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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0663: How Has Your Work Schedule Changed As You Became Successful?

AP 0663: How Has Your Work Schedule Changed As You Became Successful?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 663 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 663 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question today from Peter, but before we get to that, I did want to thank today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an awesome company that helps you manage your business finances. From your money coming in, money going out, and even your invoicing too. And, as a byproduct of all that, they are a headache and stress reliever too, quite honestly.

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

Peter: Hey, what’s up, Pat? A long time fan, reading and following your blog the past four years. Just wondering, on average, how many hours a week have you been working? Can you break it down by year? Like, starting in ’08 until now? Just wondering. Thanks.

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up, Peter? Thank you so much for the question. You know, I wish I had, since the beginning, been keeping better track of my time using something like RescueTime to keep actual hours tracked through the whole time. I mean, that would have been really nice. But, I do have an idea of how many hours I’ve been working. I mean, currently, and even back then, I can give you an idea. But, to say the average might throw people off because, really, it varies. I mean, the passive income is about the flexibility. By flexibility, sometimes it bends one way and sometimes it bends another way, and what I mean by that is, sometimes the hours are not very many at all during the week and sometimes it’s ridiculously crazy because I’m in the middle of a launch or something. So, I may vary anywhere between, you know, 60 to 80 hours a week, which is kind of reminiscent of my architecture days, to sometimes 5 to 10 hours a week. I mean, sometimes I’ve been on a two-week vacation and did absolutely no work, yet the business continues to run.

So, that’s the real cool part and so, you know, I understand that that’s always going to be the case, especially ’cause I continue to push the bar, push the limit. Try new things, experiment and whatnot. So, those hours are going to continually be fluctuating between some very low hours and very high hours. But, just to give you a rundown, I remember that the most hours I’ve ever spent during the years working weekly was my first year, in 2008, and that was because I was just getting off the ground and that’s how it’s always going to be. I mean, I would literally be up all night writing content. This was even before SPI was born. I was writing content for, which was back then before the trademark issue that I had back in ’09.

But, yeah, I was writing all the time and spending hours studying and hours working on the website. Maybe it didn’t help that I was trying to do everything myself, and I probably could have saved a lot of time if I knew that there was this thing called outsourcing, where I could have other people, who are much better and faster at doing it for me. But, I didn’t know, and I was getting started. I was bootstrapping, so I was figuring it out on my own, and YouTube was just getting started around that time, and it became this amazing free resource to help me figure out a lot of things.

But like I often say, it just, I feel like I could have more sooner found other people to help me along the way. But, you know, 80 to 100 hours was not unusual during the week and, what’s interesting was that that was also, sometimes, on top of my 9-to-5. Although, when I learned I was gonna get laid off, I did a lot of that work at my 9-to-5 before I was officially let go. So, you know, again it varies. But, once I started to see some success with and see the book sales coming in, actually, I started to work even harder and there were some issues with work-life balance at that point because I was engaged. I was just about to get married, and the business was taking off. So, I was just in this brand-new world trying to weave my way through and figure things out. A lot of times I was working way more than I should have.

Like, looking back, I felt bad, like, it was completely unfair to my fiancée, and later my wife. You know, for a long time that was a big struggle. Where do those lines exist, and how do I make sure those boundaries are set properly so that everybody’s in the know, including myself on when I’m working and when I’m not supposed to be working?

So, when things started to get more automated when I started to see a lot more money coming in, I mean, then I started to see moments where I was working more than 10 to 15 hours a week. That was to just keep things updated, keep things, you know, just upkeep things for every once and a while. Sometimes, of course, I’d go on vacation and I wouldn’t do any work for a week or two during that time, or I would just take a break from it, which was nice. But, Green Exam Academy, even for the last number of years, has been very hands-off.

A lot of you know, my other sites,,, those are very hands-off now. Although, FoodTruckr is picking up pace again because I’m starting to work with other team members, not my team that I’ve been working with for a long time, since the let go days when I wrote that book back in 2013. But, a new team that is in the food trucker industry, is helping to run that site and, you know, we’re partnering on that together just to re-invigorate it and sell more product.

Hopefully take it to the next level and get to a point where one day we can maybe sell it for, you know, it would be nice to sell it seven figures, which could be really cool and an awesome success story for SPI, I think. So, I do have motivation for that. But, my hours are cut severely on that, even though it’s still going, because I’ve had people, or have people, working on the other side who are, who are pushing content out and marketing, doing Facebook ads and all that great stuff.

So, I would say more recently, and again sorry I’m not breaking this down year by year, it’s a little hard to do that because, again, it’s more of a project by project type of thing. For example, when I was putting together my book Will It Fly?, I would wake up in the morning, five o’clock, get some miracle morning stuff done, meditate and exercise and that sort of thing, and then I would write until 7:30 in the morning. This was every day until the kids woke up before I had to get ready and take them to school. That was for a good five, six months of that, and then I wrote at night too and so, that was sometimes four, five hours a day just on the book itself. Then that was just, you know, the first and second draft, and then there were other drafts that had to come out after the editing was done. Man, it’s just, that book alone was several, I would say, you know, maybe thousands and thousands of hours of brainpower. So, it’s a lot. It varies but, you know, after that book came out I took some time off with my family and we went on a Disney cruise for a good two weeks, or a week. Then, you know, vacation in around that time on the boat, where my team was taking care of everything and I was doing nothing. So, zero, zero hours a week.

You know, so again, the cool thing about passive income is the flexibility that comes with it. Nothing is ever 100% hands-off forever. That’s a truth for sure. Nothing, I mean, not even real estate, which needs management and upkeep. Not even a stock market, which obviously gotta keep your portfolio up to date and things fresh. So, yeah, there you go. I still think online business is the best way to go and the best way to build wealth, and I feel like it’s the most fun too.

So, thank you, Peter, for the question. I appreciate it. We’re gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For everybody else out there listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to and you can ask right there on that page. Thank you so much. I appreciate you, and here’s a quote to finish off the day by Arianna Huffington. She says, “But you have to do what you dream of doing, even when you’re afraid.” Man, and if I didn’t follow that advice back in 2008, who knows where I’d be, because I was definitely afraid. Thanks, everyone. Take care, and I’ll see you the next episode of AskPat. Bye.

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