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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0419: How Many Hours Do I Work When I’m Starting My Business?

AP 0419: How Many Hours Do I Work When I’m Starting My Business?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 419 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 419 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate you and I also appreciate today’s question from Mary.

But before we get to that, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is, helping you manage your business’s finances in terms of your income, your expenses and also your invoices. They’re serving over three million other small business. They helped me and they can help you as well. You can check it out for 30 days for free by going to and by entering “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that’s and enter “Ask Pat.”

All right, here’s today’s question from Mary.

Mary: Hi Pat. My name is Mary and I just first wanted to thank you for all the amazing business content that you put out there for all of us. I mean it’s just so amazing to see, you know, what I say like normal people putting themselves out there and making an awesome income and life for themselves and their family. So, thank you for that.

I have two businesses actually but they’re merged into one. My husband and I have a screen printing business that we print custom apparel for businesses and fundraisers among other things. I also have a fitness line on Etsy. It’s which has been kind of my baby and it has been growing pretty fast, which I’m grateful for. My question for you is I’m three weeks into working for myself and I love it; however, I’m in between kind of two extremes that I keep reading about in any personal development book or audio. It’s kind of that extreme of hustle, hustle, hustle. You know work hard, wake up early, work twenty hours a day if you have to, and embrace the hustle. At the other end of the spectrum is like that four-hour work week, delegate, have a really great work life balance, and have that freedom. I know it depends on every business, but what I’m understanding is that and I know you embrace that passive income, which I do too.

In the beginning when you’re starting your business and you’re still creating those systems and everything, can that four-hour work week mentality hold true for you or do you believe that, in the beginning, it’s all about that work very, very hard so that in the future, you can kind of sit back and relax and kind of have a better work life balance. I would love your input on this as I am a couple weeks, a couple of months actually away from really considering starting a family. It’s important for me to really get this understanding in check before I even begin to start thinking about a family. All right, well thank you so much and I appreciate your response if I get one. Thank you.

Pat Flynn: Hey Mary, what’s up? Thank you so much for this question. I really appreciate it and I think a lot of other people do too because they hear both sides of the spectrum as well. There’s the Gary Vaynerchuk hustle, no sleep, get what you need done, stop watching Lost, do it all the time, and forget everything else. Nothing else matters. There’s the Tim Ferriss side of things, which is funny because both Gary V. and Tim Ferriss are two of my favorite authors and I’ve talked to them both. I love them both and so I feel like maybe I do sit in the middle of them. Tim is on the other island with the Four Hour Work Week, and delegating and making sure that you’re designing your lifestyle the way that you want it to be, but can you do that in the beginning? Well, that’s the big question.

Now I will dispell this myth of the four-hour work wee. I mean I’ve had four-hour work weeks before, but it can’t be like that all the time. I do “hustle,” but that term is totally overused. I do put a lot of work in at certain times when the work needs to be put in, but there have been times where I’ve worked zero hours per week because I’ve planned ahead and I can take these what Tim calls “mini retirements,” and I’ve worked so hard that I can take and reap the benefits later. That’s kind of the way that I see it.

Now in terms of what the best place to be is, it’s really like you said: it depends. It depends on the business, it depends on you, and what you’re comfortable with. I know a lot of people who hustle all the time because that’s in their blood. That’s in their genes and they could not even do a four-hour work week because so they choose not to. I also know a lot people who couldn’t hustle as much as Gary V. or some of these other people do, so they work hard on the delegation and the four-hour work week set of things, so it’s going to depend on you. But I will say that I also want to talk about the difference between working hard and hustling, and working smart.

I also think a part of hustle that a lot of people don’t talk about is actually the planning part of it. Executing productivity and being smart, that’s what the smart passive income is, actually utilizing your time in the best way possible but not necessarily working a hundred hours. Because you can work a hundred hours a week and still get nothing done, right? Or you can work two hours in a week. Those can be the most massive two hours in the world that can get change everything. Where is this balance? In the beginning stages of a business, the very, very first stages, you’re going to have to put in a lot of work. You will have to sweat, you will have to put in a lot of work. Now, you will also have to plan, you should plan ahead for the future as well. When you get to a point were you start to generate some income then you can make some decisions of terms whether you want to delegate things and if you’re going to start a family, you are going to want to think about those things much sooner.

Because I will say I am very blessed that this passive income stuff, the idea of being able to spend time with my family, the idea of being able to manage my time and actually control my time. Like, I get to control when I want to work, and I get to control my results, that’s the cool thing. There is a direct correlation between the amount you serve your audience and how well you do that. And the rewards that come your way as well and the more time that you have to be flexible and potentially take time off, if you create your business in that way. You also have to think about the business model that you’re creating too.

Are you building a business where you, for example, have to consult and be one on one with people five times a week? Because you consult five time a week you do coaching. Well, if you were to stop then you don’t make any more money. Or do you have an online courses and people come to your website, they buy your course and so it’s all automatic, it’s all drip fed to them and you don’t have to do anything except market? Well then it’s on the other end of the spectrum. So again, there is a lot of things that play here. And I’m really curious to hear what everybody else thinks as well, because I think this definition of a hustle and work and what’s right and what’s not, is not, twelve hours a week when you. . . it’s not like that or it’s not, ” you should be putting in 60 hours a week.” I don’t believe in the hours per week. I believe in what you do to serve your audience and the amount of work that is needed to that will vary.

And again the smart planning ahead of time will help you, especially when you start to generate some income, you can then, unlike I did, hand things off sooner. Hopefully you will be smarter than I in doing that. Because, for example, with the Smart Passive Income podcast, it took me four years to finally figure out the benefit of actually having somebody else edit that show for me. To a point where I just record and I put in on Dropbox and I’m done. Everything else is taken care of. And I save five to seven hours per week and that has been massive for me.

And now, in that way I am hustling because I am delegating work, but I’m also not spending five to seven hours doing that. And focusing that time on my children, my relationship with my wife and building more things. Writing books in the morning now. Again, this is a tough question Mary, because I can’t, you know I love taking tough questions like this, because I can’t define it for you. But hopefully I’ve talked about this enough here in just kind stream of consciousness that I’m talking about, have helped you at least figure out that Even I struggle with determining what the answer is, so don’t feel like you have to find out what the answer is. It’s going to take some balance, it’s going to take some time just like with the podcast and with your blog and with your business. It’s going to take a while for you to find your voice and find that rhythm.

But I think, you and your husband should talk about this and have conversations and figure out, “okay what is it that needs to be done and how many hours needs to be spent doing those things?” But also, “what can we do to plan ahead?” And I think that this idea of the family that’s coming, you are going to want to make sure that you set up your business in a way that it’s going to work to serve you instead of the other way around mostly. Although, it might not be like that at first. And so when would things need to be tuned on, how long would it take and what would that business model look like at that point. Would you start with coaching and all this stuff and then move over to a more online course base model.

Now, you had talked about your fitness apparel, which is really cool and I think it’s really cool that it kind of cross-pollinates with your other business as well. Now are there any other things that go along with that, is there an event maybe there is an event that happens that you do and plan once a year that can take most of the money for you, for the year that you need? But then everything else kind of works automatically in the background and you just spend all year planning this event. I don’t know. I’m just kind of thinking outloud here.

But again, I would love to hear what everybody else thinks, you can use the hashtag #AskPat419 on Twitter. #AskPat419 so we can continue to discuss this. I think it’s really interesting, and again Mary thank you for bringing this up.

Embrace the hustle but the hustle doesn’t mean hard work. It means be smart. There are going to be moments in your journey where you will be working late, you will be sacrificing sleep. But I also would know and plan in your schedule when you’re going to be taking this break and those “mini retirements.” One thing that has been beneficial for me this year in terms of planning when the late night hustles happen, when the breaks and vacations happen has been actually to take out a calendar. I bought this calendar at this really cool stationary store, I guess you can say. It’s a year long calendar, it rolls out. It’s quite large but I have enough room in every single date of the year to mark what is happening.

And I don’t mark what I’m going to do every day. I mark, okay, these are the weeks that’s I’m going to be taking off. These are the weeks that I’m going to be focusing hard on the book that I’m writing. These are the weeks that I’m doing this, here is the date that my son starts school. So I can see all these things happening and when. And then I can gauge off that. Okay this is when the hustles are going to need to happen because there is a launch that’s going to happen. But then let’s make sure to round that off by having a nice little vacation or some downtime here where we make sure that we only work two hours a week at this point. So then you can be able to kind of create that rhythm and actually see from a bird’s eye perspective your year long calendar and when things are going to happen and when things shouldn’t be happening.

So, Mary, I hope that helps you again. Just kind of talking based off my own experience here. And again, congratulations on working for yourself, on your business on your husband’s business, and I wish you all the best of luck.

And for having your question featured here on the show, we are going to send you an AskPat t-shirt. I think it’s really cool and a lot of people who have received their AskPat t-shirts post a picture of themselves wearing the shirt on Twitter. So if you’d like to do that, that’d be awesome Mary. Apparently it is very comfortable too. I think mine is but it’s cool to hear other people think it is as well. We’re going to send that to you free, because your question has been featured here in the show. So for those of you that have a question and you potentially want a shirt and your question talked about and answered here on the show just head on over to You can ask right there on that page.

I also want to thank today’s sponsor, which is, making it super easy for us, all of us to manage our business finances. They connect automatically with a lot of different software and shopping carts out there as well. And they make it super easy for you to organize things and make things so stress free, especially come tax season. And they also have an award-winning mobile app too. I don’t know if you knew that. Go head check them out, you can try it for 30 days for free by going to and by entering “AskPat” in the ” how did you hear about us?” section.

Thank you so much, I’m going to finish the week off in this episode with a quote from Swami Swanata. “Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” Thanks so much for listening and I appreciate you guys. Take care. Bye.

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