One of my favorite things to tell people about running this site is that I set out to create the four hour work week with M$M and somehow ended up creating the 60 hour work week in the process.
I thought that this would be an interesting post because honestly, work-life balance has been something that I’ve been trying to master for the past three years. I still have not figured it out, and the reality is I’m not even sure what the “perfect” balance would even look like at this point.
It’s always a hot-button topic with Millennials. I haven’t even looked it up, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find an industry we’ve all collectively destroyed because we don’t want to work ourselves to death.
Since I’ve started M$M, I’ve had periods of time where I’ve been on both sides of the coin when it comes to work-life balance. I’ve had lots of it, and I’ve had none of it.
Here’s what I learned when I had too much time on my hands:
So obviously, I quit my job a little early to run M$M. As much as I’d like to sit here and pretend that I knew M$M would be where it is right now in less than three years, the reality is that I had almost no idea what I was doing.
There have been plenty of people over the years that have contacted me and wanted to quit their job because of my story.
That is certifiably a horrible idea unless you have a really solid business plan, multiple revenue streams or a ton of money saved up (and honestly…that might not even be enough).
After I left my teaching job, I found that out pretty quickly. There were a solid three months in there where I was not really making any money from the blog, which forced me to pick up marketing clients, and the rest is history.
But there was a period of time where I just had one client…and I was making nearly the same amount with that client as I was teaching.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was working hard for that client. I had to. It was my only real income stream.
But my work-life balance was totally maxed out to the “life” side because one client just isn’t enough work to be a full-time gig. That’s why you don’t really ever see marketing companies with just one client haha.
I could get coffee whenever I wanted to. I could take a nap if I was tired. I could pretty much do whatever I wanted, as long as I was doing all of my work and providing results for them.
There was a period of time where I legitimately thought about keeping my lifestyle right there. I wasn’t making a ton of money, but it was enough to pay the bills and since I was so frugal at the time, I could still do all of the fun stuff that I liked doing.
But after a while…I started to learn something pretty interesting about myself. Not working a full-time gig is freakishly boring for me.
It’s actually one of the reasons that I have almost no interest in pursuing FIRE (Financially Independent Retired Early) anytime soon.
As cool as it sounds to do whatever you want and just work here and there when needed, it’s truly not as cool as you think it is in my opinion.
Nobody else has that schedule. You go to the store and it’s empty. You go to coffee shops during the day and there is barely anyone there.
It’s lonely. Maybe if you have someone else there with you 24/7 it would be better, but it’s still basically a ghost town everywhere you go.
Once I realized that, I decided to reverse course and go full-steam with my business.
I picked up more marketing clients. M$M really started to gain traction, and before I knew it I was working like crazy to build my business.
Here’s what I’m learning with not enough time on my hands:
Soon after I decided to go hard with my business, I took it way too far to the “work” side of the equation…and I’m still recovering from it.
I don’t know how closely people pay attention to what type of content comes from the site, but there was a large chunk of time where I had tons of guest posts on the site near the end of 2017.
Somehow, I had gotten to the point where I didn’t even have time to write enough content for the site anymore. Looking back, it’s crazy to even think that I let it get to that point.
I’ll probably always have guest posts here because it’s nice to get some different voices on the site and give newer bloggers an opportunity to spread their message to the M$M crew.
But when it got to a place where there were more guest posts than my stuff, that’s a problem.
In an attempt to grow everything quickly, I took on way too many projects. Too many course launches. Too much client work. Too much of everything, except for sleep and spending enough time with my wife.
I literally got to the point where I was getting out of bed and opening my computer, and not shutting it until it was time for dinner. Then, I’d pick it back up after dinner and keep going until midnight or later.
And I’m sure that you’re thinking I’m an idiot right now or something. How in the world could I let it get like that?
My friends and family were going weeks at a time without seeing me, and all of the sudden, I was becoming known as the guy that’s always “too busy”.
It sounds so simple to avoid that, but when you’re driven to produce at a high level…it just happens. I don’t know how to explain it.
There was a time not too long ago where I did not leave the house for 8 days. That is not a typo. I did not leave my house for 8 days and didn’t even realize it.
So, obviously, that’s not good haha. It’s not even that I felt like it was unhealthy, but I just started to notice things like my attention span getting even shorter than it already is (which is dangerously low to begin with), and just feeling “blah” more often than usual.
Working too much (even if it’s for something you love) is not always worth it. Time is far too important of an asset to stay in that mode for too long, regardless of the money.
So obviously, it’s called work-life BALANCE for a reason
If there is anything for you to take away from my massive swings in the amount that I worked over the past few years, it’s this:
Chasing the perfect work-life balance is really, really hard. It may be impossible for me because I like my work so much. It may be impossible for you because of the type of work you do, or your ambitions in life.
My advice would be to understand that it’s more of a sliding scale than an absolute thing that you “find”.
You will have times where you need to work crazy hard to get ahead.
Maybe you want the promotion. Maybe you want the added responsibilities. Maybe you want the raise.
It’s OK to work like crazy, and I think it’s actually pretty cool. There is nothing wrong with being a hard worker in this life.
But sometimes, you will have times where you want to be lazy, and that’s OK too. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back to preserve your mental health.
The key is to make sure that you are always balancing both of those realities in a way that allows you to meet your life and financial goals.