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How Hard is it (Really) to Be an Entrepreneur?: The Myth of Work/Life Balance

So there are all kinds of expressions about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, such as, “You only have to work half the day as an entrepreneur and you get to choose which half.”

Or “an entrepreneur is someone who works 50-60 hours every single week for themselves so that they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for somebody else.”

And yes, sometimes that can be hard to do your own thing but the truth is, it is also incredibly liberating and incredibly fulfilling.

So I’ve got this dirty little secret, which is sometimes I’m selfish.

I believe as an entrepreneur we have all these altruistic desires and longings to really help people with the work that we do — and it also helps to be a little selfish and understand how do you find fulfillment and pleasure, enjoy what you do.  Because, when it gets hard, that’s going to really matter—it’s going to matter that you love the work that you do, it’s going to matter that you are personally fulfilled and that you receive from your work.

And so I’ve got this thing that I call a “Selfish Why”, and I recommend every entrepreneur have a selfish why alongside with the big message and the altruistic why behind what you do.

And my “Selfish Why” is that I want to be able to wake up when I want, where I want, and do what I want with whom I want for as long as I want.

And that really motivates me.

So somedays where I’m like, “oh my gosh, I’ve got so much to do!”

I think about having the freedom to to be where I want, to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want for as long as I want. And that really helps.


My husband Murray and I, we travel the world for about 3 months every single year—we just got back from a 7-week trip to Spain and to Belarus and to Russia—and I’m not saying that to brag because we work hard, and there are pros and cons with every life choice that you make.

But we’ve set it up to really take advantage of the freedom, because that’s one of my core drivers and it’s so important to understand what drives you, how do you receive, how do you get fueled up and really make it so your business provides that fuel so you get to be filled right at the moment when you feel like you’re the most empty.

You know why you’re doing it, not just for the world but for yourself. And so many people make the mistake of becoming so much of an altruist, so much of a giver that they give so much and they have nothing left to give. And when you fill your tank while you’re giving, then you’ve got the potential to keep giving and giving and giving for a really, really long time.

And I got to say, this lifestyle, as an entrepreneur is pretty incredible. Murray and I get to live 4 blocks from the beach, we look out over the West and the North—and the West receives this beautiful ocean here, the Pacific Ocean, right?

And in the North, we see the mountain—the Santa Monica Mountains—and I get to look at that every single day. And having that view gives me perspective—perspective on my life, perspective on my business, perspective on my message and why I’m here in the world and that fills me up too.

austin-dixon-38613 And so we’ve got this amazing lifestyle and yes we work for it, we work really hard, I’ll tell you that, it’s not like all of this came without effort.

But I made the choice that I wanted to create something that was really an expression of who I am, that I wanted to pour my heart and soul into my business. To not just fill a job or do something that was given to me, but to find what am I uniquely capable of doing and to do that.

And to allow the freedom that comes with full self expression through my work as well as the freedom that comes to be being able to choose my own hours, where I work, where I work, the circumstances behind my work is incredibly liberating.

So if you’re considering starting a business, if you’re considering starting a side-hustle and you’re thinking, “Well, isn’t that going to be a lot of work?”

Well yes it is but I got to say it’s worth every second of it. And there’s no such thing as work-life separation or work-life balance when you love your work.

That’s for people who hate their work.

So yes, you got to put in some effort, yes it takes time to get that momentum going, yes sometimes you might be like, “Oh my gosh, can someone just do this all for me?

There’s no such thing as work-life separation or work-life balance when you love your work. 

That’s for people who hate their work.

But when you crack that code, when you figure it out, when you take the plunge and make it happen, you get to create your life, you get to design your life exactly the way you want to be and when you do that, not only do you receive through your work, you get so filled up and fueled by what you do, you get to give in a bigger way than you ever thought possible. You get to make this gigantic impact that’s felt around the world. You get to literally change the world from your living room.

And I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

I wouldn’t give up the sometimes 50 or 60 hours a week that I work for a 40-hour a week doing something that’s less intense.

I love every single minute of it.

And you know what? Once you get going, once you get the momentum, it doesn’t have to be as intense.

You get to design your business exactly the way that you want to, you don’t have to design it like anybody else’s business. You get to design the business that gives you the work that you want, the life that you want, the relationship you want, the sense of play that you want and the spirit with which you get to approach your work every single day.

And I got to say, if you’re thinking about it, really take a moment to look inside and ask yourself, “Do you have a big enough why?

That’s the altruistic why behind your work or what’s in it for the world? What’s in it for others? Because that can motivate you when your fears and your doubts and your inner critic is raging loud knowing that you’re helping others.

But also look inside and ask, “Do I have a big enough Selfish Why?” What becomes possible in my life by becoming an entrepreneur, by building this business, by starting the side hustle that wasn’t possible before and how can I be filled up by my work so I can give in a deeper way?

So go out there and Live Your Message.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Laura Avatar

    Love it!

  2. John Mermin Avatar
    John Mermin

    Thanks for dose of inspiration Marisa!

    1. Marisa Avatar

      You’re welcome John!

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