"I've never worked a day in my life because I love what I do" is the biggest lie that entrepreneurs tell.
People of all ages so commonly romanticize entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses because of their passion for whatever they do. They expect this passion to carry them through the dark and stormy periods of running a business at all times, that their love for what they do will be the light that guides them.
Unfortunately, that's not how running a business works.
Creating a new business from scratch is incredibly difficult, stressful, and, at the same time, deeply rewarding. It's why entrepreneurial people suffer from high rates of depression and anxiety, why many businesses fail within their first five years, and why passion cannot be the only thing that carries your company. When creating a new venture, setting proper expectations for yourself is essential!
You Can Love the Problem That You're Trying to Solve
Many businesses start with a passion for a particular type of work: a young hobbyist photographer leaps and starts building their local photography business. A passionate barista chooses to create their coffee roastery. A prominent mental health advocate decides to open a psychotherapy practice. Companies are born from passion.
Instead of relying on a passion for your work, it's much easier to love the problem you're trying to solve.
While we can deeply love our work, our passion for it can quickly become depleted after facing the struggles of running a small business. Entrepreneurs become inundated with responsibilities like accounting, marketing, and customer service, things we're not passionate about. Our joy from work can quickly erode due to all the other components of running a business.
By viewing your work as a solution to a more significant problem in the world, your business takes on a new purpose. Instead of loving the output of your labor (beautiful photographs, delicious roasted coffee, improved mental health, for example), you can focus on your business's impact on the more significant issue at hand. The nitty gritty components of running a business transform from work that sucks away at your joy to integral parts of your business that make you more efficient at solving the problem at large.
Work Should Be Part of Life, Not Life Itself
Work-life balance is incredibly difficult for entrepreneurs, especially if your work is something you're passionate about. It can feel easy for dozens of hours per day to simply melt away as you focus on solving problems or creating work for your clients.
The truth is, you can live out your passion within healthy boundaries.
Life has several modalities: work, play, and rest are the most common. As entrepreneurs, we should strive to live whole lives consisting of all three of these things. We can work hard but also take time to rest and relax.
Without healthy rhythms and boundaries built around your work, you can quickly become burnt out. Regardless of your passion for work, burnout makes you less effective overall. Taking breaks to disengage from work, finding time for other hobbies and desires, and simply living life outside of your business can not only help you avoid burnout but also make you more effective at getting things done.
If you love what you do for work, that doesn't change the fact that it's still work. If you're running your business doing what you love, you may work harder than ever. Work can quickly become your entire life if you let it.
So, to keep loving what you do, take a break.