Why Would Anyone Want to Work For 80 to 90 hours And Perform Like A CEO?

Work For 80 to 90 hours And Perform Like A CEO?

What are your hobbies outside of business hours?

A few popular answers to this question:

  • Watching TV series all day long
  • Traveling around the country (and abroad)
  • Binge-eating all sorts of delicious food

Now imagine you were getting paid for that. Full-time. No regular job, that’s what you have to do for a living.

  • You get to watch the latest series most of the time. You run a funded movie production company or a popular YouTube network earning advertising revenue.
  • You run a (whatever) type of company that’s wildly popular so you are a keynote speaker at 40 different countries every year, with a couple days chilling in-between.
  • You are a food critic or a reputable winery owner who gets complimentary food at tons of partner restaurants, top-notch food.

It doesn’t quite work like this for the most part. Most definitely not during the first 4–5 years.

Investing 2x or even longer for a while in a profitable venture that you enjoy will scale quickly. You can easily offload most of your responsibilities in various ways, such as hiring a general manager or another CEO, onboarding other top-level C-suite folks, and generally, keep the boat running while showing up on TV and radio shows.

Or you can sell your company for $50M, invest some of that, and live comfortably in the interim.

This makes a total sense if you’re in charge of operations, own a business you enjoy, want to see it grow, provide employment opportunities to hundreds or thousands of employees, assist your peers or family financially, get to start a couple side gigs (like opening a bar or a restaurant) that you enjoy every now and then.

Alternatively, you can work a tedious, boring job with micromanagers breathing down your neck for the next 40 years.

You get yelled at work or fired every now and then. Eating at top restaurants isn’t an option more than once a week. Your travel only includes going to the shopping mall for junk food and clothing. You fall asleep in front of the TV every evening after a hell of a day at work.

There are thousands of reasons why people start their own firms and want to scale. While the common perception may be that the quest for financial gains primarily drives entrepreneurs, the truth is often more nuanced.

Emotional Factors

  • Passion: Many entrepreneurs are driven by a passion for a particular field, idea, or cause. This emotional connection to their work provides the energy and perseverance to overcome obstacles and challenges.
  • Autonomy: Strong motivators are the desire for independence and the freedom to make decisions. Having one’s own firm allows individuals to take charge of their destiny and steer the course of their professional lives.
  • Legacy: Building a business is about creating a lasting legacy for some. It’s about shaping an organization that will continue to make an impact long after they’ve moved on.

Financial Incentives

  • Profit and Wealth: This is the most prominent and often-cited reason. The financial gains from owning a successful firm can be substantial.
  • Resource Access: Having your firm often gives you access to resources you wouldn’t otherwise have, whether capital, a talented workforce, or specialized tools and technologies.

Popularity and Recognition

  • Industry Status: Being the owner of a successful firm can elevate one’s status within the industry. This is particularly appealing to those who seek recognition and validation from peers.
  • Personal Branding: Scaling a firm can also significantly boost the founder’s personal brand, making them more influential and opening up additional opportunities.

Philanthropic Goals

  • Social Impact: Some individuals are motivated by the opportunity to make a meaningful social impact. They see business as a tool for addressing social issues, whether it’s through sustainable practices, charitable contributions, or social entrepreneurship.
  • Community Building: For some entrepreneurs, the business serves as a platform to enrich and uplift their community, whether it’s by creating jobs, fostering talent, or contributing to local initiatives.

Strategic Advantages

  • Diversification: Owning a firm can provide the resources and stability to invest in other ventures, thus spreading risk and increasing the potential for reward.
  • Networking: Scaling a business opens up opportunities for high-level networking that would take much work to come by otherwise. This can include partnerships, joint ventures, or collaborations that extend the firm’s reach and impact.
  • Market Position: A scaled firm can often command a more influential market position, allowing it to shape industry trends, influence policy, or negotiate favorable terms with suppliers and partners.

Each founder’s reasons are shaped by their unique experiences, values, and aspirations, making the entrepreneurial journey deeply personal. Whether it’s the pursuit of financial success, the desire for independence, a commitment to social impact, or a combination of these, understanding these motivations is crucial for both the individual and the ecosystem that supports them.

Not everyone is suited to (or should) be a CEO of a large corporation. Most can’t make it work. Many don’t enjoy the stress and responsibilities.

But does it make sense for the rest? Of course, it does.

Can Management Consultants Be Good Startup Founders?

Traditional management consultants (and advisors) are MBAs who have spent a decade or more in the corporate space.

I’ve studied 500+ of them and over 80% fell in this category.

Funnily enough, this is mainly dictated by the background of “management consulting”. This isn’t a popular title in the startup ecosystem and most founders haven’t gone through this process in the first place.

Therefore, most advisors in the space use different titles such as:

  • Digital consultant
  • Growth strategist
  • Startup consultant
  • An advisor for startups
  • Business consultant for startups

You can also find general consultants who have successfully sold their startups, angel investors who offer consulting on the side, business coaches — but rarely management consultants.

Or even company/startup founders who love helping out and provide consulting services.

Even if we take the traditional profile of management consulting, most of them won’t thrive in a startup environment because:

They successfully operate with existing resources.

Challenges That Await Management Consultants

The challenges of building a startup revolve around other areas:

  • Innovation (finding a product-market fit)
  • Building a team from the ground
  • Low-capital investments (bootstrapped)
  • Creatively building a small team that could scale
  • Finding innovative ways to generate leads at no (or low) cost
  • Deploying a flexible, fast process to iterate quickly

Management consulting doesn’t tackle most of those areas. According to Wikipedia:

Management consulting is the practice of helping organizations to improve their performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of plans for improvement

This suggests an existing, successful organization, a self-sustainable one that manages to generate a profit despite its inefficient processes. Translate that to: revenue, staff, resources, management layers, a somewhat established brand.

This is why most management consultants often prefer to consult existing businesses instead of launching startups.

While startups offer unique challenges and potential for innovation, the risk, uncertainty, and resource constraints associated with new ventures can make consulting for established companies more attractive and practical for many management consultants.

Yes, some will be a great asset as co-founders thanks to their background. But, generally speaking, it’s a different skill set.

How to Negotiate Pricing as a Freelance Web Developer?

There are generally two categories of freelance development activities:

  1. Affordable
  2. ROI-driven

Freelancers often try to mix between both models and often fall back into the first category instead. Unless you demonstrate professional capacity which could contribute to the business, you’ll likely be compared by price instead of value.

I’ve discussed the value-based pricing in detail at Grow Your Business With Your Customers – WP Elevation and in various answers here on Quora. The gist of it is providing actionable business insights and a strategy that would support the business needs of your customer.

Clients are often not fully aware of the requirements of their application. They have a problem in mind and suppose that a web application will solve it. However, there are different ways to approach the problem – some being more effective than others.

With value-based pricing in mind, figure out what the application is worth to your client. Every project aims for one of two things (or both at a time):

  1. Increasing revenue (through additional sales or higher conversion rates), or
  2. Automating processes (saving time that could be invested in something else).

New business applications fall into the first category. Same goes for marketing websites and eCommerce platforms which could sell more than they do now – with the right techniques retaining customers longer and providing the exact information prospects are looking for.

The second type are CRM systems, ERPs, hiring tools, marketing automation platforms and anything else that would save people from manually clicking, browsing around, sifting through spreadsheets or browsing Google every time they need to perform a simple operation.

For value-based pricing, as long as you can ask for the expected revenue upfront or estimate the impact on your work, you can invest more into providing a better solution which would have a better impact on the business processes.

If you want to stick to simple projects and compete by price instead:

  • Make sure you automate as much of your work as possible.
  • Focus on a specific market and build reusable components which could easily be adapted and integrated into new software.
  • Prepare contract and proposal templates, sign up for some stock photo websites and do anything you can in order to save time per project and compile all requirements early on with the least amount of friction.
  • Sign some partnerships or reseller deals for hosting accounts, plugin shops, etc. These would pay for some of the components you provide as a part of your complete solution.

The price-based approach is generally riskier since most of those activities can be automated in a way. This is why there are so many site builders and 3rd party hosted tools available for most problems. ROI-driven deals require expertise which is harder to replace by a robot.

Both strategies can be decoupled into an actionable plan. The rest depends on hustling and attracting prospects in order to create an ongoing sales funnel for your consulting business.

Is Freelancing a Better Career Path Than Product Development?

Both approaches are feasible – although they require different strategies and a certain type of mindset for each endeavor.

Freelancing is selling your time for delivering a service. It’s an active engagement that is directly related to your involvement and time spent on a project.

If you have a client and a project in hand, it’s up to you to deliver the desired outcome. Unless you’re actively working, there’s no progress and therefore, no revenue. Still, you should also position yourself in the market – provide a unique solution that would establish you as an authority and find a medium that allows you to convert more clients.

Regardless of how successful you are (in terms of a pipeline of leads or hourly rate), you will still struggle to allocate enough time and resources to growth. Unless you build a technical team and outsource internally – which is no longer freelancing (in the first place).

Selling products is… different. It often requires more marketing and sales chops than programming skills. You must identify a problem, build an MVP, define your buyer persona (target audience), reach out to your prospects, sell a few copies, ask for reviews and testimonials, work through your support queue and move some of the ticket requests to the roadmap. It’s a rough journey. The best product may be left hanging without the right marketing strategy in place.

It takes time to bootstrap that and close your first customers. It may be 6–18 months until you see some significant results and consider any form of expansion. Once you generate some traction, it may become a lucrative, yet passive, source of income.

Working with marketplaces may be a good option. Some would take over your marketing efforts in exchange for a fee. But this may bring you a good amount of cash with limited support and ongoing development (within 5–10 hours per week). The more the revenue grows, the more the engagement – but you may be able to hire a part-time support rep or another developer who can assist in improving the product.

Building a product is often riskier and has a good chance of failing. Your time is not directly connected with financial reward. It may or may not work.

However, scaling a product business may be easier. Hitting a limit is harder. It’s possible to generate good revenue with less involvement on your end. If you’re sick for a couple of days, it doesn’t reflect on your daily sales volume.

Both freelancing and product development have their merits and drawbacks. The choice depends on personal circumstances, career aspirations, and lifestyle preferences. While freelancing offers flexibility and variety, product development provides stability and structured growth. Understanding these nuances is key to making an informed decision about which path aligns best with one’s professional and personal goals.

Unless you aim for a funded startup from the beginning (by investing in MVP and building a team early on), providing freelancing services and building your product on the side may be a good way to test both aspects. Just keep in mind that focus is incredibly important – the more time and attention you spend on a single activity, the higher the chance it will work.