 15 years, but ensured a more socially acceptable 6 hours of sleep each night. Even Bill Gates sleeps seven hours.
I personally cannot sleep more than five hours a night, and feel that my best ideas and work happens between the hours of 4:30am and 9am. I also feel significantly grumpier and not charming at all when I need to be out past 8pm at night. This works for me as I am often alternating hours for my company in both the US and Australian markets, and I would struggle should I be forced to fit my focus into the standard 9am–5pm framework.
There are no ‘normal’ working hours
There are no ‘normal’ working hours, and what works for one person may not work for you. But I take umbrage with the anger towards those of us who may not resonate with books such as The 4-Hour Workweek, considering some of us (myself included) would be miserable if forced to control the hours worked.
It is not uncommon for my team in Australia to have a work in progress meeting after 5pm on Fridays (sorry, Fri-yay'ers) and my management team has a meeting every Sunday to prepare for the week ahead. We are thinking about the value we are creating as a company, not counting every measly hour — that's right, even Sundays.
Entrepreneurs’ most valued commodity is their time
I appreciate companies who focus on their staff’s health and wellness, and I understand that not everyone is driven by the work they do nor should they be compelled to. But when you are an entrepreneur who is creating a living and breathing organism in the corporate world, it is truly small minded to believe your time is more important than your value.
When you consider that entrepreneurs are essentially adding value and driving change with their companies, it does not make sense to think in terms of an hourly rate, nor to charge clients in a way that undermines the value we realistically bring to the table. I have seen people in my company complete brilliantly in one day a project that would take competitors weeks to finalise.
If we considered the time spent on the project as the only valuable commodity to take into consideration I can almost guarantee there will be money bled and productivity thwarted. My time is the most valuable commodity I have, but how I view my time is not valuable to every client I serve.
They don’t need to hear that we spent hours on their business, as if a drawn out process should make them grateful and motivate them to pay quicker. It's not their problem how we manage our time, they care about what our work ultimately adds to their broader strategies, and that is how entrepreneurs should value their time, and their company’s time.
In fact, in my experience, the companies that become obsessed with providing value rather than clocking up hours to impress (and procrastinate), are the companies that scale faster and leave their mark in the world quicker, which is essentially the reason why most of us are even playing this game.