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Ep. 98 Where’s My 4 Hour Work Week???

by | Smart AF Show

4 hour work week

Where’s My 4 Hour Work Week???

So many business owners find themselves incredibly busy day in and day out, yet are rarely moving the need forward, struggling to pay themselves and beating themselves up for not getting it all done.

In this episode, Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean talk about the facade of the 40-hour workweek and what that means to an entrepreneur.

They look at why there is more to business than checking off your do list and why failing to take time off will crush your business and possibly your soul. If you’ve been yearning for a 4 hour work week but are suffering through 60 hour weeks, this one is for you.

Listen or watch the full episode below:


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(transcription is auto-generated)

SAF 98

Torie: [00:00:00] So no piddles for the business owner. If you’re doing piddles, you’re doing it wrong.

Hey guys, what’s up. It’s Torie Mathis, your host, and I’m here with the one and only Mr. Sean Mathis, Founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

Sean: [00:00:27] Good evening. 

Torie: [00:00:29] So there’s a lot of talk around culturally right now. Since people have been working from home, working remotely, talking about maybe people don’t need to be working 40 hours a week. And I will tell you, I truly believe that if your employees, if my employees, whoever can do things in less time, but still get the job done. I don’t think they need to work 40 hours. I think it’s stupid to put in a whole bunch of time, just for the sake of putting in a whole bunch of time. So the question is, how much should you work?

Sean: [00:01:06] It depends. 

Torie: [00:01:07] It absolutely depends. Again, I think that there are jobs and maybe your job is like this. Maybe what you do in your business is like this, because there are things like this, that there has to be a body there. Some sometimes like things can’t be done quicker because it just requires somebody presents.

For example, Sean, when he first started Miles Through Time, he was the ticket guy, he was the owner, he was the curator. He was the, everything he wore every single hat. But he like, somebody had to be there to take the money, to let people in. And unfortunately, at that time he had to be that person. But as we always talk about what season is it of your business for Sean and that season, he had to be the guy that had to be there.

And so I think if you do have that type of job or that type of position, maybe that is a 40 hour a week type of position. 

Sean: [00:02:04] But how long, like how long are you going to sustain that as a business owner? 

Torie: [00:02:08] Hopefully you do not. And hopefully, that’s some, one of the first things that you try to get somebody else to do somebody else to take on, get yourself to a point that you can be doing more important things.

Because, like Sean said, now that he is not the person taking the money and sitting there now he has all this time to market the business, to make the business better, to grow the museum, to get cooler exhibits. And as CEO, like that’s the kind of stuff, the bigger planning and things that you should be doing, but you know what, sometimes you gotta be the guy sitting there taking the money.

And I can tell you when I started my business, I did not have children. And I worked a shit ton because I had to try to get clients like I didn’t, get, I didn’t have like clients just right out the gate. I had a couple from the business that I worked at previously, which was a magazine publishing house.

So I did have some design clients when I started my business. But I had to hustle for those first clients. And and because I was still learning and honing my skills and figuring things out, I worked a lot. 

Sean: [00:03:14] Oh, there’s nobody else I work. 

Torie: [00:03:17] And I didn’t have kids, so it didn’t really matter. If Sean worked till seven, I work til seven.

It didn’t really matter. So I was fine to work a lot more. So if the season of your business is in the beginning you probably do have to work a lot. 

Sean: [00:03:30] Which is fine. 

Torie: [00:03:32] Absolutely. Like you can’t expect to come in and be like 10 hour work week from day one. I was just going to say the 10 hour work. Like you read that and you’re like, oh, that’s what I want. But you don’t get that necessarily right off to that. That book is not about working 10 hours a day, either. It’s about outsourcing, but that’s not a cool thing. If you’ve actually, read the book, like you could look at the title and say, yeah, I want that.

Doesn’t everybody, but it’s actually a book about outsourcing and how to outsource things so that you have all this extra time. And you can tell 

Sean: [00:04:01] Outsourcing might be a pain in the ass as well. I don’t like that. It might not be worth your time. 

Torie: [00:04:06] Tried outsourcing because everybody’s like you have a marketing business, you do web design, you should outsource everything. I outsourced a couple of things every single time. It was just not cool. Like the turnaround is slower. Maybe for some people that works but hiring like somebody that can do things that it does not have to be me was one of the greatest things that I did for my business, because it freed up a lot of time delegating things to Sean.

Once he came to to work with me as well. And we’ll see. Thanks for visiting. Once Sean came, like I was able to like, I totally trust that he’s going to do a great job. And so all the things that I’ve been doing that were things that needed to be done, like taking the money, but didn’t have to be me.

Sean was able to take those things on. And so that’s a really great way of you to, cut down the time that you’re working or switch over the time to more important things. I think that’s like a huge thing. People think I’m a business owner and I’m, 40, you have that 40 hour thing.

So you have to work at least 40 hours. But then you have all this other stuff that needs to be done. I think people spend too much time trying to be busy and not enough time doing the things that were important. We had a client that was spending, oh my goodness. So long because she had to scan in documents for like insurance or medical records or however that worked, but every single document had to be scanned. And so she had all these files and then all these new clients coming in and she was the one doing the scan. No business owner should be the one scanning thousands of documents in, you can get a virtual, not a virtual assistant, but like an assistant.

You could get somebody that’s retired to do that kind of stuff. You could get a teenager to do stuff. That kind of stuff like that is not CEO ever. 

Sean: [00:05:57] That’s the one we got rid of that whole process altogether. 

Torie: [00:06:00] What’s that her scanning for the new ones. Yes. So that was another thing like updating your processes is going to help you so that you do not have to work as much.

So one of the things would be to hire out or to get help for those things, but we also were able to take so many of her files digitally, so she no longer captured any type of new paper documents because this isn’t 1994, she didn’t have to anymore, that’s a lot of things to haul around that storage.

Then you have to worry about people’s confidential information. Whereas when she updated her systems and was able to take on all those types of things electronically to start off amazing time-saver yeah. 

Sean: [00:06:43] Which for her have enabled her to actually. Take on more clients, which her particular business is, there’s really no way around her time.

So she’s got to fill her time with paying clients. So anything that takes up her time, that isn’t actually, the point of the business where she’s actually collecting money for that time. She’s she technically losing money. So really for somebody like that Everything other than what she actually does for living that makes her money should be done by somebody else.

Torie: [00:07:17] And you can get people to work for not a lot of money. It’s really easy to think can’t hire somebody. You’ll have to hire somebody full time. Maybe you find some mom that just wants to do some spare work while her kids are napping. There are people out there that do not want to work full time.

They just want a couple of hours. And so I’m not telling you to pay people two bucks an hour. I’m telling you to find somebody that will just work for a few hours, so you still pay your people. It’s going to be more. Beneficial for you to get those hours back then to, lose a little bit of that money.

And I think you might have to make that like transition period, and that might be, a month or so to get that groove going. But man, that was one of the best things that happened because it was really easy for me to look back on my week and go, I was so busy. But if my billable hours, if the projects weren’t coming in, if I wasn’t getting new projects then, and the money wasn’t coming, it didn’t matter that I worked 40 hours or 50 hours or 60 hours or however many hours I worked.

And if you’re a service-based business, Like the lady that we were talking about, if you’re a coach, if you’re, any type of thing like that, like you have to be very careful that you’re not having your bar be how many hours you worked that you’re busy all week. 

Sean: [00:08:33] Let me think. I think of some of the most some of the more well-known successful realtor. The realtors, you see the billboards for the ones that you can think of the name of the realtor, and you have never used them before. I guarantee you can think of some sort of relative in your area, right? So say you want to buy a house or sell your house and you go use that realtor, that realtor’s name and you are, you’re expecting to meet that realtor.

I guarantee you do not meet that realtor until you signed documents. If you meet them during that time, because that realtor has outsourced not necessarily outsource, but has somebody doing everything that needs to be done so that they don’t actually have to do it because they’re busy promoting the brand that they’ve created that made it so that you even know who they are.

Mark Spain is one that’s local in this Georgia area. He probably spends a hundred million dollars a year on billboards. I guarantee everybody in this area knows who Mark Spain is. And I know of a few people that have used mark Spain as far as having his sign in their front yard for the house for sale, but they’ve never met him.

Torie: [00:09:41] Especially if you see like the, like we’ve traveled through Georgia and like way on the other, still mark Spain billboards. 

Sean: [00:09:48] And that’s just one example, but it goes across the board for everything Miles Through Time I’m typically only there Saturdays, but didn’t start off that way.

No, I spent three years if the museum was open it’s because I was there. So now the fact that it’s open seven days a week, All year long as opposed to a, what was it? Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to three for three years. And and that, that had changed over the course of the three years. Cause  I kept track of when people were coming in and honed in the busy, absolute necessity of time that I needed to be there so that I didn’t waste my time being there on a Monday and a Tuesday where nobody.

And that was just trial and error a little bit and realizing yeah, I can’t do it all. So although I might, upset two people because they couldn’t go visit the museum on Monday. If they really want to go, they can come back when I’m open, when I’m there. Like I, and I, it took me a while to grasp that too.

Cause like I wanted to appease everybody and I’m like, oh, you want to go? It doesn’t matter. I live an hour away. I’ll get there and open the doors for you. You can’t do that forever. Even if you do here or there it just, it can’t be done. And when, when I was doing the consignment aspect of stuff, I didn’t really have a choice. I even tried the whole, it’s the lowest price it’s going to be. I have no bartering power. Did you watch the video that shows it running? Did you see all the photos? Are you sure this is something that you want to do? Oh yeah. I’ll meet you there in an hour.

They get there. Would you take a $20,000 car? Would you take 10? Are you fucking kidding me? I just drove an hour here. I told you I can’t do anything. It’s my day off. Like it was such an absolute downer and nightmare like that, that alone is part of the reason why I don’t do that anymore. I would still be under that such situation.

Torie: [00:11:43] I think that’s very good, important to note like Sean even tried to make it so that this aspect of his business was as controlled as possible. And it was still out of control and not controllable. You didn’t want to work that many hours. You didn’t want to go through all that kind of stuff. So he made it, so that was no longer part of the business.

And it took a little while to work it out and to build  to change things over. But if you realize that something like that is taking too much time and not bringing in enough money, or maybe it is bringing enough money, but it’s stressing you the hell out, figure out how to work that out.

And do something else. Yeah. Because it’s not worth taking all these hours and all this time, if you’re stressed out, if you’re a piece of crap to your family, if you don’t sleep well, like there’s all these other things other than, how much money that you’re making that you can make changes for sure.

I think that it’s very important to note though, that whatever the season of your businesses. It’s it is going to dictate how much time you work, but how much time should never be a factor in deciding how much you work. We’ve talked about before about not working by the hour for us doing design work.

Like we never work by the hour, like maybe I’m having a day that is crappy and I’m working slow. Maybe I’m not very imaginative or creative today. And so it’s taken me a little while to get longer or to get going. And so it takes me a little bit longer or maybe today I am fricking on it and I am just on fire and I am just knocking stuff out.

If something takes me, today To do. And maybe other days it takes me three hours. I don’t think that you should get charged a different amount. So the amount of time is not what’s important. So just because you’re a business owner, just because you’re trying to grow your business doesn’t mean that you need to work 80 hours a day or 50 hours or even 40 hours, but you have to figure out what’s going to work for you because there is no magic number.

There is no book that says these are the times that you should work. But don’t give yourself busy work to fill up time. Just for the sake of filling up time. I think that might be hard for people, especially when they’re coming from maybe corporate coming from some type of other job and then coming into it.

It’s an adjustment to make if you don’t work on Friday, like that’s fine. Like you don’t have to work every weekday. When Sean worked for Pepsi, he had all kinds of crazy schedules. Like for a while he worked until seven. So I worked until seven, I worked a little bit later. I started later.

I worked later when we didn’t have kids, I’ve maybe worked a little bit later. Sean was in the national guard. He would be gone one weekend a month. I would work that weekend. I would answer customer emails like crazy. Whenever. So I really got to be known that with my clients, that I would answer emails at any time.

Once I had kids and especially now that the kids are a little bit older, like I don’t answer emails in the evenings because it sucks me into work. And then I ignore my kids and they’re trying to talk to me and I’m like, oh, I’m in the middle of something. I can’t concentrate. I’m a screw stuff up.

I have made that change that now I don’t do that. But that was a conscious decision that I had to make, just like Sean, it was a conscious decision for him to decide like that doing car sales was not for him, but if it’s the season of your business then maybe that is when you need to do it.

So in some places they don’t have a 40 hour work week. Do you think that it should be like a 40 hour workweek or do you think it should be. 

Sean: [00:15:13] No I think that the 40 hour work week became a thing. When, you had 10 year olds working 60 hours a week, it I don’t remember what president it was, but they set that, that standard, that was the 40 hour work week.

Henry Ford actually is the one that did it. And I’m thinking of it Henry Ford who created that 40 hour workweek. Who the hell is he? Really when you talk about it, it worked for that scenario and we kind of 

Torie: [00:15:37] 1910 

Sean: [00:15:38] And we’ve adopted it across the board. But and the thing is maybe for you and your business and your season right now, you need to.

60 hours a week. If there’s no way around it and you’ve, you really got to put in the grind and get your feet wet and like really try to strive forward to get to where maybe in the future, you’re working 30 hours a week, or maybe you do just work the 40 hours a week, but they’re super easy and fun.

And it doesn’t even feel like work. You get so caught up on, on that number of I worked like. Especially if it’s your business does it matter? It really comes down to what is it you want to be doing? Like we, even when we go on various trips and holidays, There’s work that we do when we’re there all the time.

We’d take a cruise. We’re working on the cruise. We were just in Florida. We worked while we were in Florida. 

Torie: [00:16:36] But we didn’t work all day. It’s we get up early in the morning. Like we always do. We get our few hours of work now and we go and do all kinds of stuff. We come back to chill, do a little bit, a few things, go back out, do you know, wrap up some things in the evening.

It’s not like sitting there and not getting stuff done. However, like you have to take a break, even if you’re in the hustle stage, you cannot work all day every day. This hustle, hustle grind, don’t get any sleep because then you’re going to be a piece of crap and you’re going to get sick or you’re going to do a bad job.

And when you take that time away, when you take it off to do something else, and I am not good at this, I want to work all the time and not necessarily work. I want to be productive all the time. I feel like I should be doing some and you’re like that too. I feel like I should be doing something that’s important.

Like I want to be making something you’re creating something or doing better, or, measuring this or I’m that kind of person. So maybe whatever my hobbies are, where I go away from work. I like to lift weights, I lift weights at the gym. And so that’s a way that I can track and I can do better there.

And I, I have all these different ways that I can take those things that I usually put all into work and put it into more of a hobby that’s a step away. That’s taking it back. So when I do come back to work that I am a little bit better. We go to the gym five days a week. A lot of times.

And I know Sean says he doesn’t feel bad. Like sometimes still I feel bad. I am at the gym. It’s nine o’clock in the morning. And I, every once in a while, I’m like, I should be working. I should not be working out right. But I know I shared it. I like, I should be working out. I am not going to stop doing it, but I even still have that thing.

I feel like I shouldn’t be taking this time off because I’m supposed to be productive. I’m supposed to be, I’m a business owner. I’m supposed to be growing my business. I have these projects going on. I have all these things and you know what, you’re always going to have all these things. You’re always going to have to do list.

And then the list is get like more, stuff’s going to come on. Like you’re never going to finish. Every single thing. So putting in the hours is not the answer. 

Sean: [00:18:44] I think of like going to the gym and except for example I don’t. Feel guilty that we’re doing it, but I work constantly. I’m always, and that’s my point is that if there’s things on my plate or emails, there’s things that I can still answer or accomplish. I do otherwise, not that I feel guilty, but I am I’m thinking. I’ll just stuff that I need to go do. And so I am, I’m like, oh, I can do it now. You have to take my break and knock it out because you can have a hundred emails right.

On a daily basis at any given moment. And you’ve got a hundred. Hundreds of emails. I said, none. And I’m always like, I have a role 20 right now. Like I just cannot get rid of them and it drives me absolutely nuts 

Torie: [00:19:41] Again, though. You can’t stay up all night to finish all the emails because in the morning there’s more emails. They’re just, there’s going to be more, so many things can wait is something that I’ve also learned, like with, I feel like I need to do it all and finish it. And I feel like I need to check everything off and then I’m good, but it doesn’t really work that way. Like when you actually get down to it, you’re not supposed to just check everything off every day. Once I switched, I have this planner that I’ve been using for several years. And once I switched over to this planner really helps because it’s got like on the top of your day, it’s got three things. Get the three biggest things done. Like you don’t have to get every single thing done.

And sometimes I do have lots of little things, and sometimes I got to remind myself are these ones, it is little things like, are these little things that I should do. There are these brochures that we do for a client and we’re constantly getting more because there’s one for each one of their people.

And so always people are coming into the program. And so we’re always doing more, always. For years, I did the brochures and that would be like something that it’s on my list, that it was like, once I start having all these little things it was always like, every week I would be doing like all of these, I finally.

This is something right. And now you’ve been doing it for a long time. And I even gave you like a little bit more of this because once I got that structure part, once I, because I am the designer, I am the, the one that’s doing all the creative once I’ve got that figured out, I don’t need to do it anymore again, replicated, because the system, the structure the whole process is figured out. And I think that’s something that if you are. All of these little things. And you feel like you always have these little things, like that’s a sign that you need to step back and be like, okay, I should not be doing little piddle stuff.

You’re a business owner, no piddles for you. Like you need to do big stuff you need to do, move the needle stuff, grow your business, make new connections, not doing little changes in a brochure for people. So once you see that you have the little piddles going on, that’s when you step back and say, where can I make a process for this?

And where can I hand this off to somebody else? Because you as the owner should not be worrying about all these little things that you can check out. Check out episode 68, it’s clone yourself and it’s how to work smarter. I really outlined a whole bunch of things. It’s the only episode I’ve ever done by myself.

Sean was gone and I had to do what, and you know what? I think it’s a great episode. There’s lots of really good nuggets in there on how you can do more in less time. Because as a business owner, your time is so important. And especially if you’re a service-based type of business where it’s really easy for your value to only be based on the hours that you’re spending.

So you really have to watch your time. You gotta be careful. 

Sean: [00:22:26] I just want to say piddles 

Torie: [00:22:29] Did I say piddles enough time? I don’t know if I’ve ever used the word piddles.

Are you happy with your piddles so no piddles for the business owner. If you’re doing piddles you’re doing it wrong.

Did you know that? Every single Tuesday and Thursday, we get a new show out every single week, twice a week. And so we would think it’d be great if you would come and join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we always talk about things like this. How are you going to be smarter in your business? How you could use your time better, how you could use your money better, how you could finally figure out social media to work for your business.

So we would love it. If you would come join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks friends. See you in the next day.

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hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
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You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

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Hi! I'm Torie!

I Headshot of Torie Mathishelp entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

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