Why an overworked entrepreneur should no longer be idolized
When I was young, I wanted to be a workaholic.
Yes — you read that right. I actually strived to be a workaholic. I imagined myself as a hot-shot career woman in an expensive designer suit, rolling into my giant corporate building emailing on my phone, screaming out orders, and basically working non-stop. I thought this was so cool and sexy.
Over the years, as more and more people started to tout a more balanced lifestyle (some considered extreme like Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek), I was very reluctant to accept this at first. I thought people were being lazy and they didn’t understand what it meant to pour yourself into your work. Of course, as I started my own career, I started to realize that the workaholic life was far from sexy. I was unhealthy, depressed, and couldn’t maintain a social life.
But instead of accepting that life needed balance, I started a new fantasy. This fantasy evolved around the hustling entrepreneur. Sure — it wasn’t great working 24–7 for some big corporation. But what if you were starting your own business? Surely it’ll be different. And how can you even start a business without pretty much sacrificing every aspect of your life and letting it consume you?
I’m not being sarcastic. This was actually my thought process.
And the crazy thing is, I’m not alone. A lot of people have this mindset.
So when I decided to join Shelbru as one of its founders, I was starting to prepare myself for complete sacrifice. I didn’t quit my day job since I had bills to pay — so in my head, this meant that I was going to be dedicating every waking moment that I was not working at my 9–to-5 to Shelbru. It would be hard but also exciting and sexy! After all, my workaholic fantasy was becoming a reality!
I started to throw myself into Shelbru. In the early stages, I would make a giant list of tasks that I had to complete ASAP — some weren’t even necessary but I thought that I needed to be driving myself to the ground for my business or else it will never succeed.
Any time someone asked me to hang out or grab drinks, I had major anxiety. GRAB DRINKS?? ARE YOU CRAZY?? I’M AN ENTREPRENEUR!!! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!! That’s what was going through my head. Even when I was socializing, I had anxiety the entire time thinking I was wasting my time.
Needless to say, that didn’t go so well. I was having major anxiety and panic attacks and started to completely resent Shelbru. What was supposed to be a fun new venture was suddenly the source of all my misery. I resented my teammates if I felt like they weren’t killing themselves the way I was.
This was when I finally let go of my workaholic fantasy. It is honestly the dumbest fantasy you could have. Life is about balance — you work hard, rest hard, and play hard. You should totally throw yourself into projects and give it your best. Then you should take a nap, grab a drink with a friend, and be totally unapologetic about it.
Now, I tell myself there is no rush. I have ambitious goals but realistic deadlines and tasks. I don’t put so much burden on my teammates and also let myself live my life. There are weeks where I work every single day on Shelbru and there are days when I work only one day on Shelbru.
The biggest catalyst for what helped me make this transition is a realistic plan. Our team set our what our timeline was for our launch, what needed to be done by when, and who was going to be responsible for the execution. Every week, there were a list of tasks that needed to get done. Whether I did that over the span of one day or seven days didn’t matter. I told myself that once I was done with these tasks, I was free to live my life. Go traveling, have drinks, call it an early night, binge-watch TV.
Because I’ve let myself have this balance, Shelbru has become fun for me again. It’s an added bonus to my life, not the thing that has completely consumed it. Sure — we might have been able to launch six months ago if everyone had run themselves to the ground. But why?
Why is faster better? I believe we are going at the fastest speed we can without compromising the wellbeing of our team. And in the long run, I think that’s really what’s important. I want to work hard for the future without sacrificing the present. And that’s not lazy or unambitious — that’s just me trying to live my life with intention and happiness. And that’s totally okay.
Shelbru has designed the perfect cold brew system — a brewer and carafe set — to help you level up your cold brew game. We are launching soon on Indiegogo to fund manufacturing and distribution. and need your support!
Be the first to know when our campaign goes live so you can snag our limited super early bird discounts! Plus, we immediately email you a quick and easy cold brew guide :)