I recently spoke with Michelle Anton, co-author of Weekend Entrepreneur: 101 Great Ways to Earn Extra Cash, who shared with me her ideas about what some call achieving “balance” for a quality lifestyle. Some fear the decadence of too much work or too much play. The theory is pragmatic: too much productivity is meaningless with no time or energy to enjoy, while too much leisure is meaningless with no resources to spend.
Balance is an important issue for weekend entrepreneurs because finding ways to earn money outside of a day job requires a reduction in personal time. Most of the folks I meet while researching for this article speak about having less free-time as a consequence of being weekend entrepreneurs.
Michelle spoke to me about the importance of choice in determining the content and quality of life. I’ve always struggled with understanding the importance of balance; it didn’t always seem to make sense to me. Michelle’s emphasis on the importance of choices helped me gain a better understanding of why I struggle with the so-called importance of balance.
The architect I share an office with reminded me of another bit of common wisdom that is if you really want something done fast you should find a busy person to do it. At first it seems counterintuitive to seek busy people to get things done but another colleague of mine, and fellow professional speaker, Captain Avner gave me a great example that shows it’s true. He said that he has noticed couples have children and then suddenly, seemingly without warning, complete major projects such as their graduate or doctorate programs.
Striving for balance presents, or reinforces, an odd paradox. The notion of balance requires the presence of opposites. Opposites suggest the presence of competition. Work is the opposite of play. Career is the opposite of family. I’ve been troubled by the notion that career must oppose family — as if the two must compete for my attention. Shouldn’t one complement the other?
Also, why must work oppose play? Could the two be synthesized? Can there be a way for work time to complement playtime? Another underlying question is whether you will work to live or live to work. The competitive concepts that follow opposites, which followed balance strike me as counterproductive. Cooperation and teamwork might be a better conceptual framework on which to build a healthy lifestyle.
Busy people, including many weekend entrepreneurs, tend to look busy because we have found ways to spend our time on what we enjoy the most. We don’t let our personal life compete with work life and therefore do not require the time and effort necessary to find so-called balance. Allowing our personal life to complement, rather than compete against, our professional life is what helps us get things done even though we are already very busy with many other projects.
Another important consideration Michelle told me about is that her spontaneity and creativity depends on the ability to make dynamic choices about the content and quality of her life. A balanced regime would, for example, limit her ability to accept a friend’s invitation to join a dance class because the allotted personal time may have already been budgeted away.
A special thanks to Michelle Anton for speaking with me from her office in Los Angeles California this month. Michelle’s website is www.michelleanton.com, she blogs at weekend.entrepreneur.com, and her book is available at Amazon.com.
Any Queercents readers who want to share about their weekend entrepreneurial experiences? Any hobbyists turned capitalists? Regardless of your motivations, I am interested in the different strategies career-minded folks use to earn extra spending cash on the side. Also, I am interested in hearing about stories of weekend hobbies turned to full-time enterprises.