I am really grateful (and a bit surprised) to see how may people decided to subscribe to my first attempt of a weekly newsletter. So much so that I decided not to wait a week to publish my second one, because two is a pattern, already, and it makes sure I commit (at least to myself) to share more. My lovely friend Ioana, adopted Innotribe super early fellow and one of the most generous, dedicated, kind and hard worker person I know wrote in one of the comments: “I am still amazed how you make time for everything in your life – family, cooking, sports, countless calls with the big and the small guys out there. And you make it seem effortless“.
And of course it got me thinking.
Because in my mind I do have a lot of free time. In practice too, actually.
I have quite a lot of time for myself despite FTSGroup.eu, Breaking Banks Europe, Timepledge.org, speaking gigs, the Airbnb business I have in Lisbon, the Brazilian Churrasco just opened (couldn’t be more proud of it I swear), the startup advisory and investing work, my third book on Africa in the making for which I am syncing with the inspiration waves (a nice way to say it’s on hold for now), my work with Africa where I go every other month helping local ecosystems to grow, the admin work related to all this and of course grown up teenagers (almost adults) work which includes more travel.
There is no 9 to 5 of course, or 8 to 19, or “damn is sunday morning it should be my weekend” or “are you back from vacation yet”? Of course there isn’t. I am not saying that startup/grownup big shots are not in similar situation (about the “never disconnect” thing) because this is not a contest, is not about Good or Bad.
EVERYTHING is wrong in the “wow, you must be super busy” sentence. First, because it supposed “busyness” being something to be proud of, or admired for. Nothing should be further from the truth. If you are busy with something you don’t DEEPLY love, you will be struggling or frustrated about your time being highjacked.
You need to be comfortable with true multitasking as well, of course, and deal with uncertainty. “My pay check is too big to me to leave” or “between the mortgage and the private school I can’t afford not go get a steady (big) income” are very valid counter arguments and sometimes make you swallow a few bitter pills.
But we are talking about making TIME here.
This is my experience from the ground after 10 years (almost) of “being on my own without the Alfa 159 paid by SWIFT and a 6 figures salary no more“
1) Unless you have a full funded startup that requires 300% of your time and effort and you love it, do differentiate your source of income. Covid above everything else showed how I should have invested in a Take Away churrasco business way before I did 😉
2) In the least greedy possible way, surround yourself with people who takes ownership with you of part of your business, pay them with the same freedom, empowerment, trust and commitment you would like someone to treat you with ad miracles will happen
3) Be fair and kind to people working with you, but also give tough love. Not everyone is made to share the same amount of risk you do, but you can’t be the only one NOT doing a 9to5 either (and I am talking about everyone in the company, not only your right arm of your left kidney)
4) Perseverance and Patience will bring you a long way, but you need to be prepared, from time to time, to shrink your lifestyle if you have to, and if you engineer it well it will still look like holidays to most people.
5) You have to invest wisely in people, businesses and ventures, but keep enough fuck you money that together with your own resourceful self will help to bounce you back just in case (you probably will never have to).
6) Always make everyone part of your success, in a directly proportional way in which they consider your business like their own. What does it mean? You can’t be both empowering others and pocket most of the profits, or take the credits and not make any effort to grow your team
7) Be creative and brave about your life setting. I could not imagine I would ended up in Lisbon, to find my own balance and peace, and no one forced me to pick yet another country another language another culture 7 years ago … now my daily routine includes the kind os sunset and ocean swimming you can see from the picture, taken today 30 min ago before coming back home and finishing this post.
In summary: if you are extremely busy in your own perfect way, you are also (permanently) free, and feel that way.