How Would You Like 5 Million Dollars?

5-million-dollarsHere’s the scenario:

You have a business idea that you could build up and sell in 3 years for $5 million – guaranteed. However, during those 3 years, you will be required to work an average of 75-80 hours a week.

Would you do it? Why or Why not?

I had asked this question to my fans yesterday on my Facebook Page, and the response was incredible. Within a few hours, over 25 people responded with various reasons why they would or wouldn’t go through with it. All had very valid, but different reasons.

What’s the purpose of this exercise?

The purpose of this thought exercise is to get you to really think about what’s important in your life. Thinking about this may put things into perspective as far as the lifestyle that you live now, the lifestyle you’d live while working 80 hours a week, and the lifestyle you’d have after you sold your business 3 years later. What’s important to you? It may have an effect on what you end up doing now.

Please assume that the $5 million is totally guaranteed (don’t ask me how, it just is. This is a hypothetical thought exercise, people!), and you must do all of the work yourself (i.e. you can’t outsource any part of it).

Finally, I still have a few new versions of The 4-Hour Workweek to give away. I’ll select one random commenter (I’ll email the winner on Friday, 1/29) to send it to free of charge, so long as you answer the entire question:

Would you do it? Why or Why not?

Editor’s Note: The giveaway is now closed—thanks to everyone who entered!


  • Daniel

    Hey Pat,

    Wow! $5 million is definitely a lot of money to have. But seriously I will not work such a long hours to earn that kind of money especially now.

    I have been trying to achieve the freedom to earn that means to have the freedom, time and able to earn decently. for me right now I would rather spend quality time with my family. Because of unfortunate event happen to my immediate family make me realize that spending quality time with family is important and if you missed it, no matter how much or how rich you are, you will never able to buy back.

    Maybe if I am younger I may do it because the money really attractive to be passed on. As needs and wants changes in different life stages, I do not want to exchange time for money.


  • JadeDragon

    Absolutely. I did the 80 hrs a week for years and built up a large net worth in the process. Only my crooked former partner is preventing me from enjoying the benefits. I’m on the same path again but using new techniques like automation that allow me more freedom to spend time with my family.

    With a $5 million nest egg I would invest at 10% (or even 5% to be very conservative)) to enjoy a nice passive income. Some hard work for long term freedom is definitely worth the effort.

  • Bart

    Interesting question, Pat. In my current situation, I would go for it on the condition that it is a project I feel passionate about. I know that money is not a driving factor for me in the long run. Let me put it this way, the fact that the business will be worth 5 million USD means that it is an awesome project and THAT would be the reason I would be willing to put in the hours. I have no children at the moment and that too is for me an important factor.

    I’m not on Facebook, so I haven’t seen the discussion over there. What I wonder is, what’s your answer to this intriguing question?

  • Steph

    I wouldn’t do it. If we didn’t have kids, I would think about it. But since we have three five and under and are expecting a fourth, it would mean I would never see them. So not worth it right now.

  • Marty Green

    Interesting question Pat.

    I have already committed to my goal of retiring from 9-5. I have exactly 4 years and 1 week to pull this off. I’ll be 45 on that day. Right now I am putting in 40-50 hours a week to my current job and putting as many hours as I can toward my website.

    I am well on my way to my goal (through real estate investing) but need to build up the web business to ensure my finances. Given the direction of my current lifestyle, I would have to say no to the $5 million. I have worked way too hard already to get where I am at and I would feel that I was going backwards with that type of time commitment.

    But you have really given us something to think about for sure! Great question!


  • Dexter

    I’d definitely do it.
    The way I figure it, I’m spending that time working now anyway, on a full time job and on my own projects, so to get to spend 80 hours just on my own idea – as long as it covered my current overheads in the meantime – would be a gift.

  • Tom

    I agree with Daniel and Steph – having kids changes your point of view, I guess you are on the same track with us, Pat. :) And moreover, in real life the five million is NOT guaranteed, that’s another reason not to work long hours. There must be a smarter way, at least I think that is you want to put forward by giving away “The 4-hour workweek”
    Tim Ferriss is indeed a smart fellow – here is my theory to prove it:
    SHIFT + 4 on my notebook displays the symbol for the dollar – $. It means you probably need some kind of mind “shift” to make lots of money only in four hours a week. Wow, I never thought Tim Ferriss was a freemason! :)

  • [email protected]

    I’ve already got then new version so if I win, please send it to someone else on my behalf.

    I’ll tell you that I would NOT do it.

    I do quite well already and one thing that I’ve had to learn is to manage my money. I can easily see someone selling off their business and taking that 5mil and end up losing it all very quickly.

    Have you seen the stories where someone wins the lottery and blows it all on ‘ballin’ for a few months/years and then end up back at their mothers house? I can see it now, work your @ss off, sell, collect a cool 5 mill and then not realize tax implications, asset protection, financial planning to name a few and then you’re back to the beginning wondering what happened.

  • Moon Hussain

    While in my undergrad years, I might’ve been ambitious enough. But now? No thank you. I”m not even sure I need millions. For now, I’d be happy with $60k in passive income, then maybe $100k, and help my friends and family.

    All that time away from friends and family? No thanks. I bet most people would regret that time after committing to it. I’d burn out easily anyway.

  • Merlene

    Great question, Pat!

    Yes I would do it. 80 hours a week works out to just shy of 12 hours per day, 7 days a week. Many of us spend that kind of time now between “day jobs”, commuting, watching tv, surfing internet, hobbies, etc.

    Going with the thought that the business I’d be working on 80 hr/wk must be earning some profit in order for it to be valued at 5 million after 3 years I’d quit my day job (if I had one, I don’t I’m self employed), cut my living expenses as much as I could at first to make ends meet and put in the 80 hours/wk knowing I’d have the 5 million payout at the end which would give me all the time off I wanted at the end and knowing that having built up a business the first time around that paid off so well I could turn around and use those skills and background to do it all again.

    For those here who mention kids – I have two but they’re teens – 12 hours is easy to find if you’re motivated – wake up 5am get a 2+ hours work done before kids get up – work 9 til 3 while kids are in school (that’s 6 hrs) – break from 3 til 8 for dinner, time with kids – work 8 til midnight – that gives you the 12 hours. Lots of people have done it. Lots of people work 2 jobs to just pay their bills.

  • Drezz

    This is a very interesting question. I have a story to share – A good friend of mine is in wealth management and acts as a financial advisor with some pretty big name clients. He worked for a few places here in town before branching out on his own, and was struggling to get by.

    He and his wife almost declared bankruptcy, and in order to keep his head above water, he worked longer hours and devoted more time to his business. Eventually things turned around for the better and the money started coming in and all the luxuries that came along with it. But the plan was to work those 75-80 (at times 90) hours every week, be on call for his clients, and spend a lot of time away from his home and on the road. All he did was work – and he sacrificed his personal life in order to live a comfortable life later.

    As a result, his wife of 11 years left him. She felt unfulfilled. He has plenty of money, fine cars, a beautiful big home, and the financial freedom to do as he pleases. But his wife left him, because he didn’t spend enough time with her, which is what mattered most to her.

    This is a TRUE story.

    So when you are offered a question like this, you really have to assess what is more important in your life, and what you will be forced to lose as a sacrifice. You can’t have it all without giving something up – things don’t work that way.

    • Drezz

      And to answer the question: I wouldn’t do it. I have a loving wife, a great job with wonderful co-workers, I make a great salary which allows me to enjoy things such as travel, material things like vehicles or entertainment, and at the end of the day, I don’t feel exhausted. I’m sure I could do a bit more for the future and retirement – but the most important thing to me is that I’m happy, and I’m able to keep the people close to me happy as well – financially comfortable and emotionally comfortable.

      $5 million and a heavy workload doesn’t appeal to me. I’d take 10% of that, and 10% of the work time. That’s good enough. I’m a simple guy with simple taste and I like to keep things simple. If you met me in real life, you’d see that instantly.

  • Andre

    I would definetly do it, I’m at the stage in my life, where I’m soon out of school, and will probably be doing that anyways! That aside, I feel like the 80 hours a week with no outsourcing would lead to incredible learning, and as I am young I want to learn everything I can :) That + 5 million dollars at the end of it?! Sign me up!

  • Ryan

    Like Drezz, I don’t think the trade off is worth it. I would not take the deal. Family always comes first for me. At the end of the road no one is going to say ‘I wish I spent more time at work’. It’s the relationships and experiences that are important to me. If you’re not happy, then what’s the point?

    • Ryan

      After thought: When working 80 hour weeks for 3 years straight what kind of things will be pushed to the side? Health, Fitness, Family, Friends, etc. Something will have to give. If your Friends get pushed aside will they come back when you’re suddenly available? Will new friends you make be ‘real’ friends or friends b/c you have money? Health will be a big one. What long term affects would have been created due to lack of eating and staying healthy? Being over weight, anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, etc all take their toll on a person. Can’t say that sounds like much fun to me.

  • Howie

    I know we are dealing with hypotheticals here, Pat….but, with the right support systems (or, at the very minimum, an incredibly passionate drive to succeed), I think it’s possible to pull this off without sacrificing significant amounts of the things that are truly important in life: family/friends/etc. If the idea was right, it could actually be very possible to integrate family and friends into the whole process, therefore not making the 75-80 hour workdays all that bad….

    Afterall, is it really “Work” if we love and enjoy it? In my mind, the best scenario is one where those two facets of life bisect very nicely.

    In “Info Barrel Success”, I wrote about Info Barrel being used as a tool in the overall picture of establishing oneself as a reputable authority online: one piece of an even greater passive income strategy and purpose. I wrote in depth about a fictional character “Mrs. Smith”, who although she worked long hours, she was able to integrate family and friends (and students) in a very helpful and nurturing way towards promoting the overall development and success of her business.

    This fictional character had successful meshed her passion for teaching, and love of her students, with her business. It was ‘work’, but, to her, it wasn’t REALLY work because she loved it, and cherished every moment with her family and friends.

    “Would you do it? Why or Why not?”

    YES, I would do it, IF I had that perfect business idea where I could take family and friends for the ride. I don’t ever want to put myself in a position where I feel like I am neglecting things that are very important to me, for the sake of business. It’s a delicate balance to learn and navigate….

    I honestly think this can be taken to another level, entirely….by that, I mean that family (young children, etc) could be incorporated into the business in a way that is positive and teaches lifelong lessons like thriftiness, and hard work. If you need something done for your business, you could teach a child how to do it, and give them fair payment in return for their work. This isn’t about using a child….but, rather, about instilling lessons that they can use the rest of their life.

    With this mindset, I do think it’s possible to pull this off, even with such long “work” hours, without significantly sacrificing family and friends.

  • Steve Parker, M.D.

    Sure, I’d do it, if it were honest and ethical and something I really believed in. I’m already working 75-80 hours a week.

  • Vincent

    Hi Pat,

    What I’m after right now is to design a business system that is able to run on mainly automation. Which means earning a passive income so that I am able to spend more time on other important things in my life. I believe it is possible to achieve a $5 million income without working 75 -80 hours per week and with the right business system.

    So my answer is no. I will not take on the $5 million dollars business idea.


  • Ms. Freeman

    Being in the stage of life I am at now, yes I would totally do it. Why because financially I would be so much better off and with retirement looming (not looming THAT close!) it would put my mind at ease. I would work with a much more relaxed attitude in anticipation of a new more opulent lifestyle.

    I don’t think my concierge business will be worth 5M, but as I build my list with higher-end clientele I should fetch a pretty penny when the time comes.

  • Mitch

    Wow… tough question.

    No, I would not do it. I do 12-14 hours a day 7 days a week now in Iraq for a year straight (minus two weeks of R&R)… Could I do it for three years? Yes, but I would be horribly miserable most of that time. I wouldn’t have time to enjoy life and I wouldn’t be much fun to be around. This of course assumes that I won’t enjoy what I’m doing… If I could find something I really loved doing? Well that is different isn’t it? Say… I could get a job traveling and blogging and posting video for the next three years and then be able to turn that over to someone for $5 mil? Hell yes!

    Was it Australia or New Zealand that did that ‘best job in the world’ contest? Six months PAID on a tropical paradise just blogging and enjoying life? Pretty cool…

    I suppose there are some other considerations too… what is the cash flow like during those three years? Am I eating Ramen noodles every night and sleeping in my car? Definitely NO… Tropical Travel, 5 star accommodations, and a great paycheck for three years plus the buy out? Definitely YES!

    • Howie

      What service branch, Mitch?….sounds awfully similar to my schedule while in Afghanistan…..

  • Pat

    Wow these are all EXCELLENT answers. It’s amazing to see everyone’s different view on the situation, and it seems as if it has a lot to do with where people are in their lives right now.

    For me, personally, I thought the answer was obvious, because this is a prime example of “Working hard now, and reaping the benefits later”, which I always preach on this site (although the “now” is 3 years long). But, after thinking about it for a while, and seeing what many of you had to say, the answer for me is that I would NOT take it.

    The reason is because I enjoy my lifestyle as it is now, and I’m really trying to think if $5 million would change anything for me, and I don’t think it really would. I would love to use that money to donate to charities, or as an angel investor, but besides that, I don’t forsee anything being really different. I wouldn’t want to risk the chance of growing further away from my family because of time away at work, missing out on precious moments as my son grows up, and the fact that life can end at any moment…

    Obviously, there are no right or wrong answers here. Thank you all for your thoughts thus far. I look forward to reading even more below.


  • Elias

    If the business does not conflict with moral and ethical principles, yes! I would do it.
    Why? because 5 mil dlls is a lot of money in only 3 years and with that amount I could help a lot of people and start my own businesses.

    Take care!

    • Olusegun


      I concur. Thanks for being honest.

  • Ron

    Assuming this isn’t something I’m very passionate about…I wouldn’t take it.

    It already sounds like something you’d have to commit to for those 3 years, and there’s no telling what other MORE interesting projects may come up during that time that you’d HAVE to pass up on because of the time requirements for this one.

    Money is just something we exchange for possessions and experiences. A friend and I always have this kind of convo, and we come to the same conclusions that we’d rather have a $100,000.00 a year income working 2-4 hours a week than have a multi-million dollar income working 80+. Time is REALLY important to me.

    I worked at a prestigious bank for about two years and let me tell you…I’ve seen what the “big” bank managers have to deal with on a regular. No thanks! I’ve seen them pop more stress pills than a junkie, there’s just no telling what might happen to you in terms of health, morale, or family obligations in those three years.

  • Andy Hough

    I already bought the new book but I wouldn’t mind a copy to give away on my blog.

    I probably would not do it unless I actually liked the work I was doing for 75-80 hours a week which is unlikely. I’m pretty happy with my life now so the trade off wouldn’t be worth it to me.

  • Steve-Success Factors

    Pat, I would agree with most of your commentators. Working 80 hours a week would take me away from my top priority, which is my family. To sacrifice the most important people in my life, who are worth more that $5 million (they are priceless:) would not be worth it.

    • Olusegun

      I’m lucky i’m still single then.

      I have question though, will you have take n up the challenge if you were sinle?

  • Olusegun

    I’d do it.
    80 hours a week translates to 16 hours a day. I sleep for about 41/2 hours daily now so, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    To motivate myself I’d put up a vision board of the ideal lifestyle i have always desired.

    I guess I can say I will because I am still single and will be married in about 2-3 years.

    My biggest motivation will be spending all the years i have left with my family and then doing living life to the fullest. By this I mean setting out on doing all the 101 thinhs i want to do before i die. I have only done about 5 and i spent about 4 hours writing the list out 5 years ago!!!!!

    • A.

      Actually an 80 hour week is just under 12 hours a day. :)

      I was going to say in 3 years, I’d do it, as my youngest will be a teenager. then I realized I’m working at home 12 hours a day NOW. 😀

  • Shane

    I wouldn’t do it.
    I’ve done fairly long stretches of ~80 hours or more per week and it’s not worth it.

    One condition: If the work involved were 100% things I absolutely love doing, then I might. But otherwise, it’s just not worth “losing” 3 years out of your life for $5 Million.

    But there’s a more interesting question in there, that I’ve been pondering a lot, lately: How would you act if you had a real guarantee? Like you say, if you knew, without a doubt, that you would be successful.

    I’m guessing almost everyone reading this post and the comments is involved in Internet marketing in one way or another. If you’ve been in this game for more than a few months, you probably know everything you need to know to make a really good living online. It’s not rocket science.
    But then I’m also guessing that many people reading this have not managed to build a solid online income for themselves yet, despite knowing more than enough.

    What’s stopping you from building those affiliate sites, running those campaigns, creating your product, building your list or whatever it is you want to do to make money? Could doubt have something to do with it?

    Not to ramble on, let me add another thing to the original question: There have been several studies that showed experiences make you happier than posessions. The experience carries more weight than what money can buy you. Another reason not to sacrifice 3 years.


  • Dave @ 30 Days at a Time

    Almost certainly not. In the next 5 years, I plan to travel, train for a large number of diverse athletic competitions, and have a kid. None of those things is congruent with working 75+ hours per week, and $5 million is not worth missing the physical prime of my life (I’m 25).

  • Jason

    I would definately do it. I’ve worked 80 hour weeks in the past and gone to school at the same time, so I know I can take that on. I also find that as long as there is a set timeframe on something I can endure anything. I can put my head down and push through to the end.
    Just doing something that would allow me not to be a wage slave would give the will to do this.

  • Patrenia

    It really sounds tempting, but I’d have to pass. To work that many hours in a week would definitely mean the loss of the relationships with my family. There are just only so many things that can be done in a day. Oh well…it was a nice thought though :-).

  • Scott Costello

    That 5mil would basically mean I could retire in 3 years and then live for the next 65 years pulling in the same wage I make now and not have to work for a second. That sounds great! But I’ll pass. What would I lose in those 3 years to gain that 5Mil? Will I shorten my life span because of the stress? Will my wife leave me for never being around? Do I put off having kids? Those things are more important then money. Right now I work hard to work only 40 hours a week.

  • Jennifer

    I would have to pass on the guaranteed 5 million. I have done the 75 to 80 hour work week before I had my daughter. Now that I am a single mom, I know there is no way that I could devote that type of time to anything because it would take away from my daughter. It is the reason that I walked away from the job I was in before my daughter. I cut my annual salary in half to be able to only have to work 40 hours and be done. I would not change that for any amount of money.

  • http://www.MattAdamo.Net Matt Adamo

    hell no!

    hasn’t anyone read “the 4 hour workweek”?

    In reality there’s no need for the 5 Million because people don’t want money, they want what the money brings – Freedom. Freedom to spend time with their family, go on vacations ect.ect.

    If you’re spending 80 hrs a week working, even for those 3 years you’re totally destroying that freedom (which is what you wanted in the first place).

    You could achieve everything you want with a 50k a year income, you just have to know how to be efficient in what you do.

    Sometimes people just need to take a step back and realize what they actually want.
    Fiat money means nothing….. Take a deeper look.

    Always -Matt

  • Elena

    I would do it, but only if it was a really interesting project. If it was something I was passionate about, then it wouldn’t feel like work :-)

  • LS

    I would, no question. I had a business in which I did work those kinds of hours, actually, it was a little more than that, and it didn’t end up being anywhere near the money that you’re talking about. We all work and sacrifice to make more money later on, whether that’s by going to school, starting a new business or doing a crushing internship to get a better job later. And, none of those things are even guaranteed.

  • Raymond

    Hey Pat,

    Great question. I would definitely do it. First off I would assume that I have chosen a business idea I am passionate about. If I am passionate about something then spending 75-80 hours a week working on it would give me a great sense of accomplishment. Second, although this is a lot of time to spend on building the business, think of all the time you will save when you eventually get the $5 million. I can outsource a lot with $5 million. Lastly, three years is really not that long. I have a newborn son just like you Pat. I would sacrifice other things in my life while building the business to spend a little time with him; because at the end of 3 years, I will be able to spend all the time I want with him.

  • passive family income

    Dedicating 75-80 hours a week for 3 years is not worth it to me. Having two young boys (6 and 2), I would miss T-Ball & football games and watching them grow up.

    As I am writing this, I am thinking how I have been putting in that many hours at my job. Time to make a change!

  • Anthony Feint

    I work 75 hours a week at the moment – but my goal isn’t 5 million dollars.

    Truth be told, I love doing what I do and it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t want a million dollars, I just want the lifestyle that it brings.

  • Pat

    Thanks again for all of the responses and sharing your thoughts everyone.

    In my last comment, I had mentioned that I wouldn’t do it because I’m enjoying the lifestyle I live now, and I want to be there for my family and especially my son as he grows up.

    An interesting followup question was asked above: “Would I do it if I were single”?

    If I were single, I’d consider it, but even still I would never want to put in that much of work per week, especially now that I know I can live a comfortable lifestyle working less than 8-10 hours per week. Again, $5 million is attractive (I could get my Audi R8!), but it’s not everything.

    Would any of you with families who WOULDN’T do it change your mind if you were single?

    • John

      If I were single it would be more tempting, but I still don’t believe I would do it. That is so much extra time that is lost that you can never get back.

  • Rawhider

    Guaranteed! I think that’s the real key. If things were guaranteed in life, people everywhere would do it. But that’s what separates those who take a risk, against those that don’t. People that take a risk believe there is a chance to guarantee their future. Their money. They see it. Feel it. Strive for it. It’s an inner desire.

    If everything were guaranteed in life, we would all be slim, trim, wealthy and boring. I’m happy there are no guarantees. I like the chance to succeed. Money or not. It’s the journey that makes it priceless!

  • Rungtong @

    Probably. New baby, no job but working on a small business. Yep would do it.

  • John Bardos – JetSetCitizen

    Great question Pat.

    I think we would act a lot differently if we knew there would be guaranteed results. It is doubt and hesitancy that keeps us from putting in the 100%.

    In my opinion, super-achievers put in the 70 plus hour workweeks regardless of the rewards. They do it for the process not the results. Even if the results could be guaranteed, most people still wouldn’t put in the effort. They would have too many excuses. TV is far more attractive than success to the vast majority of the population.

    I think the average American is up to 26 hours of TV a week now.

  • Andrew@BloggingGuide

    That’s a lot of money at stake but, for me, money isn’t everything. I plunged into the online business so that I can have time for myself and my family. That’s not just time but Quality time. There are more important things than money.

  • Anthony Taylor

    Yeah, i’d do it but only because I don’t have kids yet. I could justify not giving my partner much time for the next 3 years if she was on board with the long-term benefits, but I couldn’t block out that time from my children. It can be difficult to justify this sort of commitment to a partner, until you can demonstrate the money making potential of something it can seem like an ill advised and risky venture to sink 80 hrs a week into!


  • Catherine

    I think that if money was guaranteed I would do it. The biggest reason being that my husband is currently in the Army and is extremely unhappy with his job but just doesn’t know how to get out. That much money would give us the ability to choose what we do for the rest of our lives. There would be no more worry about deployments (he has been over twice already) and he would have the freedom to choose to do something he really loved. By sacrificing 3 years of my life we would get exponentially more time together in the long run. Because of that, it would be worth it.

    • Ms. Freeman

      Hi Catherine, please thank your husband for me, for his service. My son is going on his sixth year in the Navy and had I had the funds to send hm off to college immediately after high school instead I would have much rather preferred that path for him.

      5M would be such a benefit to have, not just for luxury but for peace of mind.

  • Ms. Freeman

    Well now that my son is grown and married and lives in CA I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. When I was raising him as a single mom even then I probably would have tried to manage it some how. Not out of greed but out of a need to feel that financially things are taken care of, a sense of well being.

    This truly is fascinating questions. :)

  • Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    75 hours, yes. 80 hours, no. :)

    Seriously, I do think I would do this as long as the business was something I believed in and it fit my moral guidelines. With all the things I do already, I probably “work” close to 60 hours a week anyhow, and the guarantee of results would be really motivating to me. Of course, I’d have to talk to my wife about it, but I suspect she’d be willing to sacrifice for a while for the financial freedom that would result.

  • Azad Shaikh

    As i said at Facebook, any idea for which i had worked for 80 hr/week will be certainly get very closed to my heart. I don’t sell things that i love not for billions( i mean it).
    Thinking on the other side. If someone is willing to buy my idea for 5 million certainly know that he can make much more than that in future. Why in hell i will sell any idea which is worth more than millions and i love doing it.

    Sorry buddy i won’t sell my idea. Everything is not for sale.

    Warm Regards,
    Internet Geek

  • KWilliams


    Thats a great question, I definitely do it. In fact, I already do it(work 80 hours a week) for someone else. So why would I not do it for myself. I understand the meaning of sacrifice and I wouldnt mind putting that time in for 3-5 years straight. In fact im going to do that anyways, even if I fall short of 5 million and only get one it would be worth it to me. Great post, keep up the good work.

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  • Misty

    I would definitely do it. I work a full time job right now and I am also working on the side trying to build up my own passive income so I’m probably just under 75 hours as it is right now. I actually still spend lots of time with my family (I have 3 kids). We go to the movies, have dinner together every night, my boyfriend and I even have date night. If you can manage your time, you can do it. And with a $5 million payout in only 3 years, my family would benefit tremendously and I could cut back to only a 5-10 hour work week working on my passive income projects rather than a full time job. Totally would do it!

  • Ben

    I would totally do that. I work those hours now for no guaranteed payoff, so of course I’d do the same for $5 million. Like Pat, I have an infant son so that would be a small price to pay to ensure his financial future.

  • Stephanie

    Yes, I would do it. It would be a hard three years, but I feel that working for three years, twice the amount of hours in a normal work week to have such a big pay off is worth it. At the end of the three years we would have the freedom that five million would give us, for the rest of our lives. Three years hard work for me, versus my husband working normal hours for life, why wouldn’t I ?? The goal is well worth it !!! Great excercise, and fun !!

  • Shaun

    My first reaction was no, Pat. My own circumstances being what they are, I would have hard time adjusting things to do it. (Right now, I’m a stay at home dad/freelancer.) But then I thought about it again. It could certainly be justifiable, meaning that I could get my family to understand it based on the eventual payout. As Stephanie said “It would be a hard three years.” No doubt about it. But, the rewards that would come in the lifestyle that would be possible three years from now, are hard to measure. They could be well worth the trouble.

  • Howie

    “Would I do it if I were single”?

    hm…I know the premise behind this question is meant to imply that being ‘single’ would afford people more time to do things because they aren’t tied down to anyone….that makes reasonable sense, but I suppose it also has to do with whether or not people have healthy support systems….

    Honestly, I think having the right partner makes it a hundred times easier to do what I’m doing than if I were single. It’s understandable that some significant others would get really tired of you dedicated 70-80 to a business/projects, when you could be spending time with them, however, the right partner makes it easier, especially if they are supportive and you can find interesting and creative ways to integrate them into the process.

    Two folks down the street from me own their own jewelry company, that they run out of their own home, that they have built into a $200,000+ business. Of course, they’ve been working on it for years….but, it was something they truly loved doing together. To them, work isn’t really “work” which makes their situation so ideal.

  • Pam

    The honest truth is that I don’t think I have the constitution for such an endeavor. As much as I’d like to say sure, I’d do the three years I don’t really think I could stick with it, physically or mentally. So, because of that I’d have to say no, I wouldn’t do it. What I really want is to not work at all! That’s pretty unrealistic so I’ll just have to keep working on setting up a passive source of income for myself. Thanks Pat!

  • Randy Mejias

    I would absolutely do it. I don’t even think I’d need to give it a second thought. 3 yeras of hard work for 5 million is a no brainer.

    As for the why, I suppose I just see it is a short term endeavor for some long term results. Three years is a long time and that is a hell of a lot of work, but, once those 3 years are up, I’d have 5 million in the bank (or under the mattress with the current economy), invest some if it and pursue some other dreams and hopefully use the 5 million to live the rest of my life generally worry free.

  • Meredith


    I worked for 6 years, effectively 12 hours a day (with my commute along I-10 – a commute with my kids by the way). My daughter – 4 years old at the time – developed a mean case of road rage. That was a wake up call. We’ve since moved across country for quality of life issues. I’ve gained 2-4 hours a day… it’s awesome.

    My goal is to work on productivity and efficiency now. Quality work hours, quality family time. That’s how I’ll measure my success.

  • Adrienne

    I would not do it. I don’t feel the need for that much money all at once, and I think 3 years is too long. Several months of that I could do, but not 3 years. I know myself well enough that I would be miserable and I would much rather enjoy an amazing quality of life than exchange it for money. I can appreciate a comfortable income to support a comfortable lifestyle, but that many hours a week for that long is not in the cards no matter what!

  • Ramses

    Three years for five million.

    Let’s do the math first: Somewhere between 11 and 12 hours per day, every day – no weekends or holidays.

    Doing that for three years, I’d end up working 12,500 hours. So, in the end I would make 400$ per hour.

    I have to admit: I am sold. I was going to look at the payout and then elaborate on whether I’d have to make money during those three years, or how much but at 400$ an hour I could justify living on borrowed money during that one year and quite possibly afford to build and run the business on borrowed money as well. (Okay, the cost of running the business is a factor.)

    If a business should be worth that much money in three years, I will assume that the business runs debt-free and at a profit, though.

    What would I give up now? My weekends and vacation, for sure, as well as 4 hours each day – on the outside. I’d give up the 9to5 live I life and could at least change it to a 11-11 live, which to me would be a big plus.

    Chances are there would be other changes, and they could be good or bad – I have a long commute as of now, and it might get shorter. I might get to travel more, which I’d enjoy – or possibly no travel at all.

    but at the end of the day I agree with Randy: It’s a no-brainer. Three years down the road, I’ll be financially independent and could quit working forever if I wanted to. (Chances are, I would not want to, but who knows …)

    Yes, I would absolutely do it. I’d do it for half that and it’d still be a no-brainer. I think the tipping point would be around the 1.5 or maybe just the 1.0 million mark. (There it might be better to spend my time applying to Who Wants to be A Millionaire instead.)

  • Marko

    80 hours a week, that’s about 12 hours a day. I think I could squeeze in that few extra hours a week, if 5 million was really guaranteed.
    But then again, it depends WHAT kind of work. If it’s something you like, then it’s not a problem. At least not for me.

    • Olusegun

      Great .

      I’d do the same. Besides, 3-year 18-hour days won’t kill anyone with $5m set before you.


  • Money Reasons

    Initially, I was going to say it depended where in the stage of my life I was (I was going to say “no” if kids I had the opportunity during they pre-teen years), but then I realized how much 5 million dollars really is!!!

    So yes, for three years of work, I would jump on the opportunity and ride it to the term. Nothing like squeezing 6 years worth of work into 3 years…

    For a million dollars, no… For 5 million, YES!

    • Olusegun

      Hey man,

      Finally someone I’m vibrating on the same frequency with.

      I think a lot of people are saying they won’t because it’s a hypothetical situation.


  • Kevin Ward

    I have worked the 80 hour weeks. Just for short periods of time (4-5 months or so). When I look back on those times, I remember how I felt when I laid down to sleep. I was thinking, “Was what you did today worth not being able to talk to your wife, your friends or family?”. I just remember feeling tired and sad.

    This is a TOUGH question, but I’d have to say, I’m more into Cashflow than Bankroll right now. I could do it for a short time, but I’d be miserable in 3 years. I think of the “rockstars” who have all the money they have ever dreamed of having and not being able to be happy…

    Thanks Pat for making me think.

  • Mary

    I would not go after $5,000,000 guaranteed over the years right now because I have a child with special needs that can be recovered and it takes my constant loving care to make this happen. He would be almost grown and I would miss out on too much, more than money is worth. HOWEVER, when he is “well,” all bets are off because we need to rebuild our financial “house.” So at that time I would move heaven and earth for 5 years to get $5 MILLION DOLLARS!

    I am going for a middle path to have it all by reading your blog and eBook, reading the books you recommend, and getting my neat-o family of web sites defined and ready to roll out! One exercise that really helped me was to do a matrix of them all using Passion as one measure and Estimated Revenue on the other. That was a real eye opener as we were brutally honest! I am a great estimator, too. So you have given me hope to achieve both goals over time in a balanced, enjoyable way, and still take care of my son and family first.

    I haven’t gotten through The 4 – Hour Workweek yet because I’ve been settling into another city for a 2+ month stay at the Children’s Hospital with my son. I would love one of your other copies to read when I tame all the logistics dragons of living two places with a challenged child if you still have any to give away. I feel like Mr. Ferriss and I were separated from birth because my fantastic productivity even while caring for my child amazes everyone. But he takes my good habits and ideas to a level I never dreamed of, and I’ve only got to Page 131 on someone else’s copy! I am so thrilled to read someone who has so much common “sense and selfness” in a good, functional way. You and he have opened my eyes to having the dream I knew I could have, only without the drama and exhaustion and learning curve most entrepreneurs face ….

    Thank you! Mary

  • Linda F. Hawkins

    I’m in! As a fine artist and graphic designer, I often work 80 hours a week. It is really hard to turn the imagination/creativity off, so I am always working on something. My husband is approaching retirement age and the 3 year window is perfect for me to work as hard as I can now to be able to retire with him and to live the lifestyle we would like to become accustomed to. And the really good part is that I know he would pitch in to help me with whatever needed to be done so we could build that $5 Million nest egg!

  • Emily

    With out a doubt- No! 80 hours for 5 million dollars could not replace the memories and experiences that I would miss out on with my family. My girls are young and my goal now is to raise them right and spend as much time as possible with them, I dont want to miss one more moment than I have to! These are years that cant be replaced so no amount of money could even compare to the amount of happiness that is found in being them. If it were later in life, after my kids were grown and gone, maybe- but right now I would take living paycheck to paycheck over spending that much time away from them.

  • Robert Hagstrom

    My initial answer is ‘hell yes!’ because I’d be financially independent, in other words, if I wanted, I could live off that money probably for life. This is the primary goal, maximize freedom. But, I now think I can do it and achieve the freedom I want doing what I love to do, thanks to various sources including your story and your site. Pat, you didn’t mention if the 80 hours would be spent doing things we liked or didn’t like to do. I’d put the time in if it was what I enjoyed. I would just work around the schedule thing the best I could, and employ Tim Ferriss methods to 80/20 my tasks. But, if it was doing junk I don’t like to do, I’d probably just continue on the path I’m on now. Made me think!

  • Early Retirement Extreme

    I did 100 hour weeks for four years and all I got was a phd degree and about 100k in salary total, so the imposition wouldn’t be something I hadn’t done before.
    5M for 80 hours. Most definitely. I’d like to see if that much money would
    make me happier. You see, technically I don’t need it and I am
    currently working 0 hours a week. I can also say that the minimum amount
    I would do this for is 500k although if the work was interesting, I might just
    do it for free.

  • Benjamin

    I would do it because after 3 years I would not have to work anymore. I could retire at age 27!

  • Bud Hennekes

    Hey Pat,

    Great question and even greater exercise.

    I would NOT do it.. and here’s why.

    Being just 18 years old, 5 million dollars seems like A LOT of money to me ( and anyone else for that matter.) But it’s still just that, money.

    I value passion, freedom, and relationships above all. If you have those three things the money has to follow. Working 75-80 hour weeks would constrict me from having those three things. I’d much rather take 10 years to make 5 million dollars while working at my own pace than stressing myself out over 3.

    Working that many hours would seriously hinder my ability to enjoy the journey:

    Passion – too much work would make me burn out and not enjoy the career I should love.
    Freedom – Working that much would not allow me to spend time doing the things I sincerely care about.

    Relationships – working that much would had a serious affect on my relationships which in my opinion one of the most important things in the world.

    Having 5 million dollars in 3 years would be nice no doubt, but not at the price of sacrificing my freedom.

  • Will Reinhardt

    Hey there Pat,
    Great engaging question. My answer is “absolutely not”. The simple reason is that no amount of money is worth that much time. There is no one thing that I could physically own that would make up for all the lost time with my family — and I don’t even have kids yet!

    To put it another way, when you’re old and immobile, will you reflect on the possessions you had or the kick ass time you spent with your family at Disney World? The memories you’re making now are invaluable, and I’m not willing to trade that much time for money.

  • David

    Reminds me of a question my phil 101 teacher asked me once, if your ass had to sit in jail for 3 yrs, but when you got out you would have 10 million, would you do it?

    To answer YOUR question:

    1) No I wouldent do it, because I couldent do it. Working a 16 hour days is damn near impossible to keep up, if i tried, I might be able to push myself for those hours for a period of time, but for 3 yrs!? Nope, no way, I think its impossible.

    2) You might find that answer unsatisfying, soo hypothetically speaking if I could do it would I? Nope, not for 5 million. That’s too small a payment for the toll on the mind body and soul, let alone your relationships. Everything has a price, and that aint it.

    So when do i get my book? Just kidding, though I would really like a copy.

    good luck to you, your the next Yaro I think.

  • lickshunmewah

    Pat, first things first – congratulations on turning your life around and creating this blog. Now, regarding this topic yes, I would do it. I have a family, but in my opinion not seeing them or having time for them for a few years is a small sacrifice to make for $5 million big ones. Here’s why; once I made the 5 mill, I would build on that through investments/real estate, etc, create a mini empire, and have all the time in the world for my family.

  • Melvin

    I definitely would do it. Being the workhorse that I am, I dont think I would have problems spending that amount of time into work. And besides I dont have a family yet. 😀

  • Pascal

    5 MIllion Dollars too less than really what i want and putting efforts now to get after 3 years. Anyway i like the point you want to say through this. :)

  • Pat

    @ Everyone! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts about this. The response has been amazing! Congratulations to Stephanie from for winning the free copy of the 4-Hour Work Week.

    That being said, if you still have some thoughts about this scenario, please do leave a comment below!

    Thanks everyone for your time and support!

  • jose prochmann

    Wow, this kind of money is increadible. So many good things that can be done to others even with a 3rd of this. Being a guy that has lost everything and now working my way back up would be able to give back to my family things only dreamed of. I just saw today a move with my kids Meet the Robinsons , excellent movie to rent. The message is always keep moving forward even when you fail…… That is exactly what I am doing!!!

  • Ornella

    Tough question!
    No, I wouldn’t do it. I’m happy to delay gratification but I can’t sacrify my family.
    My daughter won’t be 2,3 years old again & I would have missed so much.

    • kate

      Only if u knew how I feel abt work’n n work’n very hard

  • donate car to charity

    Really wonderful post. this blog is awesome.Posts with more information will be great.

  • Basil Greenstreet

    Hay friend , This is good posting for my homework from school Do u have twitter account ?? i want to follow your twitt . Good bye

  • Joe

    A professional business person lives to conduct business. They devote their time and energy, to building a product or service that they completely believe in and feel good about. A top CEO is like a professional athlete. It requires the same level of commitment. A wonderful income, is just a fringe benefit of success. Every moment of effort is enjoyed. With the right opprtunity, I would be willing to work one hundred hours a week.

  • george

    i would find someone else to do it for me in exchange for 1.5 million.
    i would then spend 15 hours a week ensuring they achieved what was required.
    This would require the other person to work 60-70 hours a week for 500 000 per annum. In the end i would be left with 3.5 million after 3 years @ 15 hours per week

    • kate

      U have brains I should say,

    • Dieordigg

      Well, that’s the best way in case we are not 100% sure. :)

  • Malcolm

    i am loving this post. I have been riding my bike everywhere trying to find a way to get 5 million dollars. This is how I found this post.

  • jacob

    I would do it, so that I could take care of my mother for the rest of her life.

  • kate

    I would do it,resign at work n give it my all,owning a few companies giving in a nation and creating JOB’s,my business plan is quite broad i am hungry to work,i just wish I could have that kind of n amount to spread my wings and ideas to change the world