HOT TAKE: Hard work is not required for you to have a massively successful business.
The corporate world has trained us to romanticize the idea of working 80-90 hour weeks, maybe making six figures, but being stressed out and not having time for our family, friends, or the things that we love.
We call it hard work, but there is a big difference between working hard and working efficiently.
When I first started my business, one of my ultimate goals was to have more time freedom. I didn’t want to be trapped behind a desk or sitting at a computer for 50+ hours a week just to feel exhausted at the end of the day and like I didn’t have enough time to spend with my family or to do the things I wanted to do.
Recently, I read the book The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. In it, he talks about the 80/20 rule, which is the concept that 20% of the work we do achieves 80% of our results.
Imagine working an 80-hour week, and only 20% of the work that you do actually moves the needle for your career.
What if there was a way to create incredible results by working smarter?
If you’re ready to learn why I no longer place value on hard work but on results, growth, and efficiency in a business and why the real flex is working LESS and making MORE, then this episode is for you.
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[00:00:59] What is up, you guys? Today, we're going to be talking about my hot take that hard work is not required. That hard work does not equate to success, and the fact that I think this concept of “you have to work hard in order to build a successful business or make a lot of money” is bullshit and actually kind of counterintuitive and not true at all. I think in a lot of ways when we are working hard, we're not working efficiently, and we're actually holding ourselves back from the success that we could be seeing.
[00:01:36] And I'm sure I've talked about this before in the context of the corporate world, like finance bros who flex that they work 90 hours a week and never see their family, and I'm like, "I don't think that's the flex that you think it is my dude." But I've been seeing it a lot lately, even in entrepreneurship, and in particular, there is a business coach who tends to pop up in my Tiktok feed, and she's always talking about how there are no shortcuts if you want to build a successful business; if you want to make a lot of money, you have to work hard. That's just what you have to do. And I get what she's saying, but I think there is a big difference between taking a shortcut and just being fucking efficient and not doing unnecessary work.
[00:02:22] And I think especially when we are coming from the corporate world and entering into entrepreneurship, we have this tendency to want to fill our days. Because we're used to working 40 hours a week. We're used to working from 9-to-5 every day. And if we are not spending that time working, we feel like we're not doing enough.
[00:02:39] We feel like we should be doing something. And so we create work for ourselves to do that isn't actually helping us to grow our business just so we can feel like we've done enough, so we feel like we're working hard enough. To then earn the success that we want, and I just think it's bullshit.
[00:02:57] To me, the flex is the entrepreneur who's making 6 or 7 figures and working less than 20 hours a week. That is the flex to me. That is the end goal, not the person who is making 6 or 7 figures a year, but they're working 80 hours a week, and they're stressed out, and they're not spending time with their family, and they have no time for anything else. That is not a flex to me. That is the exact opposite of why I even wanted to start a business in the first place, and it's also just not fucking efficient. To me, that's telling me that you are not efficient and that you don't know how to be efficient in your business. It's telling me that you are afraid to delegate things because why the hell are you working that much? You don't need to be working that much in order to create those results. You just don't. I recently read the book The Four-Hour Workweek, which I highly recommend, but one thing that he talks about in that book is the 80/20 rule, and how 80 percent of the results that we create can be traced back to only 20 percent of the efforts that we put in. Which means that 80 percent of what we are doing every day in our workday could be eliminated, and we could still create the same results.
[00:04:13] And when I actually went through the exercise of doing this in my business, I was like, holy fuck, he's right. I could look at where 80 percent of my revenue is coming from in my business, and I could trace it back to 20 percent of what I was doing in terms of my marketing and how I was getting clients. I was like, I'm doing all of these other things that aren't actually moving my business forward and are really just taking up my time in a day and preventing me from actually spending more time on the things that are going to help me grow.
[00:04:46] Was I working hard? Yes, but I was actually, in a lot of ways, keeping myself stuck instead of moving my business forward. Hard work is not the flex. The results that you're creating are the flex. And I don't know why we, as a society, have put so much value on the effort that you're putting in when the effort you're putting in really doesn't mean shit.
[00:05:07] If you're not getting the results that you want, what's the point of working 80 hours a week if it's not helping you to create the lifestyle that you ultimately want? That's not success; that's not a flex. And so I no longer place value on hard work; I place the value on growth; I place value on efficiency, honestly, because to me, the flex is the entrepreneur who can create those results working less than 40 hours a week, ideally less than 20 hours a week, and they're able to be making six figures or seven figures a year but still have time to do all the other things they want to do. They still have time freedom, right? They're not stressed out by work. And they're able to be present with their family, with their spouse, with their friends, with their personal life, travel, do all these other things.
[00:06:00] What is the actual point of creating a business if it's going to require me to be working all the time? I don't want that. That's not a flex to me. Maybe it is for some people. I don't know. But why do we place so much value on work and hard work? And we think that someone who doesn't want to work hard is lazy.
[00:06:17] But what if they're actually just efficient? What if they are actually smart with how they are using their time, and they're not filling their days with tasks that aren't actually generating results? It kills me when I see, whether it's someone from the corporate world or an entrepreneur, talking about how, "Oh, I gotta work late," or, "Oh, I've been working this many hours a week," or equating their success to how much time they're putting in, because I'm like, that's really not it.
[00:06:48] Your success isn't dependent on how much time you're putting in. It's: are you spending your time on the right things? Are you spending your time efficiently on things that are going to help you move your business forward? And you could be doing that in a few hours a week and seeing massive results if you're doing the right things.
[00:07:04] Or you could be spending 80 hours a week, but 80 percent of that time is spent on tasks that aren't actually really doing anything for you. And it's really just sucking time away from time that you could be spending either on other things that are actually going to move your business forward, or just with your family, on a vacation, doing something that you enjoy doing, living your life, because that's the whole point of your existence, right?
[00:07:31] The point of your existence is not working. And it kills me that we have this mindset as a society. And ever since I've shifted out of that mindset for myself, it's become so fucking noticeable to me because everyone around me is always flexing about how much they're working or how hard they're working, and I'm like, “Babe, that's not a flex.”
[00:07:50] It doesn't impress me that you work 80 hours a week. I actually think that's really sad and an indicator that something is deeply wrong. And that's not to say that I've never worked late in my business. There have been plenty of times in my business where I was working hard, where I was working a lot of hours, but it was with an end goal in mind, right?
[00:08:10] So, in the beginning of my business, I was working a lot, but a) it didn't really feel like work because I was just so excited to get all of my ideas out into the world and start this business. I didn't really consider it hard work because I fucking loved it. So that's number one: if I am working a lot, I'm doing something that I fucking love, and I have all of my energy behind it.
[00:08:34] But there's also an end goal, and it's not like I'm just gonna work this many hours forever. It's like I maybe have to work a little bit more than I normally do because I'm launching this thing, but after it launches, I'm not going to be working so much. And lately, even when I am working late, I don't see that as a good thing.
[00:08:55] I see it as a problem. So over the past few weeks, I've been in the process of trying to hire another social media manager to bring on to my team, and I have been working late almost every day, and it's been so fucking stressful and overwhelming. It's literally been affecting my sleep. I haven't been sleeping well, which is affecting my energy, obviously, throughout the day, and then I'm not able to put the same energy into the rest of my business because I'm spending so much of it on this process of hiring someone, and it's exhausting. I know that I'm being so inefficient with my time. To me, the fact that I'm having to work late every day just to find another person to add to my team is an indicator that I'm doing something wrong.
[00:09:39] It's an indicator that there has to be a more efficient way to do this. And so I'm being really conscious about, okay, what are the things that I'm doing in this hiring process that I maybe don't need to be doing? Or how can I make it more efficient next time I need to hire someone? Can I maybe just delegate this whole process to an assistant and hire someone to screen through these applications for me so that I don't have to read through a thousand applications? And instead, I can maybe read through like 30 or 40 really qualified people.
[00:10:08] And that's going to be well worth it to me, to pay someone a few hundred dollars to screen through these applications for a couple of hours, when it's gonna save me all of that time and all of that stress. To me, it's not a flex for me to say that I have been working overtime for the past two weeks to try to find someone to hire on my team. To me, it feels like I have failed almost; it feels like I'm doing something wrong because I know there's got to be a more efficient way to do it that's not gonna cost me my fucking sanity for weeks at a time.
[00:10:41] It's just so the opposite of how we've been conditioned to think. And I'm so glad that I've finally overcome that in a lot of ways because when I first got started as an entrepreneur, I was still very much stuck in that corporate mindset of, “If I'm not working nine to five every day, then what am I doing? There's got to be something else I can do. I'm just lazy.” I would literally just create tasks for myself to do to fill that time so that I could feel like I was doing enough, but the truth is we created the standard of a 40-hour work week. There's no universal law that says working 40 hours a week is what's going to help you to be successful.
[00:11:23] We just fucking made that up. What if you could create the success you want, working 20 hours a week, working 10 hours a week, working five hours a week? Are you going to call someone who's making millions of dollars a year working five hours a week lazy? Or are they just smart? Are they just efficient?
[00:11:41] Did they just figure out a better way? But then I think we also have this sense of jealousy almost, where we look at someone who's in that situation, and we want to bring them down so that we can feel better about the fact that we are working 40+ hours a week and not making nearly as much money.
[00:11:57] And so we look at them, and we think, "Oh, they must be exploiting people to create that type of success," or "They must be scamming people," or "They must be doing something wrong." What if they've just figured out a better fucking way? But what if you could create those same results, too? Why can't you?
[00:12:14] Why do we feel like we need to be working x number of hours a week? I have seen this come up more and more ever since I've shifted my mindset around it to really value efficiency over hard work. And it's just become so noticeable how much everyone around me seems to value the opposite.
[00:12:33] And it just does not make any fucking sense to me. The whole reason why I left the corporate world, the whole reason why I wanted to work for myself, was so that I would have more time freedom and I wouldn't be chained to a desk for 40 hours a week. So why would I want to recreate that same lifestyle in my own business?
[00:12:52] That is not a flex. It's just not, I'm, I don't know. I think this is on my mind so much because I'm watching a reality show, and one of the people on it is an entrepreneur, and she's just constantly talking about how she is working all the time, and she works really hard, and she values hard work, and she can't be with someone who doesn't understand that. And I just want to be like, "Sis, it's not the flex that you think it is that you work this much. Why are you working so much?" And it's just very interesting to be in such a different mindset about it now, where if I was working that much, I would see it as a problem, but a whole lot of people see that as their sign of success, as the reason why they're successful.
[00:13:35] It's not, because if they took a look at the results they've created and traced it back to the work that they put in, I guarantee you, 80/20 rule, baby. 20 percent of what they do in a day is generating 80 percent of those results. So they could create those same results in a lot less time. I also think this mindset keeps us stuck in a lot of ways and actually does the opposite of what we think it does because we think hard work creates success. So if I'm working this many hours, that means I'm successful, but actually, if you're working that much, you're probably holding yourself back from the success that you truly could be seeing. Let me tell you, I used to be working that much in my business when I first started offering social media management, and I was the only one doing all of my client work. I was working a lot, I was working late every day. I wasn't making that much money, though, because I was capping myself by my own efforts that I could put in in a day as one person, right?
[00:14:35] But when I started to outsource, and delegate, and build out my team, now I'm working much less, and I am making like 2 to 3 times more than what I was making when I was trying to do it all on my own, and I was working till seven or eight o'clock at night every day. So it really wasn't a flex that I was working so much, but yet I was getting praised by the people in my life who saw me working till seven or eight o'clock at night and were like, "Oh, she's working so hard on building her business. Look at you. Good for you." And I wanted to be like, "Good for me? I'm fucking overwhelmed. I'm fucking stressed out every day. This is not good for me. This is actually very bad for me and my mental health." And I think we just have such a backwards view about hard work and about success. And to me, if I see somebody who's working that much, I'm like, you've got to make a change, Sis.
[00:15:29] You've got to be doing something differently because there is a better way. There's a much better way. There is no reason why you ever need to be working more than 40 hours a week. Arguably, you never even need to be working 40 hours a week, period. And again, there are different seasons of business.
[00:15:47] I'm not anti-work. I've always worked, I enjoy my work, I'm gonna put in the work, I've always had a very strong work ethic. But what I'm not gonna do anymore is tie my worth to how much effort I'm putting in. I'm not gonna tie my worth to how many hours I'm putting in because that doesn't actually mean anything if it's not helping me to generate the results I want. If it's not helping me to live the lifestyle I want, if it's not helping me to grow my business, then why am I going to place any value in the amount of hours that I'm putting in and the fact that I'm working late? No, that's not a good thing. It's actually a very bad thing. And it means I'm not being efficient. I'm not using my time wisely, and therefore, actually failing in a way because I'm preventing myself from seeing the success that I could be seeing if I was a little bit more efficient with my time or if I were to outsource certain tasks to somebody else who can maybe do it more efficiently than I can, or who can do it just to free up some of my time to be spent on other things.
[00:16:55] To me, the flex is understanding your own zone of genius, understanding where your time can be most valuably spent and staying there and not trying to do everything yourself because I've been there, and let me tell you, it's not going to help you grow your business any faster. I have seen the fastest business growth when I started to delegate things and work less.
[00:17:24] That is when my business started to see the most growth. Not to say I don't work hard, not to say I'm anti-working hard, but I'm anti being inefficient. I'm anti-working hard for the sake of working hard. I don't subscribe to the idea that hard work is required to create success and that if you don't want to work hard, that means you're taking shortcuts, and you're not going to make it because I think if you can find a way to be more efficient and get to where you want to be without putting in as much effort, that's the fucking flex.
[00:17:57] That's the fucking goal. Why are we looking down upon that, as a society, because that is what we should be praising. Not the person who's overworking themselves and not sleeping and sacrificing their physical and mental health for their fucking job doing what taxes. Who fucking cares? That is not something that you should be sacrificing your health for.
[00:18:23] Why do we praise this? Why is this the standard that we've created as a society? That that equals success. That that is what is deserving of praise. No, not to me. To me, the goal is making more and working less, and that's not to say I'm going to take shortcuts in the process of growing my business.
[00:18:46] But it is to say that I'm going to be very intentional with where I spend my efforts and how I spend my time. So, thank you for coming to my TED Talk about hard work. Hopefully, this helps you to shift your mindset if you are someone who is overworking yourself for the sake of saying that you worked hard enough to create the success that you want.
[00:19:09] Your success is not dependent on you working hard. Your success is not validated by how much hard work you've put in. It is just based on what it is that you want and the actions that you put in to get there. The more efficient you can be with those actions, with your time, with your efforts, in my eyes, the more successful you are.
[00:19:34] So, can we all agree to stop fucking working so much just for the sake of not being called lazy. It's not laziness if you don't want to work on something that is pointless. It's not laziness if you don't want to be spending your time in ways that aren't actually helping you to move your life, your career, or your business forward.
[00:19:57] So we're gonna start flexing how little we work. That's the new flex. My new flex is how much time I am not working. Oh my god, I just hate; I hate this concept of hard work so much. I think we have it all backwards and all twisted, and people who think that they are on some high horse because they work harder than other people and "I'm like, babe, no quite the opposite, you're actually just wasting your fucking time. You look like a clown; what are you doing? Yeah.
[00:20:27] So thank you, guys, for listening, thanks for being here. I hope you're enjoying this unhinged season of Quit Your Job, Sis. I would love to know your thoughts on this episode or any of the episodes. If you're listening on Spotify, there will be a box somewhere where you can add your thoughts or slide into my DMs on Instagram or TikTok @Lindsaymhanson
[00:20:49] I love you. I appreciate you. I am here for you always. I will talk to you in the next episode.