I’ve had my fair share of jobs in the past.
I’ve now run 2 businesses over the course of several years. My first business was as a partner in a law firm. I was the junior partner so I didn’t call all the shots, but I had a good amount of autonomy. After law, I jumped into blogging and niche sites.
Without question, I prefer running my own business.
One reason I prefer running my own business is the freedom I have to do what I want when I want.
Ironically, I work just as rigid of a weekly schedule as a business owner as I would if I were an employee.
The difference, though, is I enjoy the idea that I can do what I want when I want. There are times where I need to take a day off which is easily done without having to ask for permission.
In reality, I’m at my desk 35 hours per week week-in and week out. I don’t take 3 or 6 months off per year. I don’t live the 4 hour work week. I put in 35 hours per week regularly.
Why 35 hours?
35 hours is a comfortable amount for me. It’s not taxing. I enjoy the work for most of that time. It’s also enough time to get done what I want to get done. I could work more, but it would be too much. I enjoy a life outside of work.
Here’s why routine works for me.
1. Get more done in less time
In my experience, I get more done in 7 hours per day than I would if I had no time restrictions.
When there are no time restrictions, I waste time. It’s classic economics 101. I’m wasteful when there’s no scarcity. With scarcity, I’m more economical with available resources. This applies equally to time as it does resources.
Some days when I plan to work late for whatever reason, I don’t have the urgency to get stuff done like I do on regular days when I stop at 3:30 to 4 pm. When the smoke clears on days with no time restriction, I get the same amount completed, or less, than if I did have an end-of-day deadline.
At the end of the day, there’s only so much productive work I can do. We all have our limits. Mine limits of reasonably productive work hours are around 35 hours per week.
2. Able to plan
I’m not obsessive about planning, but I do have several bigger projects on the go at any given time. The projects require planning. Execution requires following a sequence of steps or phases. I can only chip away at everything by working consistently throughout the week.
3. Deal with problems quickly
Recently one site of mine suffered a technical problem. Had I been absent for 3 months, that problem would have lasted much longer than it did. Because I’m routined, I discovered it quickly and got it fixed. I cringe to think of the havoc not noticing it for a month would have cost my bottom line and the health of that site.
4. I stay motivated with a routine work schedule
By engaging in my business regularly, I stay motivated to keep at it.
I’ve noticed after a few days on vacation, I don’t want to think or do anything about work. It’s liberating and good to do a few times per year, but I doubt I’d have much of a business if I choose to ignore my business much of the time or work at it intermittently.
5. I’m ambitious
I’m not content to make a living. I want to build up a big online publishing business. I like growth. I want to build something exceptional. This feeds my ambition which drives me to put in consistent hours.
6. Consistency achieves big results
I know first hand that consistency is important for building a business.
Part of being routined is being consistent. Consistently publishing content, analyzing the numbers, trying new content concepts, discovering more niche topics, improving older content, promoting content, etc. While I don’t achieve much in a single day, when I consistently do a little bit of the above each day, each little bit adds up to something significant over time.
No business is built overnight. This is certainly true of a successful website. It requires consistent effort month after month.
7. I enjoy the work so working a regular schedule is not a problem
I like this work. I like:
- feeding my ambition,
- creating successful websites,
- writing for Fat Stacks,
- growing traffic and revenue,
- experimenting with monetization strategies,
- creating websites people enjoy,
- earning income somewhat passively.
There’s not much I don’t like about this business; it’s probably the main reason I’ve managed to carve out a business doing it. I stuck with it for months and months while earning nothing. I understand this work intuitively.
I like this work despite much of it being tedious over the years… but then what job or work doesn’t have tedious aspects to it?
8. What else would I do?
I could watch TV all day, but that’s boring after an hour or two. I could take up some hobbies, but blogging is as enjoyable as any hobby.
At the end of the day, there’s really not much else I’d rather do during the workday than grow my sites.
What’s the point of this post?
I believe a routine can help build a business because it helps you be consistent.
I also believe if you have a hard time to routinely do the work, maybe you don’t really like it. You may like the idea of it, but you may not actually like what’s required to turn it into a thriving business.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.