March 14, 2013, 6:00 am

What About The 70 Hour Workweek?

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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Tim Ferriss boasted about his 4-hour workweek.  This got all of us excited about quitting our jobs to make thousands of dollars while we only worked for 4 whole hours a week. It’s an amazing concept. Who wants to work insane hours when you can only work four hours per week? Why not work less?

What about the 70 hour one? CNN Money recently posted an article about working 70 hours a week as an entrepreneur. This title really caught my eye and I had to go through the whole piece. The goal of this article was to highlight those that have recently quit jobs and are now working insane hours as opposed to 8 hours a day or 4 hours in a whole week.

One entrepreneur was quoted as saying:

“I quit my job to run the business three months later — I’ve been working nonstop ever since. Everyday there’s a four-page to-do list and just the two of us to complete it.”

That’s pretty hectic to go from working a simple 8 hours a day with vacation time and sick days to working nonstop for an extended period of time.

What about your personal life?

“My work and personal life all blend into one. While it can be hard to disconnect and not work all the time, I’m realizing now that’s it’s important to do so.”

This is always going to be challenging. With a 9-5 gig, you usually don’t have to worry about checking in for work when you’re out at a bar or a friend’s place. With any sort of business, you’re tempted to check email, look at your stats, or respond to comments.

This leads to a few important questions…

Is it worth working such long hours for your own business?

This is an interesting question. Let’s look at the pros and cons of working long hours for yourself:

The pros of the long days:

  • It’s your baby. This is your project and your idea. You want to live and die with it. You don’t care about anything else but your baby when you’re running a business.
  • You don’t have a boss. No longer have to report to a boss technically. You don’t have any co-workers. You’re on your own!
  • You want to sustain this for the long-term. If you stop working, you might earn less money or be forced back to work. The long days will ensure that you sustain your current lifestyle for the long term and that you remain self-employed.

The negatives of working long hours for yourself:

  • Impacts your social life. It’s difficult to go out when you have work to do and you get your best work done in the middle of the night.
  • Your work-life balance sucks. What’s your balance? You never know if you’re working or hanging out with friends. Are you going for coffee with a new friend or a business meeting? The balance is horrible.
  • Your friends/partners get annoyed. I’ve had girlfriends and friends get frustrated with me because everything becomes a new business idea or work. You bust out your laptop in bed. You respond to emails when someone’s telling you a story. You pretty much annoy your friends that aren’t in the same line of work.

Would you just be better off working a traditional 9-5?

I was recently chatting with a friend that is happier than ever working for someone else now. He had his own business, made good money, worked the crazy schedule, and eventually sold the business. He then used his experience and education to land a gig that he loves. He does his 8 hours of work, goes home, and moves on with his life. He never brings work home with him and he certainly never stresses about work on the weekends.

Sometimes I wonder if many of us that hold the entrepreneurial spirit would be better off working for someone else.

Are you willing to work longer hours if it’s for yourself?

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To answer your question, only if I like what I am doing. I was an entrepreneur and loved most of what I did. There are many hours people do not count as working which may be thinking and resolving problems.

@krantcents That’s a good point. There are times where you can’t sleep at night because you’re thinking about new ideas and resolving issues. It might be even more than a 70 hour workweek.

I really don’t think I could ever sustain those types of hours. 45 hours at a job I really like + a few hours freelancing on the side is already more than enough. I once worked for two weeks straight on a project at my last job without any days off and promptly came down with the death flu afterwards.

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