It occurs to me that entrepreneurs do not want to work hard anymore. In a world where you can be famous for singing badly, a sex tape or random viral videos, why should anyone strive to do anything difficult?
And for every born into poverty or immigrant success story of someone working their fingers to the bone to pick tomatoes under the heat of the August sun or working 20 hours a day in a kitchen restaurant, entrepreneurs will be the ones sipping lattes and insisting that without half-day Tuesdays and weekly massages they’re just not balanced enough for meaningful output.
Listen. I’m not promoting some old school work ethic that insists on pain and striving for the sake of it but let’s not backslide into pansy territory where you can’t be bothered to lift a finger.
Here’s why I respect and greatly admire entrepreneurs who are not afraid of working hard.
Shit is hard, yo.
Solving problems can’t be done spinning in a field of dandelions. There is real life, hard shit out there from physical and mental illness, honest to god grief and pain, financial struggles, communities local and abroad without clean water and safe streets, families that need healing and messages that struggle to be heard over the noise and chaos of a plugged-in world.
Only doing things that are easy is a slap in the face to the real issues going on around us and if you “can’t be bothered” then I don’t even know how to explain why you should care.
If you’re thinking, “but I just do hair or design graphics or run Facebook ads” then you need to reconsider the real purpose behind what you do.
A hair stylist can empower clients to show up confidently in the world to make a difference.
A graphics designer can help visual learners adopt new skills and make learning fun.
A Facebook ad strategist can get the right message to the right audience and inspire them to take action, changing lives.
“Working hard” is not the same as doing the hard work
Hands up if you’ve ever heard someone say, “working hard or hardly working? HAHAHAHA!”
Yes, they always laugh at their own joke.
Working hard might mean deleting 117 spam comments a day to keep your blog clean when you could just install a spam blocker.
Doing the hard work is speaking honestly about your past troubles and current struggles to inspire those who think they’re all alone.
Working hard might may be sifting through dozens of resumes from applicants who don’t understand your business instead of going to an online resource that has freelancers ready to begin work.
Doing the hard work includes reaching out to those podcasts you’ve been meaning to pitch for… months, and securing the interviews you need.
Working hard might mean scrubbing the floors on your hands and knees with soap and a bucket of water.
Doing the hard work is spending hours on the phone with insurance companies so the patient you’ve been seeing in your chiropractic clinic can continue treatments.
Working hard deserves its own respect but as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do the hard work.
And now, the common excuses:
Can’t I hire someone for that?
I just want to work with people doing cool things!
Don’t you have a system to solve that?
To which my answers are:
Then become an angel investor (I hope you’re rich).
Before you can teach anyone else a core piece of your business you have to figure it out. Sure, coaches and consultants can help but you’ve got to be the one who knows what subject lines get emails opened most and the best interview questions to ask a new candidate and the price point that moves products the fastest.
There is no system for “how everything works” because life is so much more complicated and messy than that.
It’s the reason why I only work with clients who are willing to do the work, every single day.
So don’t be afraid of hard work, of the tasks and projects that seem impossible at first but are doable with effort behind them. Don’t give up on dreams and opportunities because they don’t flow automatically or require discipline and sweat.
Consider if you’re just working really hard on all the wrong things or tackling the hard work in front of you that’s going to make a difference in your life and your community and let me know in the comments what’s one way you are “working hard” on something that’s not creating value or how you can do the hard work instead.