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Can We Stop Glamorizing Entrepreneurship? | Why “No Days Off” is Stupid

Photo by Tara Winstead

Let me start off by saying that I’m an entrepreneur and I Love it! I run an entertainment company (
Royal Heir Ent) that focuses on global media/marketing/distribution and also own a minor league men’s basketball team (Akron Aviators), in addition to a few freelance side hustles. I walk the walk. I run businesses and pay my bills from it. I handle the marketing, hiring, contracting, client acquisition, accounting, and all the fun things that come with running a business. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The past few years I’ve seen a growing number of social media posts glamorizing the business owner lifestyle (no boss, make your own hours, “unlimited earning potential”). The surge seemed to have occurred during the height of the pandemic lockdowns. With many people having the time to learn skills and put energy into starting businesses, the “be your own boss” idealism exploded. I love to see it!

Write that book! Design those shirts! Start that OnlyFans! Why not?!

However, when only the benefits are romanticized in the mantras we start to see problems in 3 main areas:
1) Inaccuracy of work:success ratio

2) Health Risks

3) Owner pride devolves into worker degradation

“I’d Rather Be Tired Than Broke”

Have you heard this mantra? The “No Days Off” saying got big in hip-hop years ago. I think Diddy was a big proponent of it. And what a great balance of workaholism and success. He works his ass off and has built an empire!

Shoot, being broke isn’t fun. Being poor (aka habitually broke/paycheck to paycheck) is even worse. It sucks. I’ve been both. After having my identity stolen and credit card maxed out by a former WWF “superstar” (long/true story), I was living in OD Fees for a long time until I got my life/finances back on track. It is nice to be able to lie down after a hard day’s work knowing my bills were paid. But where does this idea come from that people who are wealthy all work harder than people who are poor?

I worked 12 hour shifts in a 100°F factory with people who will vehemently disagree with the notion that they don’t work harder than the factory owners and probably managers (certainly the managers’ managers and other unnecessary positions). And yes, I’m aware of the differences between mental and physical fatigue. But let’s be real, women in third world countries would be the richest if hard work was the only qualifier for wealth,

It’s Not Healthy

We love saying “work smarter not harder” but at the same time promote overworking. I had so many 10–12–16 hour workdays that I didn’t realize could’ve been cut significantly if I’d known how to delegate and automate (things I’d first learned about in the ‘4-Hour Workweek’). I worked so hard but felt like I wasn’t getting anything done. WTF did I DO all day? I worked an 80 hour week but my pockets had nothing to show for it.

I was so run down. I mean complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion (which affects the spiritual).

Overworking can also lead to underproduction. Sounds like an oxymoron. How can I work so hard I don’t do anything? Ever forced yourself to work and the work you’ve done isn’t up to par. Luckily I’m pretty laid back so I’m able to just go to sleep when I’m tired (that all-nighter shit is for the 20 year olds). I’m going to bed. I know my writing, designing, and everything else will not be at my well-rested standards.

Work related stress is dangerous. It releases the cortisol hormone which can increase weight gain and your risk for stroke, heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer (says healthline and many other credible sources). My mom always told me if I don’t take a day off my body would make me. A lesson I’ve relearned a few times. (Thanks, Mom). You think you’re behind now? Try being hospitalized from your body shutting down then see if a few hours of chill would’ve been better.

Are You Alienating Your Supporters?

Why the H would I ever want to work for someone whose social media posts belittle employees for being employees? I have staff and 2 assistants and still feel behind. There’s no way I could do this without them. How comfortable would they feel if I went around posting and sharing the ideas that because I’m an entrepreneur I’m better than them? It’s all over social media.

There aren’t many fields that allow you to thrive financially without a workforce. Plus, some people just don’t want to deal with other people and their BS (I don’t miss my retail or restaurant days but HIGHLY respect the labor force!). Owning a business isn’t fun. Rushing to compile receipts so you can file your taxes isn’t cool. Nothing glamorous about dealing with slander from competitors and fighting to get problem clients to pay you what they agreed for work you already did. I’ve built so many websites for clients who originally hired someone else who never finished and refused to give up passwords. So fun, right? ^_^

Is it easier to just do your job and go home? Yeah. Employees don’t need to lose sleep worrying about how they’re going to pay their staff. I get it. But the undeserved arrogance is honestly more detrimental to your success than the “look at me” accolades you think you’re getting.

Outside Looking In

I think a lot of problems can be solved with a fresh and sometimes outside perspective. We tell outsiders to butt out of our problems or tell them they don’t understand if they don’t live it. But sometimes we’re so entrenched in our own issues that we don’t see the proverbial forest for the trees. I can’t always take a vacation. I’d love to book a 1-way flight and turn my phone off for a week but sometimes I can’t. But what I can do is put my phone on DND (do-not-disturb) for a few hours. I can wake up 15 minutes early and pray or meditate. I can go for a walk. I can take a day trip or hang out with a friend and not talk shop. I pick up inspiration from everywhere and that fresh perspective is imperative to my success. I can’t do that if I don’t take days off.

So How Do We Balance It?

Obviously, we can’t go to the other extreme and overdo it with “me-time”. I’m all for limited hedonism (which I suppose kinda fits under Epicurus’ philosophy of advocating restrained pursuit of pleasure over determinism) but when we start putting too much emphasis on self-love we lose the sense of community. If I continually and consciously procrastinate because “I don’t feel like it” then it breeds stagnation. What technological or societal advances (and spiritual evolution) would we thwart just to enjoy basic carnalities?

I know it’s extreme and certainly taking 30 minutes a day for yourself won’t instantly lead to the collapse of society. But over time, an unchecked philosophy creates a culture. And right now, we need to check this notion that it’s cool to not take care of yourself. We need to check the idea that it’s not okay that some people don’t want the responsibilities of owning a business. We need to check the absorption of misinformation from social media propaganda.

We need to take a day off.

originally published on Medium

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