039 - Balancing Act: Navigating 4-Hour Workweek vs. Hustle Culture

Welcome to another exciting episode of Women Powering E-Commerce. I'm here to share my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur with you. Today, I want to talk about something that has been on my mind lately - the delicate balance between the four-hour workweek philosophy and the hustle culture.

Welcome to another exciting episode of Women Powering E-Commerce. I'm here to share my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur with you. Today, I want to talk about something that has been on my mind lately - the delicate balance between the four-hour workweek philosophy and the hustle culture.

The Quest for Balance

Recently, I've been pondering the question of how to strike a balance between two extremes - the "four-hour workweek" concept and the relentless hustle culture that seems to demand every ounce of our energy.

As an entrepreneur, I've had my share of experiences with both ends of the spectrum. I've seen the advantages and drawbacks of each approach, which has led me to question whether there's a middle ground that can offer the best of both worlds.

A Journey Back to 2013

Let's take a trip back to 2013 when I was juggling two jobs while attempting to grow my e-commerce business on the side. I can't give you an exact count of the hours I was putting in, but I can tell you one thing - my social life was practically non-existent. My daily routine consisted of working, eating, and sleeping.

I was sacrificing my present quality of life with the hope of reaping the benefits later. Back then, I didn't mind it. I found it challenging, and I was fueled by the belief that better days were on the horizon.

The Value of Being Busy

Growing up, I was taught that being busy equated to being valuable. Being occupied, and working tirelessly - were qualities I admired. The effort was held in higher regard than the outcomes it produced.

Today, my perspective has evolved. I've come to realize that constantly striving to be busy can have its downsides. It led to pressure, and high standards, and eventually, it caught up with me.

The Pitfalls of Hustle Culture

The hustle culture, which glorifies working until you drop, took a toll on me. It pushed me towards burnout, fatigue, and the perpetual feeling of not measuring up. One day, I realized that I had pushed myself too hard. I was fortunate to have the wisdom to step back before it was too late.

Discovering the Four-Hour Workweek

That's when I discovered "The Four-Hour Workweek" book, which opened my eyes to a different approach to success. I learned that you didn't need to work yourself to exhaustion to achieve your goals. This book, among others, emphasized the idea that working less can lead to greater success.

This realization was a turning point for me. I saw the potential for freedom and growth, even though I knew it would take time to achieve it.

Implementing Change

With this newfound wisdom, I set out to integrate the principles of the four-hour workweek into my e-commerce business, even while working two other jobs on the side. As time passed, we expanded our team, and I learned the power of delegation. Delegating tasks became a key factor in embracing the four-hour workweek concept.

I gradually transitioned to working part-time in my e-commerce business. And not too long ago, my husband and I enjoyed a month-long vacation, confident that our businesses could operate smoothly with minimal attention.

Reevaluating the Concept

However, my perspective on the four-hour workweek is evolving. I still love the concept, but I don't work merely four hours a week. I believe in the philosophy that you don't need to work 40, 80 hours a week to make something great out of your life. Right now, I'm working full-time running two businesses, but it's a different kind of full-time. I'm working because I want to, not because I have to.

Nevertheless, I've discovered a gap in this concept. Perhaps I haven't fully mastered it yet, or maybe there's more to learn. My journey continues, and I'm sharing these reflections to keep you in the loop.

The Quest for Balance

I've come to realize that neither extreme - the four-hour workweek nor non-stop hustle - is sustainable. Finding balance is crucial. It's about setting boundaries, learning to say no, prioritizing tasks, and making time for self-care. Flexibility is key. There are times to hustle and times to rest.

Defining Success on Your Terms

Another valuable lesson I've learned is that success is a personal journey. It's essential to measure your success according to your own metrics, not by comparing yourself to others. Everyone is in a unique position, aspiring to different things, and we must remember that.

Staying Grounded in Your Why

Lastly, I've realized the importance of staying connected to your "why." Remember why you started your e-commerce business or any project. Your mission and values should guide your decisions and actions.

As I wrap up this episode, it's clear that finding the right balance is an ongoing journey. I hope my reflections on the four-hour workweek and hustle culture provide you with valuable insights and inspiration.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share, subscribe to the podcast, and join me in the next episode as we delve deeper into the world of e-commerce.

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. Together, we'll keep growing, taking action, and pursuing our goals. Don't forget to follow me on social media and subscribe to our podcast for notifications of new episodes. Until next time!

Episode Transcription

039 - Balancing Act: Navigating 4-Hour Workweek vs. Hustle Culture


Welcome to this episode of Women Powering E-Commerce. Join me every Tuesday and Thursday as I take you behind the scenes of my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur. Together we'll explore the highs, the lows. Inspire you to take action and achieve your own business goals. So let's get started.


All right, so I have a little bit of food for thought for you today, and I'm just going to share with you a reflection you've had in the last couple of days. And that is how we've pretty much all heard, I think up until now about the four-hour week concept. And then there's the other extreme of the hustle culture, which I'll call. So my question was, okay, well what is the balance between the four-hour workweek philosophy and the ever persistent hustle culture in business? Or we can apply this to the e-commerce. So it's just a question I've been asking myself, should I just try and stick in between?


Because I feel like I tried both ends and I've seen good things and I've seen bad things on both sides. So lately I've been just trying to reflect on is there a way where I can live sort of in the middle? And the reason why I came up with this is just because in 2013, I was working two jobs and trying to grow my e-comm business on the side. So I don't know how many hours I was working in a week, but I can tell you I had zero social life. All I did was work, eat, and sleep, but I was doing it in the hopes of sacrificing my quality of life now to be able to live off those time investments later on. I didn't mind. I didn't mind at the time. I found it challenging, but I knew better days were up and ahead of me.


And I also grew up learning that being busy is something that's valuable. I think that can be very debatable, but I'm just saying that's how I grew up. And being busy was considered as good. No matter what you're doing, as long as you're busy and working your butt off, then you're good. So efforts were actually being more valued than the results. I could put it that way.


Today I would agree to disagree. I always put a lot of pressure on myself with the school and work in general. Having that belief and mindset in mind I definitely had high standards for myself. And the issue with that is that eventually it caught up. The pressures of the hustle culture, because that's it you just work until you drop dead kind of thing. So that hustle culture surrounding me finally led me to burnout, fatigue, and just feeling of never doing enough because there's just so much you can do as one human being alone.


So yeah, eventually one day I realized, okay, I went overboard. It could have been much worse, but I think I had, I'll say the intelligence to just stop before it was too late, from learning from others, from seeing others really fall deep into a depression and things like that. So I don't think it was my case, but I definitely burned myself out.


So I discovered and read The Four-Hour Week book many years ago. I mean, that's the first book that made me realize, yeah, you could not work as much and still be successful. But there are so many other books today that you can read that really preach that concept. And when I found out about that book and the concept and everything that could be done, I really realized it could be my ticket to freedom and growth.


I knew it wouldn't be possible today, I'd have to work towards that, but I told myself, well, if Tim Ferriss did it, I could do it too. So why not? I just have to figure it out. From there, I tried to implement the four-hour work strategies in my e-commerce business that I was starting at the time. And having my two jobs on the side, I was trying to think how can I transition to working so much to working very little and still be successful?


We grew the team with time. We started very little. I did my best to hire as quickly as possible and making sure it's still reasonable. But as soon as we could, we hired, we grew the team, and that's when I delegated more and more. That's when I learned about the power of delegation and realizing that it's definitely one key to that four-hour week concept.


So I started working part-time also in my e-commerce business. Eventually, not at the beginning, but eventually it allowed me to do that. And not so long ago, a couple of years ago, it allowed my husband and I to take a full month off, for example, fly to Greece during Covid, or it was in a good time in between, in 2021. So I was grateful. I was so grateful. It was also the best vacation I've had. It felt so nice to be able to disconnect, knowing our businesses were still functioning with very little attention. So that was great. I remember the time when we started and when I was working and hustling to now being able to just disconnect if needed and things still functioning.


However, I have to say I am changing a little bit my thinking around that concept because... And I'll explain. I love the four-hour week concept, and when I say the four-hour week, I don't mean that I work only four hours a week. It's the philosophy around which you don't need to work 40, 80 hours a week to actually do something great out of your life. You don't need to spend all your time at work.


And I do work full-time right now running two businesses, and I still kind of put that into the four-hour week concept. But I'm just saying I'm not working 80 hours a week right now and I'm working that 40 ish hours a week and loving it. I'm doing it because I'm happy to do it and not because I have to do it. I've structured things in a way that I don't have to work much more than that if I don't want to. However, I've recently found a gap in this concept, or maybe it's just that I haven't mastered this concept completely yet. I'll see with time, but I'm just sharing my life reflections and where I'm at in my journey right now. So we'll see where all of this leads me.


But I'm just discovering that either extreme is not good. I think that trying to reach a balance in between is great. And I think that working right now, I'll consider that I'm working full- time and I still think it's a good balance. I wouldn't work less while trying to grow our businesses. And just like when you start a business and you need to put in those extra hours to kick things off, if you're wanting to grow your business, sometimes it just feels like you need to put in that extra work. We're trying to grow our businesses, and I'm sure a hundred percent sure, that there's a way to grow your businesses while not having to work that much.


Why? Because a lot of people out there will own tens and so many businesses. So of course they're not working full-time in every single business. They found a system. I'm just saying, I haven't found the system yet. I have ideas. I am working towards certain things, but I don't think I've unlocked that system yet. But right now, I feel like I still need to hustle a little bit more.


And sometimes it'll be in phases. One week I'll hustle more the other, I can take it a little bit slower. But if I want to get my businesses up to speed of where I want them to be in a few years, I think I just have to put in the work sometimes, there's no way around it.


We're always looking, I think, as a human being, the quickest and fastest way to get somewhere. But I think sometimes there's just no easy way and you just have to put the work into it. So right now, that's where I'm at. And balancing the need for rest and self-care with the ambition to grow and scale is kind of challenging, and I'm learning to do it, but I'm sure I'll find the way and I'll adjust my life as we go to get there.


So what I can say, what I learned up until now with reflecting on those two extremes, well, what I can see is that neither extreme is sustainable. An actual four-hour workweek concept will be unrealistic for most. While working nonstop can also lead to burnout. So you just have to live in neither extremes. It's also about setting yourself boundaries. So learning to say no, prioritizing tasks, and also making sure you set some time apart for yourself, for some self-care. Very important. And maybe this is my biggest takeaway, flexibility is definitely key. Like I was saying earlier, sometimes you'll need to hustle and other times you need to delegate and rest, which is fine. I think you have to find your balance in there.


Another thing that I'm learning is that you define your own success. It's essential to measure a success by your own metrics, your own means, not by other standards or by comparing yourself to others. Because every people, every situation is unique. We don't aspire to all the same things. And I mean, everyone is in a unique position. And I think that I need to remember that all the time.


And my last point would be this one. I need to remember to stay grounded to my why. Remembering the reason why I started my e-commerce business, why I started the SaaS business with my husband. Why we're into all kinds of projects. Remembering your why, the reason, your mission, why you're doing everything you're doing can help you make decisions, align with your goals and values. So these are some of the lessons I learned from my latest thinking time I could say around those two concepts.


And I think this wraps up the episode. If you liked this episode, share, subscribe to the podcast and join me on the next episode as we delve deeper into the e-commerce world.


Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I hope you gained valuable insights and inspiration today to keep growing and taking action towards your goals. Please follow me on social media. Also, follow us on your favorite podcast platform to get notifications every time a new episode is uploaded. See you next time.