Work/Life Balance and Startup Success Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

My Fast Company article titled How Southern Tech Workers Build Booming Businesses and Still Go Home at 5 elicited a number of strong responses, many arguing that it makes startups in the South uninvestable and that you need to work more early on in fast moving markets.

True, the article said, “consider that many people in my company, and in companies of friends, leave the office around 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.” but that’s more of a focus on work/life balance as opposed to sheer number of hours worked. CNN reported in April that the Facebook COO leaves every day at 5:30pm regardless. Much like it goes on to say that Sandberg checks email and works after the kids go to bed, so do I. Startups and entrepreneurship are very involving, and that’s great, especially because of the passion that exists for it beyond being a job.

I know entrepreneurs that have built successful startups from the ground-up while still being able to attend their kids’ sporting events every night. Even with competitive, fast-moving markets there are enough hours in the day to accomplish a great deal and still spend time with your family. Imagine cutting out TV. How much time will that save? Imagine working 20% smarter instead of 20% longer. How much time will that free up?

Work/life balance and startup success at any stage aren’t mutually exclusive. There are enough hours in the day to be effective and present.

What else? What are your thoughts on ways that work/life balance are or are not mutually exclusive?

One thought on “Work/Life Balance and Startup Success Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

  1. Two Points:
    1) I completely agree you can have work/life balance even at the early stage of start ups but, it’s unpredictable. Some weeks are extremely busy while others are more normal. In corporate, you have much more visibility into when those spikes will occur. Entrepreneurial spike happen on a Friday afternoon when you’re about to leave for a weekend away (at least for me).

    2) I also believe you can have a family. I’m an entrepreneur with a wife and 6 yr old child. They provide structure. They make me want to be more efficient during the day. And, as you stated, I’ve cut out most TV, some social with friends (writing this post on a Sat night at 11:25pm) and generally wasting time.

    I’ve found some of the principles in The 4 Hour Workweek ( are helpful for creating balance as an entrepreneur

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