When I heard the saying: “Work Hard, Smart and Fun – You Can’t Pick Just One” I wanted to break this down some more. I wanted to see what it’s like in each of the scenarios:
1) Work Hard Only
A lot of first time entrepreneurs fall into this category (and the work fun only category), but it is dangerous to only work hard without having fun or being smart about it. You could work hard heads down and spend months on a product, idea, sales lead or client only to realize they have no impact on the larger picture – you should have added smarts. Or maybe you worked so hard and you got that right product, client or lead but you burned out and pissed off all your employees. Neither approach is sustainable.
2) Work Smart Only
These are the academic types. Love to analyze everything, but this over analyzation leads to paralysis. Knowing your market, customers and tracking key metrics is very important – but the nature of being an entrepreneur means that you are going into the unknown. You wont have all the answers, and you have to work hard and iterate to see something through or at least have some fun so you can see other perspectives. As an entrepreneur, make sure you are smart in more than just one area as you need to know a lot to grow a company. (the outlier to this is if you are a super genius and people are throwing money at you and you can hire other people to do the work – but this is a major outlier)
3) Work Fun Only
First time entrepreneurs also tend to fall into this category, thinking that the startup life is just about building a cool product and working in a cool office space. In 6-18 months they will be a facebook or instagram (or exit) and they don’t need to worry about how to make money. Yes there are stories like these companies, but they are not the norm. On average it takes 7.5 years to exit a company. There are VC’s that will fund companies with no immediate business model, but this is reserved for entrepreneurs who have exited before or your product has great traction already.
4) Work Hard & Smart
This is my preferred combination of working. If you combine hard work with the right path, you are more likely to get to that path quicker and with proper outcome. Don’t just chase down every opportunity. Stop and think – does this fit into the goals that we have outlined, if not – skip it.
5) Work Hard & Fun
This works for the personalities that can work really hard, and then through fun recharge themselves and clear their mind to get new perspectives. I.e. work hard/play hard motto.
6) Work Smart & Fun
This is a rare combination from my experience. This is the genius entrepreneur who is smart but also can party really well and has amazing social skills and networking. A great combo if you have it!
7) Work Hard, Smart and Fun
Doing all three is where the money is. In order for your company to stand out of the crowd and make it really successful, you need to focus on doing all three. Put your head down, get work done the right way and make sure you stop to reflect and thank people and celebrate. I like to think I work hard and smart, and I do a good job at thanking people but I feel that I need to do a better job at celebrating the wins. This is my goal for this year.