Career or Vacation?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 11:00pm by Site Administrator

Is this a trick question, or what? Steve Pavlina puts forth a question (about halfway down the page, in the Lifestyle section):

Would you rather earn $5,000/mth working 5 hrs/week or $10,000/m working 50 hrs/wk?

This is asked in relation to Tim Ferriss’s book the 4-Hour Work Week (non-affiliate link). I haven’t read the book, but as a workaholic, I’d be inclined to say #2: 50 h/wk. That’s only 10 h/d on a 5 day schedule, and in my mid- to late- 20s, that was normal for me. Yet, I still managed to enjoy myself on weekends. A lot. That included mini-outings. So 50 hrs/wk is nothing, provided I actually enjoy the work. If I don’t, I move on and find work I do enjoy.

However, as an online freelancer cum bootstrapping publishing entrpreneur, I have been putting in more hours than I ever have offline and earning less (70+ h/wk). I made more money per hour when I was a web programmer/ consultant on contract. The difference is that the potential for more is there online, and in realizing that, I am actually starting to scale back my workload a bit and pursue projects I’ve been putting off. I actually think of these as mini-vacations from work – even if they’re only a few hours or days.

But here’s what really excites me about working online, and if you are thinking of it, or have recently started, this should be foremost in your mind:

  1. Fair game.
    The Internet levels the playing field. Twelve-year old bloggers are making some nice money that go beyond an allowance.

  2. Choices, choices.
    There’s a vast array of choice. What are you interested in? There is probably a way to monetize it, if you are creative, innovative, and find a way to stand out.

  3. A million vacations.
    If you’re an online worker and have either a self-sustaining website or can find a few guest writers to keep things running, you can pretty much take a vacation whenever you like.

I’m focusing on the latter. If can scale back my workload to just a few topics, I’ll end up with blocks of hours or days where I can run my web experiments – which will be the seeds of my envisioned great startup business. You can focus on this too: maybe you don’t feel comfortable with a permanent 5 hour work week, but surely you’ll enjoy this luxury once in a while, if you can make up for it at other times? That’s what I enjoy most about freelancing, if you can handle the wild variations of revenue.

Even better, if you score a web success, save the money, “seed” a new project, then go on vacation/ retirement for a bit, you come back fresh-minded for the new project. Is that something you’d enjoy? Because I believe that this can happen online. Just don’t give someone $4000 for the information when the answers are mostly free all around.

Now this advice applies to either freelancing or being an entrepreneur. Take it from someone who didn’t bother taking vacations most of his life: enjoy your life now, not “tomorrow”.

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Filed under: Entrepreneurship, vacation

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